Anger. Frustration. Fear. Terror. Sadness. Tears. Overwhelmed. Frustrated.
Yes, that was frustrated twice. As a parent, there is nothing worse than when a child lies to you. I know we have all done it. As a child, you seem to have to try to see what you can get away with. You want to make your parents happy so why show them some of the ugly reality? Besides, they tend to get mad and you get in trouble.
As a parent, its a knife in the heart. Its that perfect little person that you held in your arms those first few months and promised you would protect at all costs. That perfect little child grows and will tell you what they think you want to hear and the hurt when you find out its not true cuts you to the core.
Its not like my son is my first teen. I have a 16 year old. He has lied to me. He has gotten in trouble for doing things that I felt were inappropriate and even illegal. He has never seriously hurt himself and continues to get good grades. I remain thankful for that but each slight hurts just as much as the first.
Add diabetes to the mixture and these teen years…well I am working to fight back the tears because the consequences of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, unsafe sex, and non-compliant diabetes care are all the same. Its having that last item thrown into the mix that just makes matters that much worse.
Last night I went to check on my son. I was more than a little concerned about his overnight readings because he has recently decided that he wants to be fit. His body has become his temple and he is feeding it good food and exercising. Being a supportive parent, I have allowed him to purchase some gym equipment and remind him to test before, after and even during a workout. He has been doing that. Last night I was tired and went to bed before him.
“What is your reading?”
“Okay, you are going to have a snack and test before you go to bed right?”
“Call me if you have any problems.”
At 2:30am, I had to get up. I tested. He was low. I cursed and headed to the fridge for some juice. I came back, he drank and then I went to check his meter to see what his last reading was. That was when my world began to fall apart once again.
At midnight, the last test before mine, he was 3.1 (55). Fifteen minutes before that he was 3.5(around 60ish). He was dropping and he went to sleep!!! He did not call me for help. He just went to sleep risking not waking up again. I was shaking and wanted to cry! I literally thanked God that he was still alive and hadn’t seized or worse. What was he thinking???
If this was going on, what else was going on? I sat on his bed and began to look back through his meter. I was livid. I was in shock. I wanted to scream but it was now 3am and people wanted to sleep. For weeks, he had been lying to me about his readings at school. He put in numbers that were in range so I would not make any changes. He knew that that could be a problem. They were never perfect. They just looked okay but they were ALL fake. My heart was broken. My baby was lying to me. He said he wanted to be fit and look after his body but he was working to kill it.
I was beside myself. I wanted to pull him out of bed right there and then. That would do me no good. After he was in range, I went back to bed and tossed and turned. What the heck was I to do? How do I get through to a teen who thinks he is immortal? We have all been there. How do I teach him? How do I not scream at him in my frustrations? He is a good kid. He is breaking my heart.
I am going to try the health angle. I have taken away his new prize possession for a week–his dumbbells. Its the only thing at the moment that he seems to care about. I thought about his phone but that will be the next stage. I will now be texting him at school every day. Its allowed and it will be done. I will be asking for readings at set times. I will be checking his meter EVERY night. He will learn that to be healthy and buff on the outside, he needs a healthy body on the inside as well. I have to try and do this without freaking out. That is going to be so hard because watching your child potentially hurt him/herself is so devastating.
I told my fiance about this at breakfast. He knew I had been up with my son last night because he was low but didn’t know the rest of the story at that point. As we discussed it, we both decided that part of the problem most likely is not wanting to test in front of his new peers. I am sorry but that is life. That is the life of a person with diabetes and not wanting to is not going to change things. There are things in my life I do not like to do but it has to happen. And I wonder why I have stress and anxiety in my life? I don’t know that it will ever end with diabetes in the picture…and children.
I guess its back to tightening the reigns, being more diligent, kicking his butt and being the terrible mom. It feels like grounding him…you know Mom is punished as much as he is but time for mom to suck it up as well. This is serious and needs to be nipped in the bud NOW!
Wish me luck…I am in for an extra long and painful long weekend with a grouchy teen and a rough week to come!
Doug Burns, Former Mr. Universe and PWD