March 24, 2013
Attached at the Hip
Reading another D-Mom’s blog a few days ago and talking to a few D-parents last night inspired this blog. We all went out to dinner sans kids, and we all had our phones attached to our selves.
I grew up in the day where you called land lines, paid for long distance, heard that annoying busy signal, and left notes to tell your parents where you were, when you’d be back, and what number you were at. If you left without leaving a note, there was hell to pay! If someone didn’t leave you a note, you’d look frantically around the house, call every house you knew they’d be at, and you had to anxiously wait for them to come back. Oh, those were the good ol’ days!
I was a cell phone hold out. In 1999 when I met my husband, I still did NOT have a cell phone. I’d joined the techno world by having a pager, but that was it. I didn’t want anyone to be able to access me at all times. What was wrong with paging and waiting for a return call? Leaving a voice mail? Or, *gasp* calling back at a later time? I don’t remember when or why I finally got a cell phone, but I traded the old pager in for one.
I still have a land line. I’m not one of those people who give everyone my cell number and who receive all contact through those invisible signals in the sky. Mostly, because I work nights, and I don’t want every Tom, Dick, and Harry to wake me up during the day with things that can wait. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I still keep a land line at the house.
Since 2012, having this cell phone has become critical. I’m one of those weirdos who keeps it attached at the hip at all times. When leaving the house, ‘cell phone’ is on the check list of things I must have, along with the diabetes bag. I’ve turned around many times to go back for it! It’s not because I’m afraid I’ll miss a Facebook status update from someone I haven’t seen in 10 years. It’s not because I may die if I can’t crush a few more candies. I don’t need to fill every down second with a piece of electronics in my face. Nope. I keep it attached because at any given time, there could be an emergency with my sons.
One wrong move could land them too high or too low blood sugars. Seizures, loss of consciousness, accidents, comas. Hasn’t happened yet, *knock on wood*, but it’s all possible. Unfortunately, I cannot be with them at all times, and I HAVE to be available for a phone call to answer a question about how to manage a situation or respond to an emergency. On the flip side, when they are with me, I need it in case there is an emergency! I’m tethered either way.
Shortly after Aiden’s diagnosis last February, I was walking into Sam’s Club to shop while the kids were at school. Right as I walked inside, I realized I forgot my phone. I mumbled under my breath, 'crap, gotta get my phone', and I did a U-turn to head back to the van to pick it up. The old cart-passer-outer gentleman made a remark about “you young people can’t go anywhere without your phones”. Now, first, I appreciated that he called me young, and most of the times I’d say, “Have a Nice Day” (Bon Jovi style), but this time I felt the need to explain.
“Sir, I have a son with a chronic disease, and at any given time the school could call me for an emergency”. I felt the need to dispel this “young people” stereotype. I’d really rather be able to leave my phone behind and NOT panic. If it weren’t for diabetes, I COULD leave it behind. I really CAN survive without IMMEDIATELY responding to every text or voice mail. I can wait until I have free time at home to respond to Facebook messages or play my Scrabble words. Unfortunately, that’s not my legacy.
See, once my son was diagnosed, my cell phone has to stay charged. It HAS to be with me. If the battery is running low, I feel a great sense of urgency to get it on the charger. If I forget it, I feel anxiety and borderline panic until it is back in my possession. It’s very frustrating to be this dependent on a stupid gadget. Even if a capable adult is caring for my kids, I still have to have it, because I never know when they will need Mommy! The Captain of the Diabetes Ship has to be accessible at all times.
The refreshing part….last night I had dinner with 12 or 13 other D-parents. I had my phone out in the center of the table so that I could see or hear it ring or text. ALL of them did to! They had it on their hips, in their pockets, on their laps, or on the table, too. It was nice that I was with people who understand, speak my language, and never blinked about that phone on the table! Oh, and two of us had to answer calls. L
So, next time you see someone who “won’t leave home without it”, don’t judge. You never know his/her situation. They may be losers who are addicted to technology, or they could be holding onto a lifeline to their child/children.