Part Two: The Hospital and Nick Jonas
P: So I have i-ah-beat-ees forever?
Me: Yes, you will have it forever.
P: Momma, what forever mean?
And so, we were in the hospital. Two weeks after leaving the maternity ward with a new tiny human (more on that later), we were in the pediatric ward, this time with a slightly less tiny one. Jim and P checked in at about 9:30 p.m., and at about 10:45, P received the first of the countless insulin injections of her lifetime.
I was home with O and Q that first night, and when I heard O start to stir in her bed the next morning, I crawled in with her and we snuggled while I told her where dad and P were and what was going to happen over the next few days. I told her I was scared and it was ok if she was scared too, but that everything was going to be okay. I hope I was more convincing than I felt. Luckily, my dad was able to come up and take care of O, (shout out to grandpa and Libby), so that she was able to keep her routine intact as much as possible. He also helped take care of me, forcing me to eat something when I came home from the hospital that first night and gathering up all of our laundry and dropping it off for Fluff and Fold, so that everyone would at least have clean underwear. (Shout out for clean underwear.)
Considering that we were there to receive a life-changing diagnosis about a chronic condition for our preschooler, the hospital stay was pretty uneventful. The doctors were wonderful. The nurses were amazing. Everybody—diabetic educators, nutritionists, child-life specialists, who we encountered, met us with compassion and respect. When my eyes would well up, some of them even cried with me. All of them told me that Nick Jonas has type 1 diabetes. No joke. All of them. Even the janitor.
They also told us how early we caught P’s diabetes. They told us that most kids come in dehydrated and in ketosis, and end up needing time in the ICU with an IV. P was basically fine. Her blood sugars were through the roof and she didn’t feel great, but after that first shot of insulin, she was ready to come home. The next two days in the hospital were really long for Jim and me. We had to undergo a crash course in pediatric diabetic care, learning how to measure and administer syringes of insulin, how to accurately count carbs and monitor for signs of hypoglycemia, all while nursing a two-week-old in the corner of her hospital room and furiously googling things like pumps, A1C, sick-day protocol and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) on our iPhones.
And then, home.
With eight bottles of insulin. With 10 boxes of syringes. With our sweet, tiny P, who had to miss her first ballet recital because her stupid immune system decided to attack her dumb pancreas (more on dumb pancreases later).
I’m constantly a confusing combination of grateful and angry. I am so grateful that we have the resources and the technology to take care of this, to be the pancreas P deserves, and in the exact same moment, I am so angry that she has to live like this, or some version of this, for the rest of her life, our new normal.
I’m trying to breathe through the anger. I’m trying to hold on to the grateful. Some days are better than others.
Still not sure how today ends.