May 22, 2014

Hawaii, 2014 (part 3)

We got back from the hospital late Wednesday afternoon. We were all still a little shell-shocked, but Ella wanted to go to the beach, so to the beach we went. As she ran around laughing and splashing, I was amazed that already I could see a difference in her. The sparkle in her eyes was back. I hadn't noticed it was gone, but as we thought back we realized she had been difficult lately. Ryan had described her as a moody teenager, and one day she said to me, "Mom, Sometimes I try to have day where I don't whine, cry or fuss AT ALL. And then I cry and think, 'Maybe tomorrow's the day." Broke my heart when I realized that many of the times she was whiney or fussy she was just high or low. And the first night when she conked out after eating a cheeseburger, mac and cheese and fries...? It wasn't jet lag, it was a meal filled with carbs! Seeing her so, so happy made the whole diabetes pill a little easier to swallow. I felt badly for the my mom and dad who were 3,000 miles away, and didn't have Ella's newfound smile to comfort them.

While being in Hawaii when Ella was diagnosed had its perks (a shorter hospital stay, lots of distractions for her, grandparents right there) eating all of our meals at restaurants without nutritional information was challenging to say the least. Trying to guess how many carbs she was eating was really tough. Especially at the breakfast buffet. The first day we let her have whatever she wanted (if we're being honest she pretty much got whatever she wanted from the moment of her diagnosis until we went home) and her plate had something like 2 strawberries, 3 blueberries, 2 pieces of pineapple,1 small pancake, a mini yogurt, 1 piece of bacon, half a box of cereal, 1 pastry and a glass of juice. Ryan and I broke out our iPhones with various carb counting apps and tried to piece it all together. The next day I did insist that she could only choose 3 items.

This is how we looked during most meals

Ryan, Doug and I had planned on going on a helicopter tour on Thursday, but I didn't feel like I could leave Ella so Ryan and Doug went and Ella and I had a girls' day. We went to the spa and got pedicures. Ella picked out 10 different colors for her toes. Pretty cute. We had a good day hanging out at the beach and pool. Ella played, made new friends and hardly put up a fuss when she needed any diabetic cares. In fact, she started checking her own sugar and getting the insulin ready. We were all amazed at how well she handled it. She really was a rock-star.

By Thursday night we weren't quite as overwhelmed as we had been, and we were starting to enjoy Hawaii. We seriously considered extending our vacation. Ryan talked to Delta, and they couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. But we had a hard time finding a great place to stay, and we were still not sure if it was a good idea for me to manage her diabetes without input from an endocrinologist. It was a close call, but in the end we decided to leave Friday as planned.

Ella brought a camera on this trip, and took most of our pictures. Here are a few...

Ryan brought his new helicopter, and it was a welcome distraction. He and the girls had fun flying it all over. Inevitably, multiple people would come up and want to know what it was all about. 

Many of Doug's colleague's at the conference brought Ella gifts. The Hawaiian paper dolls were a favorite.

On Friday we spent some time at the beach, and then packed up. We had some time between dropping Doug and Janet off at the airport and when our flight left, so we ate dinner and visited the Kona temple. One of the temple workers came out to greet us. He looked like a native Hawaiian, so we were surprised to find out that he was from Pleasant Grove, Utah (about 10 miles from us) and was returning home the next week. Small world.

The flight home went relatively well. We took the red-eye, and Ella slept through all of her glucose checks and insulin injections. I was fairly nervous about it all, but we made it without a hitch.

girls trying to sleep at LAX

Grandma Sue and Grandpa Paul were dying to see Ella with their own eyes and make sure she was okay. They were at our house waiting for us with groceries when we got home. I had told my mom that she was going to be shocked at how happy and spunky Ella was. I didn't take into account the toll that traveling all night would have on her, and she acted like a tired, somewhat cranky 5-year-old, leaving my mom a little doubtful that Ella was doing as well as I had said. But by Sunday she was doing great, and my mom came back down so she could see it and believe it.

All in all I felt incredibly blessed and taken care of during this week. On Wednesday night, after being back in our hotel room, I jotted down a few of the things I was grateful for so I wouldn't forget them. Here's the list I made:

Tender mercies

I am not having a baby right now* 
It was raining, so we had down time to get the labs drawn. Also, since we weren't doing anything I took a nap, which was helpful when I didn't sleep much in the hospital
Dr. Garvey was able to direct us to the lab, and change the order to stat 
Dr. Lee trained at PCMC and we knew the same people, giving me instant credibility
Not flying to Honolulu
Nurses named Penny and Sue
Pokey the flamingo who was able to help Ella cope
The kind night nurses
When Ella's sugar dropped from high 200s to 196 so we didn't have to poke her at 3 am. I prayed specifically that it would be below 200, even though the trend would suggest she had one more above 200.
Going home today
Finding string cheese sticks that she could eat without a poke
The sun coming out so we could go to the beach.
Doug and Janet being here and loving her.
Ella coping so incredibly well with the shots.
My peace and comfort.

*we had been trying to get pregnant for about a year, and if things had happened as I had hoped I would have been very very pregnant or taking care of a newborn during this time

It's funny how kids have a different perspective. Now when we talk about our trip, most of what the girls talk about are scenes like this one...playing on the beach, picking shells, swimming at the pool.  Mahalo, Hawaii, for being amazing enough to overshadow our little rough patch! We'll be back :)