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.
Labels: diabetes, hospital, Olivia