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Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad

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It's my party, I'll reflect if I want to

Life expectancy for an American male is seventy-five, I just turned forty-two. What that means is, barring any unexpected endings, I have thirty-three years left.

Yesterday Cole and Arden took me to see a movie for my forty-second birthday, when we exited the theater it was pouring rain. I told the kids to wait by the door and I would bring the car to them. I sprinted to my car, it was perhaps seventy-five yards from the door. As I was running I passed a gentleman in his fifties, he was walking to his car and getting drenched in the process. Cole and Arden jumped in when I arrived at the door and Cole said, "You are faster then people would expect". I smiled at his kind, if not slightly backhanded shot at my weight but all I could think was, "Ten more years and I'll be that guy walking".

It's funny but after my mid twenties I never thought about my mortality once, I was carefree about my age until Arden was diagnosed just after my thirty seventh birthday. Now, everything that aches, my right knee, both of my ankles, my throwing elbow, the stiff neck I can't shake - all of it makes my think about Arden or more specifically, about Arden's diabetes. Lately, I've been extra tired. I'm not ill and nothing has changed about my schedule, I think that seven years of late nights full of blood glucose wrangling is catching up with me. Last night I tried to get some sleep. I told myself that Arden was going to be fine, gave myself permission not to sleep with one ear open and it worked great. I woke up this morning around seven thirty completely refreshed with a streak of warm sunlight on my face. The first thing that I saw when I opened my eyes was my beautiful wife. I laid in the quiet for a few minutes and thought about how pretty Kelly is and how lucky I was that she said yes on the day that I asked her to go on our first date. But that glow only lasted for a few minutes.

A muffled BEEP, BEEP rang out...

My heart sank into my stomach, that sound is the unmistakable cry of Arden's DexCom after it's fallen onto her bedroom floor. The beeping made me feel instantly sick for two reasons. First, the only way that thing could have fallen is if it had been vibrating all night and second, two beeps means Arden's BG is over 180. All night plus two beeps, equals this isn't going to be good.

I walked into Arden's room and tested her BG as she slept. The night before Arden's BG was falling before bed, she had a few slices of an orange and a cookie to combat the fall and her BG found a balance at 89. Thirty minutes later that number was 95 and her DexCom indicated that the number was drifting, ever so slightly up. I remember thinking, "Good, I'll take a 120ish number tonight, I'm exhausted". It was not twenty minutes later that I gave myself permission to pass out, and I did. I slept all night like a baby while Arden's BG slowly rose over the next two hours before it settled in at three hundred and ninety-one. I don't have words for how 391 makes me feel.

Am I too old to care for my daughter properly? Too tired, too out of shape? Have the health and food choices that I've been ignoring over the past two decades caught up to me, is this my penance for those... I haven't exercised regularly since my twenties, I hardly eat and I haven't had eight glasses of water in a day, maybe ever. Funny thing is that up until recently it didn't matter because nothing could stop me and I could power through anything. I've sat up until two, three, four, even five o'clock in the morning if that's what was required to keep Arden's BG where it should be. I've had nights like last night in the past where I slept through a DexCom alarm, but I don't think last night was a repeat of those nights. I think my age is catching up to me and even if it hasn't, how much longer until I'm that guy in the parking lot that has to let the rain soak him? How much longer until I'm exactly as fast as I look like I should be?

I've never been in great shape, never really cared about it enough to put in the time and work that fitness requires. I don't honestly know if I have it in me but I'm going to try because I can live with a belly and I may not care about a double chin, but my heart can't handle Arden's BG being 391... that beeping cuts right through to my soul.

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Reader Comments (1)

Scott, this may seem a bit flippant, but maybe you should give yourself a break this time. Your heart is in the right place, and you're doing everything you can. You will find a way to make it through until Arden can care for herself. I'm sure of it.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephenS

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