I get it. You’re 17. And you are busy. There is high school, and friends, and tons of sports to play, and of course you have to keep up with Instagram and snapchat, want to just be like the rest of your friends. I really can’t complain, because you are straight A student, with a promising athletic future, and you make pretty good decisions for a kid your age. Pretty damn good decisions.
I also get that you didn’t ask for this. You didn’t ask for the finger pricks, or the 5 seizures you have had in your sleep, and you didn’t ask to love a life that is constantly changing, and so inconsistent and certainly not predictable. You didn’t ask to have to stop and think about everything you eat, or to worry that if you spend too much time on the beach or swimming in the pool with friends, you may go low and need to have a snack. You didn’t have to ask for an illness that makes you wear your pancreas outside of your body. You didn’t ask for this.
And I would do just about anything to take it away from you, for you. I would do anything for you to be able to go back to the carefree life of a just being 17, which is in and of itself is hard and confusing and inconsistent enough.
And I have tried….I have tried so hard to lessen the nags. To quietly sneak peeks at your meter while you aren’t looking instead of constantly bugging you about what your number is. I have talked to you about when to check, how to check, and you tell me you are good. You are fine. IN fact, you say that all the time. “I’m fine.” “I’m good.”
And then those sneak peeks at your meter, they show me that you aren’t. They show me that you got behind the wheel of a car when you were only 67. They show me that you started a softball game without even bothering to check, which is probably why you were inhaling skittles on first base. It showed me that you were 348, and then 443, and then 506 for several hours – several hours of which you told me you were fine. You told me you were good. You told me you were ok.
And then, then when I carefully confront you – and remind you about the rules, which seem simple but which I also know are all so time-consuming and likely a hassle for a busy 17-year-old bubbly kid who just wants to be a teenager, and who doesn’t want to be bugged by their mom, or chased around the house with a ketone strip when you are acting like a jerk because your blood sugars are so high, that you will roll your eyes. You will tell me you are ok. You will tell me that you didn’t check because you felt okay, or that you drank juice before you cranked the car, or that you know your body better than I do.
Or you will explain to me that you only lied when you told me you were 181 when you were really 446 at bedtime because I looked tired and you didn’t want me to worry, or come in your room and check 5-6 times.
But today I ask you this.
Where do you want me to bury you?
Because despite your intelligence. Despite your carefreeness. Despite how brave you are and how you never have once complained about being burdened with this illness and despite how much you tell me you have this under control, the reality that I live with – is that you don’t. Is that you are still just a teenager who makes some reckless decisions and who doesn’t realize exactly what is at stake during those moments when you just blow Type 1 off like it’s a runny nose.
And that just one time, just one of these moments when you blow me off, or you lie, or you tell me you are okay when you are not, something bad is going to happen to you. And then I would come face to face with the most paralyzing fear of a type 1 parent….
Because every morning, the moment my feet hit the floor I panic, the first thing I do is get to your room as fast as I can, and open your door with a pit in my stomach desperately praying that you are in your bed, still alive and well, and that you didn’t accidentally fall asleep while reading when your sugar was low and you were tired to check, or that your pump tubing didn’t kink in your sleep and throw you into DKA as insulin stopped pulsing through your body. And that you didn’t think you were fine, you were okay, and let me fall asleep thinking that as well.
So my dear. My dear warrior. My dear daughter whom I love more than anything. I will nag. And I will bother. And I will talk to you about your heart and kidneys and your feet and your blood sugars, and I will wake up several times a night to check on you, and I will sneak around and check your meter, and I will bother you, and not let you sleep in too late, and ask lots of questions, and put up with your eye rolls, and force you to send me pictures of your meter to prove to me that you checked, And I will not believe you when you say you are fine, you are good – especially when I can tell by looking at you that you aren’t.
Because my dear, I don’t want to bury you. And because I AM AFRAID, and I was BORN to take care of you. So I will continue to do just that….