I rarely cry anymore about diabetes. I get angry-really angry. I have days when I'm sad and struggle to get anything done. I spend my sleeping hours clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth. Most days I'm just flat-out frustrated. It's been a while since I've had a good cry over this.
Yesterday broke me. The week started off with Grace having insane blood sugar numbers. We basically spent a day in the 300 range, unable to get it to budge. It all made sense when Luke's nose started running like a faucet. Even if Grace doesn't actually get sick, the act of fighting off a bug brings on wacky numbers. My sweet Luke whispered to me anxiously, "I hope it isn't me making Grace sick." In that moment I hated diabetes so, so much. He's five. No five year old should have such worry. We spent a day high, and the next day dealing with low sugars. I hate the lows. They sneak up on you. They're dangerous. And for me, almost always unanticipated.
My phone rang at 10am yesterday. Every time my phone rings my heart jumps. It jumps again when I see it's school. This time it was Grace calling and she was crying. The birthday treat was not safe. It had soy and traces of tree nuts. I kept telling her I would run something up to school and she finally calmed down. When she did calm down she said, "Oh, and my sugar is 49." It was so nonchalant I almost missed it. She said she had a juice and was feeling better but I could tell she was mad, sad, frustrated-everything. For a 7 year old, this was the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day playing itself out.
I took a deep breath and ran to find her a special treat she could enjoy. Practically every sweet treat out there has damned soy in it. I felt like calling Michael Pollen and shouting, "I NOW GET IT." I finally discovered peeps have no soy, no tree nuts--basically it's just plain sugar. Good to know for future low blood sugars. I ran them up to school and headed to Costco.
When you have a diabetic child you blow through a lot of juice--like you wouldn't believe how much juice we go through. When they discharge you from the hospital they should also hand you a membership to a discount club because that is where you will be spending your money. The trick to fixing a low blood sugar is 15g of carbohydrates. We prefer juice because it's fast. No chewing of sugar tablets. You just suck it right down. But finding juice boxes with only 15g of carbs is hard. Try looking the next time you are grocery shopping. Costco carries perfect little juice boxes that are exactly 15g.
So I needed juice. Sometimes Grace hates juice (she has to drink so much of it) so some time ago I picked up fruit chewies but the nurse told me Grace thought they were "disgusting." Sigh. So I added new a brand of fruit chewies to my list. And then I needed to add some kind of allergen-free sweet treat to the list because of all the school birthdays coming up.
That's when I lost it. Right in the middle of Costco. Pouring over labels, looking for allergens, trying to find the right amount of carbs. I just lost it. A little old Russian lady looked at me like I was crazy. I texted Tom, "I feel like there is an elephant standing on my chest." Just when I thought I would have to leave the store, I spotted giant packages of peeps. This solved one problem and my excitement over the brilliantly colored chicks helped me to calm down. People must have thought I was crazy--wow, that crazy lady really likes her peeps!
I spent the rest of the day angry. I was pissed that for some reason Grace's pancreas decided to kick in a little insulin that morning and didn't let me know I should back off her dose. I was angry it brought Grace to tears. And I was seriously angry at the parents who continue to send in treats full well knowing there are kids in her class--not just Grace-who can't enjoy those treats. And they can't enjoy those treats not because they might get rashy, or have gas, or hives-they could die. Am I being dramatic? No. My kid landed in the ER because of an allergen in her lunch. Do people really not care? I think, more often than not, that people are like me. As I become a more "solid" adult, it's occurring to me this is not the case.
In the short run, the peeps solved the problem. Grace burst out of school and jumped into my arms thanking me for the treat. In the long run, I'm increasingly frustrated that allergies and diabetes are impacting Grace's little world too much. It's a lot for a kid to go through day after day. It's a lot to watch her go through it day after day. It takes a toll on all of us: me, Tom, Grace, and even Luke. Sometimes I guess it's just best to accept this week sucked and try to move on.