February 07, 2007

Looking back, the drive to the hospital seems almost peaceful, though I know I cried the whole way. It was evening, but it felt late, quiet and calm. O was wide-eyed in the back and I tried to make my voice light for her, though she had seen me crying the whole time I packed our bags. Marc's voice broke as we sat a long moment at a stop sign. "They said you were a good mom for figuring out so quickly that something was wrong." I wanted him to just keep driving and driving.

The staff, nurses, doctors...everyone was kind, sweet to O, apologizing to us for asking the same questions over and over. It took me awhile to realize their questions weren't to rule things out or to look for answers...they already knew that she had diabetes, it was just a matter of finding out how long she had been showing symptoms. Finally I had to ask, "There's no chance that this is something else?" The doctor looked at me the way that TV doctors look when giving that "I'm afraid not" speech. So that was that.

We were lucky. She wasn't dehydrated, wasn't feeling any abdominal pain or vomiting. She didn't need an IV. In fact, if you didn't know her, you probably wouldn't have known there was anything wrong. The doctors kept commenting on how good she looked, but at the time, it was only some small comfort. The lab came and took her blood; the nurses taped a bag on her under her diaper in order to collect urine and gave her an insulin injection. We were told to settle in. We would be there for at least three days.

The rest of the time is a blur of phone calls and visitors, finger sticks and injections, and sessions with diabetes educators and dieticians. I sat through the conversation on giving injections in a bleary-eyed slump. I wanted to grasp what they were saying, but there was a part of me that kept thinking that if I could just get her home, this would all go away. I wasn't going to need to know this stuff.

Olivia's blood sugars went up and down; I never knew what to expect, never knew how the staff was going to react to each reading. What I did know was the she had periods during each day when it was obvious that she felt about 200% better. She played, she shrieked, she insisted on being pulled up and down the halls in a wagon. She was a new child. When her blood sugars started to go up or down, it was obvious from her behavior. My heart broke again and again at the thought of how badly she must have been feeling for months.

Soon enough they started talking about sending us home and I realized that I needed to snap out of myself. We were going to be on our own and I damn well better know what needed to be done. I wanted some hard and fast rules about what to do, when to do it, how to react when it didn't work. But everything seems to have a contingency, too many variables for me to feel comfortable with any of it. How many time do I check her blood sugar? It depends. What do I feed her and when? It depends - she's a toddler; some days she's going to eat and other days she's not. How much insulin depends on how much she eats. There seem to be few "Do X when Y happens" rules. It makes me as nervous as I have ever been.

But send us home they did. She fell asleep in the car and I watched the city go by as Marc drove, reversing our course from just a few days earlier.

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Blogger Penny said...

Reading your experience in the hospital made me think back to when Riley was diagnosed.

That pain is still palpable.

If you don't mind, I would like to add a link to your blog on mine.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Kerri. said...

Hi there.

I came across your site via A Shot in the Dark and a comment you left there. My name is Kerri and I have been living with type 1 diabetes since I was about seven years old. I just marked twenty years with it.

I don't know what it's like to be the parent of a diabetic child, but I do know what it's like to be the diabetic child. We end up okay, you know. There's all these needle pokes and insulin and food schedules and all that sort of thing, but we are still kids. And we grow up into fine adults. (There is proof of this all over the d-blogosphere.)

I wrote this on my blog about a year ago - For the Parents and I invite you to come over to my blog Six Until Me. I have a number of d-blogs on my blogroll, if you'd like to poke around.

Every day that passes brings you closer to "living with" instead of "suffering from."

If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. Best to you and your family, and to your dear little O.

-- Kerri.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous alish said...

oh,alish. so painful to read your well-written words. to imagine you driving to the hospital-- such darkness. you had already cranked up the strength when we arrived! i am so touched by all the kind words of strangers!! and grateful for their help to you. remember the mice. xoxoxox

7:57 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

I am thinking of you every day. I am crying here with you, and so thankful for Kerry and Laura and the rest you will meet. I wish I knew better what to say. I keep wanting to say: everything is going to be OK! But I don't want to downplay what's going on. It's been a week. How are you doing now?

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi paige. just heard from courtney about olivia and i thought i would send you our best wishes and prayers.
i know how hard this for you and marc. reading about your experience took me back to when lindy was diagnosed at chapel hill. the whole ride to north carolina i kept thinking this can't be right. there must be some mistake. this was a very tough time for our family. i remember thinking how will we do all this.
i learned one thing early in lindy's illness,. just go one day at a time.
you will learn everything in time. you are a great mom. marc is a great dad. someday this will be just a blip on the radar.
don't ever think you can't do all that is required. you can and you will. advances are being made in diabeties.there will be a cure.
hang in there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
you are in our thoughts prayers.
barbara kelly

11:24 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Hi there - I too, came across your blog from Sandra's comments at A Shot in The Dark.

My daughter, Danielle, has Type 1 Diabetes as well - was diagnosed when she was 18 months old (she just turned 3 a month ago).

Your story brought that day of diagnosis back for me clear as a bell. You never forget those words "Your daughter has Type 1 Diabetes".

I have found so much comfort and support from the Diabetes online community. I am sure you will, too.

Hang in there - you're going to do great with her :)

3:01 PM  

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