I love Mondays. Clean slate. Fresh start. I look at the previous week from my rearview mirror and bid it adieu.
A fresh to-do list and renewed motivation. All of my Mondays start like this, and I look forward to them.
But this past Monday started off a little differently. I had my to-do list in hand. But I was apprehensive when tackling it.
The first item on the list was to call the pediatrician to make an emergency appointment for Harper. She had been exhibiting some unusual symptoms over the course of the week, and they were bothersome to me. Unexplained weight loss, bedwetting, sluggishness among others.
When I called the office, I was told that they were booked solid with sick visits as they no longer have Saturday hours. Could I come in on Tuesday morning at 10?, they asked. I agreed and hung up. But as the minutes ticked by and I thought about waiting 24 hours, I didn't have a good feeling. I called back and asked to come in that day. They were accommodating and gave me an 11:00 appointment.
I pick up Harper at school and we make our way to the doctor's office. We are shown to an exam room and the nurse takes Harper's vitals. Soon the doctor comes in to examine Harper. As she sits intently listening to me describe the symptoms, she gets a perplexing look on her face. She tells me that the weight loss, bedwetting, and excessive thirst concern her. She orders an in-office urine test.
Harper guzzles a big cup of water, and 5 minutes later she fills a cup.
And 10 minutes after that the pediatrician is back. She gingerly places the folder in front of me and points to a glucose number. It looked like any other number to me, but it was off the charts.
She tells me that the number confirms her suspicions...all signs point to type 1 diabetes.
My jaw drops. My heart sinks. But before I can really let this sink in, the pediatrician tells me that we need to get to the emergency room ASAP. Like now.
The next 20 minutes are a blur to me. I remember calling the Hubs to tell him we were on the way to the ER. He was on his way to Newark Airport to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon. He turned around. I remember calling my sisters too.
We arrive at the hospital. They are expecting us and we are rushed in. Blood is drawn. Tests are done. Suspicions are confirmed.
The attending physician in the pediatric ER came in to deliver the news. It hit me like a sucker punch. Our daughter has type 1 diabetes.
My head started to spin. My heart rate increased. This was really happening.
My daughter lay in a hospital bed fatigued and apparently very sick. Her blood sugar level was high and her urine was filled with ketones. Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from carbohydrates in your diet. But stored fat is broken down and ketones are made if your diet does not contain enough carbohydrate to supply the body with sugar (glucose) for energy or if your body can't use blood sugar (glucose) properly.*
This combination could have put her into a diabetic coma. She was admitted and transferred to the Pediatric ICU until her blood sugar was stabilized.
We spent the next 48 hours in the hospital where I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I was frightened. I was confused. I was scared. I was overwhelmed. I was relieved. I was worried. I was sad.
Over the course of 2 days in the hospital, we received diabetes education...and tons of it. We had so much information presented to us that I thought I'd never be comfortable enough to do any of it on my own much less be discharged. But it's funny how quickly you learn and adapt when you are forced in to a new role.
We are home now. And while things are anything but easy, they are getting easier. We are adjusting to our new daily routine.
We are taking charge of our daughter's health and there is nothing better than knowing that with each insulin injection we give her, we are insuring that she leads a healthy life.
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