Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No End in Sight

When we were in the hospital, the diabetes educators let us in on a little secret: we didn't have to buy one of those special "bio-hazard" disposable containers for all of the "sharps" Michael will use for his diabetes management. In fact, they said, if we used one of the "bio-hazard" containers, we must make sure to dispose of it by following the directions on the box and mailing it away to a designated location. Otherwise, if sanitation personnel saw one of these containers in our trash can, we could be given a fine. A fine is not something we needed-- not with the expense that accompanies diabetes management anyway.

The educators told us to choose something we already had-- something with opaque sides (clear plastic is thinner and more susceptible to having a needle poke through it), and something that can be closed when not in use. They suggested empty laundry detergent bottles or empty bleach containers. My "mommy-of-a-newly-diagnosed-type-1-child" mind was racing--fumbling through the compartments in my brain trying to think if I had an empty laundry detergent bottle. It's one of those moments where I was certain I had just thrown one out the week prior. I couldn't kick myself for that because we didn't know. We didn't know an event would happen in our lives that would make empty laundry detergent bottles something to hang onto. I buy my laundry detergent in a bulk size, so if I had just opened one, it would not be empty for quite some time. The educator suggested an empty bleach bottle. Bleach?!? Who keeps that around with a toddler and a baby? I had no bleach container. What would I use?

Someone suggested formula containers. Formula! I have a baby that drinks formula! And formula containers are usually empty within a week. They are opaque. They can be closed. This will work! And so it began. We began saving every formula container. Now I keep spares on top of my fridge along with the current one we're disposing sharps into. One is also kept in my car for anytime we are out and about and have to change a lancet drum (the tiny needles to do blood sugar checks) or an insulin pen-needle. One is kept at my mom's house and one is kept at my mother-in-law's house. One is also kept in Michael's daycare classroom. Lots and lots of formula containers that will hold more pen-needles and lancet drums than we want to count.

And I've thought about this multiple times. Each time I'm washing out an empty formula container, each time I'm writing "sharps disposal" on a container, each time I'm wrapping a full container with duct tape and writing "do not recycle" on it. I think about how this is now part of our life. Noah will eventually stop drinking formula and we'll have to start collecting empty laundry detergent bottles or coffee canisters. The container itself isn't what I think about so much as what goes inside it. Pricks and pokes that my little boy has to do every day. I thought about how many empty formula containers we have on top of our fridge just waiting to be filled with lancet drums and pen-needles. It brought tears to my eyes. Because I knew one day there wouldn't be formula containers up there because Noah would grow out of needing formula, but Michael won't grow out of needing blood-sugar checks and insulin injections. Although there's an end in sight for using formula containers, there's no end in sight for the pricks, pokes, and blood. Each of those containers will be filled one day with countless needles. And this broke my heart.

One night as I lay in bed, tears just started falling. My heart was too heavy and it needed to overflow. I told Aaron how broken it made me feel to see all of those containers and to know that they are all going to be used. And after they are used up, then we'll be filling bulk-sized laundry detergent bottles and coffee canisters. Container after container will be filled throughout the years, and the thought of it made me cry. Diabetes isn't going away.

It pains me when I have to tell people that Michael won't grow out this. It pains me when I have to correct people when they say "well, surely he doesn't have to have shots, does he?" And I have to say "Yes. Multiple times a day." There's pain when people ask "So he just has to take some medicine and he'll be all right, right?" And I have to say "He has to take multiple insulin injections. Insulin is a hormone. There's no medicine that he can take and be better." And then they respond with "But he doesn't have to do the sugar checks does he?" And I reply "Yes. He does." They conclude with "That's a lot for a little guy." I nod and go on about my day. I know it's a lot for a little guy. It's a lot for someone of any age. Michael will be master of his diabetes, but it'll still be a lot each day to calculate, check, inject, etc.

There's no end in sight. And that's what makes me overwhelmed.

Until next time,

Much love, Reba

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