Thursday, September 9, 2010

Health vs. Happiness

Every day, I walk a fine line. On one side of that line is my daughter's health. On the other side, her happiness.

My ultimate goal is to make the line disappear. If not for me, at least for her. I don't want her to see me struggle with deciding weather to allow her to have the birthday cake when she's already 252. I try to make that part seamless; I handle it for her so she can be a kid and enjoy the party. Happiness.

But sometimes I can't hide from the line. Tonight before dinner Grace was 297, with no real explanation. Since we couldn't immediately attribute it to something she ate, I wanted to check her blood ketones. Ketones could indicate her site had gone bad, and we'd bolus her with an injection to make sure she got all the insulin she needed to cover dinner and bring her numbers down.

But here's the rub... she wanted no part of checking her ketones. We'd already poked her once, and she did NOT want another finger prick. She ran out of the room crying hysterically, "No, no, no!" I knew that she was tired, hungry, and high, all colliding into a perfect storm of a temper tantrum. What she needed was insulin and food. But I didn't want her to eat until I could confirm that her site was still effectively delivering life-saving insulin.

So there she was, hiding behind the sofa crying, and I felt like I had to pole-vault over that damned health vs. happiness line. She was sad, and the only thing I could do was try to get her to calm down and convince her that I needed to check her ketones. No way around it. Health had to trump happiness in that moment.

And it sucked.

It sucks every every minute of every hour of every day. Because that's how often I'm faced with walking the line. Her health or her happiness.

Don't get me wrong, she doesn't often complain like that. She goes with the flow, checks when I ask her to, and is very vigilant when she's not with me (say, at a friend's house). But that line is still there.

It's there when she has to eat lunch in the nurse's office because she was low, had to wait for her blood sugar to come up, and missed lunch.

It's there when the gas station attendant hands me 3 lollipops for the kids, but I ask Grace to save hers for when she's low.

And it's there when I have to check her ketones, even when she doesn't want me to.

Health versus happiness. It's a fine line to walk every day.


  1. Pam, This one touches me...kind of funny, I posted on "parenting" today too. More about my concerns about the long term effects of "d" on our children's self-esteem and self-worth.

    It is a tight rope that we walk...or, as I have always said..."roller blading on a moutain ridge" many physiologic and psychological things to balance all at one time.

    Know you are not alone...I am having the same struggles here in VT...and I could totally picture the scene with the ketones and Grace eating lunch in the nurses office at school after a low...b/c they happen to Joe too. (((HUGS)))

  2. A fine line indeed. I find I have to pick my battles for sure, or else the two would be constantly butting heads.

  3. I love this post Pam. So well IS such a fine line. I had a similar moment with Addison this week. He ran away from me crying that he did not want a finger check and I actually wasn't sure if he was high or low..he was acting strange. In those moments, I feel like my head my is very stressful!!

  4. We have had some of those fine line moments lately, too. Sounds like you handled it well, though... and one day, she is going to thank you! =)

  5. I think we have all had those moments, I can remember a time when my daughter fell to the floor in a puddle of tears telling me she wanted to be "normal" about rip my heart out and stomp on it!!! It hurts and it is a fine line, I feel your pain and my heart aches with you.

    Hugs to you my friend.

  6. You do such a good job taking care of Grace. Try not be so hard on yourself. It is line that happens and hard for us all to deal with every day.

  7. We do walk a fine line, and those moments when we have to cross it are so tough. ((HUGS))