Thursday, 4 August 2011

Today, we lied to our five-year old

Today, we lied to our five-year old boy. He said to Julie "can I die from being diabetes?", and she said "no".

We love his incessant questions, as he tries to figure out the world around him; and we always try to give him straightforward truthful answers. So why did we lie to him?

Frankly, Frank has enough on his plate, dealing with the disease, receiving dozens of pin pricks every day in our pursuit of blood samples for testing. Having new plumbing every two or three days, to link his insulin pump to the fat in his buttocks. Hearing endless discussion every day about his meter numbers, and what we do next in our attempt to keep his blood sugars close to the normal range. Listening to us going on about carb contents of his next meal, and having it all again as we decide how much to take off for the bits he hasn't eaten. Pulling him up, and holding him still, to try to assess how he's feeling, and allowing us to pump insulin into his body.

He needs to grow, and to sleep, like any other kid. He doesn't need to lay awake at night, worrying about how good is the quality of his care, and wondering if it may all be in vain. He should be able to enjoy the sleep of the innocent; tired from the day's physical activities.

Concern about his sudden or long-term death shouldn't be necessary for a little kid, that's the parents' job. A job we'd rather not have, but that's what we've been dealt. Our task isn't just his physical health, we need to consider his mental development too, and we try hard to get the psychology right. (But of course we sometimes slip up....) So we focus on the great life we have together, and try to be matter of fact about the many episodes in the day that are dictated by diabetes management.

So, yes, we're happy to be liars on top of carers, if it shelters young Frank from the harsh realities of his condition. And when he's older we'll review our stance on the "will I die of diabetes?" question.

PS: WE ARE very grateful for the opportunity we have to look after him, and for the medical care that's available. Best wishes to anyone who is dealing with a chronic condition - we know quite a few of our followers are, and not just diabetics.


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