Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Diabetes Journey Continued

So I’m sitting here with Amber watching a movie and all the sudden I’m thinking about an event that occurred about 2 years ago. Random, I know “But That’s How I Roll” (insert laughter here).

Anyway, I am a substitute elementary and middle school teacher for Kenton County Schools and I spend most of that time in one particular school (Nikki’s). Before I began teaching I was a teaching assistant for the special education department, which is what I was doing when this story begins.

Nikki was in 2nd grade and I was a teaching assistant, we were both located in the same hall-
way. Let me digress to tell you that the teacher I worked with and for is responsible for my returning to school, she loves my girls and is my mentor. This point is important because it explains my ability to just drop everything, without having to explain and leave the school.

Back to my story. I was coming up the hall after our 20 minutes lunch period to catch up with Nikki and see how her blood sugar was after gym class. She was wandering around the hall. Any of you that have either seen Nikki in a “bad low” or have your own experiences with diabetes know what that looks like. I immediately knew that she was in bad shape. She had been trying to find me (I’ll make a brief point that she was allowed to leave the classroom ALONE, which gets me going, but I won’t actually go there) and was unable to really make sense of where she was.

I took her hand and led her to the nurse’s office. The 2 school secretarys are good friends of mine and have been in Nikki’s life since she was in Kindergarten and they love her. The police officer we have assigned as an educator in our school is another person who really looks out for Nikki and enjoys her as a little person. They were a great help and knew as soon as I came in with Nikki that something was wrong. She could no longer speak or really focus on our faces.

I check her blood sugar, it was 49. Blood sugar readings on people in general should be between 85 and 120. Nikki was at very dangerous levels. I gave her a juice, helped her get it down (she couldn’t do it herself) and we rechecked about 15 minutes later, she was 40. Time to go to the hospital.
I think I only barely mentioned ‘hospital’ and the people in the office flew into action, Officer Gene called the life squad personally and they were there in maybe 3 minutes?

NOW, Amber was still in the same school at that time. My husband was out of town (he travels weekly for business). When I leave with Nikki what will happen with Amber? I’m trying to figure all of this out when I really just wanted to cry, (no time for that, this is not about me). My boss, Sara, comes into the office to check on us, I only said the word “Amber” and a few minutes later she produced her. Now I have another problem: I need to ride in the ambulance with my almost comatose daughter but only 1 person can, so that meant Amber couldn’t ride in the ambulance.

Executive, heartbreaking decision: I will follow the ambulance in my car with a very young Amber. I’m in tears, Amber is in tears, Nikki is basically unconcsious, and 300 little faces are staring out school windows at the ambulance with the lights on in the parking lot. I say a quick prayer “God help me, please”.

Amber and I are walking across the parking lot (running) to my car when another teacher friend of mine is dropping in to pick up her child. She immediately understands what is going on, walks over, takes Amber by the hand and says “you go with Nikki, I’ll bring Amber”. ANOTHER answered prayer, and another moment I knew God was with us.

From there, it was the same ole’, same ole’; they get Nikki’s sugar up in the ambulance, give her a stuffed toy and we are admitted to Cinti Children’s because Nikki has the flu and is dehydrated. Bryan comes as fast as he can (he’s an awesome daddy and husband) and 2 days later it’s over and home we go.

Weirdly, about 2 years later Nikki starts being afraid to let herself go to sleep.
After about the 3rd night of it, I finally get her to open up that she is suddenly having nightmares that she will go to sleep and not wake up, she said “what if the same thing happens like it did in 2nd grade and no one finds me like you did, what if you wouldn’t have found me at school” -- side note here: every parent of a diabetic child has a moment every morning when they go in to wake up their child and they hold their breath while waiting for that moan or stretch –

Once again communication is so important. I shared with Nikki that I believed with all my heart, I do mean this, that the hand of God is on her. Every single time she has gone low in the middle of the night I’ve been awakened with the knowledge that I needed to go to her, and every time she was low, which is what I told Nikki. God is truly taking care of her. So now Nikki sleeps knowing that she is in the best hands possible, the hands of Jesus. I do a middle of the night check every night around 2 a.m. and the rest is faith. AND she has never been allowed to go anywhere alone at school when she is feeling “funny” since that one event, I made sure of it (in a sweet way I promise).

Lastly, I reached out to my friend that I spoke of in the last writing. Her daughter M is Nikki’s good friend who also shares this terrible disease. They had a sleep over; it’s so good that they have each other, so that when things only a diabetic child understands occurs they can lean on each other. Another gift from God.

One thing diabetes has done for us is show us the best side of people. It’s humbling to see so many people care for us and move into action without anyone asking them. God is good.

More later…….