Tonight I was babysitting two kids, one of whom has type 1.
I tested him post dinner, then before bed, then an hour post bed because he’d been running around like crazy and I had a gut feeling he would shoot down.
I was right. 15 point something down to 6 in an hour,
This boy is still very newly diagnosed and on injections (syringes), so I tried to get food into him to keep him stable overnight…
Anyone who is a parent of a child with type 1 or who has worked on type 1 camps before knows that this is a lot easier said than done. Kids get distressed, they don’t seem to know who you are or why they’re being asked to drink orange juice and crackers in the middle of the night – and who can blame them? I wouldn’t want a nanny forcing juice down my throat at 2am.
This gorgeous little six year old looked at me and completely lost it. At first it was your classic “ahhh who is feeding me what is going on” whimper, but then it morphed into something else altogether. I saw this switch happen in his head. He grabbed onto his pillow and started sobbing, these huge sobs from deep down in his belly that just made my heart ache. I’ve been babysitting/nannying for a very long time, so I like to think that I know the difference between a tantrum cry and a legitimate cry, and this cry made me want to kick this kid’s diabetes right out of the window.
“NOOOOOOOOOO, I CAN’T, NO! I HATE IT! NO!”
He cried like I cry when diabetes has well and truly screwed up something (like the time I went low without warning while driving on the freeway and was nearly hit by a truck as I tried to pull over to the emergency lane). It’s that cry when you’re just bloody OVER it and you can’t be bothered dealing with its shit anymore. It’s the cry that takes over your entire body – the heavy feeling in the middle of your chest that feels like a cold lump of anger and fear (the lump that we expertly put away and deal with most of the time) rises up and seems to take over your whole head, if only for a moment. Basically, it’s the cry that we all have in that month or so after diagnosis, when it finally hits you that all this bullshit, these middle of the night hypos and constant injections, is for life, and that there is nothing you can do about it. It’s what I call the “Month One” cry.
I shed a little tear as I sat there, rubbing his back with one hand and texting his mother with the other. He is only six years old, but everyone I’ve spoken to with type 1 diabetes has gone through this, as well as the parents of the kids. I have only met this kid three times, but the look on his face when we test together(and high five when we get nearly matching BGL numbers) is one that I want to see on his face more often, not this heartbreaking look of “I hate everything about this, make it stop” that I saw on his face tonight. It’s the same look you see on diabetes camps where a kid has had to miss out most of the final night disco because of constant lows, or when they’re so high that they can’t do anything but lie there, drink water, and talk to you about how much diabetes sucks. It’s the look you wish you never had, but which makes an appearance a few times a year, when diabetes just SUCKS.
Month One is a bitch, and I wish there was something we could do to fast forward parents and kids through that massive learning curve. Once you come out the other side you learn to deal with the highs and lows (both literal and figurative!), and life is a different sort of normal. If anyone comes up with something like that, please let me know, because I want to run around Melbourne and sprinkle it over all the families that are going through this month of hell.
It gets so much better, and so much brighter.