Insulin Pump Demystified

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Checking at the playground

Thursday afternoon was gorgeous--sunny with a breeze. After I picked up George from childcare at 1PM, we headed to a nearby playground. It was full of parents and kids enjoying the day.

Both of my kids were swinging (I just put June, almost 8 mos. in a baby swing for the first time the other day and she LOVES it!), and as I pushed them, I noticed a mom and a son sitting on a bench behind the swings and I thought I saw him poke his finger and then wipe it with a tissue. Looking closer, he had indeed done a blood sugar check and then jumped off the bench and took the swing next to George.

The mom came up to push him and I smiled at her. "It looked like you were just checking his blood sugar," I said. "Oh yeah," she said, kind of caught off guard. "I know all about that," I said. "I've had Type 1 since I was a kid." Her face softened. "Yeah...I needed to see where he was at before playing," she said. I nodded. "How old is he?" I asked her. "Six," she said, and then she turned away. "I'm looking for my friend and her son."

Her friend and her son came just then and the boy with Type 1, a very sweet-looking red-haired kid, jumped off his swing and started climbing on the monkey bars with his buddy. The moms went off to talk together and I was left wishing I could have talked some more to the mom. I wondered when her son was diagnosed, how he was doing, if he was on the pump or if they were thinking about it.

I watched the boy playing and saw how healthy and happy he the quick blood sugar check was just part of his afternoon routine. I wanted to say more to the mom...I wanted to tell her that she must be doing a great job and that living with diabetes can be really hard. I wanted to tell her that I was ten when I was diagnosed and that I've grown up to be a healthy and happy (mostly) person. I wanted to tell her that her son is going to do just fine, even when he has moments when he rebels or gets angry at having diabetes. I wanted to tell her that I truly believe that a cure is going to happen, most likely before her son ever reaches my age, so when she's feeling really down or dark, just to hold onto that idea.

But the mom was happily chatting with her friend and I knew that she really might not need to hear anything I had to say. She might be doing just fine with the whole thing and might have plenty of people in her life who support her. I watched her son playing, and the more I thought about what I wanted to say to him, the more I realized that I was really talking to my ten-year-old self, newly diagnosed, who was terrified of living with diabetes and afraid that I would not grow up to be healthy and strong.

I got a little teary, watching the red-haired boy climbing away with his friend...and then I noticed that George had gotten off his swing and was sitting with some other kids eating snacks and it appeared that he had taken another little boy's potato chips and was munching away. Nothing like children to bring you back to the present moment!

"Not your chips," I shouted, grabbing smiling June from her swing. George looked at me with his mischeivous grin. I ended my inner conversation and rooted for George's pretzels in my bag. I left the playground realizing that my ten-year-old self, vulnerable and scared, still needs reassurce at times.

In peace,


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