I didn't know what an endocrinologist did. Seriously, I could tell you EVERY OTHER "ologist" but until June 7, 2005 I had no idea what an endocrinologist dealt with.
Let me back up a little.....There was this medical book in my basement when I was a kid. I used to read it and swear I had diseases I couldn't possibly have. I knew the symptoms of diseases that people in third world countries were suseptible to. I also knew the symptoms of diabetes...somewhere in the back of my brain, I had stored this information. I'm not sure if that was fortunate, unfortunate or an act of divine intervention. Whatever it was, I was the one who first mentiond diabetes when I knew there was something wrong with my youngest son.
He was little...16 months to be exact. It was spring in Virginia. The kids were playing outside more and Bodie was a normal active toddler. He was learning new words everyday. I didn't think anything of it when he was yelling for "drink" all day long...it was his new word. He would yell "DRINK!" and I would give him his juice. ALL DAY. He would have water at bedtime....and wet through his diaper every night. "CHEAP diapers", I thought. I went and bought Pampers instead of the BJ's brand. More expensive, but I would be saving money on laundry soap and the water bill! I was changing sheets and pillow cases and doing so much more laundry the more expensive diapers would be worth it! We cut down on how much water we were giving him at bed..still wetting through, but not as bad.
We traveled to Windsor, Ont. Canada for my brothers' wedding on May 29, 2005. We stopped at fast food places along the way and Bodie would eat normally and drink normally and I was changing his diaper almost evey hour of the trip. With eveything going on that weekend, my husband was mainly in charge of the two little guys since our oldest son, Andy, and I were IN the wedding. My husband, Leigh, didn't mention anything out of the ordinary. (We have 3 sons. Andy, Carson and Bodie. Andy is 12 years older than Carson) ANYWAY....On the way home, we waited in a huge line of cars waiting to get back over the border. Back then, we didn't need passports for Canada, just birh certificates, but the process of getting OUT of Canada took much longer than getting in! Now, like any normal parent, we packed the car and put a fresh diaper on Bodie. In less than an hour, he was squirming and whining. Since we weren't moving, Andy took Bodie out of his carseat. The seat was so wet we thought he had spilled his drink. Even under the seatcover, there was a PUDDLE! OK...I'm starting to get a little worried...but like most mom's, it was internal so as not to un-necessarily worry anyone else.
10 Hours later, we were back in Virginia...it was Sunday night and Leigh would be leaving for a week to go to a training class in Baltimore. He would be staying there for the week then picking up members of his family for a big 50th birthday party we were having at our house for his mom. It was a surprise to her so I was a little distracted during that week and went about daily life not thinking much about what could/might be wrong with Bodie.
Friday night, the party went off without a hitch! My mother-in -law was in total shock when her parents, sister, brother and other son were sitting in our livingroom when she came in!
On Saturday, we all went out to her house because she lives on a lake, and her house is big enough for everyone. While we were all outside, I put Bodie down for his nap. An hour later, he was awake...and soaked. I took his diaper off to change him, and he continued to pee AS I was putting his new diaper on! I took him out to the livingroom and this was the first time I actually SAID the word DIABETIC. My husband's grandmother and Aunt were making lunch in the kitchen and I said..."I think Bodie is diabetic." They both said, WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT? I told them because he is drinking too much and wetting through WAY too much and I know those are two of the major symptoms of diabetes. "Well, there's no one in OUR family who has it....what about yours?" I said NO, but I need to know what's wrong with him because this isn't normal. For the next day and a half, no one said any more about it..and I just kept thinking it in my head. Sunday afternoon, My husband drove everyone back to the airport and was staying in Baltimore for the second week of his class.
