Virus diagnosis actually diabetes for Toowoomba boy

Fred Turner's mum thought he was just suffering through a long flu recovery when he was eight, but it turned out he had type 1 diabetes.
Fred Turner's mum thought he was just suffering through a long flu recovery when he was eight, but it turned out he had type 1 diabetes. Contributed

A NASTY bout of the flu can be a pretty draining experience, so when the whole Turner family went down with it, it was no surprise when eight-year-old Freddie did too.

The only problem was he didn't seem to bounce back as well as the rest of the clan.

Freddie's mum Emma Turner decided he was crook enough to head to the family GP and later the hospital, but wasn't terribly surprised to hear he had a virus and all she could do was keep up his fluids, ensure he got plenty of rest and give him paracetamol.

But as it turns out, paracetamol doesn't do much for diabetes.

On Anzac Day 2015 they headed to the dawn service, where Freddie was very ill.

Mrs Turner took him home and put him to bed, and hours later suggested he might feel better if he had a shower.

"I helped him to undress and was distressed to see his dramatic weight loss since I had last seen him unclothed," Mrs Turner said.

"He told me then that he was getting short of breath when walking and that his hands and feet were really cold."

Mrs Turner was a registered nurse and at that point the penny dropped; he had type one diabetes.

When she took him to hospital the next morning, a doctor took one look at Freddie, said he could smell ketones and diagnosed not only type one diabetes, but also ketoacidosis, a condition caused by the body burning fat because it cannot break down glucose due to insufficient insulin.

After a full week spent at the Lady Cilento hospital in Brisbane, the family was set to embark on a new journey.

Not only was Freddie adjusting to a new life with type one diabetes, but it changed Mrs Turner's career path as well.

She and the kids moved closer to Toowoomba so she could study to become a diabetes educator.

Freddie said people often thought he had diabetes from eating too many lollies, but he had adjusted pretty well despite misconceptions.

"One thing is that I don't let diabetes stop me from learning and having fun," he said.

"Diabetes is just a part of who I am, it doesn't define me.

"When I grow up, I want to become a famous NRL player for the broncos like Steve Renouf."

Yesterday the Turner family celebrated World Diabetes Day and encouraged others to find out more by visiting

Topics:  diabetes diabetes queensland editors picks toowoomba world diabetes day

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