2 years ago today, it was Easter Sunday. 3 of my 4 children were running around our little Texas apartment filling their Easter baskets with candy while Jada lay motionless on the couch. That scene is forever burned in my mind. I KNEW something was very wrong when she wouldn't even attempt to sit up and join in on some of the excitement. Her breathing was labored...she had the flu, so I thought we were looking at complications from the virus that had afflicted our household over the previous 10 days. I loaded up the kids, took Jeff to work, which was just a mile or so from the hospital, and took her first to an urgent care, where they wouldn't even look at her. They instructed me to take her straight to the ER. I called Jeff on the way to the ER and told him that I would keep him updated. At the ER, they immediately gave her oxygen and the next thing I know, Jeff was there. He had ran all the way from work to the hospital. The nurse gave us the initial diagnosis. She could smell the ketones and told us that she thought we would have a diagnosis of diabetes. They took her blood sugar and it was 430....with very large ketones. She was in DKA. I remember them trying to explain to me what it was and trying to understand what it all meant. I thought they would admit her there, but then they said they weren't able to take care of her there and that she would have to be transported by ambulance to Texas Childrens Hospital in downtown Houston. I had NO idea just how sick she was. So, they started an insulin drip and we waited for the Kangaroo Crew to come and get her. The Kangaroo Crew is the EMT team from Texas Children's. When they finally arrived, I knew that Jada was in good hands. They had seen little ones in DKA before and they knew what she needed and what I needed as well. At this point, Jada was in and out of conciousness.....I tried to tell myself that she was sleeping but I knew deep down that we were on the veerge of losing her. The ride to Texas Children's from Katy in the ambulance was the longest ride of my life. They wouldn't let me sit next to her....I had to ride up front and when we arrived, they took her to the PICU without me. I remember wondering if she was going to be alive the next time I saw her. When I was able to get to the 3rd floor, and they took me back to her, I was so overwhelmed. I was by myself. Jeff had taken the other kids home. We had no family....just a few new friends because we had just moved to Texas a few months before. I called Jeff to tell him that she was in the PICU and he was shocked. He had no idea how sick she was. I remember calling my mom to keep her updated and then she offered to fly down. I fell apart on the phone, because I knew that we needed help and we had no one. I shouldn't say we had no one, because the previous week, I had connected with a college friend on Facebook who I discovered lived 15 minutes from us. She ended up taking Mary Beth for the evening so that Jeff could bring the boys down to the hospital. They told us she would be in the PICU for a couple of days, but Jada stabilized quickly and 24 hours later, we had moved to the 11th floor and our intensive training in Type 1 Diabetes began.
That's our diagnosis story in a nutshell. 2 years ago, my world came to a crashing halt. I had no idea what the future held. I didn't know if I could keep her alive, but did know that I would do everything in my power to educate myself and learn how to make her feel like a normal kid. Now, she's almost 5. They told me that around 5, she would begin to really have some awareness and begin to take part in her care. Her birthday is in a month and this last week, she took on taking her own blood sugar! Can you believe that we've only wasted one test strip? It's been amazing to watch. She's also describing her lows to me....that she's shaky, dizzy, hungry....all of those things. Jada even asked me yesterday if she did something to cause her diabetes. (yeah...that was a gut wrencher!) It's like I'm seeing a whole new side of her coming out with this new awareness. 2 years ago, I didn't see this day coming. I couldn't see through to the next few hours hardly. But here we are and it's just the way our life is. Sleepless nights, lows, highs, ketones, sore fingers, shots, a pump coming (geesh..I'm tired of waiting for that approval!), and most of all, watching Jada grow into a much stronger person because of it and meeting some amazing people along the way.
I wonder where we'll be 2 years from now??