One Drop at a Time

One Drop at a Time

Who would notice that a tiny girl was even tinier?
Did you take weeks or months to get there?

But five pounds was ten percent, and that first test strip
was a like a klaxon demanding a visit to the hospital.

We didn’t have weeks or months. Blood sugar levels
through the roof meant a three day stay.

Three days to learn the ways of a new life, and an eight-year old girl
grew up faster than any child should have to.

Learning the ins and outs, the highs and lows
of glucose management, the threat of bodily harm.

Things that shouldn’t be second nature. Thousands of finger sticks.
Thousands of injections. Dosage by instinct.

The gift of technology and the learning curve
of an insulin pump, worn like a badge of honor.

Advances meant that your phone could monitor your pump,
but still those finger sticks that continued for seventeen years.

Until those three magic letters, CGM. A continuous glucose monitor,
inserted like your pump, with constant blood glucose readings.

It was a long wait, but suddenly your numbers are manageable,
the threat of complications is reduced, and we all breathe easier.

Someday soon, your CGM will be able to talk to your insulin pump,
and that tiny girl, now a woman, will have her artificial pancreas.

My daughter, Alyssa, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was eight-years old. Within a year or two she had her first insulin pump, but finger sticks to test her blood continued for each meal or snack, and any time symptoms of high or low blood sugar were present. The pump connected to a tiny tube, changed every few days, that delivered insulin beneath her skin. It would need to be disconnected/connected before/after strenuous activity, so she went without it for three years during high school athletics. She now wears a pump that attaches directly to her skin, so there is no tube, and, for the first time, she recently acquired a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). She has stayed relatively healthy over the years, and as a school counselor she has the excellent character to be an advocate for students with diabetes.  (I have a few poems written about our experience here.)

The prompt for Day 3 of NaPoWriMo is to write a poem that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time, perhaps focusing on imagery, sound or emotional content. I think I’ve got that covered.

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29 thoughts on “One Drop at a Time

  1. Always good to read something–ANYthing– hopeful, these days.. This old geezer, living with his Stage 3 kidney failure, flirting with dialysis for years, but not quite there yet (thanks to dietary diligence and modern medications) really appreciates this poem. Well done & Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I know you’ve written about your daughter and diabetes before–it’s nice to see this hopeful update. And like Pat said, to read her story growing up and technology advancing intertwined.
    I have a friend who has an artificial heart (and diabetes). It’s amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.
      When I think back about friends I knew as a teen in the sixties and the health issues they encountered, I’m really thankful for the advances that have been made, since.


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