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Type 1 Son, 9 years old

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Noah'sMama, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. Noah'sMama

    Noah'sMama Approved members

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    *I posted this in the diagnosis stories thread, but thought I'd start my own thread and add a photo of Noah*

    My husband is in the Army and we were stationed at Camp Casey, South Korea. The medical care there (only 12 miles from the DMZ!) was very basic. We only had a troop medical clinic staffed with Combat Medics and part time MD's who commuted from Seoul, which was more than 2 hours away by car. Noah was 8 at the time. It all started with his teacher, who noticed that he was falling asleep in class and requesting bathroom trips too often. We had scheduled a parent teacher conference on February 12, 2010.

    The night before the parent teacher conference, I noticed during a family movie that Noah was getting up every 20 minutes or so to go to the bathroom, and he was drinking water like a fish. I looked up his symptoms, suspicious...and realized that they were all pointing to Diabetes.

    The next day, we attended the parent teacher conference. I noticed under the bright flourescent lights of the classroom that Noah was VERY thin and ill looking. As his teacher talked to me, I couldn't stop looking at him. He just sat there, dazed and staring...dark circles under his eyes and swaying. I finally put a stop to the conference. I told his teacher that I thought he had diabetes, not a behavior problem, and that he needed to go to the hospital right then and there.

    I took him to the TMC (troop medical clinic). I told the medic at the desk that he needed a blood glucose check. He asked me why. I said, "I think he's diabetic!" He actually rolled his eyes at another medic behind the desk as if to say, "moms...reading symptoms on Google again!" They put us in a room and brought in a glucose meter. They checked him, then he said..."I think this meter is broken. Let me get another and check again." He brought in another meter, tested him again, and this time he said that we needed to go to the lab and have blood drawn. So off we went to the tiny little lab. They drew blood and ran it through their big computers. The Korean lab tech came back with a panicked look on her face, and asked me where the doctor was. How should I know? She said she needed to draw blood again. So she stuck him again. The whole time he just sat there, staring at a blank wall.

    Finally, they told me that his glucose was too high for any of their machines to read. All they could get was >700. They had no insulin in the clinic. I was there with two other children, alone...my husband was on a long field exercise more than 2 hours away. He was so far out that his cell phone had no reception, and I couldn't reach him. I started frantically calling everyone I knew, I called his Lt. Colonel's wife, I called everyone.

    Meanwhile the clinic was making preparations to medevac Noah from Dongducheon to Seoul. They called the Army hospital at Yongsan (Brian Allgood Army Medical Center) and were promptly told to NOT take Noah there, they weren't equipped to care for him there. They started calling Korean Hospitals all over the Seoul area, trying to find one that was qualified to care for him, and started an IV of plain saline on Noah. He fell asleep on the gurney.

    I was still trying to reach my husband. His Lt Col's wife called her husband, who tracked down my husband through his Chain of Command, and he finally called me back. I was sobbing on the phone, he was trying to get the story out of me, and all I could do was sob, "get here now. No, I don't know if he's ok. They're taking him to Seoul in the helicopter. No, I don't know which hospital he's going to. Just get here!" A friend came to the clinic to take my kids, my husband finally arrived, and he flew to Seoul with Noah in the helicopter.

    Then it was time to get myself to Seoul. I had no idea where I was going. Nobody would help me, they barely knew anything themselves. My friend drove me in her car, and we wandered aimlessly around one of the largest cities in the world looking for this hospital, calling phone numbers and begging for information. FINALLY, we found him. They were still in the ER. My husband told me that they had tried to put Noah in a bed that still had blood on it from the previous patient. We were in an enormous room filled with crying, puking, moaning patients. It was horrible and it still feels like a dream.

    Shortly after that they moved him to the PICU. He was so sick, but I think the true gravity of the situation was a little lost on me due to the language barrier. I had no idea what they were saying to me. Time at this point kind of blended together, and events aren't very clear for me. My friend stayed with us the entire two weeks he was in the hospital. My diabetes education consisted of a 300 page photocopied textbook poorly translated to English from Korean, and a Korean medical school professor with 12 students poking at a Powerpoint presentation that made absolutely ZERO sense to me in my sleep deprived, stressed out state. We left the hospital not knowing much more about diabetes than when we went in. They told me that he was to take 5 units of Novolog with every meal. So that's what we did...no carb counting at all. We had several incidents of extreme hypoglycemia. One memorable incident happened on the subway. He was 28 and nearly comatose. I was very much out of my element and had no help.

    We ended up getting a compassionate reassignment back to the states because of the substandard care that was available to us there. I had to make a 3 hour journey to Seoul and pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket just to get his insulin. 3 months after his diagnosis, we moved back to the States. We were supposed to go to Fort Carson Colorado (in Colorado Springs) but because they don't have a pediatric endo at the military hospital, they cancelled our orders and sent us to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, which is where we still are.

