Here I am whining about how difficult it is looking after my own diabetes, and there’s this! An 11-year-old girl dead because her mom withheld her insulin. Besides being hugely disturbing, it’s unclear whether the mother was abusive or simply incapable of dealing with this disease.
Was she not instructed that legarthic behavior and repeated vomiting are signs of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)? Did she not know that extra insulin (rather than less) is usually called for when the patient is ill? And of course I have to ask: What kind of a mother sits on the couch and amuses herself, rather than tending to her obviously suffering child? Why did she wait for DAYS to call for help?! By which time it was too late…
The mind reels. And I return to the concept of being utterly dependent on someone else for your diabetes care — or from the parent’s end, being utterly responsible for that little life in a way that most parents can’t even imagine.
On this note, here’s something apropos that’s worth reprinting (via Mom Wants a Diabetes Cure):
HOW GOD SELECTS THE MOTHER OF A CHILD WITH DIABETES
by Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. Did you ever wonder how mothers of children with diabetes are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint Matthew.”
“Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, Patron Saint Cecilia.”
“Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a child with diabetes.” The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly”, smiles God. “Could I give child with diabetes to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”
“But has she the patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I am going to give her has her own world. She has to make it live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in You.”
God smiles. “No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”
The angel gasps. “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she cannot separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with less than perfect.”
“She does not realize it yet, but she is to be envied. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see …. ignorance, cruelty, prejudice … and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side.”
“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid air. God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”
Maybe God has an off day occasionally, too.