If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sick Days And The Signs

More from the photography series "Diabetes Every Day". 

The pancreas can sometimes tell a Type 1 if they are sick long before other symptoms show up. Blood sugars increase for what often seems like no good reason only to find out a few days later a flu hits, or there is something going around the school that the body needs to fight. 

This picture was taken when my son was sent home from school with a very low grade fever. Because of a high blood sugar, the school nurse checked his temperature, and even though it was only one decimal point above the allowed limit with no other symptoms, he was sent home for the day. 

As a parent, you want your child healthy. As the parent of a diabetic, you want it even more as true sick days are very severe and can result in DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). But if they are not ill, you want nothing more than for them to be normal, in school learning with their friends. Some diabetics already miss more school because it takes them longer to recover than the average non-diabetic child. 

I won't lie that these situations where he is sent home healthy frustrate me and make me wonder how many low grade fevers and other flu-like symptoms are lurking in the school hallways unnoticed or unreported. Sometimes it feels like my child gets the short end of the deal because no one runs around the halls with a thermometer checking anyone else that is symptomatic for flu. 

Sent home from school with a fever one decimal above the school limit - only
discovered as a result of high blood sugar.
....And there are real sick days. The next image was less than 24 hours after blood sugars that were on the higher side did not go down right away. Meaning, there was not enough insulin in the body - which makes a person feel sick. They feel very sick. 

There are times that a blood sugar will not go down right away... could be a pump site that needs changing, could be a bad vial of insulin..could be many other things.. But the point is, it does not take long for high blood sugars to cause a Type 1 to not feel well. 

Nausea sets in pretty quickly.. a doctor will most often assume this is flu in a child that has not been diagnosed for Type 1 diabetes. Once we found the root cause of the insulin not getting to his system, and corrected that, in a very short time he was up and running again. 

My point in sharing this image - I want to further drive home the point that Type 1 can be, and sadly is often mistaken for flu. Please know the signs. This image looks exactly like flu.

A diabetic sick day. It looks like the flu. Please know
the signs! It could save a life.
As a parent, I debated to share these images. However, as I once again read of another life lost to undiagnosed Type 1 my heart breaks.

Common Signs of Diabetes Include: Frequent urination, Excessive thirst, Increased hunger, Weight loss, Tiredness, Lack of interest and concentration, A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet, Blurred vision, Frequent infections, Slow-healing wounds, Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu). All of these signs need not be present - it may just be one or two. 

If you have any of these signs consult with your doctor immediately


  1. Hi Pam, good information. I am an educator and have had several Type 1 kiddos in my classroom. As a teacher it can be a bit scary since we feel responsibility for all of "our children" and want them to be healthy and happy. I appreciate this information.

    1. Thank you Beth. Type 1 can be scary, but if well managed, then it is less scary on most days. The teacher plays such an important role in school with them. Thank you for looking out for Type 1s at school!

  2. This is one of the most important things we can share outside out of community. When we see children perish for this reason it is a terrible situation.

    This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of November 7, 2016

    1. Thanks Rick.. Its a post I wish didn't need to be written, but the number of Type 1 cases that are still missed is heart breaking.

  3. oh, pam, my heart hurts for your boy. but it sounds as if he is receiving top-notch care from his momma. thank you for deciding to share the images in an effort to get the word out and save lives. hugs to both of you.

    1. Thank you April. It is not always like this, but it is more often than not a side people do not see.. They usually only see smiling faces at charity walks and other events, so I am pleased that the images have an impact.

  4. Pam I am so grateful you share such heartfelt photos of your little guy. Such massively important information, and my heart goes out to you and your son for the "special attention" given that can feel negative when your child is sent home "sick" due to high blood sugar. Your post offers such important education! I had no idea of the issues that can cause high blood sugars...bad batch of insulin, needing to change injection site. You are such a loving mother and so glad you write about your experience and help so many of us.