My daughter, Jamie, turns thirty on Sunday. I know…not a big deal. We all have these milestone birthdays. So why do I choose to write about this special birthday of hers? Because my 30th was a major life-changer…for her and for me! And, it seems like it happened just yesterday.
I spent this crazy day back in October of 1989 at the Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD with this special daughter of mine. She was four years young at the time and was given the life sentence of Type I diabetes on my 30th birthday. And so began our new normal…
For a week, we lived in the pediatric wing of this hospital learning how to take care of our newly diagnosed diabetic child.
We learned how to give shots of insulin by practicing sticking the needles in our own bellies. Then we had to stick them in hers.
We learned how to test her blood sugar by practicing on our own fingers. The first time I tested her blood sugar, I missed her finger and caught her fingernail. My four year old cried and cried, and then said “I do it.” She’s been ‘doing it’ ever since. It brings tears to my eyes just writing about it. Sorry Jamie. I never meant to hurt you. I know you forgive me. 🙂
In case of an extreme low blood sugar, we learned how to give the glucagon shot by practicing on an orange. I never did get to the point of being able to do this. I always called the ambulance. I even joined the ambulance crew for a few years thinking that would help. It didn’t.
We learned how to squirt gel into the side of her mouth so the gel would absorb and enter her blood stream quickly to help her recover from low blood sugars. She’d bite her teeth together and lock her jaw when we actually had to use the gel during a low blood sugar. It was a lot easier when it was just practice.
We learned what a low blood sugar looked like by the nurses inducing a controlled low blood sugar by not letting Jamie eat. When they’d feed her to bring that blood sugar back up, she would inhale her food. She still does. 🙂
My daughter has grown to be a beautiful young woman. As she grew and went through life challenges coping with her disease, she learned to be in control of her diabetes, instead of her diabetes controlling her. Today, she is still in good control with her A1C’s being between 6.8 and 7.2. Excellent, proud of her!!
Jamie was an outstanding athlete in high school who worked hard, and then went on to Boise State University to play D1 volleyball. She is now head volleyball coach for her high school Alma Mater while teaching young adults with special needs. See! Diabetes can be controlled.
She was married last August, and yesterday began another ‘new normal’ for her. This new adventure will take her through education classes once again. These classes will teach her how to take care of herself. These new classes are happy classes. She is learning how to take care of herself as a diabetic mom-to-be. A miraculous NEW normal. 🙂
Ah, yes…happy 30th birthday, beautiful daughter. What a birthday present you’ve received. ~Wendy