By Jody Valley
Mom is mad
Q: This is not an issue about being gay so I don’t know if it is appropriate for your column, but it is something I am going through and I could use your advice. I am a mother of 3 young children. All three children are a result of using sperm donors, a different one for each of my children. I recently had my youngest child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I feel totally devastated and don’t know where to turn.
What happened is that “Sarah,” who is 13 months old, had been drinking a lot of water and urinating a lot. She has always been such a cranky child, not like my two older children who were good eaters and sleepers and a joy to be around. Anyway, I called my pediatrician and told him about how thirsty she always was and he said she was probably fine, but he could run some test if I wanted to. That was about 2 months ago when I was really busy, so just let it go thinking that the doctor said that she was probably fine; I just didn’t worry. Last weekend Sarah was so thirsty, and she was very lethargic and whiny. The whiny part was not unusual because that’s pretty much how she always is but she usually isn’t lethargic. Anyway toward evening I took her into the pediatric clinic and they immediately put her in the hospital diagnosing her with diabetes. The doctor said it was good I got her in when I did. I spent 3 days with her in the hospital, getting her blood sugar under control, learning to check her blood glucose level, learning to give her insulin shots, getting information on how to feed her, and what to watch out for.
Now that we are home, I am totally overwhelmed. I go from being mad, to being scared, to feeling guilty that I didn’t have her checked before. I have to hold her down to give her a shot and I think it may scar her for life. I can’t explain to her what is going on. I feel like it might be my fault for not checking closely enough. If I used a different a sperm donor this might not have happened; maybe it runs in his family.
I am mad at Sarah’s doctor and mad at myself. I don’t have family in the area. I have lots of friends, but they don’t have children so they don’t have any idea what I am going through. I’m not even sure what my question is. I guess I am just yelling, “help!”
A: I understand all of your feelings, being a mom myself. It is so frightening when a child is ill, and you can’t fix it. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to have to hold your little one down when you give her a shot. You desperately need someone to talk to who has experience with having a child with diabetes. This can help you sort out your feelings as well as gain some advice on how to deal with what you and your family are going through.
I would first contact you pediatrician and see if he knows of a support group in your area. Also, check your local paper to see if they have a listing for support groups. There are several sites on line that are diabetes support groups. For information you can call American Diabetes Association at 888-342-2383. There may be a local phone number for this in your area, check the phone book. It is important for you to reach out to others with experience with diabetes that can help you emotionally, give you information, and generally be there for you during this time.
Balance in the genders
Q: I am just going to get right to the point with you. I think because you are a lesbian you spend more time on lesbian problems than on gay men’s problems. I would like to see your column more balanced. I love to read what you have to say, but I want at least half of the letters about MEN. Our problems are different than the women’s issues, and I think your column would be even better if it was more balanced, gender speaking that is.
A: Thanks for the input. I do try to balance out the gender of the letter writers whom I have published. But, I can’t control the gender of the person who writes a letter. Although, for the most part, I don’t believe that gender has much to do with problems. Most of us can relate to relationship issues, work problems, children, coming out, and all the other issues that people write to me about.