Monday, September 21, 2009

An Update from the Infirmary

First-- Joseph is doing just fine.

But I'll backtrack a moment because when I googled "H1N1" and "child with diabetes," I got nothing -- reassuring or otherwise. So here is our experience thus far:

As I said in my last post, Joseph spiked a fever early Friday morning. Well, by early afternoon he was showing all the symptoms: cough, headache, fatigue... and his fever had climbed to 102 two hours after I'd given him a fever reducer (ibuprofen).

In the meantime, his endo's office faxed a prescription for a 5-day course of Tamiflu to our pharmacy -- Joseph received his first dose by 10am (within four hours of showing symptoms).

The worst of this thing came overnight, when both his blood sugars and body temperature skyrocketed:

Amazingly, he spilled only trace ketones.

Further, by morning Joseph's fever broke and his sugars came down.

We saw a two-hour post breakfast bg spike before he joined me and Evan on the couch early Saturday afternoon. The three of us cuddled together under a soft blanket while I read Prisoner of Azcaban aloud for the next hour and a half.

Then Joseph stood up rather suddenly and headed toward the kitchen.

"Bud, are you all right?"

"Yeah," he called back, "I just want to do a check."

"47" I heard him say.

Immediately I'm off the couch.

"Bud, did you feel like you were dropping?"

"Just a minute ago."

He took five glucose tabs without my prompting and returned to the couch.

"Keep reading," he said.

Apart from that unexpected low, he felt much better than he had the day before -- until later in the afternoon when his fever spiked yet again (this time not as high -- 101.4) and his bgs rose as well:

But overnight, he didn't feel hot . . . and his sugars drifted back down.

By Sunday morning, it seemed the worst of it had passed. Though he didn't sound good and still had a miserable cough, his fever was (and still is) completely gone.

His blood sugars on Sunday, his third day since onset, looked like this:

"Amazing, Bud... I can't believe how fast you're getting through this thing."

"Mom, my immune system is beast," he said simply.

So that's Joseph. Still coughing a whole lot-- but much, much better.

Evan, however, is another story.

She's had this thing since Friday the 11th -- and is still sick.

Her fever drops to a low-grade 99-and-change for a day, and then spikes to 101-plus the next. I'd been in contact with her doctor mid-week, and then again late Friday-- after yet another fever spike.

"Sandra, you need to bring her to urgent care and get a chest x-ray. I don't like that the fever is spiking this late and her cough is worsening."

So off we went to urgent Care, while Ryan stayed home with Joseph.

"Mama, I'm scared," she says in a muffled voice through the mask they've required her to wear.

"Honey, it's all right. You'll be fine... and this won't hurt at all -- I promise."

"But it hurt last time."

"Last time?"

"When I had an x-ray and they were bending my leg on that table."

I look at her -- blanking for a moment -- and then I'm amazed that she remembers that.

After much waiting (wherein Evan and I scan the pages of her book for Waldo, Wenda and Wizard Whitebeard) she has both an exam and x-ray.

Happily, her chest is clear and her respirations are only a little rapid.

Today, Evan still has a horrendous cough -- but after 10 days with this thing, her temp is finally normal.

I'm just hoping this holds.


Penny said...

Thanks for the update, Sandra.

phonelady said...

hugs to you Sandra and the babies . My god how utterly frustrating and I know you feel terrible for the babies . I hope all is well soon in the household and i will send extra prayers your way my dear for all .

Rachel said...

Greg always recovers quickly from illness. Even the one time we both had the flu, he was in better shape than me faster - and I got sick first (this was before my type 2).

Hope Evan feels better soon!!

Colleen said...

Yay, sounds like "you're on the road" to recovery! Hang in there, Sandra.

Val said...

Yow! Poor Evan! Hang in there, it sounds like things are finally on the upswing. (Great book choice BTW - #3 is my alltime favorite HP).

Oh, and my captcha is "deaggin", which looks pretty close to "draggin" which I'm sure you must be by now. Don't forget to take a little time for yourself while the kids are resting!

Chris said...

You have some amazingly strong kids. I applaud them for fighting through all of us. I also applaud you more for being able to get through and keep them strong as well.

Paige said...

Thinking about you guys...

Henry Samson said...


My name is Henry. I'm a 23 year old senior at Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, MO. I have type 1 diabetes and just started reading your blog earlier this summer. I think it's awesome. I was diagnosed when I was 21. My numbers did the same thing as Evan's when I got sick about a month ago.

Bernard said...

Sandra, it sounds like you're doing a great job taking care of your beautiful kids. Sorry that it's hit Evan much harder.

When googling, did you try my diabetes search engine? Here's what it turned up for H1N1 and diabetes. If you come across other useful sites let me know and I'll add them.

This reminds me that I keep meaning to put together an emergency supply kit for diabetes. I'd hate to get sick and have a snow storm.

