Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Close Call

The little guy on the left is Spencer, my grandson. As I type this he is recovering in Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. He's had a rough several days. We learned a lot about juvenile diabetes with this episode.

Spencer is usually an active kid, full of fun and enthusiasm. He's six, and he's had diabetes for almost two years, I think. Spencer and his brothers are spending time with us here in Florida. This past weekend he went to visit his other grandmother and a cousin in Orlando. While there he got sick. He wouldn't eat, he vomited several times, and he was lethargic.

When they brought him home Sunday night he had a fever, and his blood sugar was off the scale on the high end. He spent all day Monday in bed and the symptoms persisted. Tuesday morning he was barely able to move or talk. He had this very sick look around his eyes. We called 9-1-1, and they took him to the hospital.

The diagnosis was Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) which, if left untreated for too long, is fatal. One out of fifty cases results in death. It's caused by very high blood sugar for too long. Being diabetic too, I should have known about this, but I didn't.

I visited him yesterday, and his color was back, but he wasn't. He was still very quiet, couldn't eat anything, and didn't smile once. The little guy had tubes sticking out of him everywhere, had been through pure Hell, yet he bravely subjected to the frequent prodings, stickings, and intrusions of the nurses and doctors as they work tirelessly to bring him back to normal. Arnold Palmer Hospital is a very special place staffed by very special people.

Today Spencer looks much better according to Granny Judy who has spent most of three days by his side. Granddad was left home to stay with the other two boys. Spencer's Mom, our daughter, is here, too, and his Dad is on his way. Spencer is eating now and playing video games with his roommate. And even smiling from time to time. They took out the tubes that drip insulin and glucose into his veins. Maybe he can come home soon.

I've been beating myself up about this and saying, "What if..." Then I realized it's a lot better than having to say, "If only..."


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