After leaving the pediatrician, we went home to pack a few things and to head to the hospital. I made a few phone calls as we were rushing around. We didn't pack much as our ped told us we would probably just be there overnight. We quickly learned differently when we arrived. Roger met Joshua and I at UNC hospital. Our ped had given us the choice of UNC or Duke. I told him I really only knew Duke. He said if we didn't care that he would like to send us to UNC as he thought a lot of the endocrine team there. That was fine with us.
BTW, I didn't take this photo as we were entering, but rather leaving. We entered through the ER. They have a separate ER for children too which we thought was a great idea. We arrived before 5pm and we quickly taken to a room. We saw about 5 doctors (teaching hospital) and one nurse. (They were all really nice.) The nurse knowing how hungry and thirsty he was, went to get some of her own drink (a sugar-free mix) to give to him. He loved it. Wasn't that sweet?!
I was glad that we brought games. We spent some time playing Phase 10 (card game). It helped to ease the tension of knowing you were sitting in an ER waiting for news that wasn't going to be great.
Because they were waiting for lab results, Joshua wasn't fed. And he was very hungry!!! One of the doctors later explained that because his body was not producing insulin, the food that he ate was not being broken down and taken to the body to use for energy - instead it just passed through leaving him hungry all the time. Poor little guy!
He did finally get a tray of food about 9:45 or 10. He loved it and downed it quickly. (He got another tray when we got to the room as he was still hungry!)
The lab results were "positive", but not conclusive on the type of diabetes(will take a week or so?) Everyone thought we were looking at Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes. (There really is no doubt as he does not fit the profile of someone with Type 2.) This is a life-long disease for which there is no cure ... yet. He will be on insulin for the rest of his life. He will have blood sugar checks multiple times a day. He will also have diet and eating changes. I'll talk more about all of this and the difference between this type of diabetes and Type 2 in another post. BTW, we found out that his blood sugar numbers in the ER were 643! (Normal is 80-120) They were very surprised that his body was handling it as well as he was. Most children with numbers like this end up in ICU as their body goes into DKA from lack of insulin. We are thankful that his was caught early enough to prevent that.
After more than 5 hours in the ER, we were finally taken to a room. Joshua was excited to be given a ride. You have to look for the silver linings wherever you can find them!
After a long, long night with several pricks and pokes, several shots of insulin and not much sleep, he was wondering if anyone would come to see him. He was excited to see his family and friends. (I'm missing pics of visitors as well as of doctors and nurses.)
Joshua has received wonderful thoughtful gifts as well. Things he has loved like books, a puzzle globe, balloons, games, a photo album with pictures (and writing about) a field trip, a movie, sugar free candy, and legos. He has been well loved on. As has our family with food from friends. Thank you all for loving on us!!! It really helped to bring joy into this time of so many unknowns.
There is a play room at the children's hospital. It is big with a huge vaulted ceiling with lots of lights. The room is beautiful with toys, play areas, books, games, computers and more. It is wonderful. There are several times during the day when you can go up for an hour.
There is a large climbing structure in the middle of the room.
In one of the play areas, Eliana goes for the doll or "baby" as she calls it.
Joshua and I played a game of Risk. We didn't finish before it was closing time and they let us keep the game set up so we could come back later and finish it up. WAsn't that nice? For the record, Joshua won!
These were Joshua's nurses on the last day - really nice! They were so encouraging to ME. They told me that they could tell that Joshua was going to do well. They could see that he has strong family support and is learning quickly. They addressed some of my fears and concerns with optimism and encouragment. One even gave me a big hug! They were great!
I really liked Joshua's night nurse too and she was with us all three nights. Positive, encouraging and took time to talk and listen. I mentioned that I really liked her to our day nurses on the last day. They said that she had told them about us and that she really liked as too. :-) She told us that they really worked to build relationships there - and I could tell. Our stay here was so very positive!
During the days we had training sessions with our doctors, dieticians and nurses. We learned more about the disease, how to administer the blood pricks and shots, what to do in the case of an emergency (high or low blood sugar), how to count carbs, what foods he needs to eat and not eat and much, much more. We were given a LOT of great information to read - both for us and for Joshua. We were encouraged every step of the way that we could do this and it would all work out well. We were also told that it would be hard at first and I appreciate their honesty in this. We had visits by the chaplain, a man with an ice cream cart and volunteers with books. Did I mention that this is a really nice hospital!
Joshua liked getting a ride in this transport. We had seen them when we walked around the hospital one evening. He wanted a ride then and I told him that he might get one when he left. We also visited the butterfly garden which is a nice little outside courtyard decorated with beautiful outdoor artwork, the cafeteria (Joshua carefully checking the carb counts on foods) and the lobby area which had a Victorian dollhouse which was amazing.
This is Joshua's room. It was big and nice! One of the nurses said that they called it the "good luck" room because all of the patients in there did really well. I have to hope that that would be all of the rooms!
They have decorated the children's area so nicely - including pictures painted on the windows outside the rooms and butterflies on the ceilings of the rooms.
Outside of the hospital in the parking deck - about ready to go home!
Our experience at UNC Hospitals was very positive! I"m so thankful that we live so close to such excellent medical care! I never knew we would be taking advantage of the hospitals as much as we have. We'll be coming back here regularly for checks, clinics and teaching session with a dietician. We have a follow-up appt next Wednesday.
In the midst of all of this, we continue to see God's hand at work - in the staff at the hospital, in our friends and family. While I am not thankful that my sweet son has this disease, I am thankful that we have a strong and faithful God walking with us every step of the way! Thank you again for your prayers and encouragment!!!
I'm sure I've left things out. This was a long post and lots of switching back and forth between writing and uploading pictures. If you have questions, please ask! :-)