I Should’ve Made The Brownies

I recently learned of a family that nearly lost their daughter. She had been wetting her bed, drinking lots of water, eating everything in sight, arguing, talking back and sleeping way more than usual. The parents noticed all these things but didn’t put them together as a whole. They addressed each issue separately  – while they disciplined the poor behavior and restricted water before bed. They chalked most things up as ‘summer boredom’. When their daughter started throwing up they thought she had a summer flu and took her to the doctor. The doctor sent them to the hospital and said “It isn’t the flu”.

If you are reading this you are likely already familiar with Type 1 diabetes. You recognize all the symptoms. You knew right away the dear child didn’t have behavior problems, wasn’t bored and didn’t have the flu. The thing is  – many parents don’t know the symptoms. I didn’t know the symptoms. When Sugarboy was diagnosed his blood sugar was nearly 1000. He was in DKA. I could have lost him if I hadn’t noticed the weight loss and followed my gut despite my husbands insistence that I was paranoid. (Don’t judge him – Ive always been a bit worrisome)

Six months before Sugarboys diagnosis I had started a new part-time job as a pre-school teacher for mothers-day-out at a church. I had applied for a number of positions at various churches and was offered a number of jobs. The job I took was not my first choice. It offered less money than the others, and offered the opposite days that I wanted to work. Yet something urged me to take the position. Honestly my heart and head where arguing with each other. My head said no my heart said yes. I followed my heart. Two months after starting the new job a 3-year-old girl in another class was diagnosed with diabetes. I didn’t know her or her family but signed up to make a meal for them. I made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli and sent a loaf of french bread. When the mother of the child came to pick up her daughter from school I gave her the meal and said, “I wanted to include brownies but didn’t think that would be right.” The mom smiled and thanked me and went on her way. I rarely saw the mom although the child hung out in my classroom with my co-teacher often. I never thought to ask how a child so small could have diabetes. I never thought to ask about the symptoms.

Three months later I started noticing little things with my boy (2 years old at the time). He was drinking more, asking for milk or water vs juice, sleeping longer and harder than before, wetting through his diaper at night and during the day, he was cranky and whiny. His teachers noticed it too – said he was falling asleep during story time. I asked them to please allow him to have his zippy cup of water since he was so thirsty. A couple of weeks past and he became more thirsty, more tired and more cranky. I was cursing the terrible twos. His teachers and my co-teacher became more concerned but no one mentioned diabetes (not blaming them – they didn’t know either).

Sugarboy’s whole diagnosis story is here but this isn’t about his diagnosis. This is about how knowing the symptoms of diabetes saves lives. It is why if I get an opportunity to share what onset of Type 1 diabetes looks like – I do. It is why I strongly believe doctors should have posters in their exam rooms that outline the symptoms. It is why I believe doctors should test urine for sugar at well checks. It is why I volunteer for the JDRF Kids Walk to Cure diabetes because I get to talk about the symptoms with entire schools.

Not every parent of a child with diabetes wants to talk about diagnosis, diets, fears, struggles, symptoms, etc. The day I handed the meal to the mother of this child I wish I had asked questions. Maybe she would have felt uncomfortable talking about it. Maybe it would have been too soon after diagnosis for her to talk. Or maybe she would have liked to share her story and I would have caught Sugarboy’s diagnosis earlier.

What I wish most is that I had made the brownies.

17 thoughts on “I Should’ve Made The Brownies

  1. AWESOME post! In high school I took a TON of Biology classes. One of them went way deep into various organs and how they worked together. It included a bit about diabetes and what diabetic shock looked like. YEARS later I was bartending. After a long 14 hour day of working a charity hog roast, one of our door guys was apparently “wasted.” He was so “drunk” he couldn’t stand or sit, was weakly swinging on people and speaking in tongues. His friends? Thought it was HIL-A-RI-OUS! I didn’t remember serving the guy…and noticed his med ID bracelet. He was too far gone to drink anythig, but I’d oddly packed a bag of suckers in my bag and managed to wrestle one in his mouth (it took 3 of us). After 2 suckers he’d come around enough to drink and the ambulance arrived. They tols me I’d probably saved his life with the suckers. Education? A GOOD thing!


    1. WOW Chris – so glad you were thinking on your feet and had sugar on you. It does serve to prove my point a bit though too – his friends could have recognized his symptoms if they had been informed. Maybe he had shared info with them, maybe not but serves as a reminder that a person with a chronic illness that could become disorientated should always be sure someone knows what to do in an emergency. Education is key – it is why I would like to see posters in exam rooms and school health offices. Thanks for sharing your amazing story – it is great that the world has people like you that don’t just stand by and watch train wrecks – they jump in and do what they can.


