Julie and Chris Kirkpatrick moved to Atlanta with three kids under 3—their elder daughter, Georgia, and their twins, C.J. and Kennedy—in tow. That fact may explain why Julie doesn’t remember precisely when C.J. started showing symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
She first noticed that C.J. was constantly soaking through his diapers. He was irritable and thirsty, but didn’t have much of an appetite. After doing some research, Julie realized that these symptoms were linked to Type 1 diabetes.
Julie took a lethargic 19-month-old C.J. to the pediatrician, who confirmed Julie’s hunch: C.J. had Type 1 diabetes. C.J.’s blood sugar was at 508 and he was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be life-threatening. The doctor told them to go Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta immediately.
The Kirkpatricks rushed C.J. to the Emergency Department at Children’s. They had no idea what they were dealing with, or how severe a blood sugar of 508 could be for a 19-month-old child. The doctors ran tests and took C.J.’s blood before moving him to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where he remained for four days.