Today is World Diabetes Day. This year the theme is “T1D Looks Like Me”. The intention is to have people tell their stories of how they can succeed and even thrive with diabetes in their lives. Here is a bit of what it is like in our home with diabetes:
It looks like small blood smears on the dining room table from when he had to check his blood sugar for dinner.
It looks like a bright yellow sharps container sitting on the kitchen counter.
It smells like insulin on your hands after changing a site and refilling the cartridge in his pump.
It sounds like a first grade boy wishing his baby brother had diabetes too, so he wouldn’t be the only one.
It’s worrying about play dates and sleepovers, since the other parents don’t know how to check blood sugar or what to do once it has been checked.
It’s force feeding candy or juice to a half asleep six year old at 2 in the morning (because his blood sugar is too low) and wondering how badly these sugar boosts will affect his teeth.
It’s a guilty relief to have a meal when he’s at school, not having to worry about carbohydrates (and a profound sadness realizing he will never feel the same relief I get to feel).
It’s a three year old sister and six year old brother making jokes about diabetes that most adults wouldn’t understand. (Got insulin?)
It’s a preschooler knowing what the words diabetes, insulin and carbohydrates mean before she can even spell her name.
It’s taking our sick son to the emergency room when his blood sugar is out of control, only to get a look from the hospital staff that says “here’s another over-protective parent bringing her child to the ER because of the sniffles” and getting an eye roll.
It’s having him throw up and worrying that his blood sugar will dip because the insulin for all that food is still in his system, but now the food isn’t.
It’s a little sister wanting her “finger checked” too, just like her big brother.
It’s lonely, knowing most people think they know what diabetes is and finding out they really don’t.
It’s sad, seeing my son touch rose thorns and holly leaves and boast that “it doesn’t even hurt” because of the hundreds of times that his little fingers have been poked.
It’s part of the routine, it’s normal and none of my three children will remember a time without diabetes in our house.
It’s everything and all the time, worrying and planning ahead, hoping and praying.
It’s wishing he didn’t have to live with this, while being grateful that he CAN live with it.