Back to Parents' Voices Bob Murray
In early December of 1995, Jake started going through diapers like crazy. We went to our local Christmas parade and Jake sat on the curb like all the kids there, but unlike all the kids there, Jake left a puddle. At first, we thought he had spilled his juice, but it wasn't juice: his diaper weighed about three pounds. This, after having been changed less than two hours before. Soon, Jake was filling a diaper every hour or so, and drinking water almost constantly. We have a water cooler in our home, so we kind of thought that he had discovered it and wanted to play with it. Then Gwyn noticed that we were buying a gallon of milk just about every day. By December 18, Jake did nothing but sit in my lap or on the floor, watching the Fisher-Price "Terrific Trips" tape about visiting a farm. "Cow, cow" was all he'd say. Soon, all he wanted to see was the first five minutes of the tape, over and over, as if his brain was losing the ability to process more information than than a little bit.

We took him to our local doctor on the 19th, and he suspected it right away, given the symptoms. His small blood monitor couldn't read the amount of sugar in Jake's blood, so he sent us to the hospital for a real blood test. About on hour later, he called to tell us to rush Jake to the emergency room for intravenous saline because he was seriously dehydrated, and his blood sugar was 1080. Within the hour, on i.v., he had gone down to around 600, and we were sent to the University of Virginia Children's Medical Center, where we spent five days learning about the shots, the diet and -- most important -- that death wasn't imminent, or even remotely close -- that, in fact, if we maintained Jake's levels and kept things on as even a keel as possible, he'd have a normal, healthy long life.

But, like in many of the narratives I've read here, home was a more complicated place than the hospital. Home, the numbers -- vague, alien things at the hospital -- became real, confusing, and very frustrating. Why, for example, when did his numbers go up when he didn't really eat? How come after eating a good snack at bedtime, did he go from 480 down to 65? What was going on here?

We're still in a bit of a muddle, since this is all so new yet, but things are getting easier every day. The shot -- one each morning since he is still producing his own insulin erratically -- is easier to do, and the finger sticks have become nearly second nature -- we've even stopped doing them at night. We now use "the rocket" -- a product called "Inject-Ease" with great success. There are two other boys Jake's age in our town who have diabetes, and one six year old girl, so there is a pretty good network for taling about these things -- the local hospital even has a special meeting for Parents of Diabetic Children each month.

Our new concerns are day care and babysitting -- but these are the kind of concerns we don't mind having, since they mean our lives are normalizing, becoming more comfortable.

Bob can be reached via e-mail at

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Last Updated: Wednesday March 16, 2005 16:44:56
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