This is a bit of a lengthy read but it encompasses a few weeks worth of our life. Harrison was born on 28 October 2015. For about a year our lives were bliss. We had a bouncing baby boy who was always in a great mood. We had barely seen him unhappy. We had it good.
Our little boy began walking at 10 and a half months old. He was reaching all of his milestones slightly ahead of schedule. We noticed a slight drop in weight gain around this point not thinking anything of it, or at least pinning it to his increased activity. We were such proud parents, we had blinkers on.
Around this time Harrison had an increase in thirst. We hadn't fully recognised this until we spent a whole weekend at home with him without visitors or interruptions. Around the same time we took him into the GP for flu-like symptoms where he was put on a course of antibiotics and cortisone.
Unknowingly, the virus he had was working its way through his body at a rapid rate, completely flat-lining his little pancreas from producing any insulin.
Fast forward a few nights, Harrison was irritable, couldn't sleep unless he was drinking on a bottle of water, and noticeably weaker: not walking, barely crawling, and sitting was even a great effort. This was when we suspected perhaps it's not just thirst to soothe his sore throat.
On Wednesday, 5 October 2016, we took Harrison in to see an incredible paediatrician at the Hilton Life Hospital, Dr Bisseru. Upon checking his glucose levels in her rooms our boy's glucose was extremely elevated. Dr Bisseru admitted Harrison immediately for a full work up.
As initial test results came in, our baby boy was fast tracked from the paedeatric ward to high care for closer monitoring and observation. At this point nobody had told us yet what was going on and a nurse had let it slip that our baby boy had Diabetes. A short while later Dr Bisseru arrived to discuss Harrison's test results and it was confirmed that he had Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and that his current health status was critical. We had a very sick baby.
That night we had no sleep. They checked Harrison's glucose what felt like every 10 minutes (it wasn't, but it felt like it), drew bloods several times in the night for more tests... He was attached to a drip to bring his fluids up, and in conjunction with the insulin drip help bring the glucose levels down and flush out the ketones. It felt like a week and it had only been one night in hospital. The shock was turning into fear, anger and frustration. But I had this one resounding thought that kept running through my mind over, and over, and over again:
If I was offered a glimpse to any point in time in the future I would ask to see just one thing… to see that we made it through, that we did our job as parents and raised up our beautiful son to be fully functioning and successful in his own right. I would want to see that despite his Diabetes he is fit and healthy and life has no limits for him. I would want to see him happy and thriving.
It's not possible but I am learning to live like it's inevitable! We will make sure that we do everything in our power to provide this life for Harrison.
Thursday, 6 October 2016, saw Harrison and I take our first ambulance drive as they transferred us to the Life Hospital in Westville where we met with Dr Kubendran Pillay. Someone who was set to become our lifeline as we navigate a world of insulin injections, blood glucose strips, hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia. Off the bat he told us that we won't be leaving the hospital until such time that he feels comfortable we can manage the T1D ourselves. Over the course of the next day or two Harrison's glucose levels slowly stabilised and ketones came right down.
Each day Dr Pillay came into our High Care room in the Paediatric Ward, he taught us a little bit more about the life we have ahead of us. A sort of Type 1 Diabetes 101. Within 5 days we had started administering insulin and checking our little boys glucose levels every 2 hours. We were on top of doing things by ourselves.
Wednesday, 12 October 2016, we were discharged and sent home to fend for ourselves.
So... my first paragraph spoke of how our lives were complete bliss up until the point of the diagnosis. It still is bliss but now we have an unexpected guest (the Diabetes) that we have to keep in control and in check. We still have it good. Life would not be the same for us if not for Harrison being part of it. In the words of Dr Pillay we just have to "look after the baby, not the Diabetic". As far as possible we are trying to do this.