We are lucky to live 10-15 minutes from perhaps the best hospital in Connecticut and one of the better ones in our Northeast Region. The knowledge that is contained within the walls of that hospital is immense and regardless of where we lived in Connecticut, I feel like we would have been sent to that hospital regardless. After all, our room mate after leaving the PICU was a 7 yr old boy and his mom from New Canaan, 45 minutes away. The staff at the hospital, especially the nurses, make you feel like you are important and that they are there to help you with whatever you need. They are especially patient with the children and accommodating to the needs of everyone within reason. I'm sure that on some level they planned it so that when we did move down to the "floor" as they call it, we were placed with a room mate who was also recently diagnosed with diabetes. There was the possibility of a bond to be built between the two young patients based on their condition and the parents who were caring for them. And it did help, we would encourage each other when it came time to test blood sugar or administer insulin shots. At the end of at least our mutual hospital stays, my wife and the other boy's mom exchanged numbers (both of them being health nuts to a certain extent) and have already been in contact about a few different things related to diabetes and managing it in young children. The experience was a great one, even if I just got to spend nights there waking up every 3 hours to test blood sugar. Yet, there is a part of me that wished I spent at least one day there, if only to see how lucky we are with a diagnoses of diabetes compared to some of the other patients in that ward.
My wife was the one who spent the days with our son at the hospital, a lot of it in the large play room they have for all the children, regardless of age. Having spend nights there, my exposure to the other patients was limited, although I did see some of them walking around periodically. My wife got to see them even more and got to hear at least a few of their stories. It is heart breaking, not only to see them there, some of them teenagers who don't know when they will be able to go home, and see the looks of dejection, hopelessness, and dismay at their condition. One girl, a teenager, walked around with a mask on her face because she only had between 40 and 50 white blood cells total in her body. She wasn't going to be able to leave until they somehow got her body to produce more and get the number up at least over a 100. Her numbers had been up and down and she felt almost hopeless. There was another young person in a wheel chair with patchy hair, probably a teenager but looked decades older who I'm guessing was dealing with cancer or some other serious disease. There was another teenager, gaunt and hallow, who needed help walking anywhere. And there was a patient I never saw, but got to see everyone who entered their room don masks, gloves, and gowns to keep whatever they were carrying away from them. I couldn't even imagine being in their shoes, not knowing when I would get to leave, being a teenager stuck in a hospital ward when all my friends were going about their daily lives. That is just the tip of the ice berg. There is another section in pediatrics that we were not allowed to go into, either because it was the area where they deal with psychological issues or the serious cases reside that are either highly communicable or highly susceptible to infection. So yes, I consider my son extremely lucky when put into context and my heart goes out to all those other children, ranging from babies to teenagers, who have no end in sight to their ailments.
As for me, I got that one full night sleep this week. Last night I woke up again at 230 to test our son's blood sugar. I didn't technically need to, but with his blood sugar starting to drop and the insulin remaining the same, for my wife's peace of mind, I got up to test his blood sugar. It's amazing how important continuous sleep is to the human body. Without it, a distinct fog starts to creep in. For me, its a perpetual fog right now, but that's ok, I only paint walls. Back to life and reality now, more coffee, then breakfast, then another day of work.