“It’s interesting to look back on major life moments and how some of the memories have faded, the same can’t be said for the day when Finn was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – it’s as clear as if it was yesterday.
Finn was and still is such a placid kid, he was a busy three year old who was at kindy getting stuck into everything on offer – it was summertime 2012 when we started noticing that he had gone from being dry at night to very wet pullups, his thirst was off the charts for a small child and he started to have small infections that wouldn’t heal. I was working full time and Mum was looking after the kids so I made a doctors appointment for mum to take Finn as I knew something wasn’t right with him.
Mum took him to the doctors on the Friday and although he was exhibiting all the symptoms that would prompt a medical professional to do a simple blood sugar test the doctor pushed it back onto us and said that we could take him for a blood glucose fasting test – this would have be to done on Saturday morning. On Saturday morning the wait in the laboratory was agonising, as we’d find out a few days later Finn was essentially starving to death, he was ravenous and very thirsty and because it’s a fasting test he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since the night before. Understandably Finn started to lose it in the lab while we were waiting our turn – I ended up asking if he could have some water and they agreed.
Fast forward 5 days to Wednesday and we had heard nothing, I had followed up with the doctor on the results on Tuesday but was only told nothing had come back so to follow up again on Wednesday. On Wednesday our friends had arrived from Seattle for the week, I had taken the week off work to spend with them so we headed into TePapa. Mum took the kids to school and kindy and I headed into town. After looking around, we sat down for lunch in the café at TePapa. I thought I’d follow up again with the doctors surgery while we were having lunch. I can remember the exact conversation “We haven’t got the results, we’ll follow up though as it shouldn’t take this long – call us back in 1 hour”. 15 minutes later my phone rang, it wasn’t the receptionist who I had spoken to initially, it was the Practice Manager. She said, “We’ve got the results and it’s not good, Finlay is a very sick little boy, you need to get him straight to ED where they will be waiting for you”.
My friend said she will never forget the look on my face while I was on the phone, it was one of shock followed by panic. I didn’t understand and I didn’t know what was happening, I tried to call my mum who was at kindy picking him up…. No answer…. I tried to call my husband…. No answer. When Mum called me back only a few minutes later she knew it was serious, Finn was driven straight to Hutt Hospital where I met them. He was assessed at ED and then sent to the children’s ward for more tests. It was a few hours later that a young doctor came and gave us the diagnosis, I felt at that moment that it was like I had been hit by a bus, I didn’t understand what it meant and what life ahead would be like for my beautiful little boy.
It’s interesting when you look back as you start making the connections, Finn had lost nearly 2kgs (another key symptom) – I didn’t realise this but I do remember thinking when I was carrying him that he felt so much lighter than his big brother, his tiredness we just put down to busy days at kindy – I did beat myself up a bit about missing these as well, just part of the rollercoaster of emotions you experience as a parent of a child that has been diagnosed with a life threatening condition. I do think though if I hadn’t been as persistent with the doctors and following up that he might not be here today, the reason I say this is the following day when the doctors came through a senior paediatrician said that I had done a great job in being persistent as 24 hours later we would have been dealing with a very different outcome. Finn stayed in hospital for a week, this was to stabilise him but also teach us what we needed to do to keep him well.
Roll on five years and we have such a caring and empathetic boy, this seems to be a trait that kids who deal with health challenges have – they have compassion well beyond their years. Finn is a child that doesn’t let his type 1 diabetes stop him, of course he has bad days and has had a fair number of hurdles that he’s had to conquer but he’s strong and we are there with him every step of the way. He’s playing all sorts of team sports now and we love to see the joy he gets from this.
There are always silver linings and ours is being part of the Cure Kids family and playing a part in making a difference to many kiwi kids lives.