Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maintaining Perspective

Every morning before Jenna was diagnosed, I would wake up and if both my children were still sleeping, I would breath a sigh of relief, visit the bathroom in stealth mode in hopes of making it back to bed undetected by little ears and, if successful, steal a few more minutes of rest. All that has changed now.

Ever since Jenna's diagnosis, I wake up and if all is still quiet, I wonder and worry that maybe Jenna isn't just catching a few more much needed winks, but that something might be... well... wrong. I try to fight the urge as long as I can, but so far I can only make it 5 or 6 minutes before curiosity and all out fear get the better of me and I am compelled to get up, go into Jenna's room and get some sort of confirmation that she is indeed just sleeping. Usually that confirmation comes in the form of movement, a rustling of her bed sheets while she sleepily rolls over, a long, content sigh. Or she may even turn and look at me, having heard me enter, because she was awake too, enjoying the comfort of her bed for a few more minutes.

This is just a portion of the multitude of worries we parents of diabetic children go through every single day. It's bad enough having the standard worries of any parent. Pile on all the worries of managing your child's diabetes and you can pretty much kiss any rare worry-free moments goodbye... FOR GOOD! It's a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year wrap. And I recently read another mom of a diabetic child who is now grown say that she still worries. Every time the phone rings at odd times she is fearful for her child's well-being.

Now, as parents I know that this is what we signed up for. I didn't enter into this incredible journey naively. It starts with pregnancy and all the uncertainty it carries. Then there's the first year of your child's life; full of wonder and worry. Toddler-hood brings with it the need for parents to be ever vigilant, acting as your child's common sense in the absence of their, as yet, undeveloped good judgement. Heck, little one's at that age think they can fly if they flap their arms hard enough!!

But at a certain point you know you can look forward to a time when all those basic worries that are present almost every moment of every day subside because your child has reached a level of maturity and gained enough wisdom that you can relax a little. I'm guessing that's about when your child can say to you, "I'm going outside to play", and you can respond with, "Be back for supper", instead of having to drop what you are doing, don your outdoor gear and follow so that you can supervise. I have yet to reach that stage with either of my daughters.

Now add diabetes into the mix. It compounds and prolongs the worry factor. Sometimes I handle the stress and worry like a pro. Other times I am wracked with worries to the point that I fear I may buckle under the pressure. Constantly trying to stay one step ahead of things, studying blood sugar numbers, looking for trends in an effort to avert possible disaster, contemplating literally every ounce of food that Jenna injests, counting carbs, having to plan ahead and pack just to go out to the park for an hour, counting more carbs, trying to keep a running inventory of the incredible amount of diabetic supplies we have to keep on hand to avoid running out of something crucial, like test strips or carb tabs or INSULIN, for crying out loud, just to list a few! It is overwhelming at times!

I guess I can look forward to the time when Jenna can assist in the management of her diabetes, when she is able to feel she is low and say so. Or when she can go ahead and perform a blood sugar check on her own. Any help will be so welcome.

But for now the worry continues and the knots in my neck and back will stay firmly knotted. I will keep plenty of concealer on hand to cover up those dark circles under my eyes that tell the tale of a sleep deprived parent and I will try to keep my sense of humour~ keep enjoying life with my beautiful young children, and keep my fluid intake up in a vane attempt to counteract the aging effect this is having on me. I will count my blessings because they are abundant, and I will never make the mistake of thinking things can't get any better or worse... because, of course, they can.

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