I can still hear the doctors words": "We are almost out of the woods." Out of the woods? I did not realize we were in the woods. At least that is what I was thinking.
It was Friday, March 22, 1996 and we had been at the hospital for just less than 24 hours. They told me my daughter was in a state of ketoacidosis. "Keto what?" I asked myself. When I look up this word in any diabetes reference book it explains the next phase of ketoacidosis as possible coma and death. I am sure glad I did not understand the full meaning of the term then.
I was told my 15 month old little girl had Type 1 diabetes. I knew absolutely nothing about this disease. To tell you the truth, I did not even realize it was a disease. All the questions of where, why, how, came to mind. What did I do wrong, what should I have done that I did not.
The next 5 days were terrifying and overwhelming. We spent those days in the hospital learning to give finger pokes and needles, counting starches, fruits, proteins, fats etc. I could not imagine giving my daughter a needle once in her life let alone twice a day. I remember the first finger poke. My husband and I practiced on each other and that was tough enough. Watching her lie in the hospital bed with an IV of insulin and then having to poke her at least 4 times a day to get her sugar levels was exhausting. After the IV came out, between the doctors, nurses and mom and dad the needles and finger pokes still came at her. Mom and Dad having no experience at all in giving needles. Again, we practiced on each other. Each passing day got a bit easier with these pokes and needles but I would have to say that just because it is easier it does not mean I enjoy it.
Meghan and I have had many emotional moments together over these issues, but I realize I have to be the strong one for my daughter's sake. I tell my daughter on many occasions that if I could do anything to take away the diabetes I would, but that is the way God made us and we must accept it. My goal is to teach her to have respect for herself, her body, take care of her diabetes and follow the regiment (needles, finger pokes, diet, exercise etc.) that will be required of her for her entire life. I know that if I lead a good example and teach her well she can have a healthy, happy and successful life.
It has been almost 2 years now, Meghan turned 3 December 27, 1997. My little girl is growing well and doing fine. To me, the most beautiful girl in the world. I still hate giving needles and finger pokes but it is, and must be a way of life in our household. I am still terrified of the many complications that come along with diabetes but I cannot focus on these. I am thankful every day for Meghan (before and after her diagnosis of diabetes), my supportive husband, family and friends. Lastly, when the little things in work and play go wrong and I find myself stressed and overwhelmed, I can attempt to quickly recover as I know there are a lot more important issues in life: Health and Happiness!!
Jackie receives e-mail at Jackie.Thompson@iplenergy.com.
Original posting: 5 Mar 98
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