The Guts to Go Home
More than one parent has felt it: Your child is happy in the activity room, and you're comfortable surrounded by the medical team and their support. True, the parent bed in the hospital room is not so comfortable, and the food is getting boring, but couldn't you just live there from now on? Getting the guts to go home is a major step in working back toward your new “normal” life.
Your medical team should make sure you leave the hospital armed not only with information, books, and papers to explain all the details (all of which they've gone over with you) but also with all your prescriptions filled. Most hospitals have a pharmacy. If yours does not, fill your scripts at a nearby one, and then bring them back to your child's room. Going through the actual items with your medical team one more time will help you get acquainted with the tools you will use to help your child stay well.
Have someone bring a small cooler to the hospital on discharge day.
That way, you won't risk your month's supply of insulin getting warm if the car ride ends up extended for any reason.
Parents should also leave the hospital with some level of confidence. You should have given your child a shot at least a couple of times. You should understand how and when to use a glucagon kit; the kit contains a needle and a dose of the hormone glucagon and is used to counteract the seriously low blood sugar levels that cause seizures (see Chapter 6 for more information). You should have a cursory knowledge of carbohydrates and a small booklet, which you can refer to at all times, that lists the amount of carbs found in foods. Finally, you should have the twenty-four-hour emergency phone number for the medical team.
The First Plan
Your child will not go home on the diabetes plan that she will stay on long-term. Your team should sit down with you and come up with temporary target blood glucose ranges as well as an insulin-dosing plan for the first days. Expect that to change quickly, but you can stick by it for the first few days. Expect your child's target range to be a bit higher than you may have read is good (some books call for target ranges from 80 to 140). Newly diagnosed families usually opt, with their team's advice, for something more like 100 to 200 or even higher for tinier tots. As you learn more and become more comfortable, your team will help you pull that target range in tighter. Now, on your way home, is the time to learn to be comfortable, not to shoot for perfect numbers.
In the end, heading home will be the best thing that happens to you. True, you face a whole new world of challenges, but as you face each one, you and your child will find that you can still live happy, active, and normal lives.