Just In Case
What happens when your child with diabetes leaves the nest?
By Tom Karlya
January 2014 — The quiet was loud. You know, THAT type of quiet when every sound heard is from a source not usually heard, like a scratching branch on a window, or a humming from the refrigerator. The sounds present when a house is empty — a very loud quiet.
Today was such a day. Even the dogs were still and silent, sleeping on the couch.
As I get older, I know I am coming to a point when the kids will not be in the house. One is already married and gone, one is waiting to hear about leaving in the next year to further her education, and one still has a few years home… maybe?
As I sat alone in my chair having coffee this morning I began to wonder, who will be the diabetes police for our kids when they move on? Sure, we have joked about it for a while but I am beginning to realize that my two kids with diabetes may soon be on their own and no one will be living with them. It's a feeling I don't like. Who will look after them?
I can tell you how well I think they do with the day-to-day management of diabetes but I also know that one low can be devastating. Who would be around to know, just in case?
Just in case?
Who takes care of ‘just in case' when we are not around? If there is no partner/spouse/ and/or roommate who ‘is the new sheriff' in town when it comes to the diabetes police? Who will be there, to make sure?
Many parents go through an anxiety when their kids leave and move on. I wish I could have "just" that feeling, a feeling of moving on. Mine is a fear of the unknown, the lows at night, and the problems that could happen. Who will be there for those times, who will make sure?
This is different than a sleep over or even going away to school. This is the absolute finale of realizing there will not be anyone in the house with them when they go to sleep. They, too, will hear the quiet that I hear today. The difference is that someone will be breaking the quiet in my peacefulness of today — someone will shortly be yelling, I‘m home. When they live alone and no one is coming around who will stop by to make sure?
I don't have an answer for that question and it may be that I won't get one either. Our kids will grow up and move on — the rite of passage. But with our kids, our kids who have diabetes, that rite of passage comes with a fear for parents. More unknown fear than the unknown that can be expected; it's diabetes remember.
As a parent I am not ready to give in my diabetes police badge, I rather like it actually and I would like to continue to wear it. On my watch, I believe they will remain safe. Can I not just go with them as they grow up? Can I not just stay the diabetes police? Can I not just stay with them forever? Just in case?
I am a DiabetesDad.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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