My younger son started losing weight rapidly one week in March last year. At first, I wasn’t too concerned as he has always been a picky and small eater. During this time, he also started drinking lots of water which pleased me because it is usually difficult to get him to drink enough water. He was even waking up in the middle of the night to drink water. In fact, he was drinking so much water that his nappy had to be changed every hour or so because they would leak from the amount of urine he was passing. His rapid weight loss became a concern to me when he started looking like a malnourished child. The night before I took him to the GP, he had labored breathing. The next morning, we went to the GP. The GP ordered us to the hospital by ambulance.
The next thing I know, we were in the Emergency Department with needles and drips stuck in my son’s tiny and frail arm. My son was out of it most of the time, opening his eyes every now and then, but only for a few seconds each time. There were people coming and going, talking to me, explaining things to me, asking me questions; some in white coats, some in nurses’ uniforms, some in plain clothes. All I remember is that someone said that they suspect my son has Type 1 Diabetes. Blood was drawn and tested to confirm the diagnosis. The tests came back positive for Type 1 Diabetes. My son was then transferred to intensive care for observation that night. At intensive care, more people talked to me and asked me questions. The next morning, my son was transferred to a shared hospital room where he stayed for another two days before being discharged.
I know I should be feeling panicked or scared, but I wasn’t. I felt relatively calm, but numb. I suspect this was because I was surrounded by skilled, kind and helpful health workers. It gave me a new appreciation for the health workers in our community. The VCE health and human development exams program teaches students to make important decisions about their own health and to recognize the importance of health and human development in society. This program can serve as a springboard to further studies in the areas of allied health practices, education, health promotion, community health, humanitarian aid work and the health profession in general. Within three days, my little boy’s life was disrupted and changed forever. He would need blood tests four times a day, insulin injections twice or four times a day for the rest of his life and be required to attend quarterly diabetes clinics at the hospital. Today, my son leads a relatively healthy and full life despite his diabetes. He attends kindergarten, swims, plays soccer and wrestles his older brother. I owe it to the health workers for making this possible.