How Did We Get Here?

It started a couple weeks before the end of March of 2012. We had a lot going on at this time. My oldest daughter was pregnant and getting ready to be induced. All my kids’ birthdays were coming up and my husband’s son was visiting since he was on Spring Break from his school. My son caught some kind of stomach flu and was having a hard time getting rid of it. My daughter, Kimmy Sue, started complaining of a stomach ache and nausea. Thinking it was the same bug her brother had caught we let her stay home from school a couple of days. However, when it became a regular complaint with no vomiting and no other symptoms, we began thinking that with everything that had been going on she was just displaying some attention seeking behaviors and sent her to school. On April 2nd we had a birthday party for my son. My mother and her husband were there as was my mother in law. Kimmy Sue was sitting in her chair looking withdrawn. She said she didn’t feel good but having heard this regularly for a couple weeks now I was beginning to become aggravated. My mother mentioned that she was looking “puny” but I didn’t want my mom to encourage what I thought was Kimmy Sue’s attention seeking behavior. Later my mother in law called me on the phone and said she was really worried about Kimmy Sue. Although my mother in law lives next door, she hadn’t seen Kimmy Sue for a couple of weeks and she said she thought Kimmy Sue had lost a lot of weight since the last time she had seen her. Hearing this I thought about Kimmy Sue’s behavior over the past couple of weeks I began to reconsider my original thought that Kimmy was merely attention seeking. While giving Kim a shower I gave her a once over and noticed that I could see her bones. On Wednesday, April 4, I made an appointment with her doctor.

At the doctor Kimmy weighed below the lowest percentile of her age group. She was sleepy and pale. We told the doctor all the symptoms that she had been experiencing and the doctor did his examine. He couldn’t find anything on the surface that was wrong so he ordered some blood work to be done. The doctor told me he would have the office call by Friday with the results of the blood work but that he would call me that evening if anything out of the ordinary came up. Thinking nothing was wrong Kimmy Sue and I headed to get her favorite treat, tacos. Normally, Kimmy can eat two tacos and an order of nachos. This day, she had to force herself to finish just one taco. We then went to the mall. Easter was coming up and I needed a new dress and I wanted to get some summer clothes for Kimmy Sue. Kimmy couldn’t make it through the mall without stopping to sit down several times. We finally gave up shopping and went home. When we got home Kimmy Sue went directly to the couch and to lie down.

Later that evening my phone rang. It was the nurse from the doctor’s office. She said there was sugar in Kimmy’s urine and her blood sugar was high. She told me the doctor wanted me to take Kimmy to the hospital in a nearby city. In the back of my head I wondered why we couldn’t go to our local hospital but I was too stunned to even ask and I wasn’t even sure what was really wrong. My brain just registered that Kimmy’s blood sugar was high and that we needed to figure out why. I didn’t realize how high it was and how serious the situation really was; for some reason I thought we were going to the hospital to get a second opinion. In retrospect I suppose I should have realized it was much more than that.

At the ER we were checked in, handed a buzzer and we sat down to wait.  Kimmy Sue was extremely lethargic, leaning on me, wanting to sleep while we patiently waited.  After about a half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes, we were called back to take Kimmy’s vitals.  This was my second indication that what was going on with Kimmy Sue was more than just serious.  The check in nurse took her blood sugar.  The reading said “High”.  The nurse told us that their machine didn’t give a number when the count was higher than 500.  He said her high number would get us back to see the doctor sooner because her condition was serious.  At this point we were pretty sure we were looking at diabetes (this may seem like a “DUH” moment but if you’ve been there you know that up until you get the news you are holding out hope that there’s nothing “seriously” wrong with your child.)

After being in the waiting room for about forty-five minutes we were taken back to a room. The nurses immediately put an IV in Kimmy’s arm to get her hydrated. A few hours later they wanted to put another IV in to get some insulin into her. Unfortunately she was still so dehydrated that they couldn’t easily get the IV in. They tried about six times in her other arm but each time they would blow the vein. Finally, they got it in her foot and got her started on insulin. Through the whole incident Kimmy Sue didn’t shed one tear or offer one word of complaint despite the fact that she was being repeatedly stuck and was exhausted in every way a little girl can possibly be exhausted. We were told that Kimmy was experiencing Diabetic Ketoacidosis. This means that ketones had built up in her blood and were causing her to feel so yucky and it is very dangerous. We were in the ER for a total of 8 hours and at about 3:00 in the morning we were moved upstairs.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERAFoot IV

The next day we spent getting Kimmy Sue further stabilized. We tried to get some rest but they came in every couple of hours to test Kimmy’s blood sugar and vital signs. We really needed the rest because they informed us that Diabetes training would start the next day. We needed to be prepared.

Finally Sleep

Diabetes training consisted of learning how to test Kimmy’s blood sugar, learning the signs of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia as well as learning how to administer insulin and how to count carbohydrates. We also learned what to do in case of emergencies. They even talked about Kimmy’s ability to have children in the future – I was definitely NOT ready to think about that, ha, ha!!!

Feeling betterSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

We spent three days in the hospital and came home the day before Easter. Easter was a challenge for us since it was our first day home from the hospital and of course it is a day that we usually spend with family eating lots of food and treats. It was our first experience with having to determine how many carbohydrates were in dishes that aren’t packaged with a carb count on a label. It was also the first time Kimmy cried since the whole ordeal started. Considering she had just gotten out of the hospital and she was so brave and strong through her hospitalization I can completely understand her breakdown. I was very proud of how well she handled the whole experience.

It’s been almost two years since Kimmy was hospitalized and we got the diagnosis. Life is certainly different for us than it was two years ago but we’re learning that living with Type 1 Diabetes isn’t so very different than living a “normal” life. Kimmy Sue is still the same girl. She still enjoys the same things like going to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, singing and being a cheer leader. The only difference is that we now have to make sure she has insulin.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Olivia
    Jan 05, 2014 @ 13:24:32

    So proud of you girl! Aunt Livi loves you!

    Reply

  2. Kimmy Holz
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 00:24:38

    Thank you Livi I love you too. Tell Kate that I love her and hope to come to her b-day party!

    Reply

  3. karma
    Feb 05, 2014 @ 02:11:46

    we had some fun didn’t we? and i managed to manage your insulin shots. I just hate hurting you but I love you too much not to!

    Reply

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