“One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six” SNAP! The infusion set is inserted into my son’s stomach. He writhes in pain, rubbing his stomach. His eyes are closed as he tries to compose himself.
I usually tell him to “suck it up!” I tease him about being a wimp and he gives me a lecture on the varying levels of pain a site causes depending on location and insertion method. This time I said nothing. I paused for a minute and watched him in awe.
We will soon have been at this game called diabetes for thirteen years. That is 87% of his life spent living with diabetes. As of today that is at least 37,776 times that he has had his fingers lanced to make them bleed so that I could know his blood glucose level or ketone level in his blood. He has been poked by a syringe to inject life saving insulin into his body a minimum of 5500 times. He has been stabbed by an insulin infusion set injector at least 1300 times. I don’t think he has ever cried. I don’t remember ever having to chase him to lance or inject him.
He puts off changing his sites. He forgets to test. He will do anything rather than endure another injection or have blood work done. I will give him a hard time. I will tell him to deal with it. Why? Because in my head, I still see that lifeless little boy that I willed to live all those years ago. I vividly remember what life without insulin looked like. There is no option but this one.
Despite that hard line; despite “knowing” that there is no alternative, last night I allowed myself a moment to recognize how brave and strong he really is. I HATE lancing my finger. I squirm and cringe. I jump and do anything rather than voluntarily stab myself. I hate getting blood work done and will not watch and the needle enters my veins. The needle that I stuck into my son’s stomach is bigger and longer than most needles I have experienced. I had an IV put in my hand about a year ago and after the nurse was done messing about, turning it, and twisting, I was almost sick to my stomach and fought to stay upright.
If I had to have infusion sets stuck in me on a regular basis, I would be an Emla addict and I would still cringe and squirm. My son used Emla for a few years, but then he decided not to bother with it any more.
I still believe that injections, insertions and lancing is a FAR better alternative to life without insulin but I also remain amazed at the pain that a person with diabetes goes through to stay alive on a daily basis. I am amazed at all that my son has gone through and he still simply takes it all in stride each day.