Particle Man


14. Also available in 15.

I super-hate diabetes these days. It’s because my kids are old, and I don’t know how to be.

Bubs turned fourteen today. No one here can be construed as a baby or little kid, or even a child at all. What we have here is teenagers.

Tab, meanwhile, is a diabetes baby. I don’t mean he’s babyish. He is a mature fifteen year old. But the d part is a baby.

And for legal sports reasons I don’t understand, lacrosse people can’t practice this early in March, so instead they play at Brown with no coach, for hours, and it doesn’t count as official practice. An out of range Dexcom and some boxes of Mike and Ikes offer medical expertise.

When Bubs was new to d, he was eight. It was normal for me to be where he was, in the role of “mother chatting with the other mothers at the playground” or as a “parent volunteer,” helping children poke straws into Capri Suns or locate a missing tap shoe. I was everywhere. Tab is OLD. I am nowhere.

Last week Tab was packing his lacrosse bag. I asked if he had everything he needed. He ran down a whole litany: here’s my helmet, don’t you like the decals?, these are my new gloves, I also have my old gloves, these are my elbow pads, do you see how this material is different, aren’t they nice?, I also have this pad, that pad… I felt weird clarifying that I didn’t worry at all about his bones being crushed. No. Hello? I only wanted to know: meter, phone, Dexcom calibrated and working, sugar.

On the way to today’s not-a-practice, we were trying to listen to Particle Man. {{{MWAHN MWAHN}}} went the Dexcom, alerting high. I fumbled with the phone screen—

TAB: It’s okay if I’m high–I’m only 170 and I’m about to play, so…

BIGFOOT: I know, I know. I just don’t want it to keep alerting during the song, and if I don’t open the app–arrgh–can you just open it, so it stops–

TAB: (Sincerely thinking of this for the first time, looking out the car window, pondering a new possibility of human existence. ) Do you think there has ever been someone who got so obsessed with their blood sugar that it was like, all they ever did? Watch it in their Dexcom and try to control it?

BFOOT: (Looks at him with an are you kidding? face)

TAB: No, I mean, like someone who only cared about their blood sugar and never did anything else?

BF: Um. (Points to self.)

PARTICLE MAN: Is she depressed or is she a mess? Does she feel to-tal-ly worth-less?

TAB: But we’re your kids. And you do other things, sometimes, I think.

BF: Hmm.

PARTICLE MAN: (Accordion solo.)

I have a terrible attitude. And I know it! And I know why! It’s because I hate this, and I hate it more each day. I worry we’re just not doing it right. At all. For Tab.

Example: so far, I don’t get up at night to correct Tab’s highs. This is because I feel shy groping around in his bed for a pinch of arm or leg or bum while he sleeps. So I wake up, and think about him being high, and I feel wretched.

If Bubs is high, I wake up, and grope around in his bed for his pump like I own the place. With Tab, all options seem impossible: the leaving him high as well as fumbling around in the dark with a needle. As well as waking him up to take care of it himself, which, I guess, is a thing people also do.

No good ending here.


6 responses to “Particle Man

  1. Lisa

    Ugh. I get it. I know I should wake my guy up and have him take ownership but it sucks so I don’t. Why should we both be sleep deprived? So sometimes I under-correct a little off the Dexcom to make myself feel better. Because sometimes I’m just not up to the fumbling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can so identify! my 16 yr old goes off to cricket every Saturday with his all important cricket gear, enough food and hypo treatments for an army. He packs it all himself now and off he goes. He goes super high with the adrenaline ( who can believe it , it’s such a boring game?). He is on MDI, his choice, and navigating the highs and lows around sport is hard!
    He now wants to do his 3am checks if he is on the low side going to bed so we now have a system where he sets two alarms, the one of us get up about 3.20 just to check the alarms did wake him. So far, so good! It’s a gradual process, directed by him and it scares the bejesus out of me as it’s the first step in letting go! Maureen xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there… me too. But with Joe. It’s a tough transition… transitioning mamma P (pancreas) out. I will/do still tackle the nights, but that might be b/c it’s all I know… it would be awkward w/ a diagnosis at an older age.

    P.S. I hate diabetes too! Mama P out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. skchrisman

    Omnipod could totally end the late night fumbles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m crying. Too much. Haven’t stopped in for a while (thanks, life, you dick) and here you are with a diabetes baby on a growing boy-man. What powerlessness. I feel for you. Grab that pump at night. Whatever. He’s fine. He will get used to being groped at night. Hopefully. You don’t need this guilt. And night is all you have to micromanage with a big kid right? His d-innocence is so startling. So sweet. So scary. Are there diabetes summer camps near you? Send!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. skchrisman

    I came back to this post to tell you its haunting me. Surely he’s been present enough to know you’ve done this from the start for Bubs and still continue. He’s got a man body, but he still has a boy heart who might want you to give him the same love and attention at night so he stays in check. Maybe just saying that to him would give him the power to make a decision about his body, knowing you are coming from a place of love and respect. Pip matured, Steve still fumbled. Much love from Cincinnati. < – – from a house where one of my lovelies stopped hugging me because she grew boobs and I had boobs and, well, you know. We adapted and a year later hugging resumed. Change can change can change.


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