My son is still with his father for a few more days but diabetes hangs around even when he doesn’t. I do not move without my phone. There may be a text or he may have a problem that requires Mom’s help. When I open my bag to put in my phone, I am greeted by two lancing devices, a roll or two of glucose tablets, a bottle of test strips and of course some hand wash!
It amazes me to see how much “stuff” I carry around each day. On the upside, the other day I dropped an ice cube on my foot and cut a toe (who cuts their foot with an ice cube?? Me!). Thanks to diabetes supplies at every turn, I was able to grab a meter and establish that I was 4.9 (88). No diabetes that day!
Despite not having to constantly say “test”, “bolus”, “what was that alarm for?”, and “did you do that site change yet?” I am missing it all. I guess because it is a part of my son and he is the one that I am missing. Don’t get me wrong. I do say a lot of those things via phone calls and text messages but its not quite the same as seeing the pump in front of me and being able to grab a meter and check it.
Recently someone said in passing that my son had been away from me and all was fine. I had been worried for nothing. I know that the comment had been made to make me feel better and more relaxed about how well he is learning to take care of himself. I am proud that nothing major happened but I equally know that “bad” in this case can quickly equate to death.
It frustrates me that so many people, including some living with the disease, do not take diabetes seriously. They do not think about how quickly DKA can escalate to the point of dehydration and the shutting down of organs. They do not realize that those prolonged highs are destroying small blood vessels and leading to early blindness and kidney disease. They do not see the problem now and assume that you are worrying unnecessarily. Face it, your child can walk down the street and be hit by a car. You can’t protect them from everything so why obsess over this disease that seems to be no big deal?
It is true that we cannot protect our children from every danger that is out there but when you live with a chronic illness like diabetes, well the worries and dangers are increased. How do we get people to understand this? How do you help the teacher at school understand? How do you get the boss at work to know that you are not “milking” this? How do we get the general public to understand and support us when often loved ones and people in our close circle don’t truly understand what you are going on about.
You can speak again and again about that lifeless little boy in your arms. You can speak again and again about the death of that incredible man who went low at night and did not live to see any of his children graduate. You can speak again and again about the teen who thought he would take his insulin later and did not live that long. The list goes on but somehow the list is still not long enough or powerful enough.
Diabetes does consume more of my day than the average person. I do educate myself more. I do involve myself in the diabetes community more than some. I work hard to keep my son as healthy as possible. Teaching him to be a responsible person with diabetes is my hardest task. Somewhere in there however, I will continue to work to find a way to teach others. They may not fully understand. I pray that they never live through the experiences that we have had but hopefully they will begin to get a bit of it. They will begin to know that we worry because diabetes makes it so…or maybe they will just find a cure and we can go back to worry about them crossing the street instead.