October 7, 2013
Pretty much since we’ve been married, my husband and I have celebrated our anniversary with an adults-only trip. Each Spring we pick a location, secure childcare, and look forward to some alone time as husband and wife the rest of the year. We’re so fortunate to have parents who realize the importance and value of this gift to us and who help us out.
Since Diabetes plopped his fat butt in the middle of our lives 18 months ago, this trip has been needed even more, but yet, at the same time, I have been saddled with a bit more stress to go along with it. I worry when my boys are with me. I worry more when they’re away from me. I worry immensely when I’m more than a short drive away from them. It’s just one of the struggles that accompanies with this disease.
So, yesterday was our 13th Anniversary. Diabetes tries to intrude and take things from people, but I refuse to let it take my boys, my marriage, or my respite. We left for a remote cabin in Oklahoma on Friday. It was quiet, serene, and lovely. With grandmothers on duty, we had nobody or nothing to worry about…theoretically. All we had to do was eat, sleep, love, talk, read. Regardless, my typical worry was compounded by the fact that my phone was on roam since we were so remote. I could only communicate via text over Wi-fi. I wouldn’t be able to talk to my boys or hear our mothers’ voices to see if they were stressed over all of this.
The first two nights the boys were with Memaw (Jerry’s mom). She keeps them overnight a couple of times per month, so she’s used to this routine. Typically, if anything, their sugars are too high with her because they get to junk-out Grandparent-style. I don’t really have to worry about them tanking out in the middle of the night. Needless to say, I succumbed to sheer exhaustion the first two nights. I slept the better part of 12 hours and 10 hours respectively. For whatever reasons, good sleep evaded Jerry.
I rested so well, and the amount of time I thought about Diabetes was profoundly reduced from what I do on a normal basis. It was heavenly. I’d escaped Diabetes, and He didn’t know where to find me.
On night #3, the boys were back at home with Grandma (My mom). My mom does great with them, but she doesn’t typically do overnights. I had emailed her detailed routines and instructions of how we handle evenings and bedtimes, Diabetes-style. To make the deal even sweeter, Grandma and Papa treated the boys to all-you-can-eat Pizza buffet. More junk, Grandparent-style. Again, since she doesn’t do the overnights regularly like Memaw, I texted her instructions on how to dose for my nemesis…Pizza. I felt better after reminding her how to dose for pizza. I thought I would relax and capture a few more good hours of sleep on my last vacation night.
Jerry was missing his “white noise” fan, so he used a “white noise” app on his phone to help him sleep better. The noise he picked was TV static. Apparently, that was the entry Diabetes needed to find me 200 miles away. You can run, but you can't hide! In Poltergeist fashion, Diabetes slinked through the TV static and plopped his fat butt right back into the forefront of my mind. He was sure to bring with and employ his favorite torture tactic on me…sleep deprivation. How dare I think I’m getting away from him!
I started thinking about the damned Pizza. I know I gave my mother instructions on when to check the boys, when to check again if they were high or low. But, I started over-thinking it. I wondered if she knew to check them around the time the extended bolus would hit. What time is the extended bolus? What were their sugars at bedtime? Are they coming down from the standard Memaw’s-house-high? Does she remember to check them again mid-night if needed?
My thoughts plagued me. I lay for an hour, listening to Poltergeist static, listening to my husband snore. I tossed. I turned. I counted backwards. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I knew, in order to get any rest, I’d have to message and ask. I know I left my boys in capable hands, but my mind will not relax until I ask what I need to ask and say what I need to say. It’s so terribly hard not to worry when they’re holding my heart in their hands. In their grasp are two of the very reasons I get up in the morning and breathe. I hoped, beyond all hope, that when I messaged my Mom she did not perceive it as a lack of trust on my part. I hoped she did not think I was questioning her diligence or integrity. I just needed to know.
She sweetly messaged me back. Boys were 148 and 180 at bedtime; she planned to recheck 30 minutes after their extended bolus. Score! Then, she politely told me she was turning her phone off to charge. I took that to mean, “Get off the phone, relax, and sleep, Rhonda! I got this!”
Finally, after another hour or so, with more thoughts plaguing me, I fell asleep. Yet, it was another non-vacation style typical sleep pattern. 7 hours at best, broken and interrupted. Diabetes’ grasp is far-reaching and he robbed me of one more night of sleep.
Two nights was good, but three nights would have been wonderful. I still have bags under my eyes, but truthfully, I don’t think three nights would heal those. I think I’d have to sleep like Rumplestiltskin.
On our drive back, my husband told me I need to relax a bit more. So, I pondered that thought. And, first, I think I have relaxed a lot since the first diagnosis. As I understand more and can identify pieces of the puzzle, it’s a bit easier to cope. However, I don’t think I’ll ever completely “relax”. Why? Because, it’s my job to keep them healthy and safe. It’s my job to teach them how to think this through and manage it themselves. And, my heart would break in two, my life collapse, the breath stolen from my lungs… if anything happened to one of these boys because I “relaxed” too much.
Until a cure is found, Diabetes will have permanent residence in my life, in my mind, in my psyche. I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
(Mad props and kudos to our moms for taking this all on, with orders for me to relax, with no complaints…so Jerry and I can have some respite and protect our marriage!)