I was talking to my Dad the other day and I mentioned to him how bad I felt for Emma this week. She has to have two teeth pulled to make room for others that are already trying to grow in.....and she has to get her annual bloodwork done. You might think that because she is type 1 diabetic and has to have finger pokes and needles and blood taken every single day, that this experience would be nothing for her....old hat...just your run of the mill annoying medical appointment. Well, unfortunately this isn't the case. Emma has to go to the hospital for clinic appointments every 3 months. They weigh her, measure her, take blood from her to get her a1c number (the number that will show the doctors what her average blood sugar number has been for the past 3 months), and talk with the diabetes team of doctor, nurse, and dietician just to discuss any necessary adjustments in her dosages and things. It's all very boring and routine and just another thing at this point that we see as something we HAVE to do. The thing that sends Emma into a panic though is the annual bloodwork. Once a year they have to take an extra vial of blood from her to measure things like her cholesterol level and for celiac, etc. For regular bloodwork appointments, they will usually allow Emma to give up her blood through a finger poke....it's something she's used to...something that makes it easier on her...something that she feels hurts less. Yes, it takes longer...yes, they wind up having to squeeze her finger continuously to fill up enough in that vial.....it's a pain for them...but they do it...because when they try to take it out of Emma's arm, she screams like someone is trying to murder her....she attempts to bolt from the room...it's not a pretty scene. So, this is all fine and good...it's what we have found over the years that works for her. Well, they are unable to do this for the annual bloodwork though....because they need the extra blood....so Emma doesn't have a choice in the matter for this one....she has to suck it up and let them take it from her arm. I hate it. She hates it. The staff at the lab hates it. The other patients waiting in the hallway hate it. But we have to do it. Every year. Once a year. It has to be done. All thanks to diabetes.
So, I was telling my Dad about this and how I felt bad for her and how the bloodwork coinciding with the same time frame as getting two teeth pulled just made it all the more awful for her. As her Mom, I have this unending need to make things easy for her...make things good....fix things...make it better. It's just a feeling deep in my gut. I don't know if it will ever go away. I told my Dad about this and how I was struggling with it all, and he brought up a very good point to me. As usual my Dad tends to say things in a way that make me pause for a minute and say, "aha....I never thought of it that way!" He told me that it was all fine and good and completely understandable to feel bad for her and to want to try and fix it for her and make it easier on her.........but she also needs to know that sometimes in life we have to do things that aren't easy...sometimes in life we have to endure moments of difficulty and do things that we don't necessarily want to do...but we have to anyway. He told me that it is a good thing actually that she learns this as a kid, because if I were to always swoop in and make her life simple and easy and free from any difficulties and problems or hard times, that she could grow up believing this is how it should always be and she would never gain the skills to handle things on her own...to gain the inner strength to make it through difficult times. It really got me thinking...and I honestly see his point.
I think that since diabetes came into our lives, I have always assumed that she knows all about difficulty...she gets it...she understands that not everything in this world will be easy or come easy to her. I think I have gone a little overboard at times, trying to save her from any added pain or stress because she is already dealing with so much as it is in my mind. Yes, she is diabetic....yes, it is hard...no 8 year old should have to deal with the things that she deals with on a daily basis. At the same time though, I think that generally speaking...she doesn't see it as being all that difficult....I think for her....it just....is. It's the way her life is. It's the way it has been since she was 4 years old. It's really probably all that she remembers. So, by me trying to erase all of the other every day difficulties in life for her....I could possibly be doing more harm than good.
It's a difficult life we live...all of the obvious things that come with diabetes intertwined with things like this....the art of raising a well-rounded individual who is able to handle triumphs and defeats with just as much grace. It's hard...and I am learning right along with her.