And so here we are home again. Living some semblance of living amidst the glucose readings, needles and counted carbs. You start to think: How in the hell did this happen? To her. To us. To me. Why? Was it something I caused? Some plague I’d escorted unsuspectingly into our home, a danger I’d failed to perceive, or was it merely the sentence of just punishment for my own unresolved past behavior employed by an absolute, vengeful god. You start looking, digging deeper, searching for reasons where no reason could, or should, possibly fit.
What changed in the last few months? Our diet, her hygiene, the weather? Had she been wearing a coat and a hat to ward off the chills in the air?
Was she washing her hands before meals? Perhaps it was in the water itself — how long since the well to that underground sea had been tested?
There were the flu shots taken in October, for H1N1 and seasonal influenza. Were the conspiracy theories I’d seen flooding the internet on to something? At the same time her doctor reported a slightly elevated cholesterol screening, which we nonchalantly dismissed. She’s eight years old. We eat good. We eat healthy. There must be some mistake.
Maybe it came from the garden though. An infectious diabetic microorganism that burrowed past the flesh of the tomatoes, zucchini or cucumbers and was feeding and breeding and otherwise doing its part for the life cycle, until one of us came along with snippers for the evening harvest.
Or was it the chickens? Six months earlier, in the late spring of last year, I had just finished work on a novel and took a weeklong break from work to construct a backyard chicken coop. A farmer friend of ours was moving and getting rid of his seventy-strong flock of layers and as we had recently ventured ourselves on a promise to live closer to the land, my family and I welcomed thirteen of the hens into our family. Lia and Krista went with me to the farm to pick them out and by the time we got them home, a few of the girls bore names: Nugget, Speedy, Bob, Brown Chicken. Could one of those gals be culprit? Was this onset of diabetes a half-sibling to avian flu?
And so on and so on and so on it went, in the days following her diagnosis. I wanted answers. I wanted something or someone to blame, even if it was myself. I wanted to know why my daughter was having to face such an obscured disease. I’ve never been a strong believer in faith, other than in one’s self or family, and with my child facing such an obstacle there was nothing I was not willing to question. No entity or belief that did not warrant scrutiny. These were my rules for how the new world operated and caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.
But at the same time there was reason for optimism of a different sort. The mindful human kindness of friends and from people we’ve met in these past few days has been overwhelming. In the midst of this misfortune, their acts of compassion and our further understanding of diabetes may eventually, I hope, prove that the things that happen in life are not random and for my daughter and all of us, one day some good will come of it.
If you’re finding it difficult to cope with diabetes and need some support, or are just wanting someone to listen, please follow the link We’re here to help.