I'm amazing. But don't take my word for it

At swimming lessons last week, I had an interesting encounter with another mom.

When we arrived at the pool, I did what we usually do: I sent the boys in to change into their bathing suits, then Eric came out to give me his pump and get a blood sugar drawn. He was lower than I wanted him before an hour-long swimming lesson (84), so I gave him some juice and a couple of lifesaver candies to bring his blood glucose up enough to get through the class without a low. I barely noticed the woman standing there with her baby boy, watching through the window while her daughter, who must have been about 4, was doing her lesson, but she obviously noticed us. She waited till Eric left the room, then said, "You're amazing."

I made a noise like, "huh?"

"I'd be so scared," she explained, waving her free hand at the meter I was putting in Eric's bag.

I thought about this for a second or two. I made a point of meeting her eyes and said, "The first three to six months were complete terror. I hardly slept at all, and when I did I was in his bed with him. But after a while... it settled down, and we got into a rhythm. And now it's just part of life. We've been doing it six years now, and it's pretty much routine."

She didn't seem to be able to grasp that. "I just can't imagine having to do all that all the time," she said. I laughed. "You do more for that little guy there," I said, nodding at her baby, "than I do for Eric now. I mean, yeah, when he was younger, it was harder, but that's true even without the diabetes. You learn, you figure out how to incorporate it into your day to day life, and on you go. It's no different than with a baby, really. And Eric is learning to do more and more of it himself."

This, actually, is truer than I realized, because he is now quite accomplished at taking his blood sugar, is learning how to program his pump (I keep reminding him, only with supervision!), and just the other day recognized a low on the bus and self-treated with a juice box.

I don't know how I could have gotten across all the learning that happened, all the help I had on the way, how much of a village it has taken to get from there to here. "I had a lot of help," was what I said, but it doesn't even begin to describe the process of getting from terrified jelly-puddle parent of new T1 to vigilant but not panicked parent of T1 child to where we are now, which can be best described as casually tossing a roll of smarties to a kid who says he wants to play outside for a while.... but keeping an eye on the clock.

As it happened, Eric didn't end up swimming that day — a kid in the preceding class yacked in the pool, so the lesson had to be canceled in order for the pool to be cleaned... and that, of course, threw his blood sugars off given that he now did not have the exercise to burn off the extra un-covered juice/candy input. *sigh*

But as she was leaving, the other mom said once more, "You really are amazing."

Part of me thought, Why? Because I do what has to be done? Because I'm not going to waste energy I don't have crying over something I can't change?

Then another part of me thought, You know... it's not so bad to have someone else think you're awesome when you don't have to do anything additional to earn it. I think I'll just go with that.

So there you have it. I'm amazing.

yes you are
& so was my mother 78 years ago
& during world war 2 in france trying to survive

with a diabetic child

Yes you are !

i really enjoyed reading this, thanks.

You are amazing! And I guess I am, too.


And you are amazing!

Yiu ARE amazing! Most parents don't have the strength and/or aptitude to deal with it, so they don't, inadvertantly leaving their kids to figure it out for themselves. As the child grows older, hopefully they learn how to take charge of it, but then they have to really clamp down to try to slow any damage. So give yourself a pat on the back, and stay active in forums like this to help other parents who may feel lost or inadequate.

This WAS my pat-self-on-back moment.

I also have a sneaking fondness for when Eric goes low in public because then I get to be Bad Mom and urge my child to eat candy while other parents watch and judge me, and I can have this 'tude of "Judge all you want, haters, I'm feeding my kid candy because he NEEDS it."

It's about as rebellious as I get these days, but I own it.

Shoshana, your mom is a goddess. I've heard enough about how diabetes management was back then to know that what we go through now is a walk in a tree-lined park by comparison. Never mind doing it in a war zone!

Thanks, Elizabeth, yes she was

Rebellious is good, even necessary! You can't blame people for their misconceptions - "You shouldn't be eating sugar", "My aunt died at 75 because she didn't take care of herself", "diabetes can be cured with lifestyle changes", blah blah blah...it's all an opportunity to educate and make people realize that T1D is a disease...our bodies are broken and we're doing the best we can. I do a lot of community theatre, and I hide "fun size" packets of Skittles around in case I go low between scenes. Once some kid found one of them and ate it, so now I put them in boring envelopes with my name on them. I've had people say, "Ooh, can I have a few?" and I say "Nope sorry, this is my medicine!"

Oh, I'm a walking fountain of diabetes education these days. I'm getting to the point where I won't even take any backchat from medical types if they don't have "CDE" or board certification in endocrinology after their names :)

I'm with you there Elizabeth though I find lately I am the one educating my CDE, unfortunately my insurance company won't pay me for doing it.

Just another one of those unpaid jobs we find ourselves having :(

I'm lucky, though. I have awesome CDEs at my son's clinic. I learn tons from them all the time.

Yeah I really like my CDE but lately it seems as though my semi-annual visits are more social than educational. While it is nice to know she is available by email virtually 24/7 if I have a question or problem, after almost 40 years there are few problems I haven't encountered and the stuff I learn here and elsewhere from PWD is generally more reliable than the information she can provide which oftentimes comes from the ADA and pharma companies.