Reuben was my third child and a real joy. His birth went perfectly and I fell in love with him just like his brother and sister before him. There was something different about him from the start. He was very passionate about his breastfeeding. He would screech for food and water then be miserable when he got it. It seemed I was always at the medical centre looking for answers.
One sunday at the end of may 2010, my 8 month old son lay lifeless cheek resting on the bed. His chest moving in tiny increments, breathing barely perceptible. Hes been sick a long time. Weary eyes staring at me and Im screaming inside my own head. Hes going to breathe his last breath and give up. Another voice in my head. Do you want your son to die? Adrenaline rushes through my body I grab a bag and head to the emergency department in the hospital. They take me through immediately and hit me with a barage of questions that always make me feel like Ive done something to be blamed for my ill son.
A young doctor spends alot of time watching Reuben who by this point is so lethargic he can no longer stand. Hes vomitting, screeching for water. Dr comments thoughtfully that my story doesnt add up that he cannot have a mear virus. Theres more. He leaves and comes back. More questions, more probing, more watching Reuben. Too long he says. Hes been sick too long, lost too much weight, has unexplained vomitting that recurs. I later thank God for this young doctor.
I sign consent for blood work and off Reuben goes. It feels like an eternity I watch people come and go its all a blur I know something is really wrong. They come back with a head doctor on duty. Wrapped in a huge white woven hospital blanket is my son dwarfed by this cocoon. Hes only in a nappy and from his skin comes the familiar fruity smell. Theres something you need to know about your son. Head swimming and eyes cannot focus, my ears have the noise of trains clattering between them.
I hear some of what he says.
Your son has type 1 diabetes...he is very sick. His blood sugar is three times higher than it should be right now. He feels very grotty and acidic inside. This condition is called diabetic ketoacidocis. We are preparing to take him to intensive care right now to stabilise him. Good thing you brought him in when you did he could become comatose....
Walking beside the hospital crib as they wheel it to ICU Im terrified but flooded with love for my tiny baby. So helpless and connected to tubes and machines. I cannot cry for Reuben I have to be strong for him and I will cope is my vow.