We had a scary, scary low tonight. Third of the day - no, make that the fourth. It's derailed everything - packing for the tournament, baking muffins, cookies, or preparing the coaches' breakfasts. I'll be up quite awhile, but that's okay. I am, once again, too afraid to sleep.
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 at times.
I dread losing my child to type 1 diabetes at any age. For the most part, neither of us goes there - we go about our business, she attends school, plays hardcore volleyball. I work on building my practice, search for a local RN involved in diabetes care to work with and earn my CDE. It's all good, we tell each other in passing.
Even when it's not. Even when she hates this disease so much that she eats and kind a sorta but not really forgets to bolus. Even when someone at her school sends her to the healthroom on her own sporting a terrifying 43. And that's just it, my psyche screams at the words just typed. They whoever they happen to be in any given moment, DO NOT GET IT - NOT FOR A SECOND because we can't explain it in a neat, tidy little package or logical excerpt. Diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes where insulin is taken around the clock, 24/7/365 without any breaks or holidays, never at the same exact rate as the day or hour before, never in the same amount for food, affected by colds, and stress, and WHO THE HELL KNOWS WHAT simply does not play by any set of logical rules or algorithms.
Managing diabetes is an art that we attempt to make a science so that our brains feel better about what we're doing, and how well we're doing it. Sometimes we - make that I - need a reminder of that fact.
Enter the second scariest low I've witnessed since her diagnosis - the one that took my breath away and hasn't bothered to return it yet.
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 make much sense. It's 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.