Me? An expert?
When you have children you are immediately placed in charge. As a mom you are given 2 days in the hospital with your newborn and then you are sent home to care for this little human being. You learn to feed the baby, bathe the baby, soothe the baby, and keep the baby safe in a very short time frame. I have even heard new parents joke, or perhaps not joke, that their main objective is to ‘not kill the baby.’
Seriously though, isn’t that true? When a newborn is brought home from the hospital decisions are made almost hourly that directly affect the well being of the baby. Of course, not every decision is life threatening, but in the eyes of a new mom and dad, every decision feels as if it is. Thankfully though the decision to use a pacifier or not (or whatever the decision is at the moment) really is just a blip in the road of a million decisions you will make throughout the lifetime of this little baby. Some may be right, most will be wrong, but in the end the baby will grow and thrive and go on to live a very fulfilled life, whether or not you let him have a pacifier.
When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes I again became the expert on his care. We were in the hospital for 2 1/2 days. The nurses knew of my absolute determination to get home so they gave me a crash course on how to care for my son and this totally foreign disease of Type 1 diabetes. Had I known that those 2 1/2 days in the hospital would have been the only time I would ever receive that kind of help from a medical professional I might have not pushed so hard to get home and be on my own. I might actually still be there today, just kidding, kind of.
On my own seems to be a way of life now for me. I am the expert when it comes to my son’s care. I have made every decision on his care since we left the hospital over 2 1/2 years ago. I went to college to be a journalist and then continued my education to become a teacher. No where on that educational track did anyone mention to me anything about the pancreas or insulin or incurable autoimmune diseases, yet I am the expert when it comes to Type 1 diabetes. How did this happen?
I evaluate every number that is in my son’s meter. If there is a pattern of highs and lows I make an adjustment in his insulin pump. These adjustments that I make will hopefully be the right one to prevent another high or low at the said time. If my son’s sugar goes high or low with a certain type of food, it is up to me to evaluate the food and determines what steps to take the next time he eats that particular food. If the settings in his pump are not working anymore, either giving too much or too little insulin, it is up to me to decide to give more or less insulin during the day.
I look at over 70 numbers a week. Some don’t need me to do anything, yet other require me to make a decision to correct the situation. If I were to call a medical profession to talk about all of these decisions I would spend my life on the phone. It is because of this that I am the expert. I may not know the hows and whys of type 1 diabetes, but I sure know my son. I know how much insulin he needs to stay in range, and when he’s not in range I know how to fix it. I am an expert because my son has Type 1 diabetes.
It happens to all of us. If we are not the expert of our child’s Type 1 diabetes than our original dream of trying ‘not to kill the baby,’ may just not come true. Type 1 diabetes is a serious, incurable, autoimmune disease that can kill, but fortunately for my son (and me) I am stronger and smarter that Type 1 diabetes, and I love my son more than anything, and it is because of that love than I am an expert.