I’ll never forget the day we were discharged from the hospital. While Paul was outside loading the car, I sat on the bed watching Luna play with the doctor’s kit and bear she‘d been given days prior. She kept talking about how lucky she was to receive such neat toys and to have met interesting doctors, nurses, and educators. As a newly devastated parent, the word “lucky” stung. I sat there, a perfectly healthy non-diabetic adult listening to my little girl, whose life was just flipped upside down talk about how lucky she is, and all I wanted to do was break down. For the three days and two nights we spent at the hospital, Paul and I did our best to hide our emotions, choosing instead to forge ahead with the pseudo-optimism we were using to cope. Finally, it was time to leave; I was both anxious and scared to return home. So many questions ran through my mind. What if I forgot to ask something? What if I forget to do something? Did I feel ready to leave our hospital safety net? All the same questions I asked myself six years ago when Luna was born. Knowing I didn’t have a choice in the matter, I decided then and there that I would do whatever it took to figure things out; just like I had done every day since becoming a mother.
After giving myself a mini pep talk, I signed the discharge papers, took Luna by the hand and we walked to our car. Along the way, I couldn’t help but wonder about all the families walking past us towards the hospital? What fate awaited them? Which one of these kids would take Luna’s place? I silently prayed and naively hoped that they were all there for minor bumps and bruises.
When we finally stepped outside, the cold air reminded me that it was still winter and even though everything in our world changed, none of that mattered to the rest of Chicago. The world seemed different to me, and still does. As we approach our three-month "diaversary", the diabetic glasses are still very much on. I don’t know when or if they will ever come off. I often wonder if I’ll always obsess over the carb. counts, or if I'll ever stop thinking of my daughter terms of numbers? Only time will tell.
Nonetheless, I'm hopeful, because I’m starting to realize that Luna is right. She is lucky, we are lucky. All I had to do was walk around the corner to know just how lucky we are. There were children at the hospital that I knew spent a lot of time there and some I knew were never going to leave. So even though Luna’s pancreas retired at the ripe old age of 6 (something Luna came up with), we are lucky! Lucky to have insulin, to have health insurance, to have knowledgeable doctors, to have a strong support system, to have each other and to have Luna. Her positive outlook and strength make this disease manageable. She is proof that life doesn’t have to be perfect to have a perfectly good life. She is an optimist, a silver lining kind of gal! As her mother, there’s nothing luckier than that.