SEPTEMBER 18, 2006
This is the day...that life as I knew it....changed. Prior to 2:30pm this very day...I had two healthy children. Bridget (our daughter) had just started kindergarten and Joe (our son) had just started attending pre-school 3 mornings a week. Prior to this we had always had one or both children at home. Dave (my husband) and I had been working on opposite schedules in order to care for the kids. Dave had worked days Monday through Friday and I was working weekend nights (12 hour shifts in the Surgical and Pediatric ICU as a Registered Nurse).

I had a cold on THIS day and I was "enjoying" my first "sick day" without children.  With a quiet house my mind started wandering; on THIS day I was thinking about something my husband had mentioned to me a couple of weeks prior.  "Joe seems to be thirsty all the time.  Have you noticed?", he asked.   I had noticed, but didn't want to be an over-reactive ICU nurse mom so I blew it off.  Joe had been gulping down bath water nightly (I know gross) and drinking two or more cup fulls of water prior to bedtime.  Also, I had observed in addition to increased thirst our son's diapers were extremely heavy.

So, the nurse in me added up the water I could account for in his daily consumption and it ended up being over 48 ounces. I called the Pediatricians office and ran this figure by the triage nurse.  She exclaimed "That is a lot for a 3 year old.  We will want to see him today!" We scheduled an appointment for 4:30pm and then she called me back stating they wanted to see him earlier (this scared me...I still thought I may be over-reacting and it was just my imagination). So I went to pick-up Joe from school and his teacher reported that they had found Joe in the bathroom splashing water from the faucet into his mouth.  I vividly remember the hair standing-up on the back of my neck.  I realized something was terribly wrong.  This was not just my imagination working overtime.

When we arrived to the pediatrician's office they "dipped" his urine. The doctor was in the exam room with us asking basic questions.  I then asked, "he is alright? Right? The urine checked out OK?" The doctor responded, "I am sorry, Reyna his urine has sugar and ketones .  I have a call into the endocrinologist at the hospital." We were then told that we needed to have Joe admitted to the hospital.  Young children need close monitoring when they are newly diagnosed with type 1 and have ketones.

 Dave (my husband) describes this experience the BEST when he states "It was like drinking water from a firehose." This is how he explains the education that must take place in an 8-12 hour period for families to be able to take their newly diagnosed type 1 child home safely. This is how it must be. There is so much information to cover.  If you don't do it this way, you could be in the hospital for days to absorb this crucial information:

1: What is a glucometer?
2: What is control solution?
3: What is a test strip?
4: How do you calibrate the glucometer?
5: How to test your child's blood sugar?
6: How do you operate a lancing device?
7: How do you change the needle of the lancing device?
8: What is a normal blood sugar level?
9: How do you treat a low blood sugar?
10: What is a fast acting carbohydrate?
11: What is Glucagon?
12: What is Insulin?
13: How do I give a shot?
14: How to meal plan?
15: How to read a nutrition label?
16: How to carb count?
17: What are ketones?

This is just a scratch on the surface; nevermind that you have a 3 year-old that you need to do all of the above to AND his sibling to explain all of the above to AND that you need to somehow take all this information you just received and educate the school your child is attending and hope they are willing to help out. I am extremely fortunate that I am a nurse and was familiar with many of these topics. I must say, even as an ICU nurse, I had NO idea what my family's life would be like once we returned home...

  • The Irony of Time, please click here to see how I view our 4 years with "D".  I think it is fairly relevant to any grief we go through in this life.  HUGS.