September 19, 2008. Like most d-parents, that day is forever burned into my memory. I'd made Rosie an appointment at the pediatrician's office, because over the last few weeks we'd noticed that something wasn't quite right. She'd been losing weight. She'd been refilling her water bottle constantly throughout the day, every day, and gulping it down. And the last couple of nights she had had accidents in bed. We knew something was wrong. I even briefly thought of diabetes, but quickly put it out of my mind, because my experience was with Type II, and, after all, my five year-old was thin and ate well. (Yeah. I had heard of Type I but did not know the differences at that time.) I told our pediatrician that I was hoping this was something simple, like a bladder infection.
Rosie and I got to the pediatrician's and I described her symptoms. They took a urine sample, and within minutes our beloved pediatrician came back in with a very serious look on her face. She explained to me that they couldn't even measure the amount of sugar in Rosie's urine, because it was so high. She hugged me and told me that Rosie had diabetes. She said to wait just a minute while she called the hospital, because Rosie needed to be admitted right away. She called them and I heard her talking to someone there, telling them in a surprised tone that Rosie was sitting up and talking- apparently with her numbers, they expected her to be unconscious. (We would later learn that Rosie was, indeed, experiencing ketoacidosis and she was treated for it in the hospital.) She made the arrangements and instructed me to get Rosie there as soon as possible. I told her I'd need to make arrangements for Rosie's little brother, and she gently stressed to me the importance of getting to the hospital as quickly as possible. That scared me.
I more or less held it together until I reached the parking lot. I dialed my cell to call my husband and completely broke down crying, trying to explain things to him between sobs. Next I called my parents- crying again- and made arrangements to drop off Rosie's little brother at their house.
Our hospital stay was much like everyone else's when diagnosed: three days of trying to cram in as much knowledge as possible of this rotten disease. Constant prodding, poking, and monitoring. Feeling like the whole world was spinning out of control.
Rosie did fine with the doctors and nurses, except when it came time to do her injections. Those, she fought with every ounce of her tiny being. Once she literally knocked me to the floor as she fought against me attempting to do an injection... I remember being shocked at her strength, and then even more worried about how I would ever handle this alone at home.
We were scared to go home, away from the safety net of the hospital. I remember DH and I leaving the kids with my parents and going grocery shopping one of those first few nights home, reading the packages of everything we could get our hands on-- we must have spent two hours in the store that night, trying to figure out this strange new world of carb counting. Knowing only that "15 carbs" was the magic number for snacks, we bought anything we found that fit that number... in those very early days, we relied heavily on prepackaged items!
So, that's our story. I don't think I've ever written it out before, and just doing so today has me crying again. (Truthfully, I can't tell this story or the story of our premature births- both kids- without crying!) Luckily, I know how the story ends... with a healthy, happy child. Some adjustments in life, some extra obstacles, some really hard days, but in the end, we're doing just fine.