A good friend and mom of a diabetic child shared an article on facebook tonight. An article from a diabetes advocate and blogger who lost her son to type 1 when he was 13. The article, while more of an announcement and celebration, caught me off guard given the timing. Miss N is 13, and the words lost her 13 year old to type 1 diabetes hold more power to stop me cold than Superman or Popeye with a can of spinach.
This illness is about always being prepared. It's about treating symptoms and not numbers. 74 - typically a fair to partially hey that's great kinda number doesn't mean a hill of beans when she can't stand up, her eyes start to roll back, and she isn't making much sense. It's about the nervous flutter of "Do I need to grab glucagon, is 4 oz. of juice enough, where the hell is the cake gel...am I really supposed to figure this out on my own?" It's amazing how two tiny little words can be paralyzing... heart stopping.
What if I wasn't there? What if I hadn't heard her, or been mad about the cheetohs? What if my anger at the cheetohs (which is really all about D when we get down to it) got in the way of my noticing? What if she hadn't spoken up? What if she feels like she can't, because of who she's with, or what's going on at the time? What if we couldn't find anything to give her - didn't know we'd run out?
What if applies to seizures coma, and yes death. It applies to the fear of loss and the guilt of finding myself unprepared.
We fight constantly to live life in a way that cries loudly of our intent to support Miss N in living her life how she sees fit - diabetes be damned. We proclaim bravely that she can do everything her peers do, with just a little more work. But, it isn't just a little more work... it's a lot of constant, everyday, hard, time consuming work bordering on hyper vigilance. No matter how hard we try, we can't always predict the low, the high, when the insulin needs to get turned down, turned off (briefly), or cranked up. It's the trade off for tight control and the hope that our children will avoid the complications of diabetes that so rob their treasure chest of its quality of life.
So tonight I will bake, pray, and check. A tear or two may escape my eye, and tomorrow she will play - beautifully, while I yearn for sleep and keep an ever watchful eye, ever ready to head off another low brought on by exercise.
But- oh, does she ever love it. And that makes it worth every sleepless second.