I'll keep all of you in prayers.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're all getting better. And I'm SO grateful you posted this. B/c I've been TERRIFIED about my daughter getting that I know one family that survived it (right here in Madison) I feel a wee bit less scared. Thanks again for sharing your experience! --stellasmom

Sandra Miller said...

Phonelady -

Thanks. Evan is still coughing, but for the first time in 11 days, has been 24 hours without a fever -- so she's back in school. Fingers crossed, she has a good day.

Rachel -

Ryan is like that too... maybe that's where Joseph gets his "beast" immune system from. :-)

Colleen -

I believe you're right. And if Ryan and I don't show symptoms in the next seven days (the incubation period for H1N1), I think we'll be out of the woods.

Val -

I started reading the series to Evan shortly before she got sick... couldn't wait to get to #3 - it's my favorite too. :-)

Chris -

Thanks. I'm just so very glad they are in the recovery stage with this thing.

Henry -

Thank you so much for the kind words.

Bernard -

Thank you. I did not try your diabetes search engine -- I certainly will from now on!

Anon -

While Evan's school has been hammered with H1N1, most of her classmates have been doing much better within 5 days of onset.

Still, if Stella gets a sore throat (that's how it started with both Joseph and Evan), start taking her temp regularly. If she develops a cough and spikes a fever, get her on Tamiflu right away-- it's only effective if taken within 48 hours of showing symptoms.

I'm convinced that getting Joseph on the antiviral so early is at least part of the reason he recovered so quickly.

Mellena said...

Thanks for the update. You make the diabetes end of it seem very managable. You really do have great kids and I am really glad to hear that it wasn't more serious with Evan.


Bethanne said...

The flu is rotten. I had that crazy influenza that was going around last year, and it was horrible. Sugars all over the place for two days straight no matter what I did. :) I'm so glad everyone is feeling better. Take care, Bethanne, on her way from SUM.

Sysy Morales said...

I just started reading your site and I think it is a great idea. You seem very dedicated to your children-something that will help your son with his diabetes later on in adulthood for sure. Glad everyone seems to be doing better. I had the flu once when I was 13 (I got diagnosed with type 1 when I was 11) and I certainly struggled with blood sugars and ketones. As if it wasn't bad enough to feel so sick right? Anyway I'll keep reading!

chanie said...

glad to hear things are moving in the right direction.

my daughter (age 11) has had type 1 since age 12 mos. recently, she had a sore throat and stomach ache, but no fever, no vomiting. doc said that if she has a fever, or vomits, would give tamiflu and treat as h1n1, without checking if that is it.

in the end, she didnt get a fever at all - spilled ketones, crazy sugars, felt lousy, but assumed it wasnt that.

my question is this though -- did they swab/test for the specific strain? i was surprised that my daughter's doc said they'd treat with tamiflu without checking for sure.

TexasNeals said...

My daughter has had Type 1 for 3 1/2 years now. I found your blog b/c I was desperate for encouragement from someone else that understood what I was going through. Your blog did that for me. Every time I read it I feel encouraged.
Anyway, I'm so glad that your son is doing better and hope that your daughter will get over this soon. :)
On a different note. I really liked your bg graph. Where did you find it? It's such a great visual. My daughter is 7 1/2 and I think it would really be helpful for her.
Thanks for sharing so much of your experience w/ diabetes. It is such an encouragement to me.


Sandra Miller said...

Mel -

Thanks. I think they're pretty great, too. :-)

Bethanne -

Yes, the flu is indeed rotten. Strange thing, though. Neither my husband nor I got it. Though I know that quite a few parents of my daughter's classmates came down with it. Weird.

Sysy Morales -


Chanie -

No-- they didn't swab Joseph first.

A week before Joseph came down with the flu, my daughter began showing symptoms in a big way. At that time, the nurse at her school told me she was sending kids home with classic H1N1 symptoms at a rate of 3-6 a day -- there was a huge spike in absences as well.

Random testing was done on kids from her school at the beginning of the outbreak -- every one came back positive for H1N1.

Because Joseph was exposed to his sister and became symptomatic within a week of her getting sick, his endo felt no need to swab before prescribing Tamiflu.

Stacey -

Thanks so much for the lovely comment.

The graph is in the logbook we've been using since shortly after Joseph's diagnosis. You can find it here.

Quite frankly, the "Smart Chart" is one of the most valuable diabetes management tools I've come across. If you combine these charts with frequent testing, you've got sort of a poor man's CGM, in that it really helps you spot trends...

Ms Bibi said...

I just found your blog, not really sure how, but I'm glad I did.

My 12 year old son is Type 1 as well and we are dealing with the H1N1 scare. I have a prescription on file at our pharmacy from his doctor just in case...hope I won't have to use it