Friday, June 22, 2012

alti e bassi
T had been losing weight for some time, but I thought it was a growth spurt. She was drinking more and more water, but it is really hot out. Her eyes looked bleary and watery, but she had been having trouble sleeping. No fever, no sore throat, no cough. I started to wonder if she wasn't a bit anemic. Every time I asked her how she felt she said she was fine. Finallly, I made an appointment with a doctor. Then I canceled the appointment and made one sooner. Then I canceled that and insisted she see us that same afternoon. By the time we were seen by the doctor she told us that we had to go to the emergency room. I remembered that my boss had had a bad experience in the Lucca emergency room with her baby. I called my friend Serena that is a doctor and she recommended that we go to the emergency room in a small town near by because the pediatric department was better organized than the one in Lucca and the one that she knows in Pisa was swamped that night. By the time we got there T was having difficulty breathing.

I could not believe my eyes when the hunky trainer Giovanni was standing in front of the hospital like the San Michele Arcangelo. I called out to him and he happened to know a woman in red suspenders who carries the lettino/stretcher to bring in emergency patients. Thanks to him T was seen instantly. Half an hour later there were ninety other patients in the emergency room. They diagnosed T with diabetes and said that she was in a state of acidosi. Later I found out that with further delays she could have gone into a coma. How did she get so skinny so fast. She had lost three chili in less than two weeks. I could kill myself for being so distracted with my messed up ankle.  Our friend Carlo who is a dentist came to the hospital to advocate for us. My friend Bianca came to give me a pack of kleenex and a hug. F went home to pack us a bag and drive to the children's hospital in Florence. The best in all of Italy, practically. T and I went in the ambulance with a siren and everything. Luckily, T fell asleep. They couldn't get her flebo bag to work in the ambulance and there was a big delay. Two nurses came with us and they were all very kind.

At the children's hospital she was put on saline and then insulin and twelve hours later her face stopped looking so skeletal. F and I shared a tiny single mattress on the floor of her private room. We didn't sleep and they checked her blood almost every hour. The next day I started to feel ill and they took my blood pressure and it was really low. An hour later I was on the floor, moaning and all of the previously kind medical staff were looking at me like I was making a dreadful scene. Our friend Fabio came and got me and drove me home where I took a sleeping pill. The  next day my friend Gabriella's husband Antonio drove me back to Florence first thing. We started to get lessons on how to test T's blood before and after her three meals and two snacks plus once at midnight. We all learned how to give the insulin injections. I knew she was my real hero in this world when I saw her give herself the injection for the first time. She had many times told me in the past she could never be a nurse, but you wouldn't know that from seeing her in action.

We tried to beg for food for her because she kept saying she was starving, but the dietitian was very strict. And very Italian. For some reason she can have focaccia con nutella for breakfast, and was horrified that T likes to have potatoes in the morning and that we often mix our vegetables into the pasta without serving fagiolini on its own dish.

If we ever doubted that we could establish new deep friendships in a short time in Italy, my cell phone memory shows the proof that indeed our friends are the true kind. I spoke with Serena, Bianca, Carlo, Adonella, Gabriella, Antonio, Anna Maria, Paola, Fabio, Melissa, Christina, Patrizia, Gemma, the other Fabio, Deborah, Giusy, Jessica, Federica, Amelia, T's orthodontist, and several of T's friends sent messages of love.

It is really hard not giving her what she wants to eat when she wants to eat when clearly she is so very hungry. It is horrible seeing her down and joyful seeing her rally. It is scary to be sucked back into the health care system that I have worked so hard to be free of. I am so grateful for my daughter and for everyone who has helped us in these last five days. It can only get better from here. In Italy we have not had to pay a cent for the excellent care she has received, although tomorrow the bureaucracy kicks in and we'll see the other side of that coin. I am especially glad that with all of the numbers we have to keep track of some of them lead to some truly loyal, loving friends that mean it when they say let us know if we can help..

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