Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rufus, The Bear With Diabetes

I found this book buried in the hall closet last week. At first I wanted to throw it away, because of my "anti-diabetes" attitude as of late. But after second thoughts, I placed it in the book drawer in Lainey's bedroom.

The following day, Lainey found it and has been looking through it 2-3 times a day. She'd show me pictures of the boy who was "sick" and had to "go to the hospital". I didn't take the time to explain anything, nor did I think she'd make a connection that the boy and her had the same sickness---diabetes. I should have realized it was on her mind, since yesterday she got out her stuffed "Rufus Bear" and asked for a syringe. (See this POST about Rufus.)
Last night, after Dustin put the girls to bed, he related to me this story. I asked him to write it down so I could blog about it. After reading it, I'm glad I asked him to put it into words. It's not often that you hear how diabetes affects a dad.
"Tonight I went to put the girls to bed. I went through our normal routine of singing a few songs and reading a book. Lainey picked out a book called “Rufus Comes Home” . It is about a boy who gets sick and goes to the doctor. At the doctor his family discovers he has diabetes. The rest of the book tells the story about how he learns to take care of himself, and about the “diabetic” teddy bear that helps him learn that he is not the only one with diabetes.

After the story was over Lainey broke down crying. This is simply not like her. I asked her what was wrong. She said, “I don’t want to get sick.” It occurred to me that she believed that having diabetes would make her sick. Lainey defines “sick” as throwing up, so she was concerned that this would happen to her. She laid her head on my arm sobbing, and I was ready to cry myself.
I sat her up and explained to her that she isn’t sick anymore because we are taking care of her. I opened the book again and showed her that the boy was sick when he didn’t have his insulin, but once he had that, and tools like his meter, he was happy and healthy again. I tried to help her understand that she would be sick if she didn’t have these things, but she is okay.
It has been interesting watching Lainey gain a better understanding of her situation. Often she takes things in stride and learns a little as she goes, but once in a while a realization hits her pretty hard, and it is scary for her. It is times like these that I wish the most that she didn’t have this disease. It is so hard to see my 3 year old daughter worry about things that are so real.
Lainey finally calmed down, and seemed to understand that diabetes would not make her throw up, but it can make her feel bad. She knows that her pump and her meter are tools that help her condition. Most importantly, she knows that we are here to support her, along with her Diabetic Teddy Bear that she has named 'Lainey'."

I just wanted to say a big "Thank You" to all my diabetic moms in the blogging world. Thanks for the comments on my post last night. They buoyed me up. You are all truly wonderful people, and I'm grateful to be apart of "our family". Those comments made me realize how much I've missed you.


Shamae said...

Oh this story gave me goosebumps! It's hard watching these little ones have to take on big responsibilities. It is overwhelming for them. Lainey has great parents! you guys are AWESOME! And, having met you in person, I can say that definitely!

Meri said...

What a sweet husband. Dad's can comfort is so nice to remember that.

Laura Houston said...

Thank you for sharing your husbands thoughts -
My husband is a ticking time bomb! He has not accepted Nate's dx therefor does not verbalize his feelings. He probably thinks I do enough crying and complaining for the both of us. :-)

I like that book a lot. Nate is too young to understand but we read it to his sisters to help them understand what Nate is dealing with each day. They take turns sleeping with Rufus the Bear.

Lainey is such a brave girl as are all of the magnificent D children.


Hallie said...

So sweet. So heart wrenching at times. Avery said to me the other night, "Mommy - I just wish I could go to school and play with friends and not get shots or wear my pump or do my meter or anything.". And then she was on to something else and I was left with a big lump in my throat.

Avery has Rufus and the book and likes them. We also created "Ruby" - cabbage patch kid with diabetes who wears a pump just like Avery. I did this to help het thru the pump process and it was great. (there are pics on my blog- I can send you the link if you are interested). Avery is also 3. She knows a lot about diabetes and really enjoys playing hospital, giving shots, checking blood sugar, counting carbs....I think it helps her process it. She likes to talk about it and meet other T1 kids. She also has a lot of anxiety about it- like hearing anyone say "website" makes her think it's time for a site change! I know it's so hard at this age- understanding some but not all. They work through it very differently than we do. Do you live anywhere close? I'm the sure the girls would love to meet!

Heidi said...

This made me cry. I'm glad Lainey has strong parents who help her through the scary parts.

Anonymous said...

Rufus got us through a few rough patches!

We haven't read the book in a while, but my daughter has had me read it at least 4 times in the past week.

I just launched a new blog called D-Mom Blog, which I hope is a resource to other parents of diabetic children. I hope to develop relationships with more parents.

(I've included you in my blogroll already.)

D-Mom Blog


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