This summer, in particular, I am aware of it. Raising a child with t1d takes courage.
This post, in no way is meant to take away from those living with t1d. Persons with t1d are perhaps the most strong, brave, and courageous people I know. I live it. I watch it day in and out. When you have a child you are there to love them, to teach them, to support them, to guide them, to comfort them. To endure the diagnosis and the laborious management of this disease and then to pass on the management to your child is a tenacious process wrought with "what if's". Yes, I know you should not live your life thinking about "what if's". But, sometimes... a lot of the time lately, I do. Joe is my child; my child who has a high maintenance, chronic condition that needs monitoring, management, and consideration every time he eats, when he is active, when he is sick, when he is sleeping, and so on.
Something as simple as going to a friend's house for a few hours is not so simple for us. Actually, I think it is simple for Joe; not for me. Reminders are given regarding sugar sources and diabetes supplies. Questions are asked and pondered by my t1d worrying gray matter. Will he check a blood glucose? Will he count the carbs correctly? Will he bolus for the carbs consumed? Will he go swimming and then go low and perhaps have a seizure? Will he have a low on his way home and be sprawled out, like a limp squid, on a sidewalk somewhere? These thoughts fleet through my mind. I push them away. I have to. I need to let him grow up. I need to hope for the best. I have taught him well; I know that.
The other night, after an exercise class, he wanted to go hang with peers a couple of streets away. Of course, I was fine with it. Did I worry? You bet. Post exercise, Joe has a higher chance of going low. He took sugar with him. It was dark. Dave was traveling, so I was home alone. I willed myself to stay awake until Joe came home safe and sound. I left my light on; the TV blaring. Worry of a low Joe in the dark streets of our neighborhood crept into my heart. I texted him, I requested he check in with me when he came in for the night. He did. He said he took sugar a couple of times while he was out. He was a 148 when he arrived home. I have taught him well; I know that.
A week..or so.. ago.. Joe phoned me. "Mom..we are going to bike to KFC." His voice was laced with pride and excitement over the adventure of biking and the glutinous fast food consumption that lay ahead. KFC is a few miles away. He would be biking with friends. He would be partaking in eating (yes.oh.the.horror). My response was "OK..make sure to take your supplies." Within a few minutes a sense of dread came over me. The sugar he typically keeps in his supply bag was in his room. He was biking a few miles with no sugar. Thoughts of Joe low and unconscious splayed out in the middle of our town, after the bike ride or after a miscalculated bolus crept into my mind. So, I grabbed the sugar, hopped into my car, and I drove the sugar to the center of town; to Joe. The sugar delivery trumped possible embarrassment of my possibly dramatic sugar delivery tactics. He didn't mind. He knew it could've been needed. When he arrived home from KFC, he was 88. He boosted with Skittles, prior to heading out to swim with friends. I have taught him well; I know that.
And, while I have taught him well, there are just so many details that can go wrong, that can be overlooked, that can be misjudged with t1d. It scares me, the thought of someday sending him out on his own. Preparing him and letting him practice what he has learned for a few hours at a time will hopefully prepare me for a most difficult task; letting him go and trusting he will be OK.