I am not American. I do not follow the celebrity gossip. I do watch movies. I know who Kevin Kline is and I like his work (who can forget “The Big Chill” or “A Fish Called Wanda”). I may have heard that he was somehow involved with diabetes but then again so is Cliff from Cheers (aka John Ratzenberger) and many other wonderful “celebrities”. Today I watched a clip that made me realize that he is more than just a great actor, he is a father. He is not just any father. He is a father of a child with Type 1 diabetes who wants the world to know that we need better for our kids.
Today he told the world that “Once you have a child with diabetes you immediately stop being merely a parent. You become a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, expert.” Mr. Kline when on to point out that diabetes never stops and worries never sleep…and neither do the parents.
For a change, the interviewers seemed to get it. Diabetes was taken seriously during this interview. The only part that saddened me was the focus on technology rather than a true cure. I appreciate technology. I have seen incredible leaps in the eleven years my son has been dealing with this disease and I am forever grateful. I am a bit more content knowing that he will most likely have CGM technology to take forward in his life but he will still have to wear it. He will continue to be a walking robot with a number of machines needed to keep him alive. He will be alive but there will also be a cost…a huge financial one.
At the moment, we have difficulty having insulin pumps covered under our health care system depending on your age and where you live. How will my son afford his pump AND a CGM as well as all of the other “stuff” associated with this technology? That truly scares me. It is something that he will have to consider when both chosing a career and deciding where he will live.
I do not want to take away from the message of Mr. Kline however. He showed true emotion as a father of a child with diabetes. You could see the worry and sleepless nights in his face. He described diabetes as being similar to having a newborn all over again. With a newborn we carefully listen for breathing and fear SIDs. With diabetes, we also watch breathing but fear ketones, Dead in Bed, and medical malfunction to name a few.
Just after watching this interview, I scanned through my Facebook news and noticed blue candles. Another child had died. He was a teen aged boy, just out of high school. This morning I received a memorial from a family of a 24 year old young man who had died because his diabetes became too much of a burden for him to carry.
Its all very overwhelming. I pray that the American politicians listen to what these JDRF delegates have to say. I pray that the world listens as well. Together we can work towards a cure not just a larger bandaid. Together our children will live long and healthy lives.