This is the day my son's life changed forever. He was more thirsty than usual. Since I'm a nurse, I knew this was a sign of diabetes. I checked his sugar with my blood sugar machine from work. I didn't really expect to find anything. My older son had begun to drink a lot when he was in 2nd grade, and when I checked his sugar, it was fine. That's what I thought would happen with Riley. Boy, was I wrong. When his sugar registered too high to read on the machine, I let out an involuntary gasp. I rechecked it, just to be sure, but it again read too high to read. My dad has a machine, so I called my mom to bring his machine over. My mom is only about 5 minutes away, but it seemed to take forever for her to get here. While I was waiting for her, I started to get clothes together. I was hoping my machine was wrong, but deep down in my heart, I knew it was right. And, if it was right, then I knew what that meant, a hospital stay. When my mom arrived, I checked his sugar for the third time. Riley never complained once. He just looked on with a little curiousity. Well, you guessed it, it registered too high to read. My stomach felt like it hit the floor. I knew this meant his blood sugar was over 500, and that terrified me. I just thought that this couldn't be happening to my son. He was fine!! He was just thirsty. He began to beg for something to dirnk, and I gave him water. I called the pediatricians office and my husband and work, then we (my parents and I) picked my older son, Holden, up from school and drove an hour to the pediatrician's office. The whole way there, I prayed that it wasn't diabetes, that it was just something that could be easily explained and treated. With my being a nurse I knew just enough about Type I diabetes to scare me to death. All the complications that can come from diabetes and all the needle sticks that Riley has to endure rolled through my head.
When we arrived at the doctor's office, they got Riley to pee in a cup. He thought this was really cool. But, I knew they were looking for sugar, and they found a large amount of it. The nurse checked his blood sugar and it was 574. It sounds funny, but I was a little relieved by that. I was envisioning a sugar of 800 or something. Then, the Dr. came in and told me the news I still wasn't prepared to hear. "Your son has diabetes". I think I was a little in shock as I heard him say he was going to contact the pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Harris, and Riley would be admitted to the hospital. I then left my son with my mom and somehow made my way to the waiting room. When I saw my husband, Michael, I collapsed into his arms and sobbed "Riley has diabetes. They are going to put him in the hospital." I just cried uncontrollably. Then, just as quickly as I had started crying, I stopped. I knew I had to be stong for Riley. I also had to be stong for my older son who was now softly crying in the corner. I glanced around and saw the office staff looking at me with pity on their faces. All I could think was, that they shouldn't be looking at me like that. I wasn't one of those mothers that people felt sorry for. I had two beautiful, happy children. I didn't like the role into which I was suddenly cast. I knew that not only would Riley look to me for strength, but also my entire family. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I returned to Riley's room.
We were admitted into the hospital. That's when all the poking and prodding and one million questions started. Riley never cried. He never complained. He never asked why everyone was poking at him. He just took it all in like it happened everyday. Riley had always been my strong boy. Just taking life like it came. It was if God had designed him for this very moment. And, I guess he did. God knew he would have to be strong enough to handle all of this. And, he was. He didn't even cry when they started his IV. Once, he looked at the nurse and said, "Ow, that hurt." But, that was it.
The next day, we were discharged from the hospital and that is when the really hard stuff started. Riley was perfect about his injections and finger sticks in the hospital. But, now that he was home he would run from us and cry and scream everytime we came at him with a needle. I couldn't blame him. I wanted to cry and scream and run away too. I didn't run away or scream, but I did my fair share of crying. I never cried in front of Riley. I would lock my self in the bathroom and just sob. I would sit there and bargain with God, "if you'll just take this away, just heal him, I'll do anything you want." I've never pleaded with God so hard in all my life. I felt like my soul was being ripped out of my body. I pleaded for God to take the diabetes away from Riley and give it to me.
None of this happened. But, God gave me the strength I needed to get through. After a couple of days, Riley stopped running from us and just let us do what we had to do. 3 weeks into his diagnosis, he even started checking his own sugars. He's such a wonderful, strong little boy. And in many ways, he's my hero. Sometimes now when I feel like I'm going to breakdown and cry, I look at him and all that strength he's acquired in his few three years and I smile. I smile because he doesn't let diabetes shape his life and he's teaching me not to either. Things get better every day. There are still bad days here and there, but on a whole life is starting to resemble something normal again. So, to all of you parents out there, hang on. It will get better.