Hannah’s Diagnosis

January 12, 2009

I look back over the short time before her diagnosis and I wonder what I could have done differently. As a parent you like to think you’re fairly tuned into your kids, you know when they are sick and more importantly, you know how to make it all better.

During Christmas break, both kids were at their dads that year and Hannah, who was ten at the time,  spent most of the break not feeling really well. The reports I was getting pretty much convinced me she had the flu. When she came home though, one thing that struck me was how skinny she looked. She’d had a growth spurt so I was blaming the weight loss on that and her having the flu for the past week. Russ was in town and I remember him saying that he wanted to force feed her a plate of mashed potatoes every time he hugged her.

Hindsight is 20/20 they say and looking back on it, all the symptoms were there. Drinking a lot of water, weight loss, attitude and sleeping a lot. I made a doctors appointment for her on the 12th since we couldn’t get her to shake this flu we were convinced she had. The voice in the back of my head kept insisting it was bigger than that and I was starting to get scared. I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes and didn’t realize what symptoms to look for. I was actually thinking perhaps she had mono but the swollen glands weren’t present and she wasn’t complaining of a sore throat.

Russ flew back home on that Sunday (the 11th) and I took Hannah to our family doctor on the morning of the 12th. I will never forget that day. Full blown ketoacidosis, mg/dl of 589 and all Hannah could relate to was Nick Jonas. She had no real idea of just how serious this was at first but it started to scare her when we were hustled out the back door of the clinic as Dr. Lawrence quickly explained that I was to take her to the ER and that he was calling ahead to alert them. Home was literally two blocks in the opposite direction and he advised me to not waste time grabbing clothes, go straight to the ER.

I have so much to be thankful for. I’m actually thankful I was laid off at that time, I could spend every moment with her in the hospital. I am thankful for the friends that came to visit her and to play endless hours of scrabble. The nurses that fought to take care of the little red headed rock star. The amazing family support and the entire staff of the peds wing that listened, taught and offered Kleenex when it occasionally all became to much and I’d get emotional.

Hannah never shed a tear. She took it in stride, she learned to give herself shots and the only time she came close to complaining was late on the first night at the hospital. She and I shared the bed at night, she needed snuggle time and it was a bit tough around all the tubing and machinery. Heart monitor, oxygen monitor and an IV and  we were woken up on the hour. Every hour was a finger poke and every 2nd hour was a full blood draw. Somewhere deep in the night staff decided a second IV was necessary since we couldn’t get her numbers to drop. She didn’t cry, but I did hear her whimper a bit and when the lights were turned out, she snuggled up tight and I heard her quietly say, “this hasn’t been my best night ever.” What do you say to that other than to agree?

Hannah waiting for her insulin to arrive before she could eat.

I feel like we’ve lived a lifetime since that day. One week in the hospital, one car accident on the way to the next hospital, an amazing Hannah growth spurt of 7 inches and about 25 lbs. A vast amount of education, knowledge, patience and teachings. New friends and a new way of looking at the world.

A happy Hannah trying to pick a souvenir during a San Francisco vacation, August, 2010.

She’s a different kid. She is mature, articulate and incredible with managing her own care.  I get a bit overwhelmed when I stop to think just how we’ve all pulled together and gotten through it as a family. I love my children, I love my family and my fiance and I’m thankful every day.

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