Because you can’t see type 1 diabetes, it’s not taken as serious as it should be. But if you look hard enough, you’ll see it in many ways other than looking sick.
We had a tough decision to make this New Year’s weekend. Our family in Wisconsin was going to travel to Michigan to my brother’s house for New Year’s, and to watch the Badger’s in the Rose Bowl. Tony went with my daughter Jen and her family, my daughter has a son with type 1 also, so they invited Joey to go with them too. At first I thought, sure, Joey can go along, but as the time got closer to them leaving, both Joe and I had second thoughts. We never told Joey that he could go, in fact, he didn’t show signs of wanting to go until the night before they left.
Both Tony and Joey went over to Jen’s to watch the boys for a couple hours, we picked Joey up at 10:00, shortly before then he started with the texts about wanting to go with them.
I could see when I picked Joey up from Jen’s that he was very upset, maybe even holding back some tears. Broke my heart, truly. Some of you might ask “why didn’t you let him go, he would have been in great hands with your daughter?” I don’t really have a good answer, except that I followed my gut, and my gut told me that I wouldn’t be comfortable with him being away from me for 3 days, five + hours away, nope, not happening. All I kept thinking about was “what if he ends up in the hospital, or what if he gets sick and I’m not there.”
Anyway, my point is that he was upset, and it was because he had type 1 that I would’t let him go, I was hurting for him, but it was type 1 that caused the pain. I could see it clearly that night, it causes a lot of pain without the sting of the needle.
I saw it again on New Year’s Eve, when I took Joey and a couple of his friends sledding. the sled hill was dark, and cold, they have a light, but it didn’t seem to shine very brightly. We were the only ones on the hill for a while, which they loved and hated. This hill is 5 minutes from our house, so a lot of their friends are usually there, which adds to the fun. Before Joey started down the hill, he checked his blood sugar, it was 180, perfect for sledding and walking back up the steep hill. After only 25 minutes, Joey was heading over to the car, he said he felt low, and was starving. When he took his blood sugar it was only 37. I couldn’t believe it. He drank two Kool-Aid Jammers, 19 grams each. To have a blood sugar of 37 is very dangerous, people have reported seeing spots, feeling super tired, and disoriented. A “normal” blood sugar for a person without type 1 is 72.
I asked him to sit in the car until his BS went up, he said he would wait on the rock, at the top of the hill. He assured me he wouldn’t go down until he rechecked. For about 15 minutes my little boy sat at the top of the sled hill, watching his friends sled over and over again. His friends came over to check on him, being very understanding about type 1, and very supportive.
Here is what type 1 diabetes looks like to me, this is what you would see if you really looked closely. Here is a picture of Joey, sitting on that rock, at the top of the hill, by himself, waiting for his type 1 to get under control, so he can continue his life.