Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It’s in the eye of the beholder

We check blood sugars around here like…a million times a day.

It is seriously no big deal. The blood…the poke…the test strips laying on the counter like wounded soldiers…it all doesn’t even faze us.

But throw another person in the room, a person who is not a member of your immediate family…a person who is an “outsider” in the diabetes world…and all of a sudden that million times a day moment blares like fog horn to your consciousness.

If someone else is watching us do a blood sugar check, or a set change or anything else, the craziness of what we are doing isn’t lost on us.

That is because we attempt to see the moment through the eyes of the visitor. When we do something as personal as taking care of our child’s well being, it can be hard, even agonizing, to share that with an outsider. Because once we do…we can’t pretend it is the most normal thing anymore. All of a sudden, the life saving things we do for our children…are weird. Or sad. Or any number of unpleasant emotions.

Even with Endos, when we let them into our world…we try to look at our life through their eyes. They don’t have the full picture of what has been going on in our home. Sure they have graphs and charts, but these things don’t tell half the story. Going to the endo is agonizing because we know we are going to have to explain our diabetic life to them…Our personal day to day, play by play, war with this disease. We battle so hard, it breaks our heart to think that our Endo may think we haven’t battled hard enough. We look at the information through their eyes and we know it doesn’t look good. And it makes us feel unfit to be pancreases.

But I digress.

B had a friend over last week.

We did everything in our power to make our family look as normal as we feel. It was set change night and we even postponed it until the next morning because the boys had enough insulin in their reservoirs and their numbers going to bed were brilliant.

We even skipped the 1:00 check.

My hubby and I went to bed at 11:30, and since the boys’ numbers continued to be brilliant, we thought we could skip that check and not disturb the boys in their makeshift tent.

So much for trying to be “normal.”

B woke up WHITE. He didn’t look good, he didn’t feel good and he said he threw up.

Check blood ketones…4.1

Checked site…full of blood.

He hadn’t gotten any insulin for how long? He was feeling it…and he was looking it.

So all the attempts of looking like the normal family flew out the window.

We had to do a million blood sugar checks.

We had to change his site.

The kid threw up, remember?

He was pale and as sick as he could be. He didn’t feel like playing. He wanted to lay on the couch. His plate of pancakes, eggs and bacon sat at the table alone, devoured only by the gravity of the moment and the empty chair sitting in front of it.

Crap like this happens MAYBE once a year. Maybe. And of all the nights it had to happen…

Is it any wonder that the little boy who slept over called his mother to pick him up early?

I went through the entire morning, witnessing the events through this boys eyes. I couldn’t wrap my head around what he thought of it all…but I know it was uncomfortable for him. No, we didn’t do set changes right in front of him. But we were running around worried, grabbing pumps from everyone and checking sugars constantly.

I didn’t like seeing it through his eyes.

It was sad. It was weird. It was not what I see.

Because what I see is an ordinary family, doing extraordinary things…that they have done SO many times…they seem ordinary.

In our bubble, we are normal as all get out.

But in the eyes of the beholder…in most cases…we are not.

Do I know that this little boy was uncomfortable? No.

Maybe he was just bored and I was reading too much into it.

The bottom line is…trying to guess what people are thinking of my family is exhausting. And a craps shoot at that. Does it really matter if people feel sorry for us? Does it really matter if a parent thinks I’m over protective, or a teacher thinks my son’s numbers always have to be perfect, or an endo doesn’t understand why I don’t just change basals rather than compensating for said basals through carb ratios?

Does it matter?

Only if I let it.

And I shouldn’t let it.

Because the only beholders eyes that matter are those of my sons…and my husband…and my very own.

As far as I behold…we are making the very best of a crappy situation.

As far as I behold…we are a blessed and happy family.

As far as I behold…blood sugar checks are no big deal. It is what it is.

As far as I behold…my boys lead happy semi-normal lives.

Which begs the question dear readers…

What else matters?


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