Alisha is almost 11 (Aug. 2 is her birthday). She will be in the sixth grade this year. Alisha was diagnosed with diabetes on Feb. 2, 1998 when she was 8 1/2 years old. She had been very thirsty and had to go to the bathroom all the time and all night long. Later we noticed she had lost 15 lbs. in three weeks. She had had strep throat symptoms three weeks before she was diagnosed. For two years before diagnosis, she had terrible stomach aches that hurt so bad I had to take her to the hospital several times, although they never found anything wrong. She often had vomiting and nausea with the pain. They did do blood work and I went back and printed it all out (I work there and could have access to this) and it was all normal, so there was no reason to suspect she was coming down with diabetes until she got so sick with it. I had made a doctor's appointment but it wasn't until the next day, and when I tested her blood sugar at a friend's house it read HI, which I knew wasn't good. When I went to work that evening I talked to a pediatrician I saw in the hall and he said to take her where she could receive treatment and not wait until the next day as she could be in a coma by then.
I left work and we took her to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida where her blood sugar was 686. She was given 1 unit of insulin IV and sent to a room on the cancer floor as they were full of patients and had no room on the diabetes floor. I had to beg them to recheck her blood sugar as she had received the insulin around 2-3 am and it was 5:00 am and I was told they didn't have a doctor's order to test her blood sugar, and eventually they did come test it. I had been told that her blood sugar would be high for the next 2-3 weeks and not to expect it to go low. Yet the very next night it did and she woke up with a blood sugar reaction with a blood sugar of 55. They started her on an IV with sugar in it as well as giving her two glasses of orange juice with sugar in it. She had had normal saline in her IV. We had not seen a diabetes educator or diabetes doctor yet. I asked for some teaching materials and was told they were on the diabetes floor. Yet no one would tell me where to go to get them or offer to go get them. Finally they said they were sending us home! She still had the IV with the sugar in it and no teaching had been done yet! I was in tears and said that she still had an IV with the sugar and you don't even know what will happen with it out. Well then they said we could stay as long as we needed to and took out her IV and checked her blood sugar 752! Higher than when she came in! I was really mad then. We finally saw the doctor (an endocrinologist) and the CDE that afternoon briefly. And then we didn't see them again, so the next day I insisted that they sit down with us and talk to us. I was an RN and, yes I did know how to give shots and test blood sugars etc, but as an RN you take care of the patient a certain number of hours and you go home. You use the teaching material and read it to them and answer questions, not live with it for 24/7 and a child to boot. I just wasn't comfortable taking her home. Yet after everyone, including my husband (now no longer in the picture) and her brother and sister, learned how to do blood sugars and inject insulin and treat low blood sugar and high blood sugar etc. they gave the CDE saline shots. We finally went home, but I was so scared.
We have come so far since those days in the hospital. We have experienced DKA from insulin that went bad, and seizure from a low while asleep and several lows that we have had to give either the gel or glucagon for. But since we have started pumping with a Disetronic H-tron plus V100 we have had few symptomatic lows. She still does go low at times, especially with exercise, but she has no symptoms and will recover with some juice quickly. We still have some highs. Certain foods are hard to account for and affect her differently. But overall, pumping has been the best thing we have done. It is so easy to do and it gives her so much freedom than before when we had to make her eat and make her get a shot etc. (she was not always easy to deal with and fought back). Now she willingly does her site changes and boluses and is much easier, and often does her blood sugar with out being asked to. She knows how to do corrections based on her blood sugar levels. She loves to play softball and roller blade and ride bikes. Swimming is like second nature to her; she is just like a fish in the pool. She wears her pump in the pool but we turn the basal rate down to 1/2 and test every hour to two hours depending on previous blood sugar levels as she often runs low while swimming.
Kathy, Alisha's mom, can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]Published July 18, 2000
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