What a wonderful thing denial can be! Like when you stand on the bathroom scales. My favourite thing is to wind back the dial a few kilograms so when I get on Im the weight I want to see ! Honestly my first reaction to diabetes was denial.
But how? What causes it? I havent done anything to cause it? Your tests were wrong! Should you test him again? This doesnt happen to us, our kids are healthy and whole. This happens to other people. Will he be cured? Getting medicine into his body he will be better and then we wont have to think about diabetes ever again, right... Its just like taking an asprin... ummm. No.
SO SO WRONG!!
In diabetes there are no bandaids. Theres no cure. We have insulin and thank God for the man that woke up one morning 90 years ago with the idea of using porcine and bovine insulins!
We spent a week in a ward at the hospital where Reuben didnt leave my side. Even when busting to go to the ladies room (I felt like I may explode like Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!) Augustus Gloop Augustus Gloop the great big greedy nincompoop! Wait, where was I?
I would wait until Reubens Daddy would arrive to take over the watch. Only then did I feel I could take my eyes off him and have a shower and eat. I guess it was fear. The nurses would offer to watch him but somehow the offer didnt appeal. As the days passed Reuben began to perk up. I knew he was feeling better when he began flirting with the nurses and trying to rip out his IV.
I will never forget those days and nights spent out in the hospital playground getting fresh air and wondering why us. (Also I pondered why the haunting clown theme. Ick.) Deep down I knew how dramatically our lives would change. I just didnt want to face it.
Our diabetes educator was lovely. We met endocrinologists. We spent time with nurses. Heres the short and sweet version - Diabetes sucks. You use needles to get insulin into your body subcutaneously up to 6 times a day. Testing with a lancet (yep you guessed it, another needle!) up to 8 or 9 times a day in a baby to gauge where blood sugar levels (or BGL blood glucose levels) are sitting. It amounts to a whole heap of pricking and bleeding. Every day.
Type 1 has nothing to do with his lifestyle in terms of developing it. His poor pancreas was under attack and his body decided it didnt need something he infact needs and killed it off. Where we make insulin to take our sugar around our bodies he hasnt got that ability. When it comes to managing the condition, lifestyle has everything to do with it! Imagine one of those old fashioned see-saws in the playground. You know the type that didnt have handles, it was an old worn peice of wood that left splinters in your wee hands while you clung on for dear life? Remember how you got stranded up top when your brother and sister ganged up on you and both chose to ride on one side leaving your flailing and screeching in mid air? (So not a good idea. Who do you email about things like that?!)
So my metaphorical Diabetes see saw is this - on one end sits food and it makes your blood sugar go up. On the other is insulin and exercise. It makes your blood sugar go down. Somewhere in all this mess we are trying to get his blood samples to level out between 5 and 12 mmol/l. I hear you asking does this aforementioned seesaw ever stop in the middle, level, static. No because just being awake, eating, playing, walking, running, getting a tooth, make the blood sugar swing. Diabetes isnt an exact science. Its more like a juggling act !
Home we go armed with our newly diagnosed Type 1 son, a bag full of insulin, a shopping list of supplies to get from Diabetes Australia and Rufus the bear with diabetes (a free bear from Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
This was the 'staring into the deep ravine' moment. A child doesnt manage diabetes. Reuben has the dodgy pancreas and I manage his diabetes. It washes over you as a parent and main care giver.
I am responsible to keep this child alive even though high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) tried to kill my son. I am responsible to give him insulin each time he eats to prevent that happening. I have to monitor him incase a hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) episode also tries to steal him. It is unrelenting. The anxiety, the pressure, the consistency, the planning, preparing, the managing, the carbohydrate counting, the estimating. I do it full time and have done so now for 8 months.
Just as long WITH diabetes as WITHOUT. And Reuben is only 16 months old.