Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's the (Seemingly) Little Things

A lot of times with life it's not the big events or the times in your life that get the most attention that have the most significance. A lot of times it's the seemingly insignificant things, a touch on the cheek, an email from a long lost friend, or sometimes it's the harsh words of someone that seem to make a difference and somehow shape our lives.

The big things get the most attention but a lot of times it's the little things that really add up and shape us into the person we become.

Diabetes is like that too. People hear that my son has had diabetes since he was 3 and the first thing they think of is the "big" things like all the shots he's had to take, being hooked to a pump 24/7, or sticking his finger several times a day.

In the grand scheme of things the things that people deem as a big deal aren't really that big of a deal at all. It's not the site changes and finger pokes that get to me. It's the little things.

It's the little things like the two cuts on the back of Riley's leg. He got them from a brier in the woods. He and Holden are building a fort and while Holden was carrying him out of the woods he snagged his leg on a brier.

What's the big deal about a couple of cuts? Well, since Riley has diabetes he's much more likely for those cuts to get infected. It will take longer for those cuts to heal. If those cuts do get infected it will affect his sugars which in turn will make the healing process even longer.

And did I mention why Riley was being carried out of the woods by his brother? They were having a wonderful time building a fort when all of a sudden Riley said he felt low. Being that they are kids they didn't take his machine with them or a box of juice. They weren't very far in the woods, but Riley felt so bad that Holden carried him out of the woods.

His sugar was 49. A random event maybe. No. The day before Riley and Holden were out working on the fort. I called and told them to come home. (The fort is behind my mom's house.) When they got home I checked Riley and his sugar was 45. It seems fort building takes a lot out of him.

So from now on they have been instructed to take his machine and a juice box when they work on the fort. My five year old should be able to build a fort or play outside without a sugar machine and juice box at this side.

It's the (seemingly) little things.

My wedding anniversary is coming up on Tuesday. Michael and I will be going away this weekend. We have not gone off anywhere without Riley since he was diagnosed. I've always been too afraid of what could happen. What if he gets sick? What if he has a bad site? It's the what ifs that have kept me home.

I finally decided that it's time to let go a little. We will be going to Virginia Beach. That's not really all that far from where we live. But, it's not right down the road either. I should be able to go away with my husband without a fear of something bad happening to my child.

It's not just a fear. There is also guilt involved. Riley will be staying with my mom. My mom keeps Riley while I'm working so she knows what to do. But, I know how tedious the day in and day out care can be. She normally has him for a few hours. She will have him for almost 2 whole days. She will have to get up a few times during the night to check sugars. I feel guilty that I'm putting the care on her.

Not only that, but I feel guilty because I can't wait to get away. I need to get away. But, Riley can't get away from it. Ever.

It's the (seemingly) little things.

It's things like the fact that my son cannot tie his shoes. We haven't taught him how to do that yet. But, he can add carbs. He can look at a nutrition label and tell you how many carbs are in what he is eating.

It's things like when he visited me at work yesterday. He was at my office for about an hour. During that hour he found a piece of candy on my desk that he wanted but knew he couldn't have. He asked to have a sip of my drink. But he couldn't because it was regular soda (I don't normally drink soda, but it was given to me for free and I needed the caffeine.)

He picked up a large candy jar we have at work and toted it over to a co-workers desk. Then he proceeded to tell her that he could only have something like that if he was low. Then he turned the jar over and told her how many carbs were in the candy.

Next he asked what he was having for lunch at school the next day. When I told him he was having chicken tenders (which also come with mac and cheese and a dessert) he said, "Oh, that means I'll be drinking water with it because that meal has too many carbs in it for me to drink milk with it."

I should be glad that he knows the information. But, instead I'm sad that he needs to know that information. His brain should not be filled with carbs and insulin doses. It should be filled with Star Wars and soccer. It should be filled with what he and his brother will do at the fort tomorrow. Not how he will manage to carry his toys out there along with his juice box and machine.

It's the (seemingly) little things that pop up in day to day living that really takes it's toll. It's the (seemingly) little things that cut just a little at a time, but eventually they add up and leave a huge gash.

I know that gash will heal. But, I also know that gash will leave a scar. I know that those same things are affecting my child. Maybe not so much now, but more in the future.

It's the (seemingly) little things that mark us.


Vivian said...

Penny, This was a great post. Those little things dig in deep. I know that guilt well, but I hope that you will really let go and enjoy the weekend with your hubby. You need this, your marriage needs this. Happy Anniversary to the both of you and big hugs to all of you.

Anonymous said...

If all of the powers that be in the world could read a post like this, they would truly understand the real impact of this disease and do everything they could to eliminate it forever.

Until that day of a cure comes (and one day it will), we will continue to hope and pray for a cure and continue hope and pray for families like yours. Here's to building future forts without limitations.

Enjoy your weekend - you very obviously deserve it.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Another great post Penny.

It hits home, that's for sure. And you are so right. It is mostly the little things that make this big thing such a drag sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Penny,
I don't usually post comments but I read yours and others blogs. I have a four year old, and she was diagnosed 2 years ago.
Your post was so accurate and true. I was so worried originally about the shots, the pokes, the fear etc, and I think that is what most people think. The "oh, poor girl has to have a shot" thing. But once the mechanics become routine start seeing diabetes everyone. It impacts our entire lives, and maybe not always in a terrifying disasterous way, but in the little things we do everyday. And it wears on you as a parent. I can only wonder how our children will feel as they grow. Maybe it will feel normal to them, maybe it will drive them insane, probably both.
Thanks for the post, it is nice to know there are other mom's out there fighting the same battle. It makes me feel less alone!

Anonymous said...

oh gosh, please excuse my typos. I was just typing away and didn't read it!

Donna said...

Reading your post today made me understand a little more about taking care of diabetes from the other side of the fence - the parent's side. I've always been on the other side. I do believe diabetes is actually harder on the care-givers than the care-receivers.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. You defintely deserve it.

Lisa said...

What a great post, Penny! You always know how to put into words the craziness of this disease.

I hope that you have a great weekend away with your hubby!