Monday morning, June 7th, Andy got up and went to school, Carson was watching cartoons, and I went in and got Bodie out of his crib. He had fallen asleep on his pillow. When I picked him up he was soaked from his armpits to his toes and when I picked up the pillow, it was soaked through to the sheet, the mattress pad and down to the plastic covered crib mattress. I felt this panic...but Bodie was still acting FINE! Happy baby...just wet, but glad to be going in the tub! After he was washed and dressed and fed I called the Dr's office and left a message for the nurse to get back to me. I described his symptoms and they called me back in about an hour. It was 10am. In that time, I also noticed a new "symptom" that was a tell tale sign...Bodie's breath smelled like nail polish remover. I knew he didn't DRINK any...so there was only one explination...The Dr asked why I thought he was diabetic...kind of half-heartedly thinking I was some crazy mom. When I told her everything that was going on, there was a pause and she asked how soon I could get him in to the office...I said "How soon can you see him?" She said to have him there at noon.
Knowing it was going to take a while once we got there...and NOT knowing EVERYTHING about diabetes, and not having anyone tell me NOT to give my son lunch, I fed him. Pasta, juice, and half a banana!!! (Knowing what I know now...UGH...that was probably the worst lunch I could have given him!!!) I packed up the bag, put Bodie and Carson in the car and left a note for Andy because I didn't know how long I'd be.
They took us right in to a room and did the finger stick...B/S 550. "Is that bad?" I asked. Well, normal BS should be between 80 and 120...so Yes, the nurse said...It's not HORRIBLE, but it's not good...as she attached a little baggie to my son's "privates" to collect a urine sample. And doesn't it figure...for the first time in probably WEEKS, the child doesn't pee! It took about 25 min to get a sample!
When the Dr. finally came in, she said I was correct, that Bodie was diabetic and where did I want to go. "HUH?"
She explained to me that there was no pediatic endocrinologist in Fredericksburg and I would have to go to Richmond, Fairfax or DC Childrens Hospital. Two things hit me right then...I NOW knew what an endocrinologist was and as far as where I wanted to go..."HOME!!!" came to mind first!! I had known this Dr for a few years since she was also Carson's doctor and she had been there when Bodie was born, so I asked her...mom to mom not Dr to freaked out mom..."Where would you go?" She said Fairfax Inova. The endocrinology team there was excellent...but I would have to go to the hospital here first so they could "stablize" Bodie for transport. TRANSPORT? This was getting worse and worse by the second! She asked if I had somone to take care of Carson for a few days while I was in the hospital with Bodie! "Wait....WHAT?" How many days? I heard 'pack a bag', I heard 'things from home to comfort Bodie' and I heard 'LIFE CARE ambulance'.....SIDEBAR....you know in movies when the main character sees or hears somthing they can't believe and the scenery starts rushing by them really fast but they are standing still...? That was me.
The Dr told me that she would call the hospital and tell them we were on our way so they would take us right back. She said to have him there by around 2pm. That gave me a little more than an hour to make phone calls and get my mother in law to come over and stay with Carson and Andy. OH YEAH...I should probably call my husband too!!
She left the room and came back a few minutes later and said, "Fairfax can take you but the only room they have available is on the pediatric oncology ward." ONCOLOGY...I knew THAT "ologist." !!! OK, wait..."We're not going to get up there and then they're going to tell us that it's not diabetes, it's cancer...but you just couldn't tell me that, are they?" She said..."NO!!! Please...(she had tears in her eyes now) I didn't mean to scare you like that...it's just that I wanted to make sure Bodie got in up there and I said we would take ANY bed on ANY floor. Julie, he is diabetic, it is managable and if I look upset it's only because THIS is what I did my final paper on in Med. School and in all these years, Bodie is the FIRST child I have had in my care from the minute he was born until diagnosis. I have diagnosed other children that have come to the practice, but Bodie is the first one that I have known since hour one of life." She said we'd be in good hands and that she would call me when tomorrow.
I took the boys to the car, called my mother in law and asked her to come to the house for a few days and I would explain everything when I got there...and yes, it was diabetes. I called Leigh and told him and said we'd be going to Mary Washington first then Bodie would be transported to Fairfax Inova. He said he'd meet me there since it was closer to Baltimore. I don't remember driving back to the house....but I know I must have....