Never say “it can’t get worse”

I’ve always been a firm believer in the saying “it can always get worse” and this past week was a prime example. The past 6 days has changed our lives dramatically.

Thursday Mike started talking incoherently again and I rushed him to the hospital. Dan had been throwing up for a couple of days, sporadically, so I thought “what the hell, we’re here” and had them check him as well.

Mike was put into a room and I went back out front to see how Dan was doing. Our friend Chris had driven us and was sitting out in triage with him when I found them. I followed them to his er room only mildly concerned. I thought he had a touch of stomach flu or something minor. My mind drifted, worriedly, to his father on the other side of the ER department as I tried to wait for Dans doctor to come in. Dan and I talked about his upcoming birthday party and the gifts he’d gotten that previous afternoon. His tenth birthday marred by an ER visit and the possibility of his father going back into the hospital.

I drifted between the two rooms, trying to keep up to the minute with them both while worrying about Sean who was supposed to be getting home from school within the hour. I called Chris and asked him to come get the keys to the apartment and wait till Sean got home. It was 2:15 PM.

At 4, the doctor for Mike came in and told me they would be admitting my husband. They had found clots in his lungs and they were concerned that he would have more problems if they didn’t do something soon, medication wise. I looked at Dan after the doctor left and he looked so bad. His lips were chapping quickly and he kept saying he was so thirsty. He asked them for a Popsicle and the nurse brought him one.

At 5:15, Dans doctor came in with three others and I knew the news was grave. I steeled myself for news of Mike. The nurse did a finger stick while the doctor explained to Dan and I that he was exceptionally ill. At one point the nurse spoke “545” and my heart froze. The doctor turned to me, her face grim as she spoke. They had to take Dan to another hospitals ICU. The one we were at had no room.

Everything just went numb. I looked at Dans face and swallowed hard, tears welling up in my eyes. He smiled a little painfully and said “happy freakin birthday, huh mom?” I took a deep breath and shut down my emotions somehow, though I felt like my world was coming apart at the seams.

After the dr left, I went to tell my husband, who was actually looking a little better. His worry was evident the moment I told him what was happening and I broke down, allowing myself a quick cry before heading back to my son. They were waiting for a bed to open up for my husband before taking him upstairs.

When I got back to Dans side, he was complaining about his lips hurting. They were horribly chapped and getting worse, it seemed, by the minute. I noticed they had opened the IV to full and had brought an insulin pump into the room while I was gone. Dans hands were like ice as I took them in mine and talked to him. I got him a warm blanket and wet a paper towel for his lips, fighting fears I’d not had in many years.

For the second time in less than a month, I began to pray. Silently, while Dan rested, I prayed for help. I knew, from the doctor, that he was really sick and I just couldn’t do everything asked of me without SOMETHING. I was still afraid I’d lose Mike and now they were talking about ICU for my baby.

I cursed inwardly, growing more anxious waiting for the ambulance. I looked at the clock every five seconds, I think. By 6 PM, the ambulance was there for Dan and they took him in to see his father before we left. I had no clue if I’d ever see my husband again but I had to go with our son. I kissed him and told him to get better then followed the ambulance techs out of the hospital.

They were putting Dan in the back when I noticed that the day had turned to night. I climbed into the front of the ambulance and waited while they got Dan situated and we headed toward Childrens Hospital, across town. I made minor small talk with the driver, about what I don’t remember. Sometime during the ride I called my sister and told her what was happening.

Before I knew it, we were at the hospital and going inside their ER. I noticed, right away, that something had been added to my sons IV. They had a different pump on him I’d never before seen and I asked what it was. They told me it was a temporary insulin pump and that they could add other things to it as necessary. We got into the room and, after the initial flurry of activity, were told we had to wait for the ICU bed.

During a moment of quiet, Dan broke down and asked me if he was going to die. He was so scared!I took him in my arms and I told him that he wasn’t going to die, that he COULDN’T because I said so. What else was I supposed to say? The doctor had already expressed her amazement at him still being awake.

“I’ve never seen someone so sick NOT in a coma”

After moving up to ICU, they told me what exactly was wrong with him. Ketoacidosis, a life threatening diabetic condition. With that one word, I knew our lives were changed. My baby is diabetic.

Stage 1 juvenile diabetes. I’d heard about it, from my childhood when my cousin was diagnosed with it. I’ve walked for a cure, donated time and money for a cure but NEVER thought it would touch my life so personally. Now it’s here and, damnit it’s not fair.

Ugh, before I start ranting, which I’m sure I will do soon enough, I’ll finish with some good news

Mike, my dear, sweet husband, is home and resting. They have him on meds to thin the blood and get rid of the clots. He’s adjusting to not being able to play Superman anymore. He keeps telling me how strong I am.

I wish I COULD break down. I’M the only one that can take care of the shots since Mike’s blind. Dan needs mommy strong but GOD if they could see how truly terrified I am and how bad I wish I COULD be the weak one…

Dan and I, along with Sean (who I allowed to skip school) went for our second of many visits to the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood on Monday. I’m so grateful for these wonderful people! They have been so patient and understanding with all my questions. Thank you, Dr. Wadwa for being there for Dan. You are a Godsend!


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