I’ll Need To Be As Brave As Him

Day 28 Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge

(still catching up – and skipping around to get everything done)
Saturday’s prompt was: The First Time I… Write a post about the first time you did something. What was it? What was it like? What did you learn from it?

I had a hard time choosing an event for this post.

I considered writing about my first blog post. I remember being scared that it wouldn’t be good, that I would share too much, that I wouldn’t have anything worth sharing, that I would spell a bazillion words wrong and forget to use punctuation properly. In the end the spelling and punctuation didn’t matter. Once I started writing I wasn’t scared and found lots to write about. As far as the quality well that’s up to the readers. It was therapeutic and fun and I’m glad I continued.

I considered writing about my first Kids Walk Presentation for the JDRF – I was nervous and scared I would screw up, say the wrong thing, forget to share some vital piece of information. Turns out I do well in front of little people (a good thing since I’m a teacher by trade). I made mistakes but the kids didn’t know and they responded well to the presentation. Three years later I am even better at it and loving it the most out of all the volunteer things I do.

I tossed other ideas around but kept coming back to the basic. The thing that I never thought I would have to do and certainly don’t want to do. I always wanted to be a writer (do blogs count? – say yes so I can feel accomplished) and I always wanted to be a presenter (do kids count? – say yes so I can feel glad). What I never imagined myself doing was sticking a syringe into my two year old’s thigh. I’ve already posted  Diagnosis stories (yes plural) so I don’t need to share them again but what I didn’t share was my first time dosing my child.

So after watching the nurses dose my dear boy and receiving minimal training I was handed a syringe. It wasn’t truly huge but it felt like a harpoon in my hands. It wasn’t particularly intimidating although to me it  looked like a medieval torturing device. I tried so hard to hold it steady to insert the tiny needle (looked like a samurai sword to me) into the rubber stopper on the top of the insulin vial. My hands shook and the needle bounced around the rubber stopper before I was able to fully insert it. I pulled back and watched the clear liquid gold fill the tiny body of the syringe. I flicked the side of the syringe to encourage all the mini bubbles to dance their way to the tip to be expelled. I pushed too hard and insulin shot across the room leaving an overwhelming smell of band aides throughout. Sugarboy was engrossed in a DS game and hardly paying attention to all that was happening in the room – a tiny little super hero in his superman jammies complete with cape oblivious to the fear and sadness his mommy was feeling.

I squinted closely to be sure the insulin was free of bubbles. It was difficult since the entire dose was only 1 unit. Time to inject the insulin – I told my little man that it was time for a shot and he simply laid back. I gently tugged at Sugarboys PJ pants – wanting desperately to toss the syringe to the side, grab my boy and run away – to pretend it was all a nightmare.

The nurse stopped me then and reminded me I needed to clean the skin with an alcohol wipe before dosing. Sugarboy simply looked over the DS at me – his big beautiful eyes so innocent and brave. I wiped the skin clean – he said it was cold but didn’t stop playing his game. He had received a number of shots already – even from his daddy and was used to it. I realized later he thought that it would only last while he was at the hospital – he didn’t understand we would be taking the syringes home with him.

I gently blew on the cleaned area but then the nurse told me not to do that. She said I could leave germs and made me clean the area again and then wave my hand over the cleaned area. I took aim with the syringe and the nurse whispered “It’s better to go fast”. I thought about closing my eyes but decided that would be stupid. Still Sugarboy played his game. I pinched up his skin, inserted the needle, pressed the plunger, counted to 5, released the skin and removed the needle. Still Sugarboy played his game. I wanted to vomit. I’m not a math whiz but I quickly calculated the minimum number of times I would do this each day – 4 x 365 = 1,460. Now I just wanted to cry. Still Sugarboy played his game. I kissed his forehead told him he was brave and that I loved him. He told me “Me too” – still he played his game. I loved that DS.

On that day I learned that I will have to be as brave as my boy to keep him alive. 

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