Monday, April 23, 2012
My clinic is fairly small, so I was surprised how much I got from spending an hour in the waiting room as I was watched mothers and fathers sit with their young adult diabetic children. Without sounding like I was being completely nosey, I did realize one thing that I am sure applies to a lot of mothers and fathers or caregivers of diabetics which is when do you let go?
First off, I was surprised to see about three young adults come into the clinic because most of the time there is either no one or there are older type 2 patients. So, I instantly wanted to tell them about my blog, but I refrained hoping the message of the blog would be passed on from the nurses. However, what I did realize was that I was the only patient there without a parent by my side.
This sounds sad, but in a way I have never thought about inviting my mother or father along with me for my appointment. In fact the only time they tagged along was when I was diagnosed and already in the hospital. Other than that I have managed my diabetes by myself, I have taken responsibility to book appointments, show up, make sure I have done what I needed to do (occasionally forgetting to do things like blood work etc.) and that is just how it has been for the past three years.
When I came into the room, two mothers were talking about their children and honestly, it sounded like they were talking as if their children were not in the room. It was interesting, because she did mention that her child was in his/her 20's and it was strange how her child said nothing the entire time as the other mother asked questions like, did he/she have a hard time as a teenager? does he/she use an insulin pump? I wanted to pull the diabetic out of his/her seat and say, "Let's just go for a walk, so your mother can talk about your diabetes..."
It seemed so strange to me, why were literally adults bringing their parents to appointments? Is this okay? Is it normal to have your parents join you? Is this something that diabetics who have had diabetes for a long time do? Am I the only one that goes alone? All of this was going through my mind, not too worried that the chair beside me was empty because I felt comfortable being on my own.
Now, that on its own can be answered by those that bring their parents with them to appointments - and really I get it, sometimes having a shoulder to lean on for those brutal appointments is a good way to get through them, in fact I can imagine myself in the future bringing Vince to see what it is all about; however, what I began to hear next really interested me.
As the diabetics one by one got called in, the patients looked at their parents and asked, "Do you want to come in?" then the awkward, "Do you want me to come in?" back and forth went on, as the parents were unsure if they should join in on them. Finally, one of the mothers decided to go in and said, "I haven't been checking up on my child, so I won't stay in the whole time..."
The other mother decided to stay back as she proclaimed that she wanted her child to be more independent. She even refused to make the next appointment without her child's permission. She made it very clear that she was letting her daughter take the reigns of her diabetes. Was this the point that she decided to let go?
I cannot imagine how hard it is as a parent to let your diabetic child go. Let them try to figure it all out on the own without constant nagging and reassurance. We all know the complications of diabetes, we know what high blood sugar does, what low blood sugar can do, and most of all how easy it is to neglect it. The job of making appointments and attending them at some point needs to be passed on, and I am sure a lot of diabetics feel that desire to hold on as well.