“Mummy, I have something to tell you.”
My eldest daughter stood in front of me with tears glistening in her eyes, her pale face seemed wracked with worry and I couldn’t imagine what she was going to say.
Then she spoke and I listened and my mouth fell open with shock as I couldn’t believe the words she was saying. My little baby girl had kept a secret, a huge one, one that could have hurt her, broken her and led her back to hospital, and she had kept the secret safe through fibs, fibs which she told to me.
Let me rewind by a week, and preface this article by telling you how amazing my oldest child is. First out of the womb by a matter of minutes she is my sensible girl, my ballet dancer, my darling daughter who so far to date has pushed a needle in her body over 700 times to fight the bastard that is Type1 diabetes that lives inside her.
A week ago and I would have told you that we had it cracked, that between us, Molly and me, we had sorted diabetes well and proper. I can carbohydrate count at the speed of light and she can work out insulin levels. She can catch hypos before they fully impact and I have bought Tesco’s out of Haribo. At her last diabetes appointment we were told she has a HaB1C level of 6.4, if this sounds Chinese to you it simply means we have controlled her blood sugar so well that she is normal, healthy, kicking the arse of diabetes.
In my eyes we were coping well, diabetes wasn’t dominating my thoughts, it was more sitting on the sidelines, popping up at meal times for a moment and then being quickly pushed aside by the plunge of a needle.
Then last week began; let me remind you a normal blood sugar reading (as taken by a finger prick test) is between 4-8. Anything less than 4 is hypo and needs treating with sugar anything higher than 8 is hyper, most parents know what that is like, but in a diabetic hypers can lead to keytones and keytones are nasty little feckers that break down your body in an attempt to flush out the excess sugar. High sugar levels mean poorly controlled diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes means more chance of heart diseases, coma, ill health and premature death.
Medical lesson over.
So last week began, and it started with a blood sugar reading of 19, that crept to 22 and refused to go down. I looked at my daughter with anxiety hidden in my eyes, I looked for a sign of illness, a cold or sickness bug that was bringing on high sugars and instead I saw a girl in perfect health staring right back at me.
The week continued and her blood sugar continued to fly high in the teens and twenties, I spoke to the hospital at least once a day, I went into school to test to see if keytones were in her body and I found them waiting. In my imagination I saw my daughters internal organs being feasted upon by sugar and a swarm of keytones and I worried, stressed and called our outstanding nursing team some more. Nights gave way to three hourly blood tests and sleep became a distance friend as I lay awake trying to figure it out, to see what we were doing wrong.
Then here we are, back to now, back to my daughter standing in front of me telling me she had something to say.
She dropped her gaze to the floor,
“I know why I am high,” she whispered
“I don’t do my morning insulin anymore, the long lasting one, it hurts Mummy.’
And with that revelation she sobbed into my arms.
Anger rose inside of me, not at her but fully directed internally, how I had missed the wince of pain when she put her insulin inside her. Why had I let a seven year old newly diagnosed diabetic assume full control of administering her life saving medicine?
I was disappointed, not in her but solely in me. I want so very much for this condition to not hinder her in any way, for her to manage it and control it independently that I have stepped right away and put trust in a small little girl who still doesn’t fully comprehend why she has to do it.
My daughter is amazing, she realised very quickly that her body needs the insulin she was withholding and she told me without fear of retribution.
As always I remind very proud, and finally, a little bit wiser.