Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury

I found out today how I am handling things in a rather unexpected way. I mean, I have felt fine. And last night, after I grew a pair, I got a good night's sleep. After Christian's midnight snack, I crawled into the empty bed and slept. In fact, I completely slept through Christian's breakfast, and woke at 8 a.m. when our dietitian came in to talk to Chris.

Christian and I went and used the bathing room and I put up a curtain between us. (It's a huge room, with a separate tub and shower, so we had complete privacy). He bathed while I showered, and we were ready at 9 a.m. when his dad and brothers and Dereck got here for our education.

Let me also say that 1) Everyone is getting along extremely well; and 2) Tommy and Sam are taking this like champs. They have been cooperative, tender, and well-behaved and attentive during all of the education. We all sit around a little table. Sam is like a sponge, absorbing everything. He is already trying to figure out how to bind insulin to food to eliminate shots. Tommy is learning everything quickly; he volunteered to give Christian his shots in the morning so I could sleep in.

Frankly, that is going to be the biggest change for me. Sam has been getting his brothers up and shepherding them through their mornings for awhile; they get me up when it's time to drive them. I will be getting up at 6 a.m. now, no matter what. In the summer and weekends, there can maybe be an hour of variation. For night owls like myself, this is going to be a challenge. However, there is simply no alternative. One does what one has to do.

After lunch, Dereck and I took off for some shopping. I wanted to get a pair of Chaco sandals for summer, for my birthday, which is coming up in two weeks. It's a big one too. So, we drove downtown and went into a nice shoe shop that had a lot of great selection. I asked to try on a pair.

Now, Chacos have a long, continuous strap that takes some education to figure out. The salesgirl simply dropped them at my feet. I struggled with them and asked for a little help. She came over and tugged on them a little and said that there are directions on the box when you buy them. Well, I'm not going to buy them if I can't even try them on, am I? Then, she went back to standing boredly by the register. There were no other customers.

After wrestling for a few more minutes, I slammed down the shoes, slid my feet into my clogs, and stormed past the salesgirl and out of the store. That is the Jen Equivalent of a huge tantrum/confrontation. I didn't say anything to her, but I got out of the store and let loose a flood of obscenities, and stormed down the street angrily. I bet people thought I was insane. I think among the things I said was, "Is it too much to expect to have a little help trying on shoes when YOUR SON IS IN THE HOSPITAL WITH GODDAMN FUCKING DIABETES?"

That was really my first clue that I may be in a little denial, and maybe I have some residual issues that will surface. Hmmm.

Eventually, I calmed down, found another shop that carries the shoes and boasts a very nice salesgirl (Alpine in Columbia, Missouri). Dereck got me the shoes for my birthday, and I wore them out of the store. Then we went to Jimmy Johns and got a sandwich. We sat outside in the sunshine and ate and talked about our new life with diabetes.

Afterwards, we went to the mall. We picked up Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix at Christian's request, and a video game that didn't end up working on either of our laptops (dammit). I may have also picked up Enchanted for myself to watch... And I may have gotten it because it has Idina Menzel in it, and right now I am slightly obsessed with both Rent and Wicked. Idina Menzel originated the roles of Maureen and Elphaba in both shows.

We also went to Mr. Bulky's candy and got some sugar free candy for Christian. However, management of diabetes has changed ENORMOUSLY from what I had heard about it when I was growing up. Case in point: Chris had picked out a solid chocolate bunny for Easter before he was diagnosed. Boy, he was so bummed about Easter and that bunny. But we met with the dietitian today and mentioned the bunny. We checked the carbs on the back, and when we were planning his meals for Sunday, we included 1/4 of the bunny for one meal. Isn't that incredible? There is NOTHING he CANNOT have anymore. It's just timing and planning. This is NOT your grandmother's diabetes.

As much as everyone here has been supportive and upbeat and great, and as much as I think I am really coping with this very well, underlying everything is the appalling knowledge that my CHILD has a PERMANENT disease that could KILL him. I mean, my paternal grandmother (no biological relation) died from complications due to diabetes. We found out today that we can expect Christian to have low blood sugars (which are worse than the highs) as often as every other day. That is absolutely, forgive me for my repetition here, appalling. Suddenly, I have to turn into hyper-aware mother when I have always been easy-going mother.

Don't get me wrong: I am completely up to the task. And you will be happy to know that at the same time I scheduled Christian's appointment for his ear infection (which they treated in the ER Thursday night in one dose, thankfully, though he has such a runny nose that I suspect all he will remember about this weekend is blowing his nose), I also scheduled an appointment for myself for this Friday to talk about my ongoing depression/fatigue. Yay me.

Anyway, backing up, we got some sugar-free candy, and a gift bag, some Propel water that he can have (anything less than 20 calories is a "free food." Propel has ten calories a pop; this means he shouldn't have more than one... well, I don't really know the time frame, so maybe we'll just stick with one. I'll ask the dietitian on Monday.

Oh, the things that enter your head when you get a diagnosis like this: I have been making the kids walk home from school, despite Christian's heavy backpack. He is dancing around the room, and both Dereck and I realized that he hasn't really done his little Asperger's dancing for awhile. There are roses in his cheeks. I took him to the doctor last YEAR sometime or maybe before because he had dark circles under his eyes and sallow skin. I thought he was anemic. The professionals here have guessed that Christian has had diabetes for at least three months. I think he has probably had it for more like a year. Maybe more. And believe me, typing that makes me want to weep with shame.

I have also made an appointment for Sam. Yay me. Let the healing begin.

A long phone call later and I think I am ready to close this out. I bought myself some new clothes today, because I think I've gained some weight this winter. That is depressing, but I have enough other crap going on, so I am not going to focus on that and become more depressed. I just got some clothes that fit me better, and I'm moving forward. I am going to, in this order, figure out my shit: 1) Learn all there is to know about keeping Christian healthy; 2) Keep myself healthy; and 3) Get Sam the care he needs. Sam is only number 3 because his appointment happens to follow mine.

On a final note, Dereck's parents asked today if I wanted anything in particular for my birthday. My first thought was, "Yes, I want Christian not to have diabetes anymore." What came out of my mouth was, "I like Amazon gift certificates."

Isn't that just how life goes? We want our children not to have diabetes anymore, and we make do with Amazon gift certificates. Such is life without a wife and kids to do the dishes.


  1. Oh, I hate pretentious sales people. Grrrr...

    Sorry to hear things are so rough, but it sounds like your guys are taking things in stride. Now start giving yourself a break!

  2. I hate rude salespeople too. That was unforgivable. It sounds like you're off to the right start, and nothing to blame yourself for. I wish you guys all the best. People can live long, happy lives with this disease too - never forget that.