Some moments change your life. The birth of your children, meeting the love of your life, graduating college... your first heartbreak.I can still picture it perfectly, the glossy black cabinets, the gray tile floors... the little lines of texture in the kitchen table, the too tall chair beneath me, feet not quite reaching the floor.
I was so tired, in every way I thought possible. My newborn son was 11 days old and his birth had been very hard on me, postpartum complications even worse. My husband and I had spent the cold Friday night in the emergency room, and it was almost 11pm. All I wanted was sleep. But here I was sitting in my kitchen, the world around me crashing down.
HI. HI. HI. 486.
I knew what these numbers meant. The silence was deafening. We all knew. HI. Wash her hands! Use lots of soap. HI. Put another strip in the meter. HI. As if this was not enough, she vomited. 486. We all looked at one another. My 5 year old, my husband, and each of his parents. The wind knocked out of us all. Outside, the cold rain fell on the black 36 degree night.
The next 4 days were a blur. The colorful sterility of a children's hospital. Nurses with big smiles who mean well, but come with needles and demand more blood. A playroom filled with toys, but no food for the hungry little girl because her blood sugar is too high. The same little girl, ghostly white, dark circles under her eyes, trembling in cold sweats because the insulin was too much and her blood sugar has crashed to 41. The new, constant rollercoaster of chaos. Take this needle and jab it into your crying daughter while she screams," Mommy! please no! No! No,don't!!!" Take this needle and stab her with this needle.... or she'll die. You have to do this every day... for the rest of her life.
Some moments stick with you.
I was standing in the same kitchen when my phone rang. The woman on the other end said she was sending us a backpack, and a friend request on Facebook. Inside the backpack there was a form about a camp for children with diabetes. She wanted us to come, "it's a lifesaver." So, we went to the camp. We met the woman on the phone, with her blue t shirt and her white blonde hair... the woman who called to check on my children when I posted on FB that someone was sick, or if I complained about diabetes being difficult.
In the 5 years since that cold Friday night, our lives have been turned upside down, all the way around and landed firmly on stable footing because of a phone call. The voice on the other end introduced me to a support system, became my friend, mentor and a sort of surrogate grandmother to BOTH of my children. And she is not alone... she is one of a handful of women who helped me build a foundation, not only as a mother, raising a child with diabetes, but in helping other families just like mine. It might not be shiny new tech or the ever elusive cure, to me, it's better. It's a family, a home. These women have given me something more precious than gold- they gave me the knowledge and support I needed to give my daughter a normal life.
Thank you Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi