In January 2006 my five year old daughter Baylee was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. During the Christmas holiday I had noticed that she seemed to want to eat all the time. She has always been tall for her age so I assumed that she was having another growing spurt. Next were the trips to the bathroom every 15 to 20 minutes. When she would go it would be like she hadn't been in forever. One night she wet the bed from her head to her feet. The bed was soaked. I knew that something was wrong because this had never happened before. I took her to her pediatrician in Huntsville and she was diagnosed there. We were sent straight to a diabetes doctor there and sent home with needles, insulin, pens, lancets, wipes, cartridges, etc. I remember trying to give Baylee her first insulin shot at home. I was crying the whole way through it because I wasn't sure if what I was doing was right. I had only practiced on a ball and that was only three hours earlier. Having just learned of my daughter’s disease and then learning to use the gadgets—I was overwhelmed. The next day we were sent to Children's Hospital in Birmingham, where I was finally able to watch other people care for my daughter. They then taught me and my husband all about the disease and how to care for her ourselves.
The night I took Baylee home from the doctor’s office was the loneliest and most terrified I have ever been. I knew very little about Type 1 Diabetes, but I did know that Baylee needed four shots of insulin a day. I also knew that an educator would call me sometime the next day to fit us in a class one day to learn more. My five year old daughter’s health was in my hands and I knew no more about this disease than that. When we walked into Children's Hospital the next day I felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders. These people cared and were going to teach me and my husband to care for our daughter. They explained everything and answered all our questions. They got that we were stressed and overwhelmed but would not let us quit. Baylee still remembers going to the hospital and staying. She remembers going to the room with all the colors and toys. She remembers her doctor who gave hugs so freely. Her favorite thing was the wagons that we got to pull her around the halls in. Her time there is not remembered for her as scary, but for all the good things. Things that helped us remember that she was still a child no matter what kind of illness had crept into our lives. I think because the hospital experience was so good for her it may have helped her deal with her feelings about this disease. She will have it for the rest of her life or until a cure is found. She never lets it get in the way of things and she almost never complains unless a site change hurts. Thank you, Children’s Hospital, for making a normally bad experience a good one.