Diabetes Week Post 3 - Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share.
I actually forgot about this story until last week, when I shared it with a newly diagnosed family. I think it defines the feelings that most of us have during those first few tedious days of learning how to care for our children.
And it also exemplifies how nuts I was!
In 2006, care was a little different for a newly diagnosed family than it is today. After being discharged from our week long stay, I was given the gift of receiving a visiting home nurse.
Sounds like a dream, right?
Well the irony is that my visiting home nurse, a lovely woman that we shall call Rhonda, was not in the least bit experienced with type 1 diabetes (or even type 2 for that matter).
What I didn't realize was that Rhonda's area of expertise was in teaching how to correctly draw and inject a syringe. That was it. She came to our home with the understanding that this newly diagnosed family needed help with injections.
I didn't need that kind of help though. At four or more syringes a day, I was already an expert in pokes.
What I didn't know what to do was how to feed a skinny three-year old toddler or even our family. Everything seemed wrong and I couldn't remember what were taught in the hospital.
Rhonda wasn't sure either.
But one look at my ashen skin, worried frown lines and total lack of sleep, prompted her compassionate side to help us.
Together, we decided the best route to take would be carb counting and meal planning.
Remember, I had no idea of what I was doing.
Now, our pantry is large and always well stocked. One look inside and she started clicking her tongue and shaking her head. "Everything inside the pantry has carbs", she said. "This won't do."
So like two crazy people, we started dumping everything into a large garbage can. Cereal - no. Chips - no. Pancake mix -probably not. Cupcake mix - Oh ABSOLUTELY NOT!
At the end, I was left with some cooking oil, some unpopped pop corn and a variety of seasonings.
Then Rhonda and I sat down to start creating a list of things to buy. The words 'SUGAR-FREE' topped the list along with 'NO-CARBS'. We couldn't think of a lot except sugar free jello and sugar free crystal light. Still, Rhonda had me convinced that once I got into the grocery store and hit up the reduced sugar aisle, that I would find all sorts of good things to feed my child.
Since I couldn't leave the house until I knew my daughter was sleeping (still paralyzed by the fear that something bad would happen the moment that I left), I stayed, waiting until after the 3:00 a.m. middle-of-the-night glucose check to furiously drive to our local 24-hour grocery store.
Let me just tell you, the grocery store is a strange place at 3:00 a.m.. The aisles were being re-stocked by dudes that looked like they had never seen daylight. I also realized that most of the shoppers were getting munchies and had probably - no definitely! -closed down the local watering holes.
And here I am in the midst of all them, loading up a cart full of diarrhea inducing sugar free products, all the while trying to stifle the avalanche of tears.
An hour or so later, as I struggled to push my overly full shopping cart into the check-out lane, a guy with his bag of munchies turns and looks at me with huge eyes.
"Whoa! What happened to you?" he said.
I don't know why I told him this but I did.
"A fire. We had a fire."
As weird as that statement was, he just nodded his head in empathy and didn't ask anymore questions.
The weird grocery store experience healed a part of me that night.
The aftermath of that story is that for years, I kept those sugar free products but never fed them to my child. Not to long ago, I did a huge pantry clean-out and finally got rid of them. It was a little bitter sweet though. Somehow, I had grown quite fond of those sugar free things. It was necessary to say good-bye because it helped me move through another stage of acceptance. Each time I pass through the land of sugar free, I still have a little heart tug. It will always be a part of me.