Even this girl has her limits…
…and it seems to be about 35 minutes. That’s the distance that both my son and I consider to be a comfortable distance for me to be away from him. As with most things you really never know something until you are forced to experience it.
Back when my son was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, while I never left his side because I was his only main caregiver, I don’t think I had a limit. I fondly recall going to another state about an hour away overnight early on in diagnosis. Yes, I was worried. Yes, I slept with my cellphone. Yes, I did not have the best time of my life, but I did it. We did it.
Then came the night of the dinner party. A big-person, adult-only dinner party. Now as the mom of two children 22 months apart, big-person, adult-only are not very common themes, but nonetheless, my husband and I were indeed acting like big people having dinner and a few drinks. Then came the phone call.
The phone call that ended my night of big-person, adult-only fun. It was my mom on the phone. She was watching my son. I could end this blog post right here, as most of you can formulate your own story of what can happen to a child with Type 1 diabetes that would require a phone call from the sitter to the mom, but I will continue.
My son’s sugar was dropping and even though the proper treatment of glucose was given it was still dropping and dropping fast. I remember the night like it was yesterday even though it was well over 2 years ago.
I left the party and began to drive home the 25 minute ride with my Bluetooth in my ear. The conversation went something like this:
Me: What’s going on?
Them: He was just 55. We are giving him candy but he won’t chew.
Me: Give him something that he can drink.
Them: We are trying to give him soda but he is saying he just can’t drink anymore.
Background from them: I think he’s tired and he wants to go to sleep.
Me. (Screaming) NO! NO! Do not let him go to sleep! Give him anything!!
Them: (Nervous) Ok, we have syrup and we’re putting it in a syringe (to shove in his mouth).
Background: Noise. Whispering.
Me: (Screaming) Is he awake?!?! Is he ok?!?! What is he doing?!?!
Them: (Loudly) Yes, he’s awake still. He’s taking the syrup. Ok. He’s good. Ok. Ok.
Me: (Screaming) Is he still ok?!?!
Meanwhile I am driving through city streets at top speed, slowing down just enough at red lights so they will turn green while I am still moving and revving it through yellow lights so they don’t turn red on me. I am screaming into the phone because they have the phone on speaker so I can barely make out what anyone is saying. Or if they are talking to me, or each other or my son.
Me: Is he still awake?!?!
Them: (Calmer) Yes, he’s awake. He’s drinking now.
We hang up the phone.
I cry. And cry. And cry.
On so many levels that night was so unfair. To absolutely everyone involved. A child should never feel like sleeping (passing out) because his blood sugar has dropped too low and won’t come back up. Grandparents should never feel fear of watching their grandchild pass out because they can’t get his sugar up. A mother should not race through city streets trying to get to her son for fear that this low may be the low that he never wakes up from.
So yes, I have my limits now. And they will remain until, well, I don’t really know how long they will remain, but surely long enough for both of us to feel safe.