“Real people sick” is easy
My little boy is sick. Real people sick. (Of course he’s “real people sick.” That’s the only kind of sick that most people, people without D, get.)
I got the call to pick him up from day-care yesterday and take him to the pediatrician. It seems his right ear was clogged up with wax and some stuff was oozing from his eyes. I thought it was just a cool trick, but his teacher was worried and asked me to bring him home. The doctor said it’s a pretty normal infection, prescribed some antibiotics, and said he’d be fine tomorrow.
This didn’t surprise me. Baby Z spends hours in day-care putting everything he can reach in his mouth. Everything. I’m sure other kids in the same room probably do the same thing. It’s the environment and it happens. This doesn’t bother me, though. I’m all in favor of my kids getting sick when they’re young. My wife and I believe it builds up their immune system and makes them more resilient. The children we’ve seen whose mothers isolate them from the world and bathe in Purell every 15 minutes are the ones who catch colds the most. But for my own kids, as long as their immune system doesn’t get so out-of-control that it starts Fighting Islets, I see nothing wrong with giving it a workout every now and then. (By the way, If I ever release a rock CD filled with diabetes-related music, I’m going to call it Fighting Islets).
Anyway, about those antibiotics. We’re supposed to draw the liquid medication into a syringe, not too much unlike an insulin syringe, and squirt it towards the side of the back of the mouth. As a person with diabetes, I’ve been well trained and am well-experienced on how to use a syringe. I take great pains to make sure I get the dose just right and that there are no air bubbles. I want to make sure my baby gets the medicine dose that’s been prescribed for him.
So when I squirt the foul-tasting stuff into my son’s mouth, and he spits half of it back out, I start to worry. When it drools down his chin, I worry. When he turns his head and closes his lips at the last moment, so nothing gets in his mouth at all, I worry.
In my world, being off by 1/100th of a milliliter (1 unit) makes a huge difference. If all of the insulin doesn’t make it, the blood sugar gets angry. But apparently, when it comes to medicating “real-people” sicknesses, the dose doesn’t really matter. If he only gets 80%, 50%, or even 5% of the intended dose, there’s no reason to be concerned. At least he got some of the medicine. This is such a radical departure from the way I’ve lived my life for so many years.
It’s hard for me to look at that syringe and ask “where’s the rubber plunger” that keeps the medicine from sticking to the sides. Hard for me to admit that the medicine lost to the air bubble is inconsequential when compared to the medicine lost to the bib. Hard to figure out what lead the doctor to prescribe 1 teaspoonful, when half of that clearly does the job.
It’s hard to understand how “real people sick” treatment can be so haphazard and forgiving, while managing diabetes requires such precision and attention. That, and we don’t get to stop treating after ten days.