The following posts describe what we went through the first year that Kirstin was diagnosed with diabetes. Living with diabetes has changed our life. Hopefully these true stories can shed some light on what you are facing in your diabetes journey. Here is our story.
What is diabetes? Kirstin was potty trained and she started wetting the bed. I asked the doctor about it and she said that she probably regressed. Knowing Kirstin, I really didn’t think she had, but went on. I had just bought a new mattress and so she wouldn’t have an accident I would lay her on two or more comforters so not to soil the “new bed”. On occasion, she also started getting a stomach ache, but I still did not take her to the doctor. This continued for a few months. We were at her dad’s one day and she drank a large bottle of Gatorade within an hour. That afternoon, we went to a family reunion where her grandma on her dad’s side was there. It was a very hot day and we were outside. Kirstin kept wanting something to drink, she drank, water, ice whatever she could get a hold of. If she was doing this prior, I did not notice. Her grandmother asked me that day very concerned, “Does that child have diabetes?” I didn’t really know as I was unaware of what the symptoms of diabetes were and what diabetes really was.
My sisters and I were scheduled to go to Vegas the next weekend. This was the first trip I was to take without Kirstin and I was very excited. (Being a single mom many of you might know the need to get away after raising a baby) I knew my mom wouldn’t keep Kirstin with the more frequent stomach aches she had been getting. That Monday after seeing her Gma and 5 days before our “Big trip”, I took Kirstin to our family doctor. While waiting for the doctor to come in, there were pamphlets on the back of the door. One pamphlet was on diabetes and I laid it on the counter where the doctor usually sits. As usual our doctor was happy to see us and commented what great patients we were to see especially at the end of the day. I told her Kirstin’s symptoms of stomach aches, drinking water and wetting the bed. She had the Phlebotomist come in to take her blood and then we were told the diagnosis, that Kirstin had Type 1 Diabetes.
It was a shock. I told her I was scheduled to go on a trip and she informed me that would not be happening. That’s how naive I was. They got paperwork for her to go to Wichita, but I asked for somewhere in Kansas City as my sister who is a nurse lived. I made a phone call to my sister and our doctor called the hospital and talked to doctors in KC. She then prepared us for our 6 hr trip. She gave me papers and said to stop at a hospital along the way if we needed to. That comment really scared me. I called my parents and my mom started screaming. I then talked to my dad and we prepared to go. We were on the road in an hour. It was raining and raining hard. For some reason, the cop actually stopped us and told us to drive carefully because of the weather. Her dad was going to go but would have to come back immediately so knowing that my parents would go anyway, I opted for him not to go. Something I wish I would not have done. Mom drove all night in very hard pouring rain. We had to stop at one point it was raining so hard. I was very nervous. Kirstin stayed on my lap in the backseat all the way. We pulled into Children’s Mercy hospital at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. I did not leave Kirstin’s side. They started an IV on her and there was lots of screaming. It was horrible. My sisters were there as quickly as they could get there. My supporters, always there. Kirstin’s blood sugar was 800 and they slowly started insulin on her. After a week it was finally time to leave. While there we were taught lots of ways to take care of this disease and given lots of information. Lots of information that would change our lives. . .
Nighttime is probably the hardest time and probably worse for a single working parent. There are two or more times a night blood sugar checks and the constant worry of blood sugar readings. There is the honeymoon period where they have some insulin. You never know what you are doing right or wrong, the shots the learning it’s a very stressful and constant disease. There are the meters that you never know if they are right and you check them at the hospital. There are so many needles and there were nights where I would have nightmares about swallowing needles. We would have to call the doctor and nurses daily with blood sugars so they can help with insulin dosages and then having to leave a message only for them to call you back and you are not there. It would have been easier with the cell phones today. There is the endless worry of coma’s and the pain of dealing with prescription companies. It is a very big responsibility and the younger the child the harder it is. Kirstin was such a trooper through all of it. She was so trusting of her mother and never once cried over a blood sugar check or over a shot. She never once complained and to this day does not complain. Well most of the time. We also had the 3 to 6 months of doctor visits and they would take her blood. This is where she did cry and scream. Each year she got older it would get easier and then the time she didn’t cry at all. She was very proud of herself that day. Now when we get a phlebotomist that has a hard time getting her blood she laughs.