Saturday, September 5, 2009

Diabetes 101

It was a Wednesday afternoon. When we walked in, the nurse took us to a conference room. Whew--no examination room, no paper liner on the table, no tiny sink or stool with wheels. Just a table and 4 chairs. It wasn't anything intimidating for a 5 year old. And there we sat from 2 p.m. until it got dark outside. I don't even know when we left. All I knew was that my mom had my 2 year old and we had a sick daughter.

We learned A LOT about diabetes that afternoon. We learned about cells, blood, sugars, the pancreas, how to give shots, how to check glucose, what to do when, and what to do where. It was information overload. I remember thinking that this was more information than I had taken in during all 4 years of college.

Then it was time. The doctor wanted ME to give my child a shot. He wanted ME to stick a needle in her smooth tanned skin. I washed my hands. I prepared the insulin. I screwed on the needle. I wiped down her skin with alcohol.

Now, we don't have cats, but I've heard that it is almost impossible to get a cat into a toilet. Why anyone would want to put a cat down into a toilet bowl is beyond me, but nonetheless, I've heard it's tough. Supposedly the cat clings onto the side for dear life, all the while scratching, biting, hissing, and screaming. Clinging to your arm, so as to not get wet from the water.

Administering this shot, was like trying to get a cat in the toilet. Once I held up that needle, we had to catch Maddie. Once we had her in our grasp, we had to physically hold down her arms and legs. We had to hold her still, because she was NOT going to let us near her with a needle in our hands. After the even-keeled doctor and nurse tried for about 10 minutes to talk her into letting us stick her, Shawn stepped in and held her. When she wouldn't allow him to hold her down, the doctor, who is probably 5 feet tall and in his 60's, grabbed Maddie, while the nurse held her arms and sat on her legs.

I had a tiny window of opportunity to stick her teeny little tummy with this stupid needle. I just went for it. I held my breath, pinched up her skin, and let her have it. I was sweating, my eyes were burning, the lump in my throat was painful, I was nauseous, and I was shaking. Shawn was as white as a ghost and plastered up against the wall in the corner.

The sound that came out of that child's mouth was like nothing that I had ever heard before. Not only was she being held down by 2 total strangers, but she was getting a shot in her stomach, and it was being administered by her mother. The person that promised that she would never let anything happen to her. The person who loved and hugged and kissed her. The one that held her and rubbed her head when she was upset. The one that picked her up when she skinned her knee and carried her inside. The one that sat up all night when she was sick. Hopefully she would forgive me for this.

When it was over, I was relieved, Maddie was an angry mess, the doctor and nurse were stunned, and Shawn was still quiet and pale. What a relief that it was over!! Now, I only had to do that exact same thing 6-8 times a day for the rest of her life. Oh, and by the way, I only have to check her blood sugar 12 times a day until we get this under control.

As we were leaving the dark and vacant doctors office late on that Wednesday evening, the doctor announced, "I'll see you at 9 in the morning. Be prepared to stay until at least 6 p.m. Oh, and you'll come in all day on Friday, too."

We had a trip to the beach planned for that weekend. Shawn was going on a missions trip the week after that. What in the world were we going to do? I don't know if I can handle this. I guess I don't have much of a choice.

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