Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First sick day

I haven't written in a while.  I don't feel badly, however, because my absence here, on this blog, only indicates that my care for you has increased.  It had to. Diabetes has given us all a beating lately.  

I wouldn't want to relive the last few weeks for any amount of money in the world.  You got sick with the stomach flu.  It is something I've dreaded from the day of your diagnosis.  I've heard from doctors, nurses, and other moms of T1D kids how awful it is for a diabetic and it is something I didn't want to face until further down the diabetic road.  Much further down.  When I was a bit more familiar with the disease.  Didn't get so lucky.

Last week you started having diarrhea, then vomiting, then rather quickly your blood glucose plummeted because you refused to eat or drink anything.  I was scared, didn't know how to keep your levels up.  Grandma, being so knowlegable as a juvenile diabetic educator, kept close tabs and was always available via phone and told me to call her no matter what time.  She worried about ketones showing up in your blood, something I still know very little about.  So we started to test your ketones every 3 hours.  I took Grandma up on her offer one "night" at 2 a.m. when the ketone meter read 1.8.  She had informed me if it reached level 3, we'd need to take you to the hospital.  She also informed me that in order to get the ketones down, we needed to somehow give you insulin, which meant your levels needed to be at least 250 before we did that.  Since you wouldn't eat, getting you to 250 was a challenge.  Are you starting to see the frustrating cycle I was in?

The next day we were able to give you a tiny bit of insulin, which helped bring your ketones down.  By Saturday of last week, after struggling and begging for you to eat ANYTHING (you even said NO to candy, popsicles, donuts, juice, chocolate milk, you name it) we finally had to give you the Glucagon shot to bring your blood-glucose within range.  And not just one dose, but four!  This was all during the Race for the Cure so, unfortunately for everyone who came out to support us, I was rather distracted the entire time.

After we got home and saw just how ill you were, still not eating, we decided to call the nurse on-call.  She advised us to go to Primary Children's ER.  We grabbed a few things and headed down the all-to-familiar road to Salt Lake.  Halfway there, you broke out in a sweat and started whining, lethargically falling asleep.  I checked you.  136--so I let you fall asleep.  20 minutes later, after we had checked in at the hospital, I checked you again in the waiting room.  68.  That was a huge drop in just 20 minutes.  I was going crazy, anxious for them to give you an IV ASAP to get your levels up and get you hydrated, because I just didn't know what another 20 min would do to you.  As the nurse tried to find a vein, I remembered all too well the last time you were dehydrated.  I loathed that moment when you were 8 months and I still do.  Watching the nurse dig a needle through your tiny hand, trying to find a plump-enough vein.  After a failed attempt in one hand, she moved to the other.  More digging.  Are these people incompetent or what?!  Find the dang vein already!  I had to refrain from saying something (or fiercely socking her in the face) while you screamed in agony on the stretcher. They finally found one and started the IV with fluids and glucose. I could relax for the time being.  Your daddy was a great support for me.  Had he not been there, I'm sure my violent side would have shown herself.

We were in the ER observation room overnight, a bit more than 24 hrs.  I stayed, Dad went to be with the other kids.  I actually very much disliked this area of the hospital.  I felt like no one knew (or cared) about your diabetes.  I had to find my own juice when you were low (like 52!) and when you were, and I told them, they seemed to shrug it off and I didn't see my nurse for another 15 min. Yep, Mama Bear was not happy.  But, looking on the bright side, they did get you hydrated and injected you with some glucose water, you had a great nights' sleep.  So, I guess not ALL bad.  I was as anxious to get home as they were to send me, but on Sunday, as they were about to discharge us, I mentioned to them how I worried you still weren't eating on your own. They just told me to call with any questions.

Should have listened to my gut.

Monday was awful.  You were back to plummeting blood-glucose numbers, spilling ketones and still ingesting no carbs. I finally broke, sobbed, pleaded with not only you to drink, but also to God, that He would intervene. I had done everything I knew how to do and I simply couldn't do it anymore.  I had to put it into His hands. His sweet repose came through a dear friend, who dropped everything when I called and brought her kids and a huge bag of McDonalds junk food over.  I suggested if she bring her kids, peer pressure might do the trick.  I set out a blanket on our family room floor and tried to get you excited about having a picnic.  It did the trick.  You ate a fry!  Then you ate 2, then 3, then pretty soon you had taken a few sips of fruit punch and eaten quite a few fries and one disgustingly beautiful not-so-chicken chicken nugget.  It was enough to bring your levels up and allow both of us a much-needed afternoon rest.  I will forever be thankful to Ally for her actions that day.  It is because she ACTED that you were able to eat.  Those fries were a start.  So many others did so much that helped ease the burden.  Taking other kids while we are at the hospital, bringing in meals, or a gallon of milk to an empty fridge.  After that day, you slowly started to eat, regain strength and after a few days, we were able to dose your insulin regularly. 

These are days when I hate diabetes.  Your sick days will never be average.  A simple flu virus suddenly becomes life-threatening to you.  I'm emotionally spent.  Tears readily spill these days.  I avoid people.  I see the looming dark clouds edging closer by the moment.  I know those clouds, and they are not friendly.  At times I feel as if those clouds would swallow me whole.  They have before.  They've kept me in the dark place for quite some time.  Luckily I always find my way out.  I'm trying to fight them away, but my fight is feeble, my strength spent.  I don't want to go back to that dark place.  You know one thing that keeps them at bay?  It's your hugs that you so readily give.  You are the only child in the family who will gladly,willingly, seek me out for a long cuddle.  You know how to fold your little body around mine, to fit your limbs so perfectly in the crevices of my body.  It is healing and I love it.  To me it is heavenly.  Never stop. It brings peace to my limping soul, picks me up and helps me trudge on.

Ty-Ty, together we'll make it. 


  1. Oh Mel, I am sorry I couldn't help out more. I am praying for you and Ty! You are amazing.

  2. I have yet to battle the flu. It scares me to death. I've already told my T1D Mom friends that when Ella starts vomiting, they will spend the night at my house and help me through it!

    Sounds like it was awful, but nice to get that "first" out of the way.