I noticed a significant change in Nora about two weeks after her little sister was born. She stopped playing and socializing. She was one of those life-of-the-party kind of toddlers and was always singing and dancing, but one day it just stopped. Even friends and neighbors of mine commented on her change in demeanor. I thought for sure I had ruined her life by giving her a sibling! But the throwing up and labored breathing started the next day. Like most parents, I just wrote off the symptoms as some sort of bug that would pass. But by the evening, I was really worried. She sounded like she had been up running and playing for an hour, and yet she had never left the couch. After talking with the nurse on the phone, I decided to wait until the next morning to take her in since I already had a two week check up scheduled for her younger sister. I figured it would just be easier to kill two birds with one stone.
Honestly, I totally expected the doctor to send us home and tell us to give Nora some Tylenol and she would be better in a couple days. I told the doctor about the breathing and she didn't seem very concerned. She asked if anything else had been going on. I told her that she had also thrown up the day before. The doctor immediately asked if she had been drinking and peeing frequently. YES! The next few hours were honestly a bit of a blur. The doctor sent us to the ER and told us that we would be transported to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake via ambulance. Due to Nora's labored breathing, the doctor was concerned that her oxygen levels would drop on our 45 minute drive, so we shouldn't drive her there ourselves.
I was so scared. I had no idea what was happening with my little girl! After meeting with our pediatrician, I assumed it was type 1 diabetes, but I don't remember ever being told that's what it was until we were beginning our training at Primary Children's. Once settled at Primary Children's we had to wait a long 12+ hours before Nora could be allowed to eat. Imagine that for a 2 year old! It was so hard to hear her ask for food and to try to put her off while they got her blood sugar under control. She was in DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis- which basically means her blood had become acidic in it so her pH balance was messed up. A side effect of this is brain swelling.) And very loopy. It was scary! I can't think of another way to describe the panic of trying to get your toddler to answer questions to test her brain function to make sure there wasn't a concern about brain swelling. It was a LONG day and night!
Amazingly, when I came back to the hospital the next morning (my husband stayed with her that night and I took the baby home), Nora was back. She was happily eating her breakfast under close supervision of the nurses. She was fully awake and happy to see me and her little sister. The next three days were an intense training camp on how to care for a child with type 1. I had no idea what a carbohydrate was other than bread and pasta. We learned things like how to calculate insulin doses, how to give shots, and when to take her to the ER.
It was rough, but we got through it and we have been making it for two and a half years now. We have a happy, healthy 4 year old little girl who happens to have type 1 diabetes. Nora loves to dance, sing, play, run, color, eat candy, watch TV, and laugh just like any other 4 year old. Diabetes has taught me that we can do hard things and still continue to live life to the fullest. Yes, I'm constantly doing calculations in my head when she is eating (I knew that math degree would come in handy at some point), but I don't want diabetes to slow any of us down, especially Nora. Nora shows me everyday that she can do hard things, and I know she can accomplish anything she wants in life!
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