Now that we’re sort of comfortable in our diabetes routine, life threw us a curve. It was a small, but messy one: a stomach bug that’s going around. It was the first time since Benny’s diagnosis of Type I Diabetes that we had to deal with a “regular” illness.

I’ll spare you the details; let’s just say we were very worried about Benny becoming dehydrated and since he wasn’t eating much, also about giving him insulin.

When a diabetic kid has a sick day, you have to check for something called “ketones.” Ketones occur when you don’t have enough insulin; your body starts to break down fat for energy and acids build up in your blood. If you don’t catch it it can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) which, if not treated quickly, can lead to coma or even death. Pretty scary stuff, but that’s why you have to keep on top of it and check for the ketones early, before they build up.

The test is simple (but be warned, I’m going to talk pretty frankly about some bathroom stuff here and throughout the rest of this post). You have your child pee on a test strip or you can collect the child’s urine and dip the end of the stick into the “sample.” Then you check the colors in the end of the test strip to a color chart to determine how severe or “large” the ketones are.

Here’s a great link for a more complete explaination, including one of blood testing for ketones:

Once again, though, we find a simple test is anything but when you’re dealing with a two year old. Benny is close to potty-trained, but still in diapers. So how do you get him to pee on a stick? When we were in the hospital, during his diagnosis, they checked him for ketones by putting cotton balls in his diaper and then squeezing the cotton balls out(!) onto the test strips. He thought that was very funny. I probably shouldn’t write this, but after three days of that, he started pointing to his diaper when we changed him, saying “balls!”

So I tried it at home. First time around, he pooped. So much for those cotton balls. That’s when I realized I was out. Who runs out of cotton balls? I checked every bathroom, every closet – nothing. So what to do? Diapers are way too absorbent now to release any fluid (gross, but I tried).

I asked Benny every half an hour if he wanted to go. No, no, no. Finally, at bath time, success! And even better – no ketones! The test was negative. The problem? Benny thought peeing in a cup was so much fun, he wants to do it all the time!