I am a diabetic. Adult onset, diagnosed in my mid 30s. I suppose it was inevitable. My mother was diagnosed in her 30s, my brother in his late 20s, and I had gestational diabetes with one of my pregnancies. Just one of them, the middle one, which is fairly rare. That pregnancy resulted in my only son, who arrived weighing in just 4oz shy of 10 pounds. My girls were 7lb7oz and 7lb5oz. After he was born, I weighed 30 pounds less than I when I became pregnant (I was at least 20 pounds overweight going into it) just from the diet I was on and the exercise of being pregnant and chasing a two year old around.
Starting off as a pretty cuddly, big baby boy (we won’t mention his super cute double chins or thunder thighs here or he will be embarrassed); MacDougal grew to be an averaged weight toddler. He was still usually bigger than most kids his age, being tall and big-boned. Around age of 9-10 he became larger than the other kids his age. He was physically active, ate the same food as my other two, and was generally very healthy. He even played football from pee wee to freshman year in high school. But he was still a big boy. I know it bothered him and I know other kids taunted him, although he never complained. He had regular check ups and was often tested for diabetes, as I often reminded his pediatrician of the family history. He was never even considered borderline and he often would have growth spurts of height that would make him appear very healthy.
In his senior year of high school, he really gained control of his body. He lost weight naturally through exercise and was old enough to understand more about eating right. He came out of his shell and blossomed. He got a girlfriend and went to the senior prom. It seemed as if we had passed through a difficult few years and he was unscathed.
A few weeks before graduation, MacDougal called me at work to complain about a “problem”. Being a young man, it was a little difficult to get him started with an explanation, but I have always taught my children that they can be totally open and honest with me and they never need be shy. It seems he had a red, hot, painful bump on his derriere. As open as he was with me, he wasn’t about to let me look at it. This boy never, never complains unless he is in extreme pain so I took him to the urgent care immediately. The doctor there confirmed my suspicions of an infected cyst (probably caused by an ingrown hair or some such thing). The doctor also said it was not severe enough to require draining yet. He prescribed antibiotics and told us to follow up if he developed a fever or it got worse. He also suggested hot sitz baths to help ease the pain and encourage natural draining.
At home MacD went to his bed to heal and the evening progressed. I brought him dinner in bed, checked his temperature, gave him his medicine and eventually we all retired for the night. This was only a few weeks after the birth of Ladybug and Ladybug and her parents were living in my home so I was still not sleeping well nor had I caught up on the rest I had missed. Around 6am, MacDougal appeared at my bedside to state the pain was worse. I should have stopped right there and done something because I knew he never complained, but I didn’t. I told myself that these things can be very painful and he was just overtired because of the pain. I told him we couldn’t go back to the urgent care until they opened at 8am, so why didn’t he try the hot bath. I fell back asleep. Not a proud moment in my life, but I now believe that in the end things probably would not have ended any differently.
I came awake suddenly, thinking something is wrong, but not knowing what. As my mind cleared, I recalled MacDougal ‘s early morning visit. I went to check on him. He wasn’t in his room. Where could be be, I thought. It’s been almost an hour? I searched the house. No MacDougal. I went to the bathroom door and tried to turn the handle. It was locked. I knocked gently. No answer. The knocking became firmer and I called out. Still no answer. I started pounding and yelling through the door. Finally, I heard him. “I am ok Mom. I just fell asleep.” I took a deep breath. “How do you feel?” I asked. “AHHHH, OWWWW, AHHHHH” is the sounds that echoed from behind the door. “MACD????? Are you ok!?!?!?” “Noooo”, the door slowly opened, he was in tears. The pain was unbearable. One look at his face and I was already down the hall, screaming at Mr. Vixen that we were going to the ER and then halfway to the door while pulling on my jeans. We went straight to the emergency room. At the emergency room, the ER doc informed us he needed to perform an I&D on this infected cyst. MacDougal was given an anesthesia that knocks you out, but only for a short period of time. The procedure was completed in a matter of hours, a drain was placed, we were loaded up with more medications and sent home. The day progressed with chicken noodle soup, movie rentals, and pain pills. I kept him on the couch so I could monitor him closely. It seemed things were status quo. His girlfriend came over and we all watched movies until she had to go home around 10:30pm. She announced she had to leave and headed out the door and I got up to clear all the popcorn dishes and soda cans before getting ready for bed.
As MacDougal rose from the couch to walk Funsize to the door he swayed. Luckily I had stood up also and as I started towards him he collapsed. I caught him and held him until he regained his balance. “Oh My God”, I cried aloud. The girls all turned to me with surprise in their eyes-mommy never got upset in front of them. I was panicked myself, for as I held him it felt as if he was on fire. I had never felt a human being so hot. “Get me a thermometer right now!”, I yelled at all and sundry. As soon as the digital hit 106, I was half carrying the boy to the car. Unfortunately he is nearly 6″ taller than me and outweighs me by 50 pounds so I needed his cooperation and he did not want to go. He hates hospitals, doctors, blah, blah…he did not want to go he informed me and he was 18, an adult, and I couldn’t make him. I managed to manhandle him as far as the porch and then he would not budge. After intense negotiations (read: me trying not to lose it) I had had enough. I had my oldest fetch his jacket and informed him if he didn’t get in the car right then, I was going upstairs to wake his father and then there would surely be hell to pay. He may be stubborn, but its a trait he inherited from me and I have years more experience.
At the ER they started IVs again, did blood work and had us wait. And wait. And wait. After several hours passed, I insisted the nurse give me the lowdown. She shared that his blood counts were abnormal, it appeared the infection was bad and that the ER doc had requested a surgical consult. However, the surgeon didn’t feel it was urgent. He wanted MacDougal to be discharged and return for outpatient surgery in the morning. The ER doc found this unacceptable and told the surgeon that although clinically that may be an acceptable course of action, he just didn’t like how MacDougal “looked.” I concurred. I refused to leave and requested they contact another surgeon. Apparently, the ER doc was determined and had already called the surgeon back a third time, insisting that he was the best surgeon on call and that he needed to come see for himself.
The surgeon arrived around 2am, agreed that the infection seemed worse and scheduled surgery to remove the infected tissue and place another drain. He assured me it was an easy surgery and should be completed in about 20-30 minutes. They wheeled MacD off and my husband arrived to wait with me.
After the longest 4 hours of my entire life, a nurse appeared in the hall. She asked if we were MacD’s parents and told us that the surgery was complete and the doctor would be out in a moment to talk to us. She then asked if he was a senior at XXXXX High School. I said yes. She said her daughter was also a senior and his name had sounded familiar. She looked at us with compassion, caring and understanding and said “How blessed you are that now you get to see him graduate.”
To be continued……