The Odyssey Begins

The odyssey beginsEducation and teamwork brings confidence

When Joshua was first diagnosed, our family began an odyssey, a long, wandering journey marked by adventures in learning—about diabetes, ourselves, and each other. Our immediate goal was adjusting to Joshua’s diagnosis as a family. The long-term goal was his responsible and healthy management of his diabetes.

After Joshua’s admission to the hospital to lower his blood-sugar level, I began my diabetes research project to find appropriate care for our son. My first call was to our friend, Dr. David Green, who told me about two diabetes clinics. One was in Los Angeles, which was a six- to nine-hour drive from our home in the Sierra Nevada. The other was in Sparks, Nevada, a suburb of Reno, which was a three- to six-hour drive, depending on road conditions. I decided on Reno. Not only was it closer, it was offering a five-day diabetes class beginning the following Monday.

By Sunday afternoon, Joshua’s glucose level and my emotions began to stabilize and we prepared for our trip to the diabetes clinic. Joshua was filled with food and insulin; the car was filled with gas, a blanket, a shovel, and a snow broom, as well as snacks, soda pop, and juice. And I was filled with determination, even though I was scared to death I might do something wrong to harm Joshua.

I was relieved to make the trip in three hours without encountering a blinding snowstorm, seventy miles per hour winds, or cattle grazing in the middle of the mountain road. We arrived safely at Sparks Family Hospital, registered for the clinic, then settled into the empty pediatric ward for the night. The next morning, we met Joshua’s health-care team. After five days of intensive training, he and I graduated from our class. We headed home a little less afraid and a little more knowledgeable about diabetes and nutrition.

It wasn’t until 1996 that I learned the clinic had opened only two weeks earlier and that Joshua was its first Type I patient. You could have fooled us! Sally, Sue, and Libby were part of a new program but they made an extraordinary health-care team. We are eternally grateful to each of them for their expertise and caring.

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