Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Grandmother's Story - Chapter 1

My mom wants to share our story from her perspective, so she'll be guest blogging a series for us. She (Nanny) has been there for everything, even giving him his first bath after coming home from the hospital 21 years ago as a newborn (see picture), to staying with him in the hospital at diagnosis almost 5 years ago. I hope you enjoy her story!  

Early Friday morning August 24, 2012:

The phone was ringing.  Our daughter Cassie was calling to tell us that our 16 year old grandson, Seth, had been taken from the ER of the local hospital to Children’s Hospital in Dallas in ICU.

Seth had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

What should we do?  Come to the hospital?—(I hate Dallas traffic with a passion!)

Her answer was no, not just yet.  Only two people could be in the critical unit and she and Jason wanted to be with him.

We stayed in touch by phone throughout the day.  By late afternoon Seth was becoming stable.  He would remain in ICU for a couple of days and then move to a regular room.

School was to begin on Monday.  Cassie and Jason are both school teachers.
I could not imagine how school teachers could miss the first day of school.  What to do?

The only plan I could think of was to go to the hospital on Sunday so they could go home and prepare for the next day.


I called Cassie to tell her that her dad and I would come to the hospital Sunday and that I would spend the night at the hospital with Seth when he was moved to a regular room.  (I still hate the idea of Dallas traffic!)

Our son, who lives near us, agreed to take us to Dallas Sunday.

…But there was a problem.  In order for me to stay with Seth at the hospital I would have to come to a short “training session” with the nutritionist.
I agreed.

There was much to consider.  We were all aware that something was terribly wrong with Seth.

He was a summer life guard at the local swimming pool and was also a drummer in the high school band.  He was loosing weight and was tired from all the summer activities, especially with band practice in the evenings in this terrific Texas summer heat.

Seth had completed his Boy Scout Eagle project and his award ceremony had been on Sunday afternoon just five short days ago.  Seth was so thin and pale.  Another grandmother and I were shocked to see how bad he looked.  The Eagle ceremony was quite impressive, but all we could think about was how sick Seth was.

His dad called the doctor Monday.  Seth was misdiagnosed with mono.  We have been told that misdiagnosis is quite common and that even very good doctors make this mistake.


The nutritionist at Children’s Hospital was very thorough.  There would be a very strict diet to follow for the first month.  All food and insulin would be monitored and reported until a regimen could be established.

Finally, it was time for Seth to leave ICU and be transferred to a room.

Cassie and Jason left the hospital to make plans for the school day on Monday.
Our son took his dad home.

It was now just Seth and me in a hospital room with nurses and doctors to help us begin this new way of life.

It takes a few minutes to get situated in a hospital room.  Unpack a bag.  Figure out where to put your extra clothes and toothbrush.  Is there any way to make a bed in this room so I can stretch out for the night?

In comes a nurse.  We must select items from a menu for our evening meal.  There’s a list with carb counts and several pages of with menu selections, numbers and boxed to check.  Meat: ok.  Vegetables:  maybe. Fruit: you have to count the grapes and make it add up to the correct numbers.

Seth makes a few choices and I decide to choose from the same menu and add everything up—just for the practice.

In comes another nurse.  In order for me to leave the hospital with Seth tomorrow I must administer the insulin injection.

Are you kidding?  I don’t think I can do that!

However, I certainly did plan to take Seth with me when I left that hospital.  I took the syringe in hand, and with detailed instructions from the nurse, drew up the insulin and stuck that needle into Seth’s arm.

It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have a choice!

Our meals are ordered, we have settled in the room (kinda), so what next?

My husband and I had toured the hospital and had seen the amazing train collection.  Seth said he felt like getting out of the room now.  I asked a nurse for a wheelchair so that we could go exploring.  The railroad display at Children’s Hospital is certainly a tour worth taking and Seth seemed to enjoy being able to get out of the room for a little while.

Back in the room, we had our supper (counted grapes and all), filled out the proper paper work and attempted to settle down for the night.  The nurses would take care of all the necessary blood checks, insulin injections, etc.  We don’t have to worry about that until tomorrow.

Sleep came restlessly, but did come.  Praise the LORD for a little rest.

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