When people ask me...." How did you know he had Diabetes?", I tell them I cannot answer it in one sentence. It was so evasive and yet so obvious. But we had absolutely no experience with any type of Diabetes in our families, so we didn't know. I can only remember it if I relive the last week.
Zac woke up and vomited. After a morning on the couch, he seemed better.
We spent the afternoon at the pool with some friends. I remember watching him gently play with my friend's two year old, his rash guard hanging off skin and bones and thinking......."He is such a sweet boy to sit with her. I wonder why he isn't playing with the older kids in the pool?"
We spent the afternoon cleaning up a local park with two families and their children
At a BBQ that evening, I mentioned to my friend..." Zac is so thin." She replied...." This is the age they grow a lot." I shook off the feeling that he was TOO thin.
Rob took Zac and friends to the Pulse Fest....an all day concert in a farmer's field. He looked exhausted upon returning.
Zac was being very obstinate that day. My husband and I thought he was being extremely ungrateful and difficult. At the church picnic, he rolled his eyes and dragged his feet when we asked him to help clean up. Upon returning home my husband told him to mow the grass. We really did think he was in need of discipline, as 13 year olds can often need help with their attitudes. You have to know that Zac is not one to share feelings or complain. I would often brag about him to others. So when he mowed the easy part of the lawn, not the part he was instructed to, my husband called him in.
"What on earth is wrong with you!!! " He continued to lecture Zac and said..."It is as if you are in a trance!"
Zac said..."I don't know. I just don't feel right."
Suddenly something came over Rob and he said..."Take off your shirt."
It hit us like a ton of bricks. We knew. Something is wrong. Our son looked like a starving refugee. It was shocking.
Here the poor child was ill and we were forcing him to do yard work in the hot sun! Yeesh.
Even then, we thought that maybe he had anemia. Diabetes was in the back of my mind, but honestly, I didn't know any type 1s and I didn't think it possible.
Here is where more guilt comes. We were heading out to Cedar Point for a family vacation that very night. We decided to go on our trip and just see the doctor upon returning. Keep in mind, he didn't really seem very sick. No fevers, no vomiting, talking and walking normally, etc. Also, he never told us about the thirst. A 13 year old will not tell you he has to visit the bathroom. It is embarrassing. He gets his own water. And it was hot. Everyone drinks a lot of water with the kind of week we had.
So we went to Cedar Point. After the very first ride, Zac said..."Mom, that really hurt my stomach." Again ,,,,, we knew something was wrong. Still, we did not come home. He seemed okay. We bought him a Snoopy baseball hat and lots of drinks. He still loves that hat.
I remember walking behind him, as we left the park and noticing his stature, his lethargy. I had a nagging feeling that he might die overnight before I got him to the doctor. He was so thin, I felt I was looking at a walking skeleton. I still feel sick when I think about it today.
The doctor's office got us in first thing in the morning. Our family physician knew right away it was a possible Type 1 diagnoses and had blood drawn. He called me at home 2 hours later to break the news. Zac's blood sugars were 680 and he was in DKA upon arriving at the hospital. They placed him in ICU.
The nurses tried twice to insert his I.V., with no luck. A special team was called to help. This was one of my lowest points. I was scared. But the team had success and treatment was started.