Because I Have To

This is a post I wrote on my blog back in January. I thought I'd share it here.

It was 4:30 in the morning. I heard a voice coming from the other room.


I nudged Michael to wake him and told him Riley had just called him. He immediately got up and went to see what he wanted.

Upon entering his room, Michael hears, “Daddy, will you check my sugar?” When Michael told me this, I sat up in bed. This can’t be good.

A few seconds later, I heard the Freestyle Flash beep and Michael called out, “It’s 55.”

Michael went to get some fruit snacks and some peanut butter crackers. Before, I could move I heard Riley’s voice again.

“Mommy, will you come hold me?”

I got up and sat on the foot of his bed and he crawled into my lap. About that time Michael came in with the snacks.

He sat there and slowly chewed the fruit snacks and then 2 peanut butter crackers. I noticed he was shaking. When he was done eating, I held him like a baby and wrapped the blanket around him. He lay there shivering with his eyes closed. I began to rock him back and forth.

I looked up and caught a glimpse of us in his TV. Me sitting there rocking back and forth with my sweet boy in my arms waiting for the sugar to take hold and start to work.

And, the sadness I’ve been keeping at bay for the last couple of months reached up and slapped me in the face.

I just stared at the two of us and wondered how in the world we got to this point and if it would ever end. Really, one of my first thoughts was, “Is there really ever going to be a cure?”

Riley’s sugar went up to an acceptable number and I lay back down in bed. But, it was a while before I was able to sleep again.

And, all day today, the image of us in the TV keeps popping in my head. My emotions have been a mixture of sadness and anger.

I’ve been so busy the last couple of months. Today I realized that it hasn’t been by accident. When I’m busy, when there’s always something going on, I don’t have time to dwell on his diabetes.

Don’t get me wrong; it gets plenty of my attention. But, I don’t dwell on it. I test, correct, and treat lows now without really batting an eye. Then, I move on to whatever task is at hand.

Today I realized what’s really going on. And, it’s one reason I was having trouble writing any posts.

I can be a little stubborn. OK, that’s not entirely true…I think Michael actually compared me to a bull one time (or 20, but who’s counting?). It’s one trait that Riley got from me. God help him.

Over the last couple of months if diabetes started to get to me, I’d push it aside. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to bring up all those emotions. Like I said, I did what had to be done, but I didn’t think about the emotions that come along with it.

I’m stubborn enough that if a bad thought started to enter my mind, I’d run it off.

I think that’s why I haven’t written a true diabetes post in a while. I didn’t want to dredge up all that emotion. I didn’t want to deal with it.

There was the time, when his sugar was 34 and after I gave him a whole pack of fruit snacks, he kept crying and begging for more. I’ll never forget that look on his face, the look of helplessness he had. He just kept pleading with me to give him some more. But, I knew if I did that what the end result would be. I knew he felt horrible. I knew the fruit snacks would begin to work, but Riley didn’t. He looked scared. He was looking to me for help, and all I could do was try to assure him he’d feel better in a few minutes.

At the time, I pushed it aside. He lay on the bed and I stroked his hair until he felt better. But, I never really felt the situation. I just lived through it.

Or there’s the time a few days ago when I changed his needle and when I gave him his bolus, he began to cry. With tears streaming down his face he said, “My needle burns.” I hugged him until he felt better. But, once again, I didn’t give it much thought.

Or there’s the times when he mentions a cure. Or when his eyes light up when another boy with D walks in the room. Or the times when he’s in the 300s and he’s hungry and upset.

I push my emotions aside because I have to. I tell him he can’t have any more fruit snacks, because I have to. When his needle burns I pat him on the back and tell him everything will be OK in a little while because I have to. I tell him that I hope one day there will be a cure because I have to. I pretend not to notice that he loves to be around other people with D because I have to.

Every once in a while, I have a day like this because I have to.

I had to pull off on the side of the road today. The tears in my eyes were making it hard for me to see where I was going. All the emotions I had kept inside came pouring out.

The unfairness of it all; the heartbreak I have for my child. The anger I have that this disease decided to take up residence in his body and the fact that there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

But, I know that tomorrow, I'll go back to the way things were. I'll test his sugar, I'll count carbs, and I'll bolus, all without giving it a second thought.

Because I have to. I just have to.

After reading your post I was left with the distinct impression that you are an awsome mother, not because you have to, but because it is you.

That sums it all up. All the frustration and fear and stress of being the mom to a D child. I wish none of us had to feel this way.

the tears are pouring down my face. Thanks for helping me feel. It’s so much easier to face when you push them aside. You are a wonderful mother. I said to my husband that I can’t wait to get my son on a pump so that I don’t have to give him free food when he is still hungry before he goes to bed. Little amounts of insulin (1/2 unit is the smallest I can give) affect his sugars so much. I am just a bit sad tonight…

Yep, I can totally relate to this. I do the same thing. And I’m crying my eyes out right now too. Thanks for putting to words what we feel.

And Angela those little tiny increments that the pump can deliver is why we went on the pump when we were still honeymooning. We love pumping.

Take care of YOUrselves too moms and dads.