It’s all I think about, but I try not to think about it.
I get numbers updated on my phone for all three boys, every five minutes, 24 hours a day.
But, like I said, I try not to think about it.
Last night, while I was trying not to think about it, I was thinking about it and decided to check my youngest’s blood sugar to make sure his Dexcom was accurate. It was. But when I entered the number into his pump to make sure he had enough insulin on board to bring down his blood sugar, I saw that his pump was empty of insulin.
A few hours of no insulin leads to ketones, throwing up, lethargy, and miserableness.
I’m glad I thought about it.
I then thought I’d better check the other teenager. His blood sugar was beautiful, but he had way too much insulin on board. He needed food and he needed it right at that moment. If I had waited a few hours, I can’t imagine what would have happened. Dangerous lows in the middle of the night are my worst nightmare.
But I don’t think about that.
Lying back in bed I see that my college student, who is 1,500 miles away from me, is high. He’s rarely high. I send a friendly text to remind him to bolus and then I try to sleep. I sleep so I don’t have to think about it, but I wake up two hours later anyway and check the numbers on my phone.
The college student’s numbers haven’t moved. Is he ignoring me? Is he asleep? Did he just forget to bolus for a late night meal? Or is his pump out of insulin and he doesn’t know it? Will he wake up with Ketones, throwing up, without me there to help?
I call, even though I’m trying not to think about it.
He doesn’t answer, but texts back a few minutes later.
He had a late night Taco Bell and forgot to bolus before he fell asleep.
He literally wasn’t thinking about it.
That brings consequences every time.
I don’t want to think about the consequences.
At 4am I woke up to go to the bathroom. I glance at my phone and see the number 40 next to my 15 year olds name.
I feed him.
I check him.
A fingerstick says he's really 70.
Why didn’t the low alert wake us?
I can’t even think about it.
I woke up this morning, grabbing my phone before my eyes had time enough to focus. I check their blood sugars and beautiful numbers shine back at me.
The boys wake for school, they check their sugars, and they calibrate their Dexcoms. They eat, count carbohydrates, bolus insulin for their food, and leave for school.
A lot of work, but we don’t really think about it.
Its just part of who we are now. An methodical rhythm that beats deep within us.
To really think about it would break us.
It’s too much.
It’s all the time.
But the work is expected. Indeed, the work is non-negotiable.
Insulin keeps them alive but it comes with a million footnotes. Fine print that goes unnoticed by the world, but lived ad nauseam by us.
Diabetes is every moment of every day. It’s a thousand actions and reactions to keep my boys' blood sugars in a safe range. It’s part of everything.
Yet, to survive, we really try not to think about it.