June 2013 was a hot summer month; so when Naomi, then seven months old, began to drink more fluids and urinate more, her parents Kourtney and Ryan Nishi thought their baby girl was simply thirsty from the heat.
A few days later, Kourtney awoke to find a slightly feverish Naomi – her complexion had turned grey, her lips were blue and her eyes sunken. It was clear that something was seriously wrong. Crying, Kourtney called 9-1-1.
Doctors at their local hospital realized that Naomi had diabetes and required the expertise of caregivers at the Endocrinology Department at BC Children’s Hospital right away. As everyone waited anxiously for the infant transport team to take Kourtney and Naomi to Children’s Hospital, specialists there advised Emergency doctors at the local hospital how to stabilize Naomi’s blood sugar and rehydrate her.
At Children’s, Kourtney and Ryan met with a dietitian and a nurse who explained what diabetes was and what they could expect for Naomi in the future. It was only after hearing that Naomi could still live a normal life, and enjoy sports and food like a normal child, that the couple began to feel calmer.
Kourtney and Ryan spent four days at the hospital learning how to care for Naomi’s needs at home – how to give her insulin, count her carbohydrates, and treat high and low blood sugars. At the caregivers’ advice, they purchased an insulin pump for Naomi, which would let her enjoy food more freely and allow her to receive smaller amounts of insulin.
It has now been several months since Naomi’s diagnosis. Thanks to Kourtney and Ryan’s dedication, and the support of the Diabetes team at BC Children’s, the Nishis have gone from feeling overwhelmed and scared to being cautiously confident. The family visits BC Children’s Hospital every three months for Naomi’s checkups. While the experience can be stressful at times, they know that the team at BC Children’s is never more than a phone call or email away.
“We are so grateful that Naomi has had such an amazing team to help her through this life-changing experience,” says Kourtney. “We will always be learning how to take care of her diabetes as it is always changing – when she grows, when she is sick, when she is teething. We are just so lucky to have the support we have at BC Children’s Hospital. Without them I wouldn’t be the parent I am today.”