Last Saturday, I was downstairs getting ready for an upcoming garage sale, Michael was cleaning out the garage and the boys were playing the Wii. We all were happy in our own spots. But then I heard Rocco yell.
It was a frustrated kind of yell. Now, sure he was probably just mad that Wii’s Lego Indiana Jones didn't perform the task that Rocco had asked the controller to do, but the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
"He's high", I said to myself.
When a diabetic child acts out of the ordinary (cry, yell, get bossy, get frustrated or otherwise act out), you always assume he has a blood sugar issue. Maybe high, maybe low, but definitely not in range. Once in a while Rocco’s number is in range and he is just being a little frustrated kid. Even though I should correct this typical kid behavior, I usually don't. Let the kid have "normal" feelings. Let him act out and feel frustrated. Let him haul off and throw a Wii controller because he can't get to the next level. I am so incredibly up his a** most days that I sometimes let these moments pass and hope the controller didn't break.
But today when I heard him yell, I thought about how I really didn't have to stop what I was doing and check him. I really didn't have to make him a snack if he's low or give him insulin if he’s high. Then return to my garage sale preparation an hour and half later after getting distracted into doing a load of laundry, feeding the dog, putting the dishes in the dishwasher, putting away two sets of coats and of course, two sets of shoes. Checking my email, sending three responses. Completely wearing myself out.
Instead, I realized I could very well teach him to handle the responsibility of his health by himself. I know he would love the task. Rocco loves a job. He is incredibly responsible. I could conceivably just ask him to check his blood sugar. (Many times diabetics don’t recognize when they might be getting low or high, so I will have to remind him). He already knows how to check his number. I could teach him how to determine if he needed a snack or more insulin, depending on the number. I could have him input his blood sugar number and the snack amount (or not) into the pump. He knows how to do this too. I could teach him to administer the recommended amount of insulin. Actually he already knows this too. He usually just asks me if the recommended units sound correct then pushes the button to give himself the insulin. Then he could lock the pump back up. When, I broke up the steps he actually can do each of them individually except the adding of the carbs and dividing the serving sizes vs. the carbs.
Wow! Could I really teach him how to do his diabetes? Is he ready? Am I ready?
But then I realize he is still just six. He still has a hard time tying his shoes. He cannot yet subtract. He has many more teeth to lose. He still sometimes says “mine” instead of “my”.
I also realize he has his entire life to handle these tasks. Every day, every hour, every minute he will be in charge of his blood sugar number. He will have to think about it when he plays basketball, takes a test and before he gives a speech. He will have to think about before he binge drinks, while he binge drinks and after he binge drinks in college. He has to think about his number before he eats, before he sleeps and when he wakes up. By taking care of him, I know how the pressure of these numbers controls every thought you have. It determines every single thing you put in your mouth. It determines whether you will go for a run, watch TV or go take a nap. Diabetes numbers swim around in your head ALL day long. For parents of children with diabetes, they swim around all night long too.
So no, as tempting as it seems today to give myself a little break, I think my little guy still needs me to take care of these tasks. I am happy to do it for him. Teaching him to take care of his health would mean I have to start the never ending hamster wheel he will never be able to get off. The thought of this breaks my heart over and over.
I speak for all parents of diabetics when I say that every one of us would take over their child's diabetes. So, handling Rocco's care is my way of taking his diabetes away from him. Even if just for a couple of more months or years. As long as he lets me. So, yes, I will wait to teach him serving sizes and boluses of insulin.
I think today I will teach him how to ride his new 20" bike with a kick stand instead, after I investigate what all the yelling is about.
I found this video from a fellow blogger and it made me cry. When I think about how much this will affect his every thought in the future, I just want to follow him around forever taking it over for him. Is there anything wrong with that? :0)