Ashleigh administering Carter's insulin - May 2014
Ashleigh administering Carter’s insulin – May 2014

When your child is in the hospital, there is no better word than “Discharged.”  I remember when Carter was finally on the Pediatric floor and out of the PICU, all I longed for was to be discharged and be heading home.  I asked everyday, when they thought we would be able to go home.  I was so tired of the hospital, I was tired of watching Carter’s frustration as he sat in a foreign bed, in a foreign place, without his sister, his toys, his comforts.  Then the day came, five days after the whole ordeal named Diabetes began, the nurse and endocrinologist walked into Carter’s room and notified us that we were to be discharged that afternoon before dinner.  The relief and excitement that poured over me was immense.  I immediately began packing up Carter’s room, called my sister who was watching Ashleigh and let her know we would be there that afternoon to pick her up.  I was elated, and when the nurse walked in with Carter’s care package filed with insulin, needles, lancets, test strips, etc. fear pummeled me.  I was lost in a sea of doubt, uncertainty, and hesitation.  I joked with one of the nurses that I would pack her secretly in my suitcase and take her home with us to administer the shots to Carter.  I wondered if I honestly could manage this monumental task that weighed heavily on me and my family.  Everything was riding on my success, based on my training, and retention of it as we walked out of the automatic doors of the hospital,  to our car.  Carter was overcome with joy when the outline of our car came into his view.  I remember picking him up from the wagon we transported him in and he hugged and kissed me repeatedly.  We drove home, I watched Carter looking out the car window, discovering the world for a second time.  He almost didn’t want to blink, in case he missed something.  He needed to see what in the world had changed since he had been hostage in the hospital for a week.  We quickly stopped by the store so I could grab something to make Carter for dinner, on his new “exchange diet.”  When I walked out of the store from my 2 min. shopping trip, Greg hurled the car toward where I was and with the window rolled down yelled out: “Carter’s blood is 500!”  I jumped in the car, we raced home, we had already failed.  Downtrodden we raced inside and gave Carter insulin and some milk while I quickly made him some dinner.  When we checked him 3 hours later he was finally in the ballpark of 160 and the sense of accomplishment was immense.  We had done it, without a nursing staff, without a doctor under our roof, we had safely brought our son back where he needed to be with the help of our training.   It was then that I realized I had it in me to properly care for Carter, we were given everything we needed to equip us in order to be successful.  The mix of emotions at the beginning of a diagnosis, as we muddled through were exhausting.  It’s through trail and error that we learned of long distance car rides and how the inactivity generates a higher blood sugar.  When I look back at those first few weeks and the trepidation I experienced, yet the perseverance I searched for, and see where we are today I see the confidence I have gained.  Carter now is assisting in managing his own blood, and Ashleigh is helping administering shots.  The word discharged shouldn’t hold with it fear, it should be the boost of confidence that it is meant to be.   Realizing that those who have been trained to save lives, at that point trust that you are able to step in and take their place on behalf of your child.  Expect that you won’t have all the answers, you will stumble, but you WILL find the answers, and you will prevail.  Confidence is a funny thing, most times it comes after one has been knocked down, yet once confidence starts building, the climb only intensifies.  “Discharge” was the beginning of our new lives, or new independence, and Carter’s health.

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