Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sled Dread

Driving away my thoughts were many:  1) a low Joe slumped and crumpled on a cold, icy snow bank at the bottom of the sled hill, 2) a lost Woodchuck (the diabetes bag that houses sugar and Joe's pump) in the dark woods, 3) guilt over our current typical mother-teen power struggles, and 4)  fear of something happening to him, like an untimely death, and our last conversation was me nagging him...
Many of the thoughts are typical of most parents I suppose; except for the low part and the Woodchuck part.


I dropped off Joe to go sledding with his friends.  The drop-off was about 5 minutes away from our home.  It was dusk, soon to be dark.  Joe has a history of extreme lows in the cold, while sledding.  He's almost 13 now.  He wanted to sled alone with his peers.  I got it.  

I had him check his blood sugar in the car, on our way to the sled hill.  It was 130-something.  I asked him if he'd bolused insulin recently.  He had bolused for a snack 10 minutes prior.  I had him eat 12 Skittles.  During this interaction my instructions were short, my voice monotone.  My mind was on other, more "big picture", parenting issues.  Issues like wanting Joe to value his education, limiting screen time, and limiting access to processed foods.  The diabetes seemed benign in comparison.

It seemed benign, until I left him with a bunch of other teenagers, in the cold, in the dark.  Then it hit.  "It" being, it is not benign.  This thing that becomes so normal and manageable isn't so normal and, at times, is anything but manageable.  Blood sugar control is a daily, hourly, and at times minute-to-minute threat to Joe's well being.  I forget this, until I am forced to let him grow up, yet, a little bit more.

As I dropped him off at that sled hill, I left feeling uneasy.  Blood sugar is like "air" in a sense.  He needs enough sugar in his blood to make sound decisions,  to function at full capacity mentally and physically, to be conscious, and, yes, essentially to be alive.  Unfortunately, sugar is not just floating around and utilized as automatically and innately as air is. The sugar needs to be available and Joe needs to be aware of when he needs to consume the sugar.  Hopefully there is a sugar source available when Joe needs it. Hopefully, he listens to his body and stops and takes the sugar right when he feels low.  Hopefully, he doesn't let the low go too long to the point where he is unable to help himself. He's a teenage boy with one of the most high maintenance chronic conditions. It's all kinda damn scary.

An 8 year ago photo.  A 5 year old Joe. 
Anyway.  Back to the sledding.

I arrived to pick him up an hour later.  Joe was waiting for me in the front of his friend's house.  He hopped in the car.  

"Thanks mom...for bringing me..for letting me.  I had fun."

"I'm glad Bud."

A stable 158 graced the glucometer screen when we got home.

A glimpse of the anxiety in my day-in-the-life, as Joe's autonomy progresses.


Lora said...

I struggle with the dropping off too. I don't often admit my, sometimes overwhelming, anxiety, but it is there. Taunting me. I'm so glad you've been blogging again. I've missed you bunches. <3

Anonymous said...

So familiar. OMG and sledding! After this post I'm going to spell it SLEAD (for dread!)

Misty said...

I can so relate! Exactly what you said. Every bit of it. Mostly the anxiety every time I drop her off somewhere. Not sure why it has gotten worse for me, as she is much more capable of managing on her own than she was a couple of years ago. But maybe that's it. I am leaving the managing up to her in these situations (not just that I know she knows how, she actually is the only one there responsible for her care). And well, we all know how these preteen brains work - or don't work sometimes!! Hugs to you my friend!!

Joanne said...

Elise often wants to ride her bike around the hood. With her friends and without me. Luckily she lets us use nightscout so we know what's going on, and our hood is pretty small. I still have to fight the urge to wring my hands and pace.

That picture though... too cute!

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

Love the ending. :)

Kelly said...

Had to be reminded of the sled dread this week too! Anxiety and me are good friends. Thanks for sharing your life story again with us. I sure have missed the hope I get from reading your written words spoken from your heart. I agree with Joanne...that picture is just too cute!:)