His lanky body sat elegantly in the chair. The evening sun glowed behind him, backlighting the delicate hairs on his neck. His chin was raised and his expression was one of thoughtfulness. He flicked the insulin bottle again and again until he was satisfied. Withdrawing the needle, he nonchalantly began filling the reservoir. It all seemed so natural. If a stranger had walked into our home at that moment, I don’t believe he would have given my son a second glance. His movements were fluid, his eyes excited with information, his face serene.
The beeps began and he sat back contently in his chair waiting for the tube to prime. He saw me admiring him and his eyes narrowed. “There’s nothing to see here,” he said with a chuckle behind his breath. But it was too late, and seemingly impossible to look away. I was completely drawn in by the image he was.
The entire scene seemed magical; like in those seconds I was blessed to watch a rare moment in nature. A whale breaching, two bear cubs snuggling, and my son changing the set in his insulin pump…all beautiful moments not seen often by the world.
My son was saving his own life.
And nobody even knows but us.
The scene changed quickly as more people entered the room. One was bobbing an apple up and down in his hand and the other was busy discussing his day. Neither seemed in awe by what B was doing. It struck me: this really is our normal.
In came the youngest and with a clap of his hand on B’s shoulder he says, “Save some of that insulin for me.”
“Sure…I think there’s a couple drops left.” B slid the practically empty insulin bottle to his brother, clearly amused in his brother’s disappointment.
L unscrewed his pump from his abdomen and walked over the refrigerator. He scanned the contents of the shelves, absentmindedly grabbing a bottle of insulin and nestling it in his armpit.
“What time is dinner?”
“6:15” I said wistfully, my head resting on my hand as I treasured my boys.
L reached back in the fridge and gabbed a sugar free Jello, “This will hold me over.”
I walked over to the Diabetes supply cupboard and surveyed the contents. I realized we needed to order pump supplies. I had no idea we are so close to running out. I slid open the drawer where the boys toss their sharps and was taken aback by the pile before me.
Didn’t I just clean out this drawer?
All the set changes, all the finger pricks, all the texts asking my boys if they bolused…it’s all invisible to the world. Sometimes it's even invisible to me. Scenes like the above wash by me without a second thought, and before I know it, there’s a pile of sharps again.
It really is Our Diabetic Life.
But I’m thankful that once in a while I can see the beauty in it and appreciate the work my boys put in day in and day out. Even if they act a little later than I want them to…at least they act.
I haven’t changed a pump set in years. I poke fingers only at night, and even then it’s beginning to seem foreign to me.
I used to save my boys’ lives, but now they save their own.
The enormity of that statement is mind-boggling…
Yet completely imponderable too.