This is a question I’ve asked countless times over the past two years and one I’d never imagined I’d ever ask another parent.
“How’s your snack supply?”, I begrudgingly ask friend of my son’s mother down the street. It’s a question that has now become routine in our day-to-day.
“We have plenty of granola bars and crackers. We knew he was staying the night so we stocked up!” She replies excitedly.
Thank God for mothers like her. It makes the night without our son, a little more bearable.
As recent as 2012, I’d never asked that question once in my fatherhood. I wouldn’t have even THOUGHT to ask it.
But to date, My son hasn’t stepped outside our front door without it being asked. It’s an annoying, repetitive question. I often find myself sighing before it even reaches my tongue. But, it’s a necessity. His life depends on it.
My son, 12, is a type-1 diabetic and unless a cure is miraculously discovered, he always will be.
If you’re unfamiliar with the disease, here’s a quick overview. His pancreas no longer creates the insulin needed to keep his blood-sugar levels in check. So, he takes a shot of insulin to replicate what his pancreas should do.
In spite of diabetes though, I can assure you, he is NO different than any other pre-teen boy. He attends a public school, is infatuated with video games, has an endless supply of contacts in his cell phone and plays sports with an inherited competitiveness.
The only differences you’ll notice regularly:
•His not-fashionable diabetic pack filled with snacks, insulin, a glucose meter and other supplies
•Occassionally a few small, dime-sized bruises near his biceps.
You might notice a necklace that hangs around his neck, a shiny, silver chain. I doubt however, you’ll notice the “Type1 Diabetic” medallion that hangs from it. He keeps that tucked out of sight.
He’s not one to openly tell you about his condition, but he can rattle off everything he can and cannot eat. He can tell you the steps we take to ensure his long-term health, he can recite the carbohydrate content in almost any “normal” household food but he refuses to divulge the simple fact that he’s a diabetic.
I’ve poked around the subject with him a few times and received small bits of insight here and there on how he feels. His doctor describes it as a, “normal reaction for his age.” My dads intuition tells me he won’t use his disease as a crutch, or as an excuse for what he can and cannot do.
He will, however, inevitably ask for a snack. Something simple, like a pack of crackers, a spoonful of peanut butter. Just like any other boy visiting your home might ask for.
But the difference for my son:
Those snacks my wife and I repeatedly asked if you had? They’ll help boost his blood-sugar level which will in turn, will keep him from passing out on your newly-tiled kitchen floor.
Because even though his aforementioned diabetic pack is well stocked with glucose tabs that give his system a boost, he’s 12. And just like your pre-teen, he’s forgetful as hell.