paediatrics at Canberra Hospital was notified we were on our way
and after 3 and a half hours of tense driving,
my sassy boy and I arrived at the emergency department
and our journey into the world of diabetes mellitus had begun
now 'diabetes' is a pretty familiar word - most folk have heard of it
some folk have a few ideas about what it means
sometimes folk know that there are 2 main types of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2
now I don't want to bore folk with info overload
so here it is in a nutshell
Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin (or when the insulin that the body makes doesn't work properly). Most of the time when the word 'diabetes' is thrown around, it's Type 2 that is being described - and that's because 85-90% of folk who have the condition, have Type 2 diabetes. Only about 10% of folk diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes (which used to be called 'juvenile diabetes' because this more savage form of the condition generally started in children under 15 years of age).
Type 1 diabetes is a life long condition
It cannot be prevented or cured
Without daily injections of insulin, a person with Type 1 diabetes will die.
welcome to our brave new world
After the initial shock and awe of diagnosis and admission to hospital, our steep (STEEEEEEEEP) learning curve commenced - and accelerated with alarming speed. When a young person is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (which in the medical world I'm learning is often abbreviated to DM1) here in Australia a whole team of folk mobilise... before we had even reached the emergency doors the troops had been assembled... there's the paediatric endocronolgoist, the paeds registrars, paeds diabetes educators, the dieticians, the social worker... then of course once you're in the zone there are the paeds nurses, captain starlight and company to cheer up the small people, and the body-and-soul-restoring Ronald McDonald House volunteers (can't stand maccas food, but don't let me hear anyone diss the RMcD Houses.... without them I know I would have turned into a puddle of jelly)
(here's rufus bear - one of the smallest members of the diabetes team every child diagnosed with DM1 gets a bear that also has diabetes to keep them company)
We were lucky that our stay in hospital was brief - that's because our sassy boy was diagnosed before he developed the especially lovely condition diabetic ketoacidosis (or DKA - and no I hadn't heard of this before either...). It's unusual that a young person has Type 1 diagnosed before they develop DKA so of course waves of medicos came to quiz me about 'how did you know something was wrong?'
ahhhhhh well you see - my Farmer Phil has Type 1 diabetes... and 3 of his siblings had/have Type 1.... and one uncle, one great aunt, 2 nieces (this goes on for a bit...) had/have Type 1 diabetes
so when our young lad seemed a bit lethargic and not quite himself
and started to drink a LOT of water
and pee a LOT
and wake through the night (to pee a LOT more)
I thought a trip to the local GP might be in order... just to rule things out.... to have the doctor tell me 'ahhhhh the terrible teens are just a hormone or two away, this is all perfectly normal'...
so here we are one week later
one week into the rest of his life
one week into multiple daily insulin injections and counting carbohydrates and blood glucose tests before meals, after meals, and all through the night, and weird new gadgets and a new language that includes things like 'carb exchange' and 'glucometer' and 'cartridge lancets' and 'hypoglycemia' or 'lows' and 'hyperglycemia' or 'highs' and 'ketones' and 'the honeymoon period' (no, not as romantic as it sounds) ....
its all a bit of a head spin
and talking of turning heads....
just over two days after being released from hospital, less than a week after dignosis and the commencement of a whole new way of being
there is our boyo back in the pool swim training like a champion
this friday he is off to represent his school at the school zone swimming championships yep just 10 days after diagnosis and a stretch in hospital he's going to try to defend his title as zone age champion
even getting there will be pretty damn special don't you think? (his stunned, yet supportive paediatric endocronologist seems to think its pretty amazing)
there may be more wet faces out of the pool than there are in it!
over the last week our household has gone from this...
oooo my heart nearly broke into itty bitty pieces as six mini hounds went to their various (wonderful) new forever homes
and we are left with two little mini hounds
sigma and gamma
tiggy-tiggy and gams will be our boys
and over the next year I will spend much of my time
teaching them the ways of the creek
they will learn how to behave around cattle and sheep
to swim in the surf
and travel in the vehicles
to run beside bikes and fetch sticks and balls
the will learn an array of commands
('sit', 'come', 'stay', 'drop', 'down', 'ball', 'up', 'in', 'over', 'behind', 'outside', 'wait'.... these boys are kelpie x collies - pretty much the smartest dogs in the known universe - so they can learn over 100 verbal commands if you have the patience to teach them...)
it's our job to show them what their purpose in life is
and help them grow into the special dogs that I know they are ready to be
on Christmas Eve I received notice that I officially passed my MFA
although I'll be keeping on keeping on 'making stuff' in the studio
I promised myself and the family that this year was going to be our year of
Family and Farm
sooooo this New Years day
I'm not issuing my traditional list of things I hope to get up to in 2014
(I'm still trying to get around to learning to bake bread....
something that's been on my 'to-do' lists for over a decade now!!!)
rather throughout the year I'll slowly tell you all about some of the exciting projects that I'm involved in that also involve
Family and Farm
(and family farming!)