In the Trenches: Diabetes Dad

Diabetes Toons

When I was much younger, I was a huge cartoon lover. I used to watch and see how often during a chase scene the background repeated itself. I could tell you a really good cartoon (usually WB) from a real ‘hokey’ one. There were a few constants in these cartoons that I have come to realize over the years.

One observation I had about cartoons is that there was always the antagonist in every one of them. Bugs Bunny had Elmer Fudd, the Roadrunner had W.E. Coyote, even Tweety Bird had Sylvester. The one character involved in their day that they would be so much better without.

Now you may wonder, what in heaven’s name does this have to do with diabetes?

My thoughts dealing with cartoons made me think of something that got this crazy head of mine spinning. There isn’t one aspect of this disease I’m very fond of to be quite honest; but like Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, and the Road Runner, I certainly had one thing that would get on my nerves more than anything else: going out.

It seemed to me that Kaitlyn would always have one of her worst glycemic reactions when we were getting ready to do something special. Going to the Ice Capades, going on a trip, going for a night out–it never seemed to fail that it was at this time that diabetes ‘would pull a number’, and she would have some serious reaction. Her little body would become so rigid, and she would begin to scream. Her body would become so stiff that we could not even get her to sit in the car seat; it was that bad. Of course, it did not happen every time, but I surely remember the episodes.

It was a horror show.

Her face, while she was going through this, will haunt me all of my days. Never once was this an inconvenience, this was watching helplessly as we tried to get control of a situation that would result in either Kaitlyn having no memory of it at all, or through her sniffles and tears; apologizing. ‘Just kill me now,’ was a constant thought. I hated that she was being put through this incredible ordeal. I cannot imagine what was going through her two-year-old-little-head. I never forgot it and each time it occurred, I drove myself to learn more and more about this thing called diabetes.

The other thing I remember about these incidences was that Jill turned into Super Ninja Mom. She would spring into action with the reactions of a cat that so many moms learn over time dealing with diabetes (some dads too). I may have been okay at it, but Jill perfected the course of action that left me in awe each and every time. She would balance not only Kaitlyn’s reactions and needs; but also while keeping an eye on her older brother who was probably all of five or six during these times. Almost like assisting a gifted surgeon, my job was to do, get, be, whatever I was instructed without question. And I did. A million times I have stated that our kids have the perfect mom–and she did it all without expression, leaving her tears only to when she thought no one knew. But the tear stains on her pillow were evidence that at some point it hit her, and it hit her hard, and certainly more often than she led on, even to this day.

Those were challenging times for the first few years when things went haywire, and Kaitlyn was unable to vocalize what was happening. In all of diabetes, these were the toughest to handle in every aspect. What was/is your ‘one’ thing that bothers you more than anything else? I wish it were like the cartoons, but it’s not. It’s real. Never was there a time when we could smile and say, “De-de-de-That’s all folks.”

I am a DiabetesDad.

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