A few nights ago, I met three friends for dinner. Mom’s night out!
My friend K was telling us about her new boyfriend, who is a paraplegic. Many years ago, in a mountain climbing accident, he fell 80 feet. He’s been in a wheelchair ever since, and he’s lucky to be alive.
K sparkled as she talked about him. She’s smitten, and most of our dinner chatter focused on their relationship.
“He’s incredible the way he faces challenges and how he lives life to the fullest. I’ve never met anyone like him,” she gushed. “One day, though, he pointed to the stairs in my house and said, ‘I really wish I could just walk up those stairs.’”
That hit home for me.
“I get it,” I said. “Story of my life.”
All three of my friends looked at me as if I were crazy.
J sat there stunned and silent. R blurted, “Huh?” And K asked, “Story of your life?”
“I can relate. I know how he feels,” I said. “He wishes he could just walk up a flight of stairs. I wish I could just make dinner or feed Jack any meal or a snack without counting carbs. I wish I could just stop testing his blood sugar. I wish Jack could just eat without needing insulin.”
They got my point, so I left it at that.
The truth is, however, I could have continued. I count my blessings and don’t dwell on the negative. I think that Gregg and I are both teaching and enabling Jack to live life to its fullest, too. But still, I have my moments when...
I wish Jack could just leave the house without a survival kit.
I wish I could just send Jack to school or camp without having to train his teachers and counselors how to manage diabetes...not to mention without a 504 plan.
I wish Jack could just enjoy an ICEE or an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day without having to take his blood sugar level into consideration.
I wish Jack could just swim, skate, bike and play tennis and other sports without worrying about lows.
I wish Jack could have even just one day where his blood sugar level was stable.
I wish Jack could just eat pizza without having it wreak havoc on his blood sugars for hours.
I wish I could just sleep uninterrupted without setting alarms, without checking on Jack throughout the night, and without worrying that he’ll go too low or too high.
I wish I could just go on vacation without a suitcase full of diabetes supplies.
I wish I could just get a babysitter...any babysitter...the high school kid who lives down the street...on a moment’s notice, so that Gregg and I could be spontaneous or could go out with friends who call with a last-minute invitation.
I wish I could just drop off Jack with all of the other kids at birthday parties, Cub Scout meetings, play dates, tennis lessons and other events.
I wish I could just feel more at ease when Jack wakes up late in the morning or unexpectedly falls asleep during the day.
I wish we could just be free of doctors’ appointments and high medical expenses.
I wish I could just stop the damage diabetes does to Jack’s eyes, heart, kidneys and so on.
I wish the researchers could just find the cure already.
I wish people would just stop saying, “It could be worse.”
I wish the media could just get it right.
I wish others could just understand that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, not the result of being overweight or eating too much sugar.
I wish we could have a break from diabetes for even just one day.
I wish we, too, could just climb up those stairs.