Agustín and the Uninvited Guest


Uruguay – On April 27, 2015, we received an uninvited guest who has now become a friend and lives with us at home. No, we had not invited her. Agustín, our 8-year-old son, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In 48 hour we saw his health decay and were shocked by his weight loss. He drank fluids rapidly and urinated frequently. We now know these are diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) symptoms, but we knew nothing about that back then.

We went to ER and had to wait a long time for a doctor to see us. Agustín started shaking and his skin looked very dry.

Finally, the hospital staff took care of my son, and they checked his blood glucose level. The result was “HI.” We didn’t understand what this all meant. The nurse explained my son was being diagnosed with diabetes and told us that the meter could not give an exact number as his number was too high. My son was in a critical condition. We were then informed that he had to be taken to another hospital almost 20 km away from our city.

Agustin was so ill; he was taken in an ambulance to a hospital that could provide him with the attention he needed. It was a very long journey, but we finally arrived. Doctors would not allow Agustín to fall asleep out of fear that he would lose consciousness. They tried to explain something about type 1 diabetes on our way to the hospital but we had no clue kids could even develop that condition.

Agustín has a twin brother. They are 11 years old now. Agustín is a normal kid. He loves playing basketball and likes swimming. This year, he wrote a letter to our President Dr. Tabare Vazquez of Uruguay, where he asked that our country have better access to advanced technology for type 1 diabetes management.

Luckily, my family was able to get FreeStyle Libre from Chile with some friends who were able to travel. Agustín’s life has changed drastically, and so has ours. We will keep fighting so these technologies are also available in our country and can then change other people’s lives.

We have struggled to educate people. We don’t want them to think of Agustín as a sick child or name him “diabetic,” because he is more than the label of this disease. It has been a long way, but we will continue educating. Fundación Diabetes Uruguay has always supported and helped us and, other families too. Their motto is, “We can do it even with diabetes.”

WRITTEN BY Mary Crudo Arias, POSTED 09/06/17, UPDATED 10/16/22

Mary is mother of twins: Agustín and Gabriel. She became a nurse then doctor because of life events such as Agustín’s diabetes. She and her family live in Uruguay.