Day 12 Health Activist Writers Month Challenge (yes 4 days late – I think I have established how delinquent I am but like I’ve said before – I prefer to see the daily prompts like the Pirates Code – really more like guidelines.)
Day 12 Challenge: Hindsight – If you could go back in time and talk to yourself (or your loved one) on the day of diagnosis, what would you say? And/Or What have you learned about being a patient/caregiver that has surprised you most? This prompt was suggested by yours truly so I am feeling even more guilty about being so late.
Thinking back to both of my kids diagnosis’ I would like to think that I said exactly what needed to be said to them at the time of their diagnosis. If I could go back and bring a message from the future I believe it would be something like “Listen to all I’m saying because I’m right – although you are even stronger, smarter and braver than I had imagined and you never cease to amaze me.”
Now that I’ve written that sentence – well I think that’s the same thing I’d tell myself too. I would also tell myself to find twitter then – sadly I spent nearly 5 years feeling very alone. Then again – maybe all that time alone is what made me stronger. Playing with the future is such tricky business but I can’t imagine meeting all my DOC (Diabetes Online Community) friends earlier would in any way have a negative impact on my life or the lives of my kids. In the last year the DOC has only added a priceless value to our lives.
What have I learned about being a caregiver that has surprised me the most? I could try to give a humble answer and say that I didn’t know I could do it but that would be lie.
I have never doubted my ability to care for my kids. I sometimes worry that I make mistakes or could do things better but not that I couldn’t do it at all. I knew I would be strong enough – I’m ex-Airforce (stop laughing we can be tough – it isn’t always about the Navy Seals and BlackOps) – I excelled in basic training (ok I didn’t make it over the 10 foot wall but I kept trying until the TI waved me around it), I received many awards while in the Air Force and was promoted early. I have earned 3 college degrees and given birth to 3 kids (ok 2 were C-sections but 2 days after the first C-section I was home vacuuming and after the second C-section I was home packing my house because we were moving out in 3 weeks – btw – I got the house prepared for the market while 9 months pregnant). I am a strong person and while I have a completely irrational fear of flying and somewhat rational fears of tornados and Earthquakes – very little else scares me.
I guess what I learned most is that I don’t know everything. (Oh that hurts to say out-loud) I’ve also learned that admitting to others that I don’t always know the answers is difficult but an important lesson for my kids. Also, I’ve learned that asking for help isn’t the same as admitting defeat.
Another tidbit of advice I’d give myself and my husband at the time of diagnosis of our first cwd is that we BOTH have to be involved. I’m not gonna start whining about how I do everything and my counterpart does nothing because that would be an exaggeration.
Chad will do anything I ask him to do for the kids diabetes (again – see how I would tell myself that asking for help is not the same as admitting defeat). I have given Chad a free pass for over 6 years. I have been the primary care provider for both my kids since diagnosis. This has caused some resentment, fear and anxiety. I have at times resented him for not volunteering more frequently to do the night-time checks (I rarely allow it – one because I’m a super control freak but also because he has to get up and go make the donuts). I have also resented that I’m always having to remind him to remind the kids to check blood sugars, dose for food, take their diabetes bags with them when they leave home, etc. For me all of this is second nature – it’s all hard-wired into me. He doesn’t deal with the kids all day everyday like I do so for him they are extra things that I normally take care of and rarely involve him with.
The fear/anxiety comes into play when I have to be away overnight or when he will take the kids away overnight. Will he know what to do if sugars are xyz with xyz insulin active???? Will he know how much 1 unit of active insulin will reduce their blood sugars??? Fear also comes into play with my kids – sadly they don’t always trust their own dad to do what is needed. Just ask Sugarboy to let daddy change his infusion set – NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Want to see my daughter roll her eyes – let daddy try to talk to her about diabetes.
Thus – if I could go back to diagnosis day – I would tell myself to allow Chad to be involved – he wouldn’t refuse or complain. He never said he wouldn’t be involved – I’ve just never let him.