The first full sharps container

A story from a diabetic parent about the emotional grief and acceptance of this awful disease.

This past Fall we had unusually warm weather in Illinois. My daughter and her siblings took full advantage of the weather and went swimming at the neighbors pool (almost the entire day). The children were having so much fun that this prompted a later dinner time in our home. When it was finally time to eat my daughter refused to come to the table, screaming and crying she was too tired. While moments prior she was acting just fine.

I remember her slumped over at the dinner table. Thinking to myself, she’s being a picky 6 year old and acting defiant. I remember getting firm, prompting my daughter to eat her food or there would be no dessert and she would go strait to bed. Then finally, watching her very slowly start to eat dinner with us. The emotional outburst prior to dinner was intense and not typical of her, although the month previous these outburst seem to be happening more and more. Following her dinner and bowl of ice cream she quickly began to perk up. Thinking to myself, Wow, what a dramatic display of how tired she was and now she’s just fine. I second guessed myself that evening, wondering if I should have let her have ice cream with her siblings. Little did I know, that bowl of ice cream saved her from a very dangerous situation.

Over the next week or so my daughter began peeing almost every 30 minutes. Thus prompting a visit to the pediatrician. Telling my neighbor that morning that she probably has a U.T.I. and asking if she could watch my son at the bus stop, while I ran my daughter to the doctors. In my head it was just another “normal” day with typical stuff that arises with having multiple kiddos. Boy was I wrong! Just 20 minutes into the visit the doctor came in very serious and not her bubbly self. Katia has type 1 diabetes and would need to go to the hospital and be admitted immediately. The world literally came crashing down in that moment. Looking at my daughter who had no flipping clue what was going on and my heart sank.

Honestly, it’s been 4 months and I’m still in shock. This is my third special needs child and I’m broken hearted. She was the one kiddo that I didn’t have to worry about. She was always my healthy kid and now I will worry about her every day in a way no parent ever wants to worry. I honestly never truly knew what type 1 diabetes was. Now I feel trapped in this new world of a never ending up and down battle with this horrid disease.

They’ll say, “It’s treatable and to stay positive”. I know that I’ll get there, but I’m still grieving for the “normal” life my daughter just lost. I’m watching her cry multiple times a day while the shots hurt, the blood glucose sensor needs to be replaced, thus causing her pain while removing and reinserting. No parent wants to hear their child say they hate their life, they hate diabetes. She feels alone, and I reassure her that nurse mommy is here forever. I let her know that we are in this together and that she will never be alone in this fight.

I was the mom who couldn’t look at blood or needles without feeling faint. Turning my head prior to seeing any needles even while getting shots for myself. This part was a battle in it’s self. Now, I would be giving my daughter shots and multiple times a day, everyday for the rest of her life. Without these daily pokes she could not survive. You bet that I pulled it together and figured how to get past my own personal issues as quickly as possible. It’s still hard though, every poke hurts my heart.

We just hit a mile stone in our diabetic world. The first full sharps box. I honestly let it get a little too full, while being in a state of denial. Thinking to myself, How could I have injected my daughter enough times to fill an entire box. That infamous red box that sits on all diabetics counter tops was over flowing. Just like the tears in my eyes after finding out my daughter had type one diabetes.

I decided to write this personal story for multiple reasons. First to raise awareness. Go back to the beginning of this story where my daughter was slumped over at the dinner table. She most likely had a dangerously low blood sugar level. Thus, low energy and mood disturbance. She had been physically active all day and not eating at her typical meal times. By being firm with her and getting her to eat this raised her blood sugar levels and kept her from a diabetic coma that evening. Allowing her to have that bowl of ice cream was the tool that probably saved her from going to sleep in a dangerous state.

I’m wondering if other parents have felt this wave of grief while staring at all the used needles. After filling the first sharps container I’m realizing just how strong my child has been. I never imagined having to watch her suffer from a disease that’s life long and so overwhelming. She is my Hero and I am forever her, Nurse Mommy.

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