His Royal Highness
I don't have type 1 diabetes like many of you do. I don't know what it feels like to be up high or down low. I cannot feel the sting of insulin or the discomfort of going from 50 to 400 in a matter of minutes. But I value your vivid and heart-wrenching descriptions of "how it feels" more than you know. Charlie is only 5. He can't describe it like you do. The pain I feel is different. It hurts in different places.
Friday night was a horrible night of high blood sugars for Charlie. We couldn't bring him down all night. When you expect to see 150 or 180, numbers like 344 just reach in and twist your innards. 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 …. FUCK!
So we put our faith in the correction. We correct and pray that the pump does its thing - that everything does what it's supposed to do. We pray that in an hour, he'll start to come down. Waiting, though, is excruciating. The waiting tears apart your stomach. It makes me want to crawl inside his blood stream like an insane, militant, sweat suit wearin', vein-poppin', whistle-blowin', beer-gutted, spit-flyin' high school football coach. Or better yet, ex-Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher.
"COME ON INSULIN! YOU PATHETIC PIECE OF SHIT! MOVE YOUR ASS! LET'S GO! LET'S GO! LET'S GO! NO WALKING OUT THERE! MOVE YOUR ASS! LET'S GO! LET'S GO! LET'S GO!"
WHO ARE WE?
WHO ARE WE?
I CAN'T HEAR YOU
NOW GIVE ME FIVE LAPS
An hour later, I test him. 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 ….. FUCK!
We recently moved our bedroom to the third-floor attic due to the accumulation of all these kids. I talk to Susanne via the baby monitor. Surely she heard my "FUCK" through the monitor and knows it's not good. "He's 347," I say almost robot-like towards the white plastic receiver. "I'll test for ketones."
The big red plastic Dixie cup reminds me of warm, watery beer and drinking games; standing in a long keg line at fraternity and sorority parties so many years ago.
Now I'm pressing his itty bitty junk down like it's a faucet on full blast, using the red cup to collect a hot, rapid stream of pee from a 5 year old at 2 in the morning. My hand warms. I hold my breath as it slows to a final drip just before reaching the brim. He has slight ketones. The site looks fine and it was fine earlier in the day. Of course we consider changing the site, but Charlie's blood sugar skyrockets for hours after site changes. We don't want to compound the problem, so we give the site and his pump one last chance to redeem itself.
One hour later.
Susanne takes the next blood sugar check as I listen to the baby monitor from the attic. The creaking of Susanne's footsteps breaks the white noise hum coming from the monitor.
"Snap!" goes the pricker.
"Sigh" goes Susanne.
"Beeeeeeep" goes the ear thermometer.
We decide it's time to inject with needle.
"No!" goes Charlie.
"Please hold still" goes Susanne.
I hear Susanne making her way back upstairs. I hear too much. Every little moan from Charlie. Thrashing around in his sheets. Discomfort.
I feel it in my heart. Like a slow nail through my heart.
Even the needle injection doesn't bring him down enough. Finally, one last correction brings him to 98 by the morning.
A new day brings an opposite battle. Low blood sugars all day and into the evening.
Oh, Diabetes. You are one sick bastard!