Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Mummy, please! I don't want to do it anymore!"

Ohhhhhhh - that is one of the hardest things to deal with when you have a child with a serious chronic medical condition.

What do you say? They know there's nothing they can do about it and there's nothing you, as their parent, can do about it! They know that you would do anything to give them a life free of injections, blood tests, doctor's appointments, hospital admissions, counting carbohydrates. They know that there are doctors and scientists trying to find a cure.

So what do you say?

I don't have diabetes, so I don't know what they are feeling.

I know that the injections and site changes and finger pricks hurt, but I don't know how it feels knowing that there will never be an end to it.

I know that it's frustrating to have to weigh their food and know how many carbs are in it, but I don't know how it feels to know that if I don't do these things I could become very sick or die.

I know that hypos make you feel terrible and are very very frightening, but I will never experience the feelings that my kids best describe as "feeling like you're underwater but different" - even if I sink to the bottom of the deepest ocean and have to fight my way up - that's still not the same - and I don't know how it feels to know that this can happen at any time, day or night and for no apparent reason.

I know that blood tests hurt - I hate them myself, but I don't know how it feels to worry that every single blood test may diagnose something else to worry about.

I know that hyperglycaemia makes you feel like absolute crap and that your brain does not function properly when BGL's are outside of normal range, that you feel sick, angry, tired, thirsty - but I don't know how it feels for my little girl to know that when her BGL's are high it is causing irreversible damage to her body that could leave her blind or disabled right around the time that she should be having kids or watching her own little girl start kindergarten.

I know how exhausting it is to have sleep interrupted by nocturnal BGL testing, I'm the one that gets up to do the testing - and I can barely function throughout the day due to lack of sleep and constant worry - but I don't know how it feels to go to bed at night knowing that I may not wake up in the morning.

Today was clinic day for my almost 11 year old daughter. We usually get through it fairly well - but today was different. Today's clinic day involved the first of my daughter's annual blood tests.

My little girl has a severe needle phobia - yes, even for someone who has thousands of needles and finger pricks each year it is possible to have a severe needle phobia.

When she was diagnosed my little girl was severely traumatised when she had to be held down by two huge male ambulance officers - who had to stop the ambulance in the middle of the road in peak hour traffic - so they could insert a cannula and get fluids and insulin into her very sick body. Matters were made worse when insensitive nursing staff at the hospital she was originally admitted to attempted to dig around with the cannula in order to get a better flow of blood for tests - and rather than comforting her, told her to "get used to it" and "toughen up".

The team at the hospital we transferred to the next day are wonderful. When attempts to draw additional blood for extra tests at this hospital proved far too traumatic for not only my little girl, but for every nurse and doctor in the room, they refused to push on and assured us that they would make do with the bloods drawn at the initial hospital. They said that my little girl had been through too much. And they knew that, mentally, I was barely hanging on after having to hold my little girl down while she screamed and cried and was poked and prodded.

So - today, the team at the hospital knew to expect the worst. They were wonderful. It was terrible - it took nearly 2 hours to draw the tiniest amount of blood. Once again I had to hold my little girl down while she screamed and cried in my arms.

What do I tell her when she says she doesn't want to do it anymore? Because I don't want to do it anymore either - but I will, and she will - because WE will not let this bloody disease beat us.

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