    Now my husband is about to deploy for the first time to Afghanistan, and I'm facing 9 months alone with all 5 of my children, lol. Noah is getting a pump in the next couple of weeks (can't wait!!) and I have learned so much more about diabetes now that I'm in the states, lol.

    Thank you for this excellent forum! I look forward to getting to know all of you and learning so much more!

    Noah in the ER
    [​IMG]

    Flying to Seoul
    [​IMG]

    So skinny and sick. :(
    [​IMG]

    Noah this summer :)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Noah'sMama

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    it occurred to me that it's kind of odd that I have photo documentation of Noah's diagnosis. The reasons for this are twofold. First, I lived in a country more than 7,000 miles away and I got in the habit of documenting every-single-thing for my family, who were starved for news and photos of the kids, lol. Second, the friend who spent that time in Seoul with me, driving me around and keeping me from losing my mind is an unapologetic shutterbug, and she's the one who snapped all the pics. Believe me when I say, I was in no frame of mind to be thinking of photographs, lol. But now that it's all over, I'm glad I have them.
     
  3. kfhkcb

    kfhkcb Approved members

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    I cannot imagine your experience! I am glad you were all able to get back to the states, and I have heard WONDERFUL things about the peds unit in Ft Lewis, and as military wives all over tend to do, you will get through it! Best of luck over the coming months!
     
  4. pianoplayer4

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    that is quite a story, I'm glad it all worked out in the end though. I would suggest for while your alone with your kids you ask your endo (or contact JDRF) and find a type one teen in your area who is willing to babysit for you, even if it's just for emergencies...
     
  5. Noah'sMama

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    thank you both :) Jess, that's a great idea! We haven't done daycare or babysitting since his diagnosis...he hasn't even been to any sleepovers yet. Thanks for the idea!
     
  6. VinceysMom

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    Hello, and welcome. Wow, what a story, I had tears reading it. I'm glad you are now in the states and Noah is receiving proper medical care! What a cutie!

    Take good care!
    Kathy
     
  7. Noah'sMama

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    thank you Kathy! He's quite the kid, lol. He's taken up karate and wrestling recently....he earned an "honorary"brown belt over the summer while visiting his dad in CA. They took him to karate 3 times a week down there...I guess he made quite the impression on his sensei, hahaha. He wrestles with my DH and is so strong! He fancies himself an MMA fighter...he had quite the discussion with his endo the other day about the relative merits of MMA vs. wrestling. Funny guy.

    His pump shipped on Friday and should be here on Wednesday. I think I'm more excited than he is about it! That is to say, he's VERY excited, but I'm not sure he understands how freeing it will be for him. He does most of his own care, and has from the very beginning...he tests himself, can count carbs, and calculate boluses and corrections, dials his own insulin and takes his own shots. He blows me away every day with how strong and capable and...OKAY....he is with this disease. He's my hero :)
     
  8. kcolbertandco

    kcolbertandco New Member

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    Your story brought tears to my eyes. All of these stories do, especially my own when I think back to those terrifying first days, but I cannot even imagine being somewhere where there was no medical help for you under those conditions. It must have been terrifying. I am so glad that you finally got the care you needed and that Noah is doing well and back in the states.
    It is amazing the pictures, and how you described how he looked. My daughter Grace (5) was diagnosed July 27 this summer, and I remember how quickly she deteriorated in just a week's time, from being a round little pink sweetie to a skeleton-like appearance, so very remarkable and so scary. I remember 2 days after she was admitted to the PICU, my sisters came to see her, and said privately, "My God, she looks terrible..." and I said, "Are you kidding me? She looks fabulous. You didn't see her 2 days ago."
    I wish you and your son and family all the best.
     
  9. MelissaAL

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    Thank you for sharing your story! I will never get tired of seeing kids looking so healthy and alive after insulin is able to work its magic!
     
  10. Noah'sMama

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    thank you both so much for your kind words! I can't get over how great it is to have this group of parents. I don't have any friends with diabetic children in real life...there's a bunch here, but there's no group or anything. Noah's appointment to get set up with his pump is next Monday, maybe I'll ask about a support group of sorts while I'm there.

    kcolbertandco, I was terrified, but I really had no idea how severe it really was. I have never known anyone who was Type 1 before, besides a teacher in elementary school. My grandfather is Type 2...I knew it was a different disease, but I really had no idea how close we came until I had time to read online about it. I knew he was very very sick, but to this day I still don't know what his glucose levels were or what his a1c was. They didn't tell me any of those test results. Maybe that's a good thing. I beat myself up for a long time about how sick he really looked and how much weight he lost. I felt like I should have seen it sooner, I should have noticed the drinking and going to the bathroom, I knew the night before that he was sick, yet I still sent him to school the next day. That was hard for me to get over...I'm not sure that I'm over it now.

    Anyway, it's in the past now and we're on to bigger and better things!! Thank you again for your kind words! :)
     

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