Normal blood sugars are seventy to one-forty.
His reach forty and four hundred.
His average is “acceptable” and we celebrate.
But the reality is, his body is strained.
His nervous system, vision and heart are always challenged.
Seizure, coma and even death are real risks every single day.
He is a human pincushion.
Forced to bleed ten or more times daily.
He wears his pancreas on the outside.
He must tell it what to do all day long. Even when he sleeps.
He must visit the school nurse throughout the day to deliver insulin and check his sugar levels.
He must leave class when he doesn’t feel right.
He must measure every single thing he eats.
With all this effort, it still ravages.
He is low.
He feels “out of it” and “wobbly”.
I feel guilt and like a failure.
He is high.
He feels “woozy” and “foggy”.
I feel irritable and anxious. I failed again.
For the sugar to work.
For the insulin to work.
Every day. Throughout the day.
It ravages us both.
His eyes, his kidneys, his legs, his heart.
Night after night, I check his blood sugar while he sleeps.
I wake with a number in my head – his last blood sugar.
Midnight. Three AM. Six AM.
It never leaves me.
It takes my spirit.
It makes me age.
He gets on the bus.
It’s time to check his blood sugar with the school nurse.
I worry, with the phone in my hand.
It’s snack time.
It’s time to get back on the bus.
Still worried. Still have the phone.
The worry ravages.
We put on smiles. Brave faces.
No use dwelling on the negative.
There is much to be thankful for.
He eats birthday cake; celebrates Halloween.
He is smart.
He is growing.
He is happy.
He is kind.
He is strong.
But it still ravages. His body and my mind.
I am thankful.
I am also greedy.
I want more.
I want the ravaging to stop.
Caleb reading “No-Sugar Added Poetry” while Yoda looks on
I wrote this about three years ago, two years after Caleb’s diagnosis when I was still adapting. He was in kindergarten and it was a tough time. I wrote it as therapy – to get my emotions out, while I was still putting up a front that everything was okay. I shared it only with one person – a close friend; another Dmom. But otherwise, I wasn’t willing to let people look inside. It was all too raw then.
I read this now and I still relate, but I no longer break down in despair. I’m on the other side of something – not sure what. But things are less painful. I still want it to stop, but I now know that no matter what, we will get through. We will persevere. Caleb has shown me this. It’s him. His spirit, determination, unwillingness to let diabetes get in his way of what he wants to do. He is the rock in all this. He has brought me to the other side.
The No Sugar Added Poetry® contest is what inspired me to share.