Audrey McKinney is a typical teenager – she likes going to concerts and spending time with her friends at the mall. In school, she excels in History and English and is considering becoming a librarian when she grows up.
So when Audrey slipped into a phase of staying home, sleeping and being generally lethargic – as opposed to going out and spending time with friends – her mom, Jessica, figured that something might be wrong.
“Audrey developed an insatiable thirst, she was abnormally tired and was losing weight rapidly,” explained Jessica McKinney. “She lost about 15-20 lbs. in just 6 weeks, even though her eating patterns had not changed.”
Jessica scheduled an appointment with Erin Donavan, Audrey’s nurse practitioner at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. Erin instantly recognized the symptoms as type 1 diabetes and confirmed it with a test. She then called ahead to the Emergency Department at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon and sent the McKinney family there immediately. When they arrived, Audrey’s blood sugar was dangerously high at over 600 mg/dL (a normal blood sugar level is from 70-99 mg/dL).
“After she was admitted, we felt like we had an entire team of people that would answer any question we had,” said Jessica . “The plan to get us up to speed about type 1 diabetes was so efficient and thorough. In the 3 days of her hospitalization they took us from knowing practically nothing about how to care for our daughter to having the confidence and resources to feel comfortable leaving the hospital.”
Audrey has now returned home and is beginning to live her life as a type 1 diabetic. Her mom knows that this is going to be a challenging experience for Audrey, as well as the entire family, but she has been extremely impressed by Audrey’s response.
“My greatest fears were that the disease would break Audrey’s spirit, but she quickly showed that she would persevere,” said Jessica “She has done a great job of educating her friends and family about type 1 diabetes and takes the initiative with her own medical care like a champion.”
As for their experience with SSM Health, Jessica concluded, “I would strongly recommend the team at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital to other families facing a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. We’d have been lost without them. I continue to be impressed with our care team each time we visit with our doctor and nurse practitioner.”