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A Fear of Purple Elephants

Posted Sep 12 2008 11:55am

At Riley’s endo appointment in September the subject of school came up.

As Dr. M was talking she could see me squirming in my seat. “I don’t want to think about him starting school right now.”

She smiled. “Does Riley ever stay with someone who is not a relative?”

“Um, no. The only people who know how to care for his diabetes are my husband and I and my mom. I’m not leaving him with anyone else.”

She smiled some more. “Well, maybe you should think about leaving him with someone just to go to the grocery store or something. Just a quick little trip.”

This was during the time that Riley was playing soccer. “Or, you can leave him at soccer practice and run to the grocery store.”

Was she crazy? Leave him alone at soccer practice? What if he went low? What if he needed me? What if…

Then she went on to say that I needed to let go a little at the time. It would make it easier on me when it was time to send him off to school, which makes perfect sense.

“This woman knows what she’s talking about.”, I thought. “I really need to listen to her and do what she says.”

Michael and I talked about it on the way home. I admitted I needed to give up some of the control. We talked about situations I would be comfortable with.

Then, I proceeded to do exactly what I’ve been doing all along. And, that was six months ago.

Why is it so hard for me to let someone else have the reigns for a while?

Riley has been staying with my mom when I’m working. He’s been doing this for 17 months. I have just gotten to the point in the last couple of months where I stopped calling my mom several times a day to check on Riley’s sugars. I have even gotten to the point where I don’t automatically look at his sugars as soon as I walk in the door.

This is a big step for me. The next big step is coming up in 5 months. And, I don’t know what I’m going to do about it.

I know I need to ease into it like Dr. M said. But, I just have so many fears. I’m terrified of the what-ifs.

What if…he goes low and has a seizure? No, he’s never had a seizure before, but what if he does and I’m not there?

What if…he goes low and no one notices until he passes out?

What if… he goes high and starts to spill ketones?

What if…his set comes out and I’m not right there to change it?

What if…they don’t count his carbs right?

What if… a purple elephant lands on the moon and sprinkles sugar in the air?

Yes, I do know how silly I sound.

I have never been a person to live by the what-ifs in life. Ever. So, what has changed? What has this stupid disease done to me?

A lot of it has to do with control. I am not a control freak. Really, I’m not. You only need to look at my house and see the chaos to know that being in control of everything is not an issue for me.

With diabetes no one is ever really in control. You can do everything just right (eat, count carbs, bolus) and still come out with crappy numbers. I think me handling every aspect of Riley’s D helps me to somehow feel more in control of things.

Silly, really, trying to feel in control of something you know you can’t control anyway.

But, the big issue, and this in the one I struggle with the most, is fear. Fear that something bad will happen to Riley. Fear that if I had been there, whatever it was would not have happened.

Holden got his driver’s license (and a car) a little over a month ago. A few weeks before, I started panicking. I didn’t know how I was going to handle it. I just knew I would worry that something bad was going to happen every time he was out on the road.

But, you know what? That’s not the case at all. The day he got his license, I stood there with my video camera and watched him drive away for the first time. I waited for the panic to rise in my chest, but it never came. I said a little prayer and went on with my day.

Do I worry that he might get in a wreck? Yes. But, I don’t dwell on it. I just tell myself that if it happens I will deal with it then. There is no reason to waste my time worrying about things that hopefully will never happen. And, even if it does happen, all the worrying in the world won’t change it.

Why oh why can’t I get to that point about Riley’s diabetes?

I’m hoping that when he starts school and I don’t have a choice but to let him go, I’ll do OK. But, right now, I have a choice, and that choice is to keep him as close to me as possible.

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