The hardest day of my life: Diabetes diagnosis

We were on our way home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. While we were driving I couldn’t stop thinking about something my mother-in-law had said during our visit. She’d made a comment about how much our son had been drinking and suggested he might be diabetic.

I don’t know why, but I felt offended. I remember thinking, “how could she say that about our child? About us as parents?”

I decided to mention it again to my husband and see what he thought. “Do you think Jordan could really have diabetes?” I asked, “should we take him to the doctor to get checked out?”

He responded with, “it couldn’t hurt. It’s just a urine test.”

I thought they were both crazy. My son wasn’t drinking too much. He was acting normal. There was nothing WRONG with my child. But we went to the doctor anyway because like my husband said, it couldn’t hurt.

When we told the doctor our concerns, he looked at Jordan and said he was likely just an active toddler and nine times out of ten it’s nothing to worry about. He took a urine sample anyway and stepped out of the room. When he came back, I knew something was wrong. He told us his urine had tested positive for sugar and that we had to take him to the emergency room immediately.

I felt sick. I was scared. I was looking for somewhere to throw up. I knew nothing about diabetes; I didn’t even know there were different types. I thought only older people who were out of shape or had unhealthy diets could be diabetic.

We packed up our 2 year old and 7 week old baby and headed to the hospital. They did a blood sugar test in the emergency room. Jordan’s blood sugar was off the charts. The machine they were using on him only went to 30. All they could tell was that he was higher than that. I was told 4-7 is normal. My mind was racing. I was panicking, what were we going to do? Was this going to shorten his life? Had we done something wrong? I mean, sure we let him have treats sometimes but… DIABETES?!

They brought us to the back and gave him an injection of insulin. Since he had never had insulin before, the doctors were not sure how much to give him. They gave him too much. His skin went ghost white and he started shaking in the bed. I was beside myself. Holding our baby and watching my little boy in that giant hospital bed. I felt so helpless, I had no idea what to do or what was happening.

The doctors were prepared and gave him some juice to drink. Once they got him back to a good blood sugar level, we were moved up to the children’s ward. We met a pediatrician, an endocrinologist, a nutritionist, and many nurses. They were all very helpful but we were bombarded with information, it was quite the whirlwind. Nothing sank in for the first couple of days.

The first concern I had was that he wouldn’t live a long, healthy life. I could barely get the question out, afraid that somehow letting the words leave my mouth would make it true. They assured us that when diabetes is managed properly, you can live a long, healthy life. I realized that I knew nothing about this disease that my son now had. It was incredibly overwhelming to want to do everything possible for my son but having no idea what to do or where to start.

I focused on strange things. It was going to be his birthday in less than three months. Would he be able to have a “normal” party? What about Halloween? And Christmas? I felt like I was being judged when I asked about these things. They were trying to teach us how to care for our son and his new condition in our day to day lives and I was asking about holidays that were months away.

I was in shock about the whole thing. I had been sure, just hours ago, that we were going to go to the doctor and he was going to tell us everything was normal and that we were worrying over nothing. Instead, I’m in the hospital with my son, being told that his disease is completely manageable, but also that it could cause him to get extremely sick, go into a coma or even die if we do not manage it properly. Needles and blood are going to be a part of his day to day life from now on and he will be making regular visits to the hospital for the rest of his life.

We stumbled through the day, learning as we went. We made phone calls to our parents and other close family and friends. I was in a fog, barely distinguishing one moment from the next. We were told the hospital only allowed for one parent to spend the night with Jordan. As his mother, I wanted to be that parent. But, we also had an infant who was breastfeeding. It made more sense for my husband to stay at the hospital and for me to go home with the baby.

I went home with my daughter to an empty apartment. I called a friend and talked about what was going on. When the baby went to sleep, I broke down. Too much had happened. I couldn’t hold it in. I cried myself to sleep that night wishing none of it was real.

I have learned a lot about Diabetes since that day. As with most things in life, it gets easier. There are still times I wish it had never happened. I think of how much easier it would be on all of us if he didn’t have diabetes. He’s an amazing, smart, funny little man and we’re dealing with it together, one day at a time, as best we can.

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