For people that live without diabetes it is hard to understand how the disease impacts the flow of daily life. Every day begins with a “stick” and a drop of blood. A “stick” is the term we use to describe using a lancet to pierce the skin and draw a drop of blood for a blood sugar test.
Then we check the blood glucose levels (BGL) with a test strip and meter. Each diabetes meter is different, but they are all easy to use and accurate. Once we have the BGL it’s time to do some math. Counting carbohydrates is simple and becomes almost second nature to most diabetics. Reading the nutritional information of food we eat to determine the carb value and portion size are critical parts of controlling diabetes. Based on the carb count for the meal and the current BGL a measurement of how much insulin needs to be injected is calculated. Now days many people dial this value into an insulin pump, but our son is too young so we still use an old fashion syringe. It is now time for the first shot of the day.
This routine is repeated before every meal and snack. Any time a diabetic feels “strange”, light headed or hyper, or has a sudden mood swing you need to check BGL as well. On most days we check our son’s BGL at least 6 times, sometimes more. It is always better to check as often as possible. The pain of a BGL check is much less than the suffering a diabetic will deal with later on in life.
Diabetes does not care who you are, if testing is painful or if you are tired. Diabetes is a condition and a disease both of the body and the mind. Every day a diabetic may have 6 blood sticks and 4 injections, or more. My daughter does not have diabetes and she freaks out when she sees a needle, but my son smiles and tells me about his day when I give him his injections. Managing his diabetes is normal to him; it’s just a part of his life.
Every day a diabetic faces the daunting reality that they will be forced to experience the pain and inconvenience of managing there diabetes. A diabetic cannot take a brake from the condition.
The day ends with yet another stick and another injection. Parents of young diabetics understand, and in the truest sense, live every day of the life of their children. Parents feel their children’s pain, live with their mood swings, and learn to sleep knowing their children are always at risk. It is not uncommon for us to wake in the middle of the night and sneak into our son’s room to do one more BGL check. In a strange way our son’s diabetes has taught us more about love and togetherness.