Dehydration to Diabetes Diagnosis

Caleb is in his red and white go-kart on the race track.

It was probably just the flu. That’s what everyone was thinking when three-year-old Caleb from Cambridge was feeling under the weather in August 2013. Then came the vomiting during a ride in the car.

“I took him to the hospital in Guelph, where they discovered he was dangerously dehydrated,” recalls Caleb’s mother, Kayleigh. “He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and he was so sick that they rushed him to McMaster Children’s Hospital.”

From the brink

Caleb was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition in which the body produces too many acidic ketones due to a lack of insulin. If untreated, it can cause fatal organ failure.

“The team in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit hydrated Caleb and stabilized him by bringing his blood sugar levels down to a more normal level,” says Kayleigh.

“Then they began to educate us about how to do insulin injections and manage the diabetes through diet.”

With a new plan to keep his blood sugars at a healthy level, Caleb was discharged home – but that was just the beginning of his journey with Hamilton Health Sciences.

Second diagnosis

Kayleigh became concerned when she began to receive phone calls from school – Caleb was misbehaving frequently and he couldn’t seem to control his impulses.

“Nothing can hold back this amazing kid.”

“Our pediatrician referred us to Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in 2018, which resulted in a diagnosis of mild autism,” says Kayleigh. “We’re forever grateful to Hamilton Health Sciences for the diagnosis, and for connecting us to various resources in our area so we can receive care closer to home.”

Although Caleb doesn’t require any regular appointments at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, both he and Kayleigh are comforted to know that the expert clinicians are always available to answer questions and provide support.

Blazing new trails

Today, Caleb is an active 10-year-old who races go-karts competitively. He enjoys speaking publicly about his diabetes and autism, and he takes pride in knowing that he can make a positive difference by mentoring and encouraging others with these conditions.

“Nothing can hold back this amazing kid. He never gives up and he’s determined to make the world a better place. I’m so proud of him.”