As I mentioned a post or so ago, over Christmas I got diagnosed with diabetes. (Thanks Santa, next time a lump of coal is fine, okay?) Whilst this is something I am still coming to terms with on many levels, a decision I made at the very beginning was that if I am to treat myself for life, then I didn’t want to keep it a secret from Bubba. For all that a needle is not a toddler’s toy, it is important to me that he sees and understands (from a distance) what I am doing and later, when he is old enough, why I am doing it. I did not anticipate his reaction, which has slowly evolved into a scenario that goes like this:
It is first thing in the morning. I am wrapped up cozy in my dressing gown, anticipating breakfast. Before I can eat, I need to do my diabetes thing. I get down my little diabetes kit, show it to Bubba and say, “Do you want to help Mummy with her medicine?” His face immediately lights up and he squeals in delight. It’s more exciting than breakfast. It’s more exciting than Daddy. It’s more exciting than Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy put together.
Bubba takes my hand and drags me around to the kitchen table, where he waits impatiently for me to sit down and unzip the kit. He watches with a big grin as I get out the lance (it looks a bit like a cigarette lighter I guess, only it’s got a little needle inside it) and say “Which finger today?” I start to press my fingertips together to see which one hurts the least. This is too much for Bubba, who takes my hands in his own and squeezes my fingertips for me until I decide which one is in the best shape and will, therefore, be this morning’s victim. I lift my hand out of his reach, press the lance into the side of the chosen finger and click the button. It makes a loud clacking sound as it puts a little hole in my finger. As blood starts to well, Bubba laughs and claps and says “Ouch!” because, well, that’s what I just said, if I’m honest. Only without the laughing and clapping. (The lance doesn’t hurt at first, but if you do it over and over on top of bruises, trust me, you’ll say ouch too.)
Knowing the dangerous part is over, for now, Bubba leans on my lap to watch in anticipation as I insert a test strip into my blood glucose meter and dip it into the drop of blood on my finger. This meter is so trendy that it counts down from five to one, so Bubba and I count down with it, followed by his excited squeal as the meter beeps and shows me what my reading is. It doesn’t matter if the reading is good or bad, Bubba is excited. I have tried to teach him “Yay!” for a good number and “Boo!” for a bad number, but he likes “Yay!” and uses that as soon as he hears the beep. I wrap a tissue around my finger and put the meter away.
Bubba watches impatiently as I take the cap off my insulin pen and screw the needle tip on (out of his reach, naturally). He jigs on the spot as I make sure the insulin is flowing properly. The minute I put the needle on the table (out of his reach!!) and lean back, he leaps into action. He knows the needle needs to go into my tummy. He undoes my dressing gown cord, opens my dressing gown and lifts up my pyjama top, grumping at me until I fold it up so that it stays out of the way. Then he grabs my tummy, right near the belly button, and squeezes it to make a little roll. Now he looks at me, points at the needle and says, “Ta.” I explain to him that whilst he has done everything correctly so far, Mummy has to take her medicine herself, but he is allowed to watch if he is good.
This is where Daddy comes in. He gently eases Bubba a couple of steps back and crouches down with him so they both get a good view. I get the needle, squish my belly into position, and inject. Bubba laughs and claps. Sometimes he says ouch again. Sometimes he just says “mum,” as though he knows this is totally not my thing. I have a phobia of needles, so injecting myself is not as simple as I’m making it sound. As soon as the needle is finished with and safely out of his way, he rushes forward with a tissue, which he unerringly presses against the injection site (sometimes there is a drop of blood, sometimes not) and rubs a little. “Thank you, Bubba, rub it better for Mummy,” I say, and I put my hand over his to make sure he doesn’t get over-zealous and scratch.
That done, he helps me by putting the tissue in the bin while I put my clothes back on. He comes back and gives me a hug while we pack up the diabetes kit and put it away. Then it’s time for breakfast. Whether he realises it or not, his help morning and night make the whole horrible thing that little more normal, that tiny bit more bearable, so instead of screaming and ranting, I just calmly get it done.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Sharing is caring!
Lots of love,