"Mommy, I need more water."

March 15, 2016
Topics: Riley Kid Story, Diabetes

heather blog image
Riley kid Ava Richards

"Mommy, I need more water." It was the middle of the night and Ava was on her second full water bottle since going to bed at 8:30. This was becoming a trend for her and I knew that something wasn't right.  

My husband and I had put it off for several weeks just chalking it up to her being just 5 years old. Kids go through so many changes that we just thought she was growing or needing soothing. This particular night, Sunday, July 26, 2015, Ava was up for the fourth time to get drinks and use the restroom. I was done. I needed to call the doctor for my own peace of mind.  

I made the call at 8:00 Monday morning. I left a message on the nursing staff line with Ava's symptoms and let them know that I was probably just overreacting but I needed to be sure. I received a call back within the next hour, and they told me to bring her right in that afternoon. I had suspected diabetes from all the water drinking, but what happened in the next 48 hours had my mind spinning.

Ava's blood sugar that afternoon at the pediatrician's office was 581 and she had large amounts of ketones (a chemical produced when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood and the body breaks down fat for energy). They said we'd need to leave the office, head home and pack an overnight bag, and that we'd then spend the next two days at Riley Hospital for Children. I remember thinking that this wasn't even possible because very sick children are transferred to Riley, not my (seemingly) healthy 5-year-old! Ava just kept asking me why she had to go because she felt fine. She didn't feel sick at all. She wasn't scared or upset, just confused. She was supposed to be starting Kindergarten on Wednesday.

We arrived at Riley and the new journey of being Type 1 diabetic family began. To say the next few days were a whirlwind would be an understatement, but the staff at Riley was absolutely AMAZING through it all. Questions were answered. Ava felt safe and secure. We learned what we needed to do to ensure Ava would be happy and healthy as we headed home. Given the circumstances, it was a great few days.  We are in continued contact with Ava's endocrinology team (including Dr. David Hansen) and she absolutely loves her visits there.  

I have always had a desire to run a mini marathon, so when I stumbled upon Team Riley, I just had to join. I’ll be running for Team Riley in the One America Mini Marathon on May 7. Raising money for Riley Hospital seems so minor in comparison to the support they've shown us as a family. 

You aren't just a number at Riley Hospital, you are family.  

I'm hoping to be able to participate in other Riley events in the future. I run in honor of my brave and incredibly strong daughter, and I run in support of this amazing place we call our daughter’s saving grace. 

Click here to support Heather’s Team Riley efforts in the One America Mini Marathon on May 7.

Heather Richards

Heather is a full time office manager at an automotive accessory company, and also has a side photography business. Heather and her husband Brian, an eighth grade school teacher, have three children, ages 16, 6, and 2.

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