A Mile in His Shoes

When my son wakes up in the morning, the first thing he does is check his iPhone.  He eventually gets out of bed, does what needs doing in the washroom and then begins to scrounge through the cupboards in search of food. Once all of this is done and he is ready to eat, he pulls his meter out of his pocket and tests.

I constantly ask why he doesn’t test as soon as he wakes up? When I wake up in the morning, and it’s not a school day, my first stop is his room to test him.  After that I do the rest of my morning routine but testing is first on the list before all else and it’s not my body.  Why can’t he do that, I often wonder.

Today I thought about it a little bit more. For years I have questioned things like forgetting to bolus.  He has had to have insulin with his food for as long as he can remember and long before that. How can he forget to bolus?  How can he go for days and days without changing an infusion set? Doesn’t the adhesive begin to annoy him? And the list of questions go on.

But what if I was the person living with diabetes? Would I still be as diligent? I have a hard time sticking to a diet.  I can do a new exercise routine for three weeks and when it is supposed to become habit, for me it becomes annoying and I usually come up with a thousand excuses and eventually stop. How would I then handle a routine that had to last me for the rest of my natural life?

I could count the carbs at every meal. That is habit. I do that all the time now.  In fact, recently a friend and I were out to dinner. I was ready to tell him how many carbs in his supper when I realized that it wasn’t necessary.  We didn’t need to count the carbs.  My son wasn’t there.

What about site changes? The other day, my son said that he should get to do one on me in exchange for all of the infusion sets that I have put in him over the years. I declined. Would I be like him and put off changing them for as long as possible? I would probably need to use numbing cream ( he hasn’t used it in years).  The noise of the insertion launching device would freak me out. I would probably also be looking for someone else to do it for me so I didn’t pull away.

Testing? Would I test as often as I should? Possibly. I might be okay here because I would have to use AST.  I have tested on my arm before. It was completely painless. That amazed me! Lancing my fingers?? Well that would take a lot more effort and my son makes it look like no big deal.  Once again, what’s with the big bang of the lancet? That noise scares the begeebees out of me! I wouldn’t be worried about drawing attention to myself in public because…well I just don’t really care about stuff like that most of the time.

If I walked in my son’s shoes, would I be better at my care? Perhaps but I am a bit older than him.  If I walked in my son’s shoes when I was 15, would I be better at my care than he is? I remember what I was doing at 15 and 16 years old.  Diabetes would not have been a welcomed addition to my awkward new life.  I’ll have to try to remember that a little more. I am trying but when your child’s life depends on something like insulin injections and blood glucose testing, it can be hard to remain relaxed and easy going. I will work on focusing how ill-fitting his shoes are when I try them on. They are his shoes. I can lace them for him but he will one day have to walk in them alone…and as a mother, that still remains scary.

His dirty running shoes, my pasty legs
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2 thoughts on “A Mile in His Shoes”

  1. As an individual who has lived with diabetes since the age of 7, 42 years, I understand the struggles of remembering to bolus, check blood sugars, etc. One of my favorite saying is, “Never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then you are too far away to say anything.”.

    At the same time, those of us who live with diabetes make the ultimate decisions of whether or not we do these things. Growing up with diabetes wasn’t easy. Especially during a time when we didn’t have insulin pumps, home glucose testing kits, etc. My experience wasn’t good because I had a mother who used my diabetes to control me. I wasn’t able to make decisions, make mistakes and learn from them.

    Living with diabetes is a constant battle. Do we ever get used to it? Not really. Diabetes does not go into remission like other conditions. Diabetes is there when we go to sleep, and when we wake up.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts as a parent of a child who lives with diabetes.

  2. The old needles were scarier than the new pumps. One old nurse said one of her first tasks as a nurse-in-training was to sand the barbs off the needles and sharpen them. The diet was stringent, too. Also, there were no test strips so people died just because their blood glucose levels were unpredictable after 30 years and there was no way sort of a lab test to tell if their blood glucose was high or low. It looks like Deb Matthews our minister of health wants a return to the good ol’ days:
    http://www.thewhig.com/2013/08/19/calling-out-government-on-test-strips-funding-change . Ontario is the only province that funds insulin pumps for all type 1s regardless of age, but I understand from my husband’s endo that the Province’s ADP (Assistive Devices Programme) is turning down 50% of the applications she makes for type 1 patients.

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