I hear it all the time when other parents of diabetics find out that I am a diabetic too. "Oh, at least you know what she's going through!" This is one of the comments that can kind of irritate at times. Seriously, does anyone think that having diabetes myself makes it all that much easier to have a child with it? But, I know they don't mean it that way. They are right in a sense though. Here's my one big wish for all parents of diabetic children.....I wish you could all know exactly what it all feels like. No, I don't mean that in a bad way. I really, really don't. This wish for all of you comes from the fact that I can see how frustrating it is for my husband to not understand. When Lily is low and is cranky and weepy, like she often gets when her blood sugars are below range, he has a hard time understanding. When her blood sugar is high and she's taking out her ill-feelings on her brother by picking and tormenting him, my husband's patience wears thin. I wish, I wish, I wish, that I could show him, somehow, what it feels like to be low, what it feels like to be high, what it feels like to be tired and worn-down and confused. So, here it is...as close as I can come to describing it:
Lows: Have you ever gone to a foreign country where you have only the most basic understanding of their language? That's what it's like to be low. Everyone is talking so quickly, things are going on around you, and everything is happening at a pace that you can't keep up with. You shake. You're dizzy. You feel like you could fall over and take a nap right where you're standing. You have so much you want to say to the people around you, to tell them what's going on, what's happening inside you, but you just don't know what words to use to get them to understand. They don't speak your language. The temperature around you is too hot, you sweat and tremble. I've heard a lot of d-moms complain about trying to limit how much their child eats when low. When you're blood sugar is low, you feel like your very life depends on how much food you can ingest in as quick of a time as possible. And really, your life does depend on it! But remember, everything is moving at a much faster pace than you and your thoughts, so while your blood sugar is coming up and you probably don't need to eat anymore, you still feel like your life depends on you continuing to eat as much as possible, which then leads to the rebound high.
Highs: I find these so much more frustrating than lows. They last so much longer and take more time to correct. Oh, how I hate highs! For me, it's like being in the desert. You feel like you haven't had anything to drink in days. You're so thirsty! And every drink you take turns to sawdust. Nothing quenches that thirst. You could happily guzzle down gallons of water and still be so thirsty! A bathtub full of ice-cold water wouldn't be enough! So you drink and drink and drink. But as soon as you take that drink, you feel like you could pee your pants. Literally! Every drink you take flows right through you. Can you imagine trying to potty-train a toddler who has a high nearly everyday? I've seen grown-up diabetics who don't take care of their blood sugars well have problems with making it to the bathroom in time. I can't imagine how my 3-year-old is going to handle it! When you're high, you drink and drink and drink and pee and pee and pee. You empty your bladder just to have it full again 10 minutes later. It's amazing how quickly water can make it through your system when you're high!
Oh, how I wish I had better words and phrases to describe all of this for you! The feelings of being high and being low. They're incredible. Uncomfortable. Confusing. Frustrating. Embarrassing. This is the one area of diabetes that makes me glad I know what Lily is feeling. Unfortunately, there are so many other areas where being diabetic myself can add complications! I'll have to tell you all about that next week as we're heading out tomorrow on another long car ride. Five-hour-drive to go visit my family and see my beautiful and intelligent niece graduate from high school. It's so worth the drive! I miss my family so much sometimes!