Little loved one has diabetes, but laughter has outweighed tearsIt has been seven months since the medical professionals at Sanford diagnosed my youngest granddaughter, Sage, with Type One Diabetes. Dreadful as it is, the disease hasn’t slowed her a bit.
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
It has been seven months since the medical professionals at Sanford diagnosed my youngest granddaughter, Sage, with Type One Diabetes.
Dreadful as it is, the disease hasn’t slowed her a bit. She turns 2 on Monday, and if ever a child was the epitome of what the advice-to-parents books say about 2-year-olds, Sage is that child. She talks faster than Usain Bolt runs, and he’s a world record holder. She laughs at herself and everyone around her. She has developed her own way of thinking, and she has a strong notion of how the world should operate when she’s in it.
From the time she learned to walk, she has run everywhere, usually dragging her grandma along with her and shouting at other people in the room to run, too. In that, she reminds me of her dad, who never knew how to sit still and who always wanted other people to join in whatever activity he had going at the moment.
Nancy and I could tell you stories about standing at the kitchen sink washing and drying dishes and looking out the window to see Scott dashing across the yard as if a bunch of banshees were chasing him.
We could also tell you about the time he hopped on a neighbor kid’s three-wheeler (neither of them were old enough to be riding a motorized vehicle, even in a back yard) and drove it through the neighbor’s basement window. Not so long ago, Sage drove her fire truck down the basement steps at her parent’s home. Sure, the steps were carpeted and she came up unharmed, but she was howling. Like father, like daughter.
Sage and I were playing in the basement one afternoon when she ran full speed at an oversized medicine ball, leaped atop it and rolled off the other side. She did a full somersault before landing in a sitting position. She erased my visions of a broken neck when she turned to look at me and announced happily, “I did it.”
She’s a normal, happy 2-year-old who, like two of her three big sisters, has Type One Diabetes. It is a fact of her young life, as ever-present as her quick smile and her quicker little feet. It’s something her parents consider as they go through their days. Do we need to check her blood? Is it time for an injection of insulin? Can she have this snack or that treat? How many carbs did she get for breakfast, lunch, supper? The questions have become routine, just a part of life with Sage.
So have the pokes for a blood check and the needle pricks for the insulin. My goodness, you should have been around the kitchen table that July day when Sage and her parents returned from a few days at the Sanford children’s unit, where they’d spent some time learning the techniques for controlling the little girl’s disease. The first time Sage’s mom and dad got out the syringe to administer the injection of insulin, it was Niagara Falls all around.
I’ve watched Sage’s sisters, Frankie and Jordan, handle their own diabetes with the most amazing nonchalance. Each of the girls broke down when it came to seeing their baby sister start the routine they have known since they were just toddlers.
I got tears in my eyes that afternoon, too, and I had to turn my head. I’m better at it now, and I can watch the blood checks and the injections. I know, though, I’ll never quite get used to the sight of this sweet child being poked.
Nancy did watch that first time, of course. She’s a nurse, and as much as she hated to see her little granddaughter being hurt, she knew she’d need to know how to do these procedures if she and I were going to volunteer to babysit Sage from time to time. So she watched and learned, and she shed a few tears.
Since then, the laughter has far outweighed the tears when Sage is around. I don’t know what the next year holds for her and her family, but if it brings half the joy the past 12 months did, I don’t want to miss it.
Terry Woster’s column appears Saturdays and Wednesdays in The Daily Republic.