Grouchy, Hungry, Thirsty? She’s Three. No… She’s Diabetic.

My Allison, better known to some as Alli Cat. Three years old and so full of joy… that also happens to be her middle name.

Over the last few months I started to notice changes in her. There were behavioral changes to begin with. She began to be extremely disobedient and grouchy. Her frequent smiles and giggles turned to frowns and crying. Don’t get me wrong… Allison is known to be a bit on the ornery side. She gives a mean stink eye. But this was different.

I also noticed changes in her eating and drinking habits. She was always hungry. I’d catch her at 2 am sneaking snacks from the pantry. I read online that it was OK for children of this age to eat around the clock. They are on their own time schedule. But she was also constantly thirsty. Allison wouldn’t leave the house without a water bottle. You would think the world was ending if she needed a drink and I didn’t have one handy. Soon, I started keeping water bottles in the car and in my purse… just so I’d be able to avoid the water drama.

Then came the accidents. Alli has been potty trained since she was 2 yrs old. She wasn’t a bed wetter, although she had been known to have the occasional accident due to her frequent UTIs. The UTIs would cause her to experience frequent urgency. So when she started to have accidents… I assumed she had another infection. I planned to take her into the doctor for some antibiotics if some good old cranberry juice didn’t work first. However… she had an accident at night in bed. This was unusual for her. Then another… then 2 in one night. Something is wrong.

I mentioned it to some of my online friends in our Skype chat and they were optimistic that it was something routine. I felt a little better. Regardless… that Sunday I asked a friend at church what she thought of the symptoms. In the back of my mind I knew it was Diabetes, but I wanted someone to convince me. My friend urged me to use an at home KetoneDia Stick to see if there might be sugar in her urine. At least I could rule that out… right?

We used the test stick. It was an ugly result and I knew immediately that I could no longer rule out Diabetes. We took her immediately to the children’s ER. She has already been a frequent guest there… stitches twice… IV fluids and asthma… broken arm. I wanted her to feel safe and comfortable while we figured out the problem. They took a blood sample from a finger poke and the portable monitor was unable to get a reading. The nurse says she will have the doctor try. The doctor is also unable to get a reading. They whisper and random words like critical and ICU travel across the bed to my ear. They decide to draw blood and send it to the lab.

The lab results come back. I’m shocked. They are too. Her blood sugar is well over 800, yet she’s functioning just fine. Her little body had learned to cope with this disease until finally we got help. They asked me about her Reactive Airway Disease. Had she had any breathing issues in the last week? Yes… actually she did. She was on her breathing machine 3 out of 5 mornings that week. Turns out that these breathing attacks were her body’s way of releasing additional sugar. I was told that many diabetics come to the hospital in respiratory distress.

We were informed that Allison would need to ride by ambulance to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and be admitted. That’s pretty much the whole story. Once we arrived, they began taking her blood sugar readings regularly. They taught us how to count her carbs and cover it with insulin. She was given a bear with patches on all the places that she could receive insulin. This bear saved us. Allison would give her bear “pokies” and then she would get her “pokies“. I stayed with her in the hospital night and day. We were released Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Talk about being thankful

We’ve been home almost a week now. Today I will take her for her first visit to the pediatric Endocrinologist. It’s a follow up visit to see how we’re coping and if her insulin dosage is doing it’s job. I also am looking forward to just being able to talk about how I feel. This is a lifelong diagnosis. There is no cure. She and I will have to administer “pokies” every meal for the rest or her life. It’s hard to imagine that. It hasn’t been easy everyday since we’ve been home, but she’s a trooper. We will just continue to do what we’ve got to do in order to keep her well.

Allison says it best when she tells me… “I love my pokies. I feel so much better mommy.”

So do I baby…