Bear is giggling in the yard. Tig is too. I take a peak, Bear laughs and rolls on the ground in the dirt, he calls out “mommy!” He’s still laughing. He looks drunk.
“Mommy, I need you” his perma grin is infectious. Both Tig and I are laughing now too. Through his smiles and laughter he says “mommy, help, I need you. I’m feeling really really low”
I run for the juice box, one left. ONE LEFT!? No matter, deal with that later. I toss it to him while I rush back for his meter.
He is still flopping around and laughing. But he’s not happy. He’s scared. “I can’t walk mum. I can’t see”.
I got you baby.
I check his blood sugar, 1.9mmols.
He finishes the juicebox in seconds flat. He is no stranger to this lifesaving technique.
“I need something. Something more” he says. I grab him three cookies and help him to sit down. How hard will it be to help him walk when he’s a big tall man? I wonder.
But who cares. I’ll just get stronger.
Tig, who is 6 years old, says “how can I help?” Just sit with him. Just sit and wait it out with him. We are all trained to help once we recognize that it’s a low, once the meter tells us so. But it’s hard to take Bear seriously when he’s still laughing and fooling around, especially when his blood sugar hasn’t yet been tested. So hard not to think he’s faking with that goofy smile plastered across his face and the exaggerated wayhe clumsily wanders around.
I’ve seen what happens on the flip side of those lows. When the smile turns to panic and his eyes glaze over. When he is no longer “drunk” but now he’s hallucinating and seizing.
15 minutes later. He’s acting normally now.
His blood sugar is good (4.4 mmols). He’a back to his old self again and it’s as if nothing even happened. Just a moment in a day, not unlike most other moments in most other days.
Sometimes he has great blood sugars throughout the day, and we rejoice and wonder what we did right to accomplish that. And other days we work really hard at keeping him out of emerg and we pick apart and analyze every move we made that day.
How did we fuck up? We ask ourselves.
As parents of type 1 diabetics we spend our days walking this insane tight rope that we can never perfect or predict. Sometimes the emergencies are small, like this one was. But we all know that seconds are all that stand between these kids and possible seizure, coma, death.
It takes something out of you to live so precariously perched on the edge all the time. To always be waiting, watching, wondering – when will the next emergency happen?
He doesn’t know this, but this disease is breaking me. I am cracked and taped up again inside.
He doesn’t know this, but he’s the tape.