Sleep Deprivation is the Cruelest Form of Torture...
The last post went into detail about how she was diagnosed, but that was only half of the battle. She had a Friday AM Dr. appointment to do the blood work, which came back on Saturday morning. When the nurse practitioner called with the results, confirming our fear of Type 1 diabetes, she told us to go immediately to the ER department of the local children's hospital, where the pediatric endocrinologist would meet us. Having a specialist meet you at a hospital is scary. Being told to prepare for being admitted is scary. I rushed her to the hospital which is a mind-numbing-30-minutes-by-myself-in-the-car-thinking-about-everything ride. She got checked in within about 15 minutes into triage, where we learned that she had already dropped 2lbs off her 25lb pre-diabetes frame. DKA symptoms state that kids get really hungry, but mine had stopped eating and we were starting to see ribs instead of a round toddler tummy. Under the bright lights of the ER, we were also able to see that she had severely chapped lips even though she had been drinking non-stop. By that point in the late morning, she had also dropped the little bit of energy she had gained upon waking and was back to limp noodle status.
6 hours, two IV's, an EKG, 4 doctors, 3 nurses, a machine that hated us, 1 machine technician, a woozy daddy, and two meals later, we finally had our admission papers and a bed located in the Special Care Unit. Let me tell you that being in a children's hospital is the place to be for your kid. Those people really know how to treat little people with patience, respect, and care. The menus are even tailored towards kids. They moved in a large bed when I told them that the crib was just not going to work because she would want to sleep with me. We were also excited to learn that our favorite nurse was actually leaving the hospital to go work for our new (and very personable) pediatric endocrinologist just a couple weeks later. (Score!) She has a son with juvenile diabetes as well and thus was a huge support to us for the emotional journey we were taking, along with the nursing advice.
The worst part about the hospital was by far the lack of sleep. When dealing with DKA, they take vitals every 2 hours, and blood checks every 1. So for that 1 hour time frame to sleep within, of course our machine that hated us decided to go off every 20 minutes beeping. We would then have to get a nurse in there to reset it. The baby was never sure if the nurse was coming in to do something to her or not, so she would start crying either way. Luckily most of the time they really didn't have to do anything intrusive since one of the IV lines was started simply as a port to draw blood from each time, so it was just a matter of the syringe drawing off the catheter instead of poking her. Note: Next time in a hospital I will be packing a comforter or something to put underneath us on the super uncomfortable beds as well.
Mikayla took about 18 hours to reverse her bi-carb levels and reduce her ketones to an acceptable low level. These two things are more important than getting her blood sugar just right because those are the things that indicate DKA. Once the DKA is gone, they can move on to managing the underlying cause, which is the juvenile diabetes. By the next morning (Sunday), Mikayla had an appetite to match a teenage boy. We were able to meet with the appropriate dietician and diabetes counselor, who apparently felt that we weren't going to go home and screw up badly with her home care, so by about 8:30pm on Sunday, we were released. Thirty-three hours in which to learn our new life (on no sleep). Not a lot, but honestly, I was almost teary at the thought of sleeping in my own bed that night so I was down for the soonest release possible after getting my kid out of DKA.
I'm sure we met our deductible with that hospital stay, but honestly that hospital and staff deserve every cent. (Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children). I wish I could have brought the nurse home with me for the next week, because I was not prepared for the level of stress that occurred once home. (Next post).