When a family goes through something traumatic, what are the long term consequences? How will it affect me? How will it affect my wife and my surviving children? I was speaking to my neighbor the other day about different behaviors or traits our boys may express over the coming years. He is a counselor and social worker and was able to bring several things up that I hadn't thought of.
The boys do not talk a lot about their feelings. What they are thinking or how the past year has changed them. My neighbor told me this is pretty normal, but that it is important to listen and talk in those moments they do open up.
A few nights ago Daxton came down stairs to tell me his older brother was crying. I went upstairs to see what was going on. Knowing which boy it was, I figured he was upset about Kycie. I sat next to him on his bed and asked what was the matter. Muffled through his pillow he was able to squeak out, "I miss Kycie." Tears welled up as my mind raced to remember what my neighbor had counseled me on. What was I supposed to say? How do I respond? Do I let him see my emotions?
"I miss her too." We sat there in the dark for a few minutes crying together. Finally I said, "I cannot believe that the one year anniversary of when Kycie was LifeFlighted is just a few weeks away." I asked him what he remembered from that day. He cried a little harder and said, "I was home sick that day. Mom was taking Kycie to the doctors office. I was lying on the couch and Kycie stopped and said, Goodbye Bryton. See you later."
Friday morning. January 30th, 2015. I left for the gym at 5:30 in the morning and Kycie was asleep on the floor next to Jamie. She had a really rough night, up 3 or 4 times dry heaving and asking for something to drink. I got back home just before 7:00 and Kycie was still asleep. After going through my usual routine of getting ready for work, I gave Kycie and Jamie a kiss goodbye and told Jamie to keep me updated on what the doctor says. Jamie was already getting Kycie up so she could get to the doctors office as soon as possible.
Kycie was upset as Jamie got her into the bath. Crying that she did not want to go back and she just wanted to stay home. It was one of those moments of frustration and urgency. Frustrated that Kycie was arguing about going back to the doctor, while feeling a sense of urgency to get there as soon as possible. Jamie called the office as soon as it opened. She left a message with the assistant about why she felt they needed to see Kycie today. A little while later the office called and set Kycie an appointment just after 10:00. Getting ready to leave, Kycie grabbed the nearest beanie boo and told Bryton goodbye. Jamie, Kycie and Boston headed out the door for another check at the doctors office.
Just before 11:00 Kycie was evaluated again by her doctor. Perplexed by the white plaques in Kycie's mouth and her continued sickness, Jamie was given the option of waiting one more day to see if she gets better, admitting to the hospital for possible dehydration or going to the emergency room. Jamie decided to take Kycie to the emergency room.
I got a call from Jamie as she was leaving the doctors office to tell me she was taking Kycie to the ER. She was going to take Boston home first and my mom would meet her there. I was winding down my own clinic at Richens Eye Center and still had about 5 patients to see.
At the end of 2014 there was a pain in my left shoulder that was only getting worse. It got to the point that that I couldn't even lift my arm up to the desk and move the mouse. I figured I had torn something in my shoulder but wanted to wait until the first of the year to get it looked at so my deductible would reset. Besides the occasional office visit or wellness check, our family doesn't get sick or visit the doctor. I had my shoulder evaluated the first week of January. The surgeon figured a labral tear of my left shoulder, but needed a MRI to make sure. I scheduled the MRI for January 30th at 2:00 p.m.
I hung up with Jamie and walked into the exam room. I started to look over the chart but my mind was hazy. Kycie is going to the ER? What exactly is wrong? I have a MRI at 2:00, and Kycie should get there about noon. Does she have cancer? Why can't they figure it out? I couldn't even make it half way through my exam when I had the overwhelming impression to leave. Do not finish clinic! Get to the hospital now to be with Jamie and Kycie. I didn't even ask one of the other doctors to cover me. I told a technician that I had to go be with Kycie and that someone else needs to see my remaining patients.
I got to the ER just a few minutes after Jamie and Kycie. Kycie jumped right into my lap and hugged me tight. She didn't talk much, but kept asking for a drink. The nurse at check-in told her no fluids until she sees the doctor. As I sat and held Kycie, I could smell a fruity odor on her breath. I asked Jamie if she had given Kycie some Starbursts or something. "She had a little bit of slushy before we got here." Huh. Weird.
At about 1:00 we were taken back and the nurse started to take a history and vitals. They wanted a urine check so we walked back together and sat Kycie on the toilet. I held the little cup under her and was astonished at the amount of her urine output. She didn't talk much but would whine like she does when she doesn't want to do something. We went back into the little room and waited for the ER doc.
A little while later the doctor arrived and asked what was going on. Head ache on Monday. Got worse and so we took her to the doctor on Wednesday. Given antibiotics for strep throat. Thursday was worse. She won't eat anything. She will only drink fluids, especially the last day or two. She has lost a lot of weight. White stuff in her mouth. Last night she was up a lot peeing and drinking and threw up several times. Acting a bit delirious and agitated.
Suddenly it clicked in my head. I have head these symptoms before. I had a short lecture on it in optometry school and remember the symptoms of fruity breath, excessive urination and thirst. I also remember there was a missionary while I was in Montreal that started to drink a lot, pee a lot and lost a lot of weight. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The doctor looked at us and said, "I'm not sure, but it sounds a lot like diabetes." I then told him that I could smell a fruity odor on her breath in the waiting room.
FINALLY! We have a diagnosis. Diabetes. Not cancer. Not a mystery disease. Not some weird swine flu virus that no one could figure out. I then thought of all the kids and adults I knew with T1D. This is manageable. We can do this. At least it is not cancer, it is not a tumor. I was already late for my MRI but stayed to hold Kycie's hand as they drew blood. She was so dehydrated the nurse struggled to get a good poke. Jamie pushed me out the door and told me she could take it from here. They had to run labs and that would take a little bit.
I ran around the hospital to the imaging department. I quickly changed into a gown and they injected a dye into my shoulder. They then wheeled me to another room with the MRI machine. I had texted Jamie back and forth a few times until I had to give up my phone. They were still waiting on labs. I was lying on the table waiting to be pushed into the large circular MRI machine when I could hear my phone ringing. It was behind the glass but they hadn't shut the door yet and I recognized the ring. The ringing stopped and I heard them say, "okay, we are ready." Just then my phone started to ring again. Same ringtone. When I'm at work I do not answer calls from Jamie unless she calls back to back. That is her signal that she really needs to talk to me. Slightly embarrassed, I sat up and asked if someone would bring me my ringing phone. When I answered, Jamie was crying and said, "They are LifeFlighting Kycie!"