In a perfect world, my 7yr old daughter would have a fuel gauge on her forehead, where at an easy glance, I could tell if her tank was full, or running towards empty.
But we don't live in a perfect world, and as a type 1 diabetic the only method we have of assessing where her "tank" is at is with finger pokes. A drop of blood fed to a blood glucose meter for a reading of her sugars. It isn't overly painful, but it's also not her favourite thing to do. Who can blame her?
Finger pokes didn't used to be a big deal for her. She would do them willingly and relatively without protest. Then we started on the insulin pump. In a way, we started from square one, even seventeen months into this life long diagnosis. Her insulin rates were being established via trial and error, and as a result we needed her to test.... often. Her finger pokes went from maybe six a day, to fourteen.
I am, against my will, detoxing from frequent finger poking.
The last few days I have heard "I don't want to" too many times. I don't like being the big meanie. As a single parent, I have to play that part too often during the day. I have no one to be my "bad cop". Her "I don't want to's" are like a cheese grater rubbing feverishly against my well intended heart.
I am fortunate. For the most part, Rowan recognizes her lows. Even in the middle of the night. Somehow, my little girl always wakes up and manages to make her way to me, to announce with her little speech impediment "I feel woe"
But I have found a certain level of reassurance within the overly regimented finger pokes of our new pumping experience. Knowing she is at a safe level, I can relax.... I can remember to breathe. I can smile. Laugh.
The not knowing has me rung out tighter than a towel used to mop up a flooded basement. I am heavy, wound tight, dripping with anxiety and worry.
I wouldn't put my survival in the hands of a seven year old.... learning to trust her with her own survival has me wanting to hyperventilate.
But that being said, I will repeat for my own benefit what I typed earlier. For the most part, she is able to recognize her symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugars).
This morning, she came in from playing in the first snowfall of the year. She came back inside because she was feeling low, and she was with a reading of 2.2. She contentedly drank her juice box, treated herself to a lollipop from her leftover Halloween candy. In the past, I would have insisted on another finger poke to ensure that her blood sugar levels had come up enough and were sustainable.
But this morning, she is rebelling against the second finger poke.
I knew this day would come. The day that she would look at me with those great big chestnut brown eyes and her words would be full of disdain "I feel fine. I don't WANT to finger poke".
Don't you want to reassure your Mama?
Clearly..... she doesn't.
With our choice to manage her type 1 diabetes with an insulin pump, I was always a strong believer of "it's her body.... her disease..... it's HER choice". Funny how we can embrace the philosophy in some matters.... and not as easily with others.
And there I stood, facing a strong willed 7yr old, wanting to impose my will upon her. Wanting to wrestle her to the ground to get that dang finger poke done, so I could relax in the safety of her number.
But I won't. I keep uttering that back to myself as my newest frenzied mantra "I will not impose my will upon her". No matter how much reassurance it will bring me.
How can I in good faith teach her that "No means NO" and then turn around and force my way on her. Wreaks of hypocrisy. Wreaks of the type of parent I don't want to be.
So for today, and tomorrow, and the days following, I am consciously trying to put HER in the driver's seat of her own disease management. At the same time, remembering to breathe, and make a conscious effort of bringing my shoulders down from my ear lobes.
She tells me she feels fine. I am inclined to disagree.... and I feel rather helpless.
She will finger poke again before lunch. At least with lunch there will be leverage. No blood glucose reading.... no lunch.
Until then, I am doing my damndest to respect her own wisdom, respect her body. Respect her choice..... her consequences.
My one and only hope: that I don't regret this.