Seems Like Just Yesterday
A diabetes dad realizes just how far his baby has come.
By Tom Karlya
May 2008 — "Doctor's office, good morning."
"Hi, my daughter's starting college next year and I need a copy of her medical file to send to the University so they have a record of her inoculations, etc. Could you kindly send them to me? Her name is Kaitlyn K-a-r-l-y-a"
"Hold on, please. Is this Mr. Karlya?"
"I'm sorry Mr. Karlya, your daughter is 18 and under HIPPA guidelines only she can have access to her medical records."
And there it was.
I thanked the woman, called Kaitlyn's cell phone, and left a message about what she needed to do. The next ten minutes were spent staring at my computer screen. No, it wasn't the pending college, the graduation plans, the prom excitement, the scholarship night, the honor society induction, the ordering of the limo, or even watching the trying on of the prom dress and the next possible prom dress and still another possible prom dress - nor even flipping through her yearbook. It was none of these things.
It was a doctor's office that said to me, "Sorry pal, she's grown up. You're little girl…is….well…..gone." I have lived every waking hour relating my life as my little girl grew up with diabetes. My only daughter. My Kaitlyn. Moving forward, her mother and I would no longer have access to her medical records. I thought, "Are they kidding?" But they weren't. I now had no rights. Or as they saw it, she now did.
Her medical records have become so much a part of our lives that my not having access was actually a tad devastating? Didn't they know who I was? I mean, they're just pieces of paper with information on it. Should it really matter? I guess if one didn't have a child with diabetes they wouldn't understand.
Over 102,000 units of insulin; over 39,600 blood tests; over 10,230 insulin shots (and that was just until 1999 when she switched to the pump); over 100 trips to the lab for an A1C or other blood test; over 70 trips to her pediatric endocrinologist, four pumps, four insurance companies, three diabetes educators, two doctors, one mom, one child with diabetes, and me. And now I have no rights to know any more because of a law commonly called HIPPA. Who knew?
Wasn't it just yesterday that we were taking our kids to the Coliseum for an ice show that Kaitlyn went so low her body locked up as stiff as a board? What about when she needed a piece of candy while trick-or-treating, or we didn't know about what cupcakes with icing could do to her numbers? How about when we sent letters to every teacher from grades K-12, or when a babysitter mixed up an ‘NPH' and ‘R' mixture of insulin shot so Kaitlyn received 2 and 14 units instead of 14 and 2? Then there was finding a babysitter with diabetes to make it easier for Kaitlyn, and the walkathons, the fund raisers, the millions of dollars raised because people wanted to help her. There was the out-reach of a friend named Bob Sanna who gave millions of adverting dollars and tons of his genius because he fell in love with a little girl, and the free pages in magazines across the country from Angela, and the friend who said come to where I work - you have access to anything you need including those who work for me and they will help you out - who knew those people would be the likes of Ray Romano, Peter Boyle, and Doris Roberts? So many people giving so much for so long.
It was just yesterday, wasn't it, that my wife called me and told me they were rushing our daughter to the hospital with this thing called diabetes and I leaned over her crib at the time? She looked at the IV in both of her arms and said "Daddy, fix." It was all just yesterday.
It wasn't. Was it?
It was a long time ago and through it all her mom has quietly fought the good fight to get her to this day of growing up. This day that HIPPA would "protect" her. This is the day that I would be reminded that the chapter in this story needs to be turned.
"Where is the little girl I carried," the song says. "Where are the butterfly kisses goodnight?"
The bobby sox are now stockings; the gum in her purse is now lipstick; the bike is now a car; walks to get pickles from the deli are now trips in planes; talks are now discussions; pigtails are highlights; Claire's Stores is now Coach; climbing up on my knee is now flying out the door. I think of all the things that were, and all of the wonderful things she has become, and I realize how much more I love her and I know no one else could have done this the way she did. What she went through with her life would weaken the strongest of men. But it didn't weaken Kaitlyn.
Diabetes is still diabetes.
It's what she has, not who she is - she'll tell you that.
She won't tell you what she goes through; she'll tell you life is great and she'll mean it. She knows it, she lives it. Go, Daddy's little girl, it's time to go, time to grow and time to move on. Love wants you to stay, yet it's love that knows you need to go. Be strong.
But I do sure hope there'll still be a few butterfly kisses, even for just a little while more.
Daddy didn't need to fix anything baby, you did it all on your own.
Now I sing in a whisper. "Where is the little girl I carried?"
I'm a Diabetes Dad.
Read More of Tom's Articles.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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