And although it is freezing cold outside here in Canada, it's the most heart warming month of the year. The feeling of love is in the air, with the growing anticipation of flowers, chocolates and maybe if your lucky, some wine too. Red and pink hearts and little cupids are abundant everywhere. In case you have forgotten Valentines is soon here.
For me, February is a bitter sweet time.
A time, for me, of despair and heart ache in mourning the way life was. I don't visit here often, but when I do, it's usually in the month of February. I allow it just one month a year, to feel it, to account for it and to deal with it. Memories of my sweet baby girl in pain, crying, not understanding that everyone around her, prodding and poking were there saving her life. The memories of pure and utter helplessness as all I can do is look in her eyes, stroking her hair, repeating over and over "it will be okay" "you're okay" while in the back of my mind pleading those statements hold true.
February is the month that Cara was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was 4 years ago. She doesn't remember much, she had only turned 3 a few months prior but I remember so much...
- I remember seeing the fear in the ER nurse's eyes while trying to find a vein. Over and over poking not able to find it, calling to another nurse for help and still nothing and then, it hit them...lying on this bed was a skeleton of a little girl, motionless, as she continually endured getting jabbed again and again, not moving, not crying, not fighting. Simultaneously, they stopped, with a look of panic across their faces, looked at me then back at Cara, one more poke...finally found the vein. You could feel the relief in the room.
- I remember how little, tiny and frail she was. So much weight had been lost she was just skin and bones.
- I remember her NEED for water, constantly asking for more as we waited in the ER.
- I remember the biggest brown eyes filled with so much worry every time someone would walk into her hospital room. I will never forget that face.
- I remember she was covered with stickers from her head to her toes, a short of bribery used by the nurses.
- I remember she loved being strolled through the hospital hallways during the nights when no one was awake.
- I remember the exhaustion.
- I remember nurses and doctor's talking to me as I nodded my head frantically as to say yes I understand. Only to find once they left the room their words were a jumbled mess in my head. I would turn to my husband and ask "What the heck did they just say?" I could not hold one thought, I could not comprehended what they were saying.
- I remember for Valentines day I had my husband bring Cara's red and pink heart pj's up to the hospital. She looked so cute and everyone who saw her made sure to comment. It brought her so much joy!
- I remember my husband would lie down beside Cara every night before he left for home as I read all the books I could get my hands on. I wanted to know everything. For me, information gave me power over this disease.
- I remember Cara, although so young and sweet, so very mad and confused at what was happening, she took a good chunk of that out on me. One night while my husband and her were lying in her hospital bed, she turned her head to where I was reading and out of the blue said " I HATE YOU" She never said it again, did not explain herself...we did not push. There was no explanation need. I was the one who brought her to the hospital, I was the one that let everyone poke and prod her. I think, at that time, she thought I was the one who caused this pain. I will never forget the anguish in her eyes. That was the very first and only times I cry in the hospital.
- I remember the relief that finally someone listened to me, we finally got the medical attention that my daughter needed. We were safe, surrounded by people educated in taking care of a child with type 1 diabetes.
- I remember telling my mom. I called her on the phone as we were waiting in the ER room. I said, they think it's type 1 diabetes but we are just waiting for the results of the blood tests to confirm (Cara's bg was 53.2mmols 957.6mg on dx) As she tried to talk to me I heard the quiver in her voice and I snapped at her " I don't need this right now, pull yourself together or I'm going to hang up" She pulled herself together, we talked for just a bit longer before the nurses came back with the results.
- I remember having to go over and over the months of sickness and doctors vistits with our nurses. They were shocked at how long and how many doctors turned us away saying it was only a virus.
- I remember the pep talks to myself. We are dealing, don't let your emotions get the best of you, focus on what's next, how do we beat this. She is safe, we are okay, you are going to kick some ass. I will take this on, I will bare the weight, we are doing this, there is nothing that we can do to change this...WE GOT THIS!! Don't cry, don't cry, please don't cry...she needs you!!
- I remember the fright and nervousness when we were given the opportunity to go home after the 4th day in the hospital. They were confidant we could do it, we on the other hand, were not so sure. But we left on that day, never to look back because this was our life now, this was our new way and we were going to ROCK IT OUT like no other.
Every February we celebrate, not what we lost but what we have. We celebrate Cara is still with us. We celebrate all the hard work that we all have done in the year past. We celebrate the fight and how awesome we ALL are. We are in this together and we got this!
and I remember, quietly pushing back the sorrow to celebrate with and for my wonderful family.
It's a bitter, sweet February