Posted by on Monday 22 March 2010

Still Learning

Saturday brought with it another morning hypo. Although never pleasant, it did prove timely. All this blogging has led to lots of discussions about diabetes, which is marvellous at a time when the kids are more aware and eager to learn. We have all learnt a lot; about diabetes, and about each other.

Some of the things the girls weren't sure about, surprised me. I suppose I thought that living with diabetes all this time had been enough to prepare them to take on some responsibilites, if, or when, they would need to. In fact, what they know is the theory, but they worry about failing the practical.

I realise now that I have sheilded them from Mike's severe hypos. Rare, and usually first thing in the morning, it hasn't been hard to ensure that the kids were somewhere else while I sorted Mike out. Mike isn't Mike when he's hypo. I can't expect him to react in a way he would usually react. It makes parenting a little inconsistent. The kids didn't understand those inconsistencies when they were small. They do now. I also didn't want them to witness my anxiety, in the same way you don't want to pass on a fear of spiders, or in my case, bridges (strange but true), you put on a brave face. I try to appear calm, explain what's going on in a very 'matter of fact' way, a "Just going to make a cup of tea and bring Daddy round from a hypo" way. I didn't want them to worry.

Since Ellen has been at secondary school, morning hypos have become a pain. I have a lot to sort out early in the morning, everything is more of a rush, with a list of things to remember to remind. I suspect I convey annoyance rather than panic on those days, at the extra job I've been given at a particularly inconvenient moment. It's not a great time to start asking questions and have a good open discussion; but bless our wonderful daughters, for reading the situation well enough to know to get their own breakfast, get themselves sorted out independently and out to school on time.

On Saturday, Mike woke up hypo. We were all together round the breakfast table as he came round. We used it as a practical lesson. While Mike was refusing sugar, I explained what to do, and also saw how hard it would be for them to take control. Afterwards, we sat and talked about it. Mike tried to explain the confusing messages that are going through his head when he's hypo, Ellen and Beth explained how they felt, why it was scary and what their concerns were. How do you persuade a grown man who is usually in charge, to take something sugary, when his brain is telling him not to? It was a lesson for all of us, and it's not over yet.


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