April 17, 2014

Hawaii, 2014 (part 2)

Our second day was kind of rainy, so we skipped out on our plans to go on a 4-wheeling adventure. Ryan and I were sharing a room with the girls, and in those close quarters I had noticed that Ella was always asking for water and woke up a few times during the night to go to the bathroom. We had recently had her well-child visit, and she had only gained a few ounces in a year. I thought the worried Pediatrician was probably getting the better of me, but the idea of her having diabetes crossed my mind more than once. I knew I was going to continue to worry about it for the rest of the trip, and we weren't doing anything that day anyway, so I called the hotel doctor (who knew such a thing existed!) and arranged for a lab to check her urine for glucose. Throughout the 14 years I've been in medicine, there have been many times when I've worried that I (or a loved one) have some crazy disease, and it always turns out fine. So I wasn't that worried. But I did have a dream the night before that we had Ella tested and it came back positive. So I was a little on edge. But not enough to keep me from taking a long nap in the hotel after we came back from the lab.

Around 3 pm, the hotel doctor called me back to let me know that Ella's urine had 1000+ glucose in it. I immediately knew what this meant--she had Type 1 diabetes. I was alone in our room when I found out, and went across the hall to Doug and Janet's room to let everyone know. I started to break down a little as I envisioned Ella's (and our) future. One filled with carb counting, glucose checks, insulin and careful monitoring of food intake. Ryan helped bring me back to the present--one in which my little girl did not need a weepy mother. Ryan gave Ella a sweet blessing, but I was still a little overwhelmed to really hear what he said. Janet remembers him saying that Ella would grow up to be healthy and happy. I packed a bag, and Doug and Ryan and I left for the hospital. Janet stayed with Anna, which was a gift--trying to keep her entertained would have made things much harder.

On the way to the hospital I called my dad and let him know what was happening. He was at Temple Square at the time (he is in the mission presidency of the Temple Square mission) and before we even left the hotel I got these texts: "Her name is on the prayer roll at all SLC and Bountiful temples. I love you all" (from my mom) and "She has 200 sister missionaries praying for her in 45 languages" (from my dad). I truly felt those prayers. From that time forward, I was amazingly fine. I felt peace and comfort. I was able to focus on Ella in the moment, and not worry about what this diagnosis meant for the future.

First IV

So glad we brought Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Nothing like some Oompa Loompa's to keep your mind off of things 

We drove the 45 minutes to the Waiemea hospital and went through the ER. Her sugar was 415 (even though she hadn't eaten anything for hours), which confirmed the diagnosis. The ER was great and awful. The nurses (Sue and Penny--how about that!) were wonderful, but it was there that Ella realized we had to spend the night in the hospital. Up until then she thought she was getting checked out and going back to the hotel. She lost it. Crying, wailing, so so sad. Then she found out she had to get an IV, an insulin shot and her glucose checked. Not fun times. Our saving grace was a stuffed pink flamingo they gave her. I dubbed him "Pokey" and we decided that whatever they did to Ella she got to do to Pokey first. It worked like a charm, and from then on she did much much better.


We waited on labs for a while to decide whether or not we could stay on the Big Island or had to fly to Honolulu. Thankfully we caught it early enough and Ella was not in DKA so they let us stay. I think it helped that the Pediatrician in Waiemea did her residency at Primary Children's, and we knew all of the same people. She knew I was well-trained, and trusted (rightly or wrongly!!) that I would be able to take care of Ella without getting the full 3 days of parent training. The hospital at Waiemea had a rule that minors needed to be in a room with a window  and all such rooms were full. The next best alternative was a room in the ICU. Our bed was awful (self inflating and deflating all night long) but at least the nurses were attentive!

Dad and Grandpa brought gifts--crayons, coloring books, etc.

The next day we met with the dietician and waited for our doctor to come and send us home. I called the people at Primary Children's and they gave me a mini-refresher course in diabetes care and set us up with education when we got back home. Ryan had gone back to the hotel the night before, and away from Ella the reality of it hit him hard. I don't think he slept a wink. He was dying to come back to the hospital, but had to wait for Anna to wake up and get ready, and of course she slept in. But by noon we had seen our doctor, gotten our prescriptions are were ready to high-tail it out of there.

My "notes"

This is one of Ella's favorite pictures :)

Hospital grounds. It rained the entire time we were there, and cleared up as we were leaving. 


Kate said...

That must have been so overwhelming! Nice that you are a doctor and from what I know about Ella, she seems so responsible and wise for her age :) I hope you both have it all figured out now.

packermom said...

I will never forget that day.