Seeing as, just like Julie Andrews, my last post started at the very beginning, I thought I’d continue with a little more about those first few days navigating the new land we found ourselves in.
Despite having been exceptionally poorly at diagnosis and at the very limit of her survival, the marvellous thing about babies is their ability to recover. Consequently, she went from being one of the most poorly patients in intensive care on diagnosis day, to reaching the dizzy heights of ‘most well’ baby in intensive care by lunch time the following day! By the evening we were transferred to a ward where we remained cocooned for the following 4 days, effectively being reprogrammed to care for our baby who now needed us to be so very much more for her.
One of the first hurdles I needed to tackle during those first few days wasn’t the fear of injecting my baby with insulin, it was my pathological fear of hospitals. Owing to childhood experiences, they weren’t places I associated with making people better. In fact, the opposite was true! The only hospital experiences I could remember culminated with my beloved grandfather passing away and the very unpleasant treatments my mother endured whilst she waged a battle against cancer which she eventually lost. So when one of the first things I was handed in intensive care was a small sponge on the end of a lolly stick which I knew I was supposed to dip in water to quench her thirst, I burst into tears. Not because of her diagnosis. But because the last time I had seen a pink sponge on a lolly stick was during my mother’s final few days. This small, innocuous piece of kit embodied all my fears at that point. Namely that these were things that were used for those who were leaving this world, not the ones who were staying. And at that stage, I had no idea whether my baby was staying or going.
Being promoted from intensive care to a ‘normal’ ward was the first step in my personal rehabilitation in the way I viewed hospitals. I could clearly see that the treatment we were giving my baby was working. Having arrived at the hospital with an unconcious baby, here we were taking our place with a little bundle who was trying her hardest to giggle again through the blur of high blood sugars. Maybe, just maybe, I could make this hospital business work!
And in that spirit, I’ve embraced all things clinical! Every three months we take a day off school to visit her consultant. We go out for lunch and indulge in a little retail therapy if the mood takes us! Then we go and discuss how we’re getting on with her team. I’m very mindful of the need to promote a positive perception of these consults and actively encourage her to engage as much or as little as she wants. I am also keen she doesn’t feel that there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with her T1. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we chalk up a lot of experience!! Ultimately, unless you have or live with this uninvited house guest, 24/7, you can’t fully comprehend just how demanding and obnoxious and utterly random it can be. Seemingly on a whim! Which is why, whatever the HbA1c at clinic, I treat her like the champion she is.
It has also helped me make my peace with hospitals, and the workers within, as places that can really help make a positive difference in our lives.