JACKSON — Diabetes research is front and center for a local family.
Meet the Davison family, Frank, Nancy, Benjamin, and Jenna. From Gallia County, Frank is employed by the Ohio Valley Bank and Nancy teaches first grade at Vinton Elementary School.
In March 2014, Benjamin, then two and a half, had suffered one illness after another. He had several ear infections, bouts with hand, foot, and mouth disease, and pneumonia. As he switched day-care that winter, Benjamin was drinking all the time and wetting the bed every night. He would start walking, then fall down. His new day-care director was concerned about his health and shared with Nancy information she had seen on a website about Type 1 Diabetes.
Nancy then made another appointment with their pediatrician and requested a blood test. Benjamin’s blood sugar was 587 mg/dl which was dangerously high for such a small child. The pediatrician and the nurse acted swiftly in lowering his blood sugar to prevent him from going into a coma. Benjamin was then transferred to Columbus to COPEDS, a diabetic clinic for pediatric patients. There, the family met with a dietitian and a diabetic educator who taught them the proper way to inject insulin and base the amount on a proper carb ratio. After three days, Benjamin was discharged with the staff giving them their personal phone numbers in case they needed anything.
The family said,“They were very encouraging and assured us it would take time, but we would learn how to take care of Benjamin’s diabetes”.
The Davisons admit that it was initially overwhelming. They were scared and nervous to take him home. Nancy compared it to taking a newborn baby home. They had to learn how to take care of him all over again. “The years have gone by fast and the physicians and nurses were right-we did learn very quickly how to take care of our son”.
Today, at six years old, Benjamin requires ongoing services for his speech. His blood sugars can run high causing seizures or low which can result in unconsciousness.
“We keep Emergency GlucaGen and apple juice with us at all times in case we have to increase his blood sugar. We know we have to leave the house with his insulin kit and have several emergency kits in case one of the pens or syringes don’t work,” said the family. “Now, we don’t think about it.It’s second nature to us. Fortunately, we’ve only had one hospitalization when he was first diagnosed.”
The family admits it’s been hard to find babysitters who want to take on the responsibility of a six year old with diabetes. “Thankfully, friends and family have helped us along the way. Benjamin attended Guiding Hand for three years of preschool. His aide was trained to take care of his diabetes which eased our worries,” the family said.
Currently, he attends Vinton Elementary School with his mom and sister Jenna. Benjamin still takes insulin injections as he doesn’t like the feel of an insulin pump. The school nurse, cook, and staff work together to ensure Benjamin gets sixty carbs for breakfast and lunch, and a fifteen carb snack in the afternoon.
The family said,“It’s been a journey. Everyday we learn something new about our son and diabetes. We have made so many new friends and have opened so many new doors along the way. We are thankful for our local diabetic support groups and friends who have children with Type 1 Diabetes. Without them, we would still be lost”.
Benjamin is aware he has diabetes. He tells others and strangers he has Type 1 Diabetes. When he hears about someone getting a shot he asks if they have diabetes too. He is still learning about his body, but the family calls him a trooper. The say Benjamin always wears a smile on his face. He has a heart of gold and loves animals. When he grows up. He wants to work at the zoo to take care of animals and give them their shots.
Locals can help families like Benjamin’s by participating in the Jackson Lions Strides/Jackson T1D Connection-Outrun Type 1 5K on Saturday, May 5 at Manpower Park. All proceeds to JDRF for diabetes research. To register, go online to tristateracer.com, click on the calendar at the top of the page, select the month of May, and scroll down to choose Outrun Type 1 5K. Entry forms can also be picked up at Sport-About and Iron City Barbell. You can run, walk, or donate.