The Gift of a Great Nurse

It’s funny what comes into your memory when in the midst of a stressful situation.  Tonight, while fighting another low for Carter, I flashed back to something said to me while in the hospital during Carter’s diagnosis.  It was day 3, and we had just been transferred downstairs to the peds unit from the PICU.  Carter had received 1 subcutaneous injection prior to eating lunch up in the PICU, and it was done by the nurse.  I was consumed with terror, knowing that at the next meal either me or Greg was going to have to administer the next shot.  We started training immediately, and the training is overwhelming at best, adding to the stress is the fact that what you retain from the training means life or death for your child.  I remember feverishly taking copious notes, and stressing so much about the material, the shots, the blood checking, carb counting, I felt I would never really have it all down.  Among the barrage of well-meaning desensitized nurses, flitting in and out of Carter’s room, all with their stories of how I would get to the point where Carter wouldn’t even wake up when I checked him, to continuing to point out the seriousness of this new regime.  I walked out of his room for some air after another try at measuring and practice administering saline on an orange.  One of the nurses I hadn’t spoken with yet, spoke to me as I stared out at the wall.  All she said to me was, “I had been a nurse for 20 years before my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, even though I administered shots multiple times a day to strangers, it was different with my son.  I almost couldn’t even do it.”  The instant support and validation I felt was immense, I looked up and thanked her, I actually went and gave her a hug.  In that moment, someone talk to, and related to me as if I were human.  I know the staff in a hospital means well, a lot of them don’t realize how traumatic these situations are for the family that is going through them.  It was true, lately Carter doesn’t necessarily completely wake up when we check him through the night, in fact he hears us coming in his room and will throw his hand over the side of his bed to get it all over with.  But discretion might be the answer when it comes to relating to families new to this diagnosis.  That one nurse touched my life in such an immense way, and I still rely on her words for comfort when I am facing the difficult struggle that is hurting my son for his health.  I am grateful for the terrain we have mastered, but I am most grateful tonight especially, as we fix a BS reading of 56, that I was able to have a nurse who happened to be the caregiver and mother of a Type 1 Diabetic, and that she was able to give me the gift of validation.  After a juice box, an applesauce and broccoli squeezie, and some milk Carter was at 84 and raising.  There is nothing more comforting when in the midst of a storm to have someone embrace you, say I’m sorry, and be able to relate to you.

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