A few of my favourite things are made from glass and are full of liquid. Here’s a photo.
You thought I was going to show you my wine collection, didn’t you?
I love Little L’s diabetes equipment. I love her glass vials full of insulin. The magical juice that keeps her alive. I love her pump. Her blood glucose meter. Her pump inserter with its long sharp needle that makes her cry. Her canula that delivers the insulin to her body 24 hours per day. Her jellybeans.
I love these items that are solid and constant. We can wrap them like a bandage around this disease that shifts like sand beneath our feet, ever changing and keeping us wired and alert. We live in type 1 diabetes-land, where blood glucose numbers, emotions, insulin-dose requirements and health all change daily, or even hourly, or be interspersed by months of relative stability. Amidst the uncertainty, these items of ‘kit’ are my rock. They don’t change. When we have no idea what’s going on and she’s inexplicably climbing higher and higher, we replace everything, with fresh insulin, new canula, fresh line, different insertion site, check her blood sugar levels, and gain a tide-mark to measure how high the flood has risen. My favourite things bring us back our control.
In the night, her equipment is my sleep salve. The ever-present threat of not waking up, for every person with type 1 diabetes, is the alarm that propels me out of bed at 3am to check her borderline low numbers. She’s not unique. She doesn’t have a ‘bad’ type of diabetes. Every person with the condition lives with this threat, and those you know with diabetes that don’t appear to treat themselves, or carb count, or inject or bolus, are either very discreet or not taking care of themselves. I put on my miner’s head torth, and there is her fingerpricker and that drop of blood, delivering me real numbers in the dark, and with reassurance, I sleep soundly.
Being a small girl living with type 1 diabetes is an emotional ride. After the novelty of being ‘special’ at diagnosis 18 months ago has worn off, it’s just a hassle she can do without. Having very high or low blood sugar levels can make a person emotional. Being a 6-year old girl with feelings she can’t quite articulate, of frustration, confusion, difference, and being ‘over-it’ can make a kid Carrie-style emotional. She maybe can’t put it into words, but she does know how to release the pressure cooker vent through anger, just as we do when we’re tired and stressed after we’ve hit our limit. After a trying day looking after the kids at home, or a day at work being needed by too many different factions, we come home and snap at our loved ones. For a 6-year old? This will look like an impressive tantrum, while in fact there’s a sea of confusion and upset seething beneath the surface.
When we’re at sea and I don’t know whether to punish the behaviour, or she’s reacting to a blood sugar level, or upset and expressing it through anger, we swim for the rocks. The equipment is our rock, and our stability. We check her blood sugar number, she calms, and we climb out of the sea to dry off.
Little L’s equipment, our rock, makes her feel safe. It keeps her alive. She can’t survive without insulin. And for this, though I hate it with all my heart, I love her equipment. These bits of kit are my favourite things.
Now. Would you like to see my wine collection? It’s quite extensive. Yoga can only go so far.