Not a Dry Eye

by Leighann on November 15, 2010

I have only had a few moments when I have been truly scared in the past two and a half years.

The first time was the night of my daughter’s diagnosis.

We had a 200 mile drive to seek care at a hospital with a pediatric endocrinologist. That afternoon as we departed I was told that if Q began vomiting, not to go to admitting, but to go straight to the emergency room because she would need care immediately.

When the Gateway Arch was finally in our sights we came to a standstill in bumper to bumper traffic above the Mighty Mississippi. Q looked at me and told me that she wanted to throw up. There was nothing I could do to make traffic move.

As we crossed into Missouri we exited traffic onto I-70 as two different people had told us to. We knew almost instantly this was a mistake. The detour cost us half an hour or more as we drove the length of Kingshighway passing building after building with bars on the windows.

We eventually got to the hospital and she never threw up.

The second time I was scared was her first real sick day.

I was home that day. My mother usually takes care of the kids in the daytime while they are not in school. But that day my parents took a day off from childcare to take a day trip out of town.

She sat next to me on a barstool, turned to say something to me, and threw up her breakfast.

Her blood sugar was high and I somehow managed to get her to pee into the training potty to check her urine for ketones, which were present.

I called St. Louis. I called our pediatrician. Both said to take her to the emergency room.

But I had a napping one-year-old.

I called my husband. No answer.

I paged my husband. No return call.

I called. I paged. I called. I paged.

I became frantic. How could I get her to the emergency room with a baby in tow? She needed me.

My husband didn’t have his phone turned on and he was working in a building where the pager didn’t work.

Now every time I call him and he does not answer his phone or when he doesn’t return a page right away I tense. Because what if I needed him right now as I had that day?

The third time I have been truly scared was last week.

It had been an ordinary day. It took a turn for the worse. What happened blindsided me.

I’m by the numbers. I’m by the book. I usually think I have a handle on things, as much as you ever can.

That night I placed the red Glucagon box on Q’s nightstand and I was afraid I was going to have to use it.

I wasn’t going to share this story with you quite yet. I have a few posts formulated in my head, some of it already written. But I’m still mulling it over in my mind and my heart.

But then tonight after the kids were bathed and put to bed I flipped open the laptop for a few minutes of downtime and writing, as I do every night, I read a post that made last week’s events come to the surface.

No matter how scared I was, I did what I knew to do, I called when I needed to call, and I sought medical attention when nothing I did was working.

George Simmons and his son wrote a song for World Diabetes Day called “That’s My Type.” It’s about us Type 3’s, the caregivers. You really need to visit George’s blog to read the entire set of lyrics and the backstory, but the lyric that hit me hard was:

Even though I know I’m prepared
There’s a part of me that is so scared

And I cried. And cried.

You’ll have to stay tuned for the details of our experience (don’t worry, Q is fine now). But in the meantime watch. I’d be surprised if there’s a dry eye in the house.

NaBloPoMo 2010Read all of my NaBloPoMo 2010 posts.

Glucagon Disclosure: Eli Lilly advertises on D-Mom Blog but did not ask me to write this post or mention their product.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Scott K. Johnson November 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Diabetes can sure drag us over the coals sometimes can’t it? I hate that we experience so much fear on top of everything else. This was a great story of a few very scary times, and I appreciate your bravery in sharing it with us.

And the song from George and his son? What can I say. It is just so incredibly moving. Again. 🙂


2 Nicole November 15, 2010 at 11:10 pm

wonderful post! our first sick day with D was a nightmare, so alone not knowing what to do and it’s your child’s life, scary does not even cut it. I’m glad to hear Q is ok and doing better 🙂

Wonderful song!


3 Wendy November 15, 2010 at 11:57 pm


I’m so happy to know you guys are home safe, on this side of the fiasco.

I will be waiting for your update — when you’re ready….God bless.


4 George November 16, 2010 at 12:31 am

That part of the song is there because my son said that as much as he knows, he is terrified to have to use his knowledge in an emergency.

I have never thought about that before but being a type 3 is so difficult in that way. There is only so much you can do and I cannot imagine doing what D-parents do. You are awesome.

I am sorry for all you have to deal with but I am thankful that you are a D-mom because you do so much.

🙂 ((((HUGS))))


5 Amy Scheer November 16, 2010 at 7:56 am

My son was diagnosed in August of this year. When I’m online and anywhere near diabetes information I hadn’t been seeking, I kind of shut one eye and squint, because I’m not quite sure I’m ready to face anything more. Leighann, I appreciate that you did the squinting for me, yet let us in on your pain; we’ll be ready for you when you’re ready to share more details.


6 Allison Porter November 16, 2010 at 9:57 am

Crying helps me sometimes (as long as I don’t get sunk in it). Remembering I am not alone on this path helps me too. Thank you for sharing your life, process, and caring.


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