Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our New Life

We're home! Whew! What a whirlwind! We got to leave the hospital one day early because Ross is so awesome, and Edward and I seem to be quick learners. I just want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers as well as phone calls. Let me start from the beginning.

Last week (only 9 days ago), Ross started telling me how tired he was and was complaining that he had no energy. I honestly just kind of pushed it off as getting over Easter weekend. We had just made a two day trip to Memphis and back, filled with lots of stops. We had a weekend of late nights and irregular meals. And of course Easter is filled with candy. I told him we would just keep an eye on it. Ross is my kid that is always outside shooting baskets, jumping on the trampoline, hitting baseballs, etc. So, when he just felt like staying inside all week, I knew he really was tired.

Then Friday night he kept telling me how thirsty he was. He kept asking for drinks. Ping! That was when diabetes first entered my mind. Again, I knew I would just keep an eye on him. And as I thought about it more, I remembered him getting up several times during the night to use the restroom that week - not normal for Ross.

Saturday morning he woke up, and I was STARTLED by his appearance. As strange as it sounds, my normally thin little guy looked absolutely skeletal to me. And this was just basically overnight. I really started getting concerned at that point, and I voiced my concerns to Edward for the first time. We got online that night, and I was pretty sure Type 1 Diabetes was what we were looking at, although I didn't want to get myself too worked up at that point. I'm not much of a worrier, so I thought I would make a doctor's appointment first thing Monday morning. Until then, we would just keep on living.

At my parents' house on Sunday I weighed Ross. He had lost 5 pounds. That was 14% of his weight! Now, in all honesty we hadn't weighed him since the end of November. However, being his Mommy, I know that the weight loss was just that week.

Thankfully, our family physician's office got him in at 9:30 Monday morning. I gave the nurse all the symptoms, and she said that our doctor would most likely want a urine sample. Ross gave it, then the nurse came in and said the doctor was in the all, but before she came in she wanted to get a blood sugar reading. At that moment, I knew exactly what our doctor would say when she walked in the room. And that is what happened about three minutes later. She came in and very sweetly but matter-of-factly told Ross, "I'm sorry you had to get a finger stick. And I'm sorry, you have a disease called Type 1 Diabetes. Blah blah blah, and you're going to have to give yourself about three shots a day in your stomach...." At that point I wanted to scream, "WAIT! Let's let this sink in a little before you tell him about that!" Oh well. We really love our doctor, but I didn't want her to tell him that part just yet. I was watching his face as she was talking, and I could tell he was stunned. The doctor told us her receptionist would set up an appointment to see the specialists at a pediatric hospital in the city. She was on hold for a while, so she sent us home and told us she would call us with the appointment time.

As we were walking out to the car I put my arm around Ross and asked him how he felt. At that time he broke down. I asked him if he was more upset that it was a disease or that he had to give himself shots? He said because it was a disease. I told him if he was to get a disease, this is the one we want because we can control it. It's not cancer. It's not leukemia. We can control this.

I got home and called Edward. After we hung up, I got a call from the receptionist telling me that we needed to pack a bag for 3-4 days, and it was urgent that we come up right away and report to the ER. At that point I felt a little more anxious, but I knew it would be okay.

Fast forward when we got there. He was still feeling so, so weak and tired. The I.V. was the hardest part of the whole stay with him. We were told his blood sugar range should be 80 - 150. When we arrived his was at 447! He quickly got some insulin, and we were absolutely astonished at how quickly he became more like the normal Ross! He felt so much better within 30 minutes!

I won't go into every detail of our stay, but overall it was wonderful. The staff there is amazing, and so helpful. We basically had to stay for the three days, of course to help get his blood sugars where they need to be, but also for us to learn how we need to live now. We called it diabetes college. We learned so much. It's still overwhelming, but I am so confident that we will do well with this new way of life. We've learned how to count the carbs to determine the amount of insulin he will need before each meal. We've learned how to check his blood sugar with the finger pricks and administer the injections. It's still really hard for me to give my own child a shot. Ross has even been giving himself injections. And can I just say what a cool kid he is! He is amazing!! He has not fussed or whined or cried once about the blood checks or the injections! He doesn't even flinch when he gets them! He's a stud!

He will be getting at least a total of four injections per day. He gets three, quick-acting insulin doses before each meal, and he gets one long-lasting dose before bed. Shortly he will be getting them with small snacks between meals if the snacks have a certain number of carbs. We are to keep in contact with the endocrinologist daily for the next two weeks, then we will return to clinic. After that we will be in contact daily with the diabetes nurses, and two weeks we'll have another clinic. After that, we'll return every three months.

Talking to a cousin

Ross played Wii, XBox 360, PlayStation 2, air hockey, pinball, basketball, watched movies, played his DS, took walks, read magazines, etc. He cracked us up because he kept saying, "Everybody back home is thinking, 'Poor Ross!', but I'm here having so much fun!!" He also kept saying, "I don't feel like I'm in a hospital. I feel like I'm in a hotel!"
He got lots of flak from the staff for wearing his Yankees gear!

He wore his own clothes the entire time. He had the option of wearing these p.j.'s, but he didn't care to wear something that said, "tired little tiger." :)

And I had to include this charmer. Of course Edward and I wanted to stay with Ross the entire time. We sat on this nice, big couch during the first evening. When Edward unfolded it that night for bed, it was pretty much the size of a twin bed! So we shared a measly little blanket and slept on opposite ends of the "bed." Oh, it was funny. Have you ever seen Willy Wonka (the original)? Do you remember the scene where all four of Charlie's grandparents shared a bed? That's how I felt!! I kept calling Edward "Grandpa Joe." :)

Anyway, this has been a supper long post. Sorry! We all have great attitudes about this. We can do it! Do you know what has been the most surprising information to us? We don't have to change a thing about Ross' diet! He can eat anything we can eat, we just have to give him more insulin if he will be eating more carbs. Now, we feel like this is a good starting place for our whole family to eat healthier. This condition (we'd rather call it that than a disease) just requires more planning and balancing, and who couldn't benefit from that.