|Daniel and Amy|
I have four amazing children, two of whom still live at home and two who have grown up and moved out. It was nearly three years ago when our eldest, Lorah-Kelly got married to her high school sweetheart, Samuel. It was also around this time that we noticed that something was wrong with our son, Daniel who was 7 years old. He seemed fit and well and nothing seemed out of the ordinary except that he was drinking unusual amounts of water. It got so bad that he had to get up during the night several times to have a drink and of course go to the toilet. So after about a week of this I decided it best to go see a doctor even though it seemed like a silly symptom to go to the doctor for.
Everything from the doctors appointment is a bit of a surreal haze and even two years and nine months on, I can remember the shock as if it were yesterday. The doctor did a urine test and afterwards looked gravely concerned and called the hospital. Daniel was sent over as soon as possible and we were told to be prepared for him to stay overnight. He didn’t say what was wrong. Upon arriving at the hospital Daniel was seen immediately and had blood tests. I don’t recall exactly what happened or the order of events, all I remember is that his blood sugar was 33 (normal is between 4 – 7). They said they were surprised that he looked as well as he did and was not in a coma. He was that ill!
Daniel was admitted to hospital and we spend the next week at his bedside learning about type 1 diabetes, watching him crying as he had his finger pricked and blood taken often during the day and night. It was heart wrenching. Eric and I were in shock. After a week of excellent education by the NHS diabetic team, we were expected to start caring for him. They assured us that he would not be allowed home until they felt confident that we were able to manage his blood tests and insulin injections. We had to learn how to count carbohydrates, check his blood sugar levels and give him 4 to 6 injections a day. The severity of the situation was heavily impressed upon us and we were reminded that if his blood sugars went too high or too low he could die. It seemed every 5 minutes we were reminded that it was a life threatening life long disease that could not be cured ever.
Eric and I were exhausted from being in hospital, little sleep coupled with a lot of worry and uncertainty. We reached a point where we just wanted our family back home all together so we could get some sense of normality back into our life. Although it was clear life would never be the same again we craved some sort of routine. Each day we were asked if we were ready to give Daniel his injections. In the past Eric has passed out when he saw me have an injection during labour with Amy, I could not see him ever coping with this. I thought I would be fine but when they put the insulin pen in my hand I burst out crying. There was no way I could ever inject my son, or so I thought.
Much to my surprise Eric took the pen and gave Daniel his injection. I asked Eric how he managed to do it as I simply couldn’t and he said that he knew that if he didn’t, Daniel would not be able to come home. The nurses kept reassuring me that things would get better and giving the injections would become easier. Although I believed them and knew it was true I couldn’t see how. Eric became highly competent in caring for Daniel and so he was allowed home. I struggled. I couldn’t do the injections. I couldn’t prick his finger to test his blood. I was a mess. Shock, confusion and tiredness took over.
I will continue our story and our journey in future posts. The past few years have been incredibly difficult and today I make the decision to share our story, what we have learned and how we are coping. Daniel will even write his version of the story too and hopefully I can get Eric to also. I know there are others out there struggling with the same thing and I hope that somehow sharing our story will be helpful and comforting for them. For those of you who do not have this particular struggle, you may find it useful for when you meet someone with diabetes or someone with a diabetic child. I had no idea how ignorant I was about diabetes until we were hit with it. I would also like to look at faith, healing and medicine so there is a lot more to come.
Please chat to me if you have diabetes, are supporting someone with diabetes or just have questions in general about illness and/or healing. Let’s stick together as this is a terrible illness but we believe in a God who heals.