“I Forgot I Had Diabetes!”

We were sitting around in our favorite gourmet burger spot, enjoying a celebration for my son who just turned twelve. Everyone had decided what size cheeseburger they wanted, how they wanted it cooked, and what kind of cheese would be grilled with the meat. We tried to keep an eye on the smaller members of the family, who had run over to the arcade, while my husband and I and our older children chatted about random stuff.

Our pager buzzed, and the food was ready. Everyone hopped up to the counter and dressed their burgers, then eagerly sat down to eat.

We were nearly finished with our meal when the birthday boy suddenly gasped and clamped his hands over his mouth. I thought perhaps he’d bitten his tongue, or maybe decided he didn’t like those hot peppers after all. But he swallowed and said, “I forgot I had diabetes!” He had dived excitedly into eating his cheeseburger, forgetting to stop to test his blood sugar, and forgetting to give himself insulin.

I’ll admit I hadn’t noticed, mainly because he is typically so responsible that I hardly have to think about it. I’m able to oversee this kid at a distance with very little concern, because he is meticulous with his diabetic care. His last A1c reading at the diabetic clinic was 5.3, which, as far as averages go is such terrific control it’s in the “non-diabetic” range. He’s been so great with his care that his body functions at though he were disease-free.

The fact that he was recently diagnosed may mean that he’s “honeymooning,” a term indicating that his pancreas is still functioning on some level, helping him along as a back-up support as he treats himself. It’s a faulty pancreas and a 12-year-old working together as a team, compensating for each other’s weaknesses. That may, in addition to his amazing level of responsibility, also explain his excellent averages.

At some point his pancreas will almost completely give up, and my son will be left on his own. What a big responsibility, to take over for one of the organs in your body and have to manually do its job. It’s something most of us never have to worry about. But a kid with juvenile diabetes has to “think” like his pancreas would. It’s a peculiar thing.

“Don’t worry. You can have your shot after you eat, “ I told him. (I didn’t say it, but that’s what his older brother with diabetes does, anyway.)

He apologized to me, as though he’d really messed up. But I reassured him. As a matter of fact, on this special occasion I was glad that he forgot. Sure, his health is important to me, but I’m happy he was in the state of mind where he could feel like a free kid again, gobbling down his food, excitedly talking about his birthday presents without a care in the world.

Kristyn Crow is the author of this blog. Visit her website by clicking here. Some links on this blog may have been generated by outside sources are not necessarily endorsed by Kristyn Crow.

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