I’m not quite sure what landed me at this edge, feeling like I am barely hanging on. In a way, it feels familiar, like I have camped out here before, frequently.
Maybe the gateway to this campsite is illness. Any sickness that Carter contracts brings an anxiety that is difficult to describe. Most minute illnesses we get through without any issue, then there are those that land my son in the emergency room. This past Thursday was one of those times.
We had been battling the stomach flu, it began with Natasha, my 11-month-old, worked its way to Ashleigh, my six-year-old, and finally latched onto my three-year-old Type 1 Diabetic son. Both my daughters threw up twice, replenished fluids and rested and recovered within a full 24 hours.
Carter, began throwing up at 8:00 am and by 6:00 pm he had thrown up 8 times. He couldn’t keep anything down. It was at that point that I called the endocrinologist. Although his blood sugars were good, I could see the beginnings of something brewing. Dehydration, Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), when Carter’s eyes started to look sunken in, I knew it was time to take him in.
Lately, I feel as though I am starving for mercy. It has felt like one thing after the other as I struggle to hang on to the edge of the cliff I fell off of three long years ago. Watching my son battle Type 1 Diabetes has been humbling, heartbreaking, and unequivocally stressful all at the same time.
I am tired of the guess-work that it requires to keep my son alive. I hate that I can look in his eyes and see that he’s heading toward a low, or a high blood sugar, yet at the same time I am grateful. Grateful that through immense trial and error I now know how to see it in his demeanor before it strikes.
I’m sad that the hospital is a close comfort, because I know that they have everything at their disposal to save my child. I hate watching my son be brave for all the pokes, all the site changes, all the IV’s, and all the scar tissue which is evidence of his condition.
Being on the brink of a breakdown seems to be where I have set up camp. I don’t know how long I will stay, or if my camp will ever move on to acceptance. I do what I can to find a way to survive where I am, never having all the answers, always having to fight, not just for my son’s life, but for understanding from the non-diabetic community.
Those who don’t live this life, 24/7 don’t understand the difficulty. In a way, I feel it is my duty to report what we go through. Maybe to raise awareness, but mostly to raise empathy. I would hate to watch my son navigate through an environment where no one knew what Type 1 Diabetes entailed, and had no idea how hard it was to live in a world that requires constant vigilance and monitoring.
Carter was released 5 hours after being admitted to the Emergency Room, luckily that is all he needed this time. I caught him in dehydration, and the beginning of DKA. I’m glad that I caught it, I’m happy that I stopped DKA in its tracks, but angry at the same time that my son is continually haunted by the possibility of an illness where he is worse off than his sisters because of a misunderstood autoimmune disease that doesn’t play fair.
I would be remiss, if I didn’t document these trails, if I didn’t talk candidly about the world that the majority of Type 1 Diabetics live in, just on the brink, the brink of life, which consequently also is the brink of insanity.
I believe that is the cliff I have been hanging on for the past 2.5 years, the brink of insanity. Knowing at any moment my son could land in the ER, knowing that my tireless efforts throughout the day, are futile, knowing that even though I live in “groundhog day” the outcome of each day managing Type 1 in my son, always delivers a different outcome.
It’s unfair, it’s inconsistent, but it’s our reality. It’s our hell, it’s our purgatory, until there is a cure.