Diabetes Lurking


Adam, my two-and-a-half-year-old son, was sick for more than a week. It started with a cough last Thursday and by Friday, he had a fever. Having two older kids, I’ve learned that if something doesn’t seem like an emergency, it’s better to wait a few days before going to the doctor, since usually the doctor says it’s a virus and tells you to just wait until it passes. This time, however, it didn’t seem like Adam had something that was about to go away.  So on Sunday morning I took Adam to the doctor.

After going through the usual routine of checking the ears and throat and listening to his back and chest, the doctor told me Adam had bronchitis and prescribed some drops and inhalation to relieve the symptoms.

The next few days were the same.  Adam did not show any signs of getting better. He coughed during the day and woke up every night coughing.  He also had a high fever.  On Wednesday his temperature went up to 105.  Jess took him back to the doctor.  After listening to Adam’s chest, the doctor thought Adam sounded better than he had on Sunday.  Jess was not convinced and we were both very worried. We decided that we would give it one more day, and if he did not seem any better we would take him to the emergency clinic.  That evening after the kids went to sleep I confessed to Jess that I was having bad feelings. I didn’t want to, but I had to share what was on my mind.  I couldn’t stop thinking that Adam’s illness reminded me of a virus I had just over ten years ago.  That virus went away, but when it was over, I had type 1 diabetes.   

On Friday morning I woke up early to go running.  When I got home Adam looked terrible.  He was pale and had a fever even after getting ibuprofen. We drove to the emergency clinic where the doctor sent him for a blood test and a chest X-ray. It wasn’t fun but we got through it and went back to the doctor to get the diagnosis. Pneumonia.

We got antibiotics and took Adam back home. I was relieved. It had a name.  It had a treatment.  And the treatment started to work right away. 

I know none of this is rational.  I know there’s no real reason to think that every virus might be a trigger for type 1, but it seems like diabetes is always lurking in my mind.  Maybe I’m still traumatized from my diagnosis. I’m closing the door on this now.  Adam, thankfully, seems to be improving every day.  I just want him to keep getting better and stronger. 

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Scott K. Johnson
11 years ago

So glad to hear that Adam is doing better.  I think it’s totally rational, and in fact maybe even a normal thought/fear that many of us parents who live with diabetes have.  It crosses my mind almost every time one of mine simply uses the bathroom.

Jeff Nobles
Jeff N.
11 years ago

Thanks for sharing this, Michael. I have two daughters (older than your kids) and the same fears for them. Let’s hope they all grow up to be healthy and strong.

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