I had to rush my wife Marinda to the emergency room last Wednesday. She was stricken with severe abdominal pain and had to quickly be admitted into the hospital.
Her suffering was so bad that she needed to get dosed with powerful painkillers like morphine and dilaudid. It's a little hard to tell if your blood sugars are high or low when you're writhing in pain and drugged up. That's why I never left her side. During her hospital stay, the medical staff took care of everything else except her Type-1 diabetes, because we learned that nobody can manage our diabetes better than one of our own family members. We learned that lesson the hard way, when we rushed our then toddler, Cassie to the ER for diabetic ketoacidosis many moons ago.
Once Marinda was discharged over the weekend, I needed to leave her a few times just to run errands or unwind. Cassie hung around to take care of her mommy's diabetes and to play nurse maid. It was a role reversal. Patient became caregiver. Child became in charge of parent. And she did a fantastic job.
Cassie knows what it's like to feel bad. Sharing the same disease as her mom, she knows what a burden diabetes can be. Her experience with juvenile diabetes has trained her to be able to place herself in the shoes of someone else who is hurting. It's amazing to see how sympathetically she reacts to any kid she meets who is faced with a disability or setback. She's compelled to take their side.
Diabetes has many side effects. It's a blessing that empathy is one of them.