Diabetes - My Story

"My Baby is a Diabetic" is a true story. It was written by my mother about 1957. There have been many advances in medical technology since them. Today I use a glucose meter to check my blood sugar level rather then doing urine test and I use an insulin pump rather than shots. We also have biosynthesis human insulin (insulin analog), glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) test and many more tools that allow for better control of diabetes.

A few words about life in 1957. Doctors made house calls, and at that time, my mother did not drive.

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"My Baby is a Diabetic"

by my mom Hazel

My baby tossed and whined in his sleep, as I lay tense and restless in my own bed. From deep inside me I seemed to know that my child was going to die. My arms ached to hold him close. At eighteen months, Byron could hardly tell me what was wrong, and yet I knew with every fiber of my being that he was desperately sick. Knowing he had had so little sleep lately, I felt I would only hurt him further by disturbing what little sleep he was now getting, so I lay there and cried, praying that God would help us find a way to protect and keep this child we loved so much.

He was so thin and weak, my baby who, like his two older sisters had always been so sturdy and strong. Now his eyes were dark-circled and sunk back in his head. Yet our doctor kept assuring us that he was all right and needed only a few more days to straighten out.

It had all started four weeks before with a cold. He only ran a slight temperature, but now he was completely lifeless. He wouldn't play as he usually did. He just walked around or wanted me to hold him, which was unusual, as he had always been an active child, not one to just sit placidly in my lap.

Our pediatrician had checked his throat, chest and ears and told us he had asthmatic bronchitis. As my husband has asthma, this of course alarmed us, but the doctor assured us the disease was called asthmatic only because of the wheeze accompanying this type of bronchitis. He left a prescription which seemed to help the chest condition, but my baby was still lifeless, with no energy what so ever.

A week later Byron again had difficulty with his breathing. He gasped for breath, and then inhaled deeply and strongly. In the afternoon he vomited and slept for about ten minutes. My husband was afraid he was developing pneumonia, but when the doctor arrived, he said Byron was taking the croup, and in vomiting had relaxed the muscles of the throat which allowed him to sleep. Again he left a prescription, which was given. He told us the baby would cough and appear to choke for at least three nights, and to keep a vaporizer running in his room. However, Byron never coughed or choked, but remained in the same lifeless state.

The next week went by, and day by day he lost more weight. He only weighed nineteen pounds now. When he became ill, he weighed twenty-eight pounds. I held him constantly during the day. He was restless at night and unable to get a full night's sleep. During this time, I called the doctor daily, telling him that Byron was just too weak and had lost too much weight, even though he was eating more than usual, and drinking almost constantly.

No one will ever know how I felt during this time, watching my child daily grow thinner and weaker - he actually staggered when he walked. The amount of fluids he drank was unbelievable. He stood by the refrigerator with his glass and begged for water, milk or orange juice, then gulped it down so fast he often spilled it all over himself. Each night he soaked two diapers, rubber pants and pajamas. I changed him at least once during the night and the next morning he would be wringing wet again.

I will always blame myself for letting this situation go on as long as I did. My husband and I had discussed changing doctors, but the one we had was very reliable, and by no means a quack. He is one of the most highly recommended pediatricians in Atlanta.

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