So I realized something odd last night as I was standing beside my sleeping child checking her blood sugar. It occured to me that I've sort of become numb to it all. I stood there thinking about the countless number of times I have crept into her room, fished around under her mound of stuffed animals and blankets to locate her hand, stuck a needle into the end of one of her little fingers and squeezed blood out to check on the number. I thought back to the very first time...my very first middle of the night check...on her first night after diagnosis.
She was asleep in her bed...nightlight glowing softly...her arms wrapped tightly around her favorite stuffed animal puppy named Scruffy. I was told by the nurse that it was sometimes easier to check their toes instead of fingers while they sleep....so I gently laid the meter and lancet device on the blanket beside her and reached under her blanket to find a toe. I remember feeling my heart race...my hands shake...the instructions I was given on how to check her blood sugar were bouncing around my weary head. It took me quite a few attempts to get it right...to get enough blood to come out...to get enough blood on the test strip...to do it in time before the meter automatically shut off on me. With each attempt, my hands shook more, my heart pounded more, all of the snippets of instruction vanished from my head and in their place was panic....worry...pure and honest panic. I could feel the hot tears falling from my eyes uncontrollably. I was lost. I knew that there was no way in hell that I would be able to do this again...I would never get it right...I would never be able to do it for the rest of her life...there was just no way! I wasn't good enough!
I finally got it right only to discover she was low...her first low...on her first night...I was terrified. I flew down the stairs with one thought in my mind...juice...juice...juice...juice. I poured a huge glass of orange juice and raced back up to her room spilling juice all over the place on my way. I was new at this. I didn't know the tricks of the trade. I didn't know that it's easier to give them a juicebox with a straw than it is to expect them to drink from a glass in their sleep. I didn't know. I was new. I was lost. I was scared. I did it though. I fixed my first low.
I stood there next to my daughter's bed last night...long after the meter showed me a reading. I stood there recalling that first night and my eyes zeroed in on a drop of blood on her pillow case. The remnants of a blood sugar check. It hurt my heart to see. It didn't hurt in the same way that first night after diagnosis hurt. It hurt in a different way....a tired way...a numb way.
Living a life with diabetes is not a matter of getting the routine down...getting things stable...getting to that point where all of your ratios and basal rates and numbers are settled down and in range. It's not a matter of working to achieve that goal in a week...or a year...or even 50 years. Living a life with diabetes has ups and downs...guesses and experience...past patterns and past behaviours. It's not a cut and dry thing. It is always changing...and I think the key is to learn how to become ok with that constant change...learn how to live somewhere between that place of complete panic......and that place of numbness. There has to be a balance. Yes, the scales will tip one way or the other sometimes....but if we can learn to find that sweet spot in the middle...I think that would be a happy place...and that's good enough for me.