We have spent a lot of our time this summer traveling. It has been an amazing summer with lots of lovely warm days. Its not surprising then to see so many people–young and old in shorts and lights shirts.
Sitting in Tim Horton’s recently, I saw a little girl happily playing with her grandfather. She carried a small lunch bag. She was wearing shorts and a tank top. Her bare arms and legs visible and full of energy. The bare limbs and lunch bag sent my mind reeling back in time.
I remembered when my youngest son was her age–around five perhaps. I remembered his small legs. The tops of which were often marked by small little bruises. I remembered the tank tops he would wear and the dots that could be seen on these little limbs as well.
At the time I thought of them as the price paid to keep my son alive. It was an invitation for people to talk and learn about diabetes. Now, as I watched this young girl, I wondered what people really thought. Did they ask themselves if I was abusing him? Did they mistake life saving injections for some sort of injuries? If I didn’t know the difference I might have asked myself if that child was accident prone or was there something more going on.
I looked at the little girl again. She was full of life–full of innocence. Her body unmarked and perfect. I saw my son the same way. Like his older brother, he was perfect and full of life. He had lost some of his innocence by that age however. He had already spent years having his body violated by needles. He had already cheated death and we would make every second of life count.
After a few days of diligently testing and calling, I knew that things would have to go down hill. You cannot expect perfection in a teen away from the grasp of his mother…but you can hope!
I sadly did not have long to wait before he fell off the contacting wagon. For days I had no idea what my son’s readings were like. I only had the word of his older brother and a friend of mine that he was alive and doing well. As I mentioned before, his phone is dead and catching him at his father’s is basically impossible. We had agreed that he would call me each morning with his readings and to touch base.
It would appear that he decided to take the long weekend off from calling me. Mom quickly reached the boiling point. The first day of no call was okay. He was enjoying himself but he will call the next day. The next day of no call? Well, I was working to stay calm but began texting his poor older brother to death. Messages telling one child to have to the other call were wearing out my fingers. I even gave my oldest son permission to kick his little brother’s butt for parental neglect but still no call.
I was going insane. I tried to figure out a fitting punishment to help him to realize that he had to contact me on a regular basis. I couldn’t bring him home early. Dad has rights. I couldn’t immediately take away his privileges or ground him since he isn’t at home. I was sure I would hear from him at one point today. Three messages to his brother in the first few hours of the day would lead to action….and it did.
By the afternoon of day 4 of no contact he called. In a sleepy voice he wondered what the problem was. Hadn’t he just called me yesterday? well at least the day before? WRONG-o!! I told him that it had been days! I reminded him that he was to call EVERY day when he got up. Continued failure to do so would result in the loss of xBox privileges when he got home. He agreed.
I really wouldn’t mind if he missed a day but allowing that to happen once led to four days of no contact and blood glucose levels in the 20s (360+). It was just not an experience that I wanted to repeat. Hopefully we are back on track…until the next fall. He will have his own phone back by the end of the week so I can text him and give his brother a break from being the go-between.
I now feel better. Hearing his voice and making the required changes helped a lot. As much as I know that his father needs time with his son, and my son needs time with his family and friends, the joys of shared parenting and summer vacation can be stressful.
School is officially over and my nerves are already staring to fray. Despite a very slow start to summer (as in I am still waiting for it to truly arrive!), my son’s insulin needs have managed to plunge dramatically. I have adjusted carb to insulin ratios and numerous basal rates over the past few weeks to no avail.
I have been religiously pouring over log sheets trying to establish patterns and set rates. I have tried to guess future activity levels and needs. Despite my valiant efforts, I am failing miserably.
Tomorrow my son will be heading off for the first official leg of his summer vacation–a few weeks with his father and brother. I am verging on pure panic and trying to appease myself knowing that there always seems to be a guardian angel watching over him when he is away.
I have a book that I will be carrying around and we will set up times to call when he can give me his readings. I know he will not be pleased to do this but 5am lows followed by mid-afternoon highs and early evening crashes are going to be the death of me otherwise.
I try to make sure that he is running high before he goes away. The reasoning behind this is two fold. One, I know he tends to be on the go more and eating less when he is away. I also know that he tests less and forgets more when Mom is out of sight. I would rather him run high and be off in the woods playing with friends than be low and get himself in trouble in the same situation. At the moment, I am not sure that I have accomplished this. I will be doing a bit more tweaking today and then saying a lot of prayers!
Technically this will be my two weeks off. I will be able to sleep through the night but I won’t. I will worry that he is not checking himself and all of the worst things that could happen. He has a deal with his father where by they alternate for night testing. Its probably a good thing but it still makes me nervous as neither have been very good at retesting after a late night low. I also know, as many people have told me in the past, when Mom isn’t there to act as his safety net, he will (and does) step up to the plate more.
So as of tomorrow night I will have to shelve my worries. I have to remind myself that he is going to have fun and catch up with family and old friends. I will text. I will call. He will eventually answer. I will be counting the days until he comes home and he will be counting the days until he goes back. All I can do is pray a lot, keep my concerns to myself, and hope that all I have taught him is starting to sink in and that he will surprise me with his care while he is gone!