  2. I know what you mean about blogging so your head doesn’t explode Christina! I had to laugh at the meal you sent – of course you had no idea but the little girl “couldn’t have had” the bread or mashed potatoes either, if she couldn’t have had the brownies. I’ve been given stuff like that for our family and you just smile and go on. I’m sure the Mom just thought how nice it was that you gave them a meal.
    J had all those symptoms as well – the losing weight so rapidly was what tipped me off. That and his urine crystalizing on the wall! Boy had bad aim at the time.
    We all live and learn. Glad to have found your site!


    1. At the time that the little girl was diagnosed I knew nothing of Type 1 diabetes. In fact I knew nothing of Diabetes and thought it just meant no sweets – I had no idea what it really meant. 5 days in the hospital taught me so much. We are over 5 years into it now and I am no expert but we live and learn. We love mashed tators, bread and of course brownies. Glad you found me. Ill check out your site too.


    2. 🙂 Knowing is all about education. I caught my sons T1D early because I knew first hand the symptoms, but he still lost weight, urinated frequently and had an 800BS upon his arrival to the hospital. The symptoms mimic so many other things, but when put together they make sense and equate to T1D. Thanks for the post :)Knowledge is key( I would have loved brownies too!)~ Teri


  3. Great post baby doll, I’m glad you are worrisome when when it come to our kids :). Don’t want to think about how we’d survive without you.


  4. Y’all are too cute 🙂 (Me and my hubby say baby doll, too) And that’s why I started blogging, too.. if it reaches/educates even just one person, then it was all worth it.


    1. If it reaches one person and helps me avoid having my head explode from too many random thoughts then all is well. Chad has been calling me babydoll since before we got married – sometimes he leaves off the “doll” and that makes me sad. Hearing babydoll makes me feel special.


  5. Elise was in the very early stages when diagnosed (her a1c at dx was 6.5), and we caught it because her pedi did a urine check at her 12 month well-child. I often wonder how long she would have gone before we caught it… And I did have some knowledge of the symptoms. The only one Elise had was that she didn’t gain any weight between 9 and 12 months.

    Great post.


    1. Those early early diagnosis stories scare me the most since the babies are too young to really share all that is going on. Im so thankful to hear that your pedi dipped urine at a well check – it should always be done. Thanks Joanne for your kind words. You are such a great support. Hope you are well.


      1. They scare me too… When I think of what could have happened, well… I just stop right there.

        I think you are totally right about urine checks at well-child visits… Such a simple test could save a lot of heartache and even a life.


  6. I love this post. It hurts my heart to the core every time I read a diagnosis story. My daughter’s is no different…I knew nothing about T1 or the symptoms. Thank you for being an advocate, and I’m so happy that I’ve found your blog through twitter. Looking forward to reading. 🙂


    1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment – I always end up smiling for hours after someone takes the time to comment, especially with such kind words. Glad you found me – please check out my blogroll for the real hero’s of dblogs. Crazy how quickly we learn and always amazes me to hear parents that don’t have children with diabetes say “Oh I could never do that” – Yes yes they could and would because it is their child. Warmest regards always. Thanks again for visiting.


  7. When Marcus was diagnosed it scared the crap out of me. (Duh!)

    The weekend before he wet the bed but I thought it was because he was so tired from being back at school for the first week his pee receptors didn’t wake him up.

    His never ending thirst came second. Milk, water, juice and repeat. Then the excessive urinating started. I had it in my mind that he might have diabetes but I wasn’t 100% sure until the vomiting started and I noticed I could see EVERY vertebra in his spine so clear as if his skin was transparent.

    I decided to go to a walk in clinic with him because I just didn’t want to “bug” the hospital just in case it was the flu and I was expecting the worst. After three and a half hours waiting for the doctor he did a urine test and told me “I have some not so good news for you. Marcus has diabetes.” He called ahead to CHEO (our children’s hospital here in Ottawa) and we were admitted right away once we arrive. When we checked in Marcus was at the point he couldn’t respond to anyone except blink. He couldn’t walk and was having a hard time breathing. The doctor took me out of the room and told me if I had been 5 minutes longer I might not have a child anymore because he would have most likely have gone into a coma and possibly died. He was in DKA and his BG at the time of admission was 38 mmol/L (I don’t know what it is in how Americans measure it – something like 684 or something).

    The 5 days at the hospital taught me a lot and I am proud to educate anyone I can about the “disease”. I am working on a poster for my sons school (because he wants to help) on what to look for because when Marcus was diagnosed he was the only kid in the school and after Christmas another child was diagnosed. What happens if there is a substitute teacher and they don’t catch the signs early enough? I would love to save some child the pain of having their body shut down on them.

    Sorry to hijack your blog… 😉


    1. hijack away friend. Breaks my heart to read diagnosis stories but I read everyone I come across – keeps me vigilant. Glad to know about the poster – I just keep advocating and hoping the medical organizations and schools hear what Im saying. Hugs always


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