Day 20 Health Activist Writers Month Challenge > Write about burnout. What does it feel like? What are your burnout triggers? What gets you OUT of the pit of despair when nothing is going your way?
So this is what I sometimes feel about diabetes. Thank you Kerri for sharing this – I totally stole it.
I have a fully employed pancreas so I write as the mom of 2 kids whose pancreases are assholes.
Based on my level of cussing today you might guess that Im a little peeved at diabetes today. Yup my cussing increases based on the level of diabetes frustration I am experiencing.
Burnout happens. It happens to those with diabetes and to those that care for young ones with diabetes. I can’t speak for those who are in a relationship with those with diabetes but I would bet caregivers in general experience some form of burnout. (Is there a rule about over-use of the word “those”?)
As a Dmom burnout comes in the form of exhaustion, hatred for diabetes, fear of complications, Dmom guilt, and even frustration for the lack of public knowledge.
Burnout feels like holes. Holes that seem to make time disappear. Holes in relationships. Holes in our health. Some holes are smaller and when stepped in might only result in a sprained ankle or bruised pride. Larger holes trip me up for a longer period and things get dirty as I try to climb out. Then there are holes like yesterdays that almost seem to bury me. A hole that ironically was brought on by the word “holes”.
Yesterday sucked ass. It started out just fine, everyone relaxing and enjoying a lazy Sunday morning. Sugarboy was running high and required an infusion set change (place on his body that a small port is placed to infuse insulin that is connected to his insulin pump). He did the site himself but it didn’t take. Of course we didn’t know that until a few hours later when he was running in the 500s. This meant another infusion set. When my boy has numbers in range he doesn’t mind the infusion set changes – he doesn’t love them but he tolerates them. Ask an eight year old to do a second site change in a day when he is in the 500s and see how well he tolerates it. He doesn’t. Instead he runs off crying, hides under a table and cries harder.
I can’t leave him under the table with dangerously high sugars so I have to make a choice. Do I coax him out with promises of treats or other rewards, do I wait for him to relax and come out on his own, do I play the tough love card? With sugars in the 500s I can’t wait on him. As far as treats or rewards – we are passed that stage in his diabetes care, no one is going to buy him ice-cream or take him to the Lego store as an adult and with site changes happening at least 2x a week I can’t afford to reward him with treats or toys each time he changes a site. I go with tough love.
I look under the table and tell him it has to be done. I tell him the high numbers can damage is little body. He sees my face and he knows I’m not screwing around so he comes out. But he comes out fighting.
“I hate diabetes! I hate infusion sets. Why can’t diabetes just end? I have so many holes! Holes in my legs. Holes in my butt. Holes in my sides and 1000s of holes in my fingers. I don’t want any more holes!!”
I hold him. I rub his back. I tell him I’m sorry. I put on the new site. I hold him some more. I kiss his cheeks and wipe his tears. He just looks in my eyes then buries his head in my shoulder. I dose his insulin and then invite him to take a bath in my bathtub with the jets. (Hot water makes insulin work faster since it speeds up how blood moves). He gathers his Lego men and heads off to run himself a bath. He gets out over 30 minutes later. His numbers have come down into the 200s and he feels better. Water always makes me feel better too.
He may or may not remember the event tomorrow or next week or ever.
I will though.
I will remember the holes.
The events of yesterday caused a sinkhole that sucked me in. I’ll climb out. Already a few friends have tossed a rope down. One friend climbed in with me and knows the way out because she’s been here before. She tells me – “look at your kids.” They are the ones with the holes and yet they keep climbing and always seem to stand tall.
So how do I get out of the pit of despair – I watch my kids.