She's Not Alone
3 – 2 – 1 … 258.
My eyes were burning and squinting as the delicately positioned flashlight slipped, sending a brilliant glare through my pupils, into my tired brain.
Let’s face it: 258 just isn’t a number I want to see right before midnight. It means that she’ll need a correction…and another sugar check in 2 hours…and this sequence has potential to repeat itself indefinitely.
In essence, it means this night just got a little shorter.
I decide to set my cell phone timer, and camp out on the couch. My husband leaves for work very early, and I don’t want to wake him prematurely. I grab a quilt and just as I can feel myself falling off the edge of reality, I’m awakened by someone crying.
The six year old has an earache.
I jump up to get her some pain medicine, throw the rice sock in the microwave, grab her blanket, and set her up on the couch beside me. The minutes are ticking, and we both need to get some sleep before that alarm begins blaring. We toss. We turn. We drift off. We wake up. The rest of our night seems to alternate between blood sugar checks and a dose of acetaminophen, with an occasional power nap in between. By daylight my head is foggy and my eyelids feel like boulders, when a very energetic four-year-old comes bouncing out of her bedroom, ready for breakfast.
A new day has dawned.
It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day (night-to-night?) grind of managing a child with diabetes. The world often fades to the background, and blood sugar details become all-consuming. Except, in my world, there are still two other little people who need their mommy.
They want to be pushed on the swing and chased at the park. They get coughs and colds. They scrape their knees and bump their heads. They share an equal part of my heart, and I love them beyond measure. I was equally thrilled when they learned to ride a bike without training wheels, wrote their names for the first time, and tied their shoes without help.
But…they also live with diabetes. While they don’t experience low and high blood sugars, they do worry when something isn’t right with their sister. Even at their tender ages they know how to test her blood sugar, where to find sources of glucose, and how to call 911 (just in case they ever need to). These are the girls who will grow up on either side of her, and they are equally in tune with the amount of time and energy it takes to manage diabetes around here. They are not immune to the reality of the toll this disease takes on our family-- from sleepless nights, to tight finances, to frightening blood sugar moments. Type 1 Diabetes affects the entire family. No one is more aware of this fact than the siblings who must grow up in the shadows cast by this disease.
I am very proud of these girls of mine. Those smiles are the brightest parts of my day, and diabetes can’t EVER take that away.