The Diagnosis

The background

A few weeks ago — maybe two months — our oldest had a tick. My wife is fond of telling me that there’s a higher risk of Lyme disease in Germany than in the States, so she was watching for the signs. (Even though we found the tick and removed it.)

This blog post is named ‘the diagnosis.’ You can guess what happened next: he had Lyme disease. All the classic symptoms and a blood test. No worries: German medical care is excellent. We felt bad for him, but a three-week course of antibiotics was prescribed. I’m a big fan of the microbiome, but I’m familiar with what Lyme disease turns into, so, I don’t think we had a choice.

After a week on antibiotics — and the return to school — he began to get really, really tired. But, antibiotics and school were explanation enough, right?

It gets worse

We tried to spoil him as much as we could and counted down the days until the antibiotics were finished. The doctors had said that they could give him a note to get out of school if he got too tired, so the wife took him in for the note.

Only by chance — the note could have been a matter of course — they talked about the symptoms and the doctor asked him to pee into a cup. The way the wife tells the story, the doctor went off and, when she returned, obviously had bad news.

“What?” My wife asked?

“Diabetes.” The doctor said. “Sugar.”

My wife just sent me a photo of the referral to the hospital with the diagnosis written on it with a comment and I read it between lessons.

A lot to process

Let me be clear: I don’t feel bad for him. I don’t even feel sorry for myself (even though I tend in that direction, anyway). But, the poor guy has a lot to learn, and new habits to form. And, I’ve got quite a bit to learn along with him, as well as a set of ‘soft skills’ to help him learn his new habits, as well as the application of willpower, without adding to his current level of stress (which is high enough as it is).

I’ve benefitted from blogging about stuff here, but I’ve refrained from writing a lot about my family (I imagine teenage kids stumbling across what I write — or, worse, classmates). But, I’ve decided that I would benefit from writing about it. And, though I don’t strike up much communication via this blog, if I contact other parents of kids with diabetes… that would be okay, too.

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The challenges of being super-dad!

This post is a little bit about how life has changed (yawn) since I was a kid, a bit about television and (yawn) how hard it is to keep my kids away from it, and mostly about me dumping what’s going on in my life right now.

Let’s dive in.

A while ago, I decided not to forbit my kids to watch TV. The reasons are legion: it’s a great sedative when mom or dad need a break, it exposes them to more English, I like some TV and want to share it with them.

But, I do turn the TV off, and I do compete with it from time to time.

The thiings is, my kids — like me — are basically couch potatoes. And — like me — they feel better when they’re outside. We just don’t always think to go outside, and, I’ve found that I often go outside wrong.

I discovered the outdoors via hiking and jogging. (Well, I knew about the outdoors from having been sent there — mostly as a punishment — by my parents. I’m talking about discovering that there’s something therapeutic about being outside.). I’m carrying a bit of baggage from my initial experiences with the outdoors: I have an obsession with measuring the time I spend outside in kilomters, in steps.

I drag the kids out and I make them walk. They want to stop to poke at a bug on the ground and, after a minute or two, I say it’s time to keep going.

I do it wrong.

My kids, like me when I was a kid, are happiest to just go into the woods and start poking around, dragging sticks from one spot to another, trying to build a fort. Or, collecting leaves or bugs. Realizing this, I remembered the hours we spent outside as kids just goofing off and getting dirty.

The things is, my parents could send me out unsupervised. Or, only supervised by the rest of the group. I don’t know if I can send my kids out without supervision, but I know that i won’t. (If something does happen, I don’t think I’d be able to forgive myself.)

So, I have to head out, with my kids, and find a way to distract myself while they entertain themselves. And, the thing is, it’s usually me who wants to head back home. It irks me that I’ve found something that they genuinely enjoy doing more than television, and which I think they should do as much as possible, and the only problem is me.

For the rest of the week, we’re all off (Germans have so much vacation! And even our daycare closes for Easter break) and it’s on me to keep being super-dad. But, it turns out that that means it’s on me to find a way to distract myself in the woods — where, really, I enjoy being.