It was the week of March 1, 2016. Mac and I were both fighting a cold and were exhausted from lack of sleep, coughing and sniffling – a typical cold.
Mac, normally a voracious eater, had a reduced appetite which I figured was completely normal, so I just tried to breastfeed more to compensate.
By March 3rd he stopped wanting to breastfeed, I figured he was just full of cold and it was hard for him to breathe while breastfeeding. The same with his laboured breathing, I just figured his nose was stuffed so he was breathing heavier than normal.
When, on the morning of March 4th, he became completely listless and outright refused to breastfeed it started to sink in that there may be something more to this cold. But it was just a cold,
Still in complete denial about my baby’s worsening state, I decided to call Telehealth to see if I should indeed take him to his doctor or wait it out. It was that call that started our life on a completely new trajectory – one that we may never escape.
The nurse from Telehealth asked if that was Mac breathing in the background, she could hear him over the phone, a bit defensive I said his nose was stuffed from the cold. It has hitting me as I looked at his listless body that his symptoms were way more serious than I had given them credit.
The nurse calmly replied that she was sending an ambulance to “check him out” and that’s when I broke down realizing I had personally placed my child in danger, being home on mat. leave I am his primary care giver and he is in this position because of my inaction, my complete denial.
The ambulance arrived and we were taken to the local hospital and, worried about dehydration, the emergency room doctor gave us a type of ‘Pedialyte’, which would have been full of sugar. He drank it and I was relieved that he would be fine. This is all he needed and we would be back home soon with our beautiful boy.
It was shortly after this, just when we were thinking how silly of us to come in an ambulance, that all hell broke loose and my sweet listless baby boy was completely engulfed by nurses and doctors working feverishly on him.
I looked up past all the nurses and doctors, surrounding me and my baby, seeking my husband’s worried gaze and asked him quietly but firmly to find out what the fuck was going on.
I was surrounded by controlled chaos. Before I knew it, the respiratory team was pumping him with oxygen and the head of anesthesia was on standby by to get a trach. into him. Nurses, stationed one at each limb, calling for more infant-sized supplies, continued to prick him looking for a vein, emergency room doctors trying to get a line into him resorted to drilling through the bone of his left leg, then his right, then twice in his shoulder.
All the while I stood at Mac’s bedside stroking his head and whispering to him as he continued to get poked and prodded and drilled, all the while hardly making a sound. When he does moan slightly, I overhear a nurse, a bit relieved, mutter that he has finally made a sound.
Relief fills the air when they finally get the line in and, while he did not immediately respond, everyone visibly relaxes and I am now told that they have been talking with our children’s hospital, The Sick Children’s Hospital, the whole time and that the critical care team was on the way to get him and takeover.
When the three person team arrives it as though they part a thick sea of nurses and doctors and it is right then that they utter those fateful words for the first time. “Your son has Type 1 Diabetes”.
He was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and he was very ill. I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about nor do I understand the magnitude of what this means for us and for Mac. I also feel that they cannot possibly know this so soon – there have been no exhaustive tests, no second opinions.
But they did know and in an instant our life had changed forever.
Our beautiful baby boy had an incurable life threatening autoimmune disease.