Vulnerable. Ugh! We've become vulnerable in the midst of our diabetes. It's not a good feeling, not a state we want to sink our feet in and settle down into. It feels kind of "muckish". Ugh . . .again. Simple fact is, when something isn't working right, like your pancreas, for instance, you lack knowledge, you're inexperienced, you're scared, you're trying to act normal when you feel anything but normal, you're just plain exhausted because of your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you got the day your child was diagnosed with this disease . . .and you Just, Plain, Want to go back to the way things were supposed to be . . . . you are now vulnerable. Suddenly, you're thrust into a new world of needles, glucometers, carb counting, insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems, blood glucose data management systems. And there's more than one brand to choose from! They all promise so much: better sugars, less pain, more accuracy, a good night's rest (hah! that's a good one!), more alarms, less alarms, more user-friendly, more high-tech - it leaves your head spinning; spinning helplessly into the Vulnerable.
Enter Dog #1 - Sonja. After all the promises of better sugars, less pain, more sleep, yada, yada, yada, we discovered our first spontaneous, miracle, diabetes alerting dog. Let me tell you of our first experience with this God-gift. My mother has, what we affectionately call, a "mexican mutt" named Sonja. She's a big, black "somethin'-or-other" alpha-dog, and, boy, is she smart. We had just arrived in California, the boys and I, and we were all playing outside in the front lawn with Sonja when Sonja started pushing her nose against Little Guy's chest. He giggled and laughed and tried to avert her nose away, but she wouldn't stop. She was becoming a nuisance with her insistent nose pushing. "Sonja, No!" my mother urged. Sonja only stopped nosing on him to move towards me. She threw her front paws on my chest and wouldn't get down. It seemed excessive. "It seems like Sonja is trying to tell me something, Mom. Do you think she is?"
"Sonja, Get Down!" commanded my mother. "I don't know what's gotten into her. Sonja, Down!"
"I think she's trying to tell me something. Do you think his sugar is low? Is she trying to tell us something about his sugar? I've heard about those dogs that alert diabetics to sugar lows. Do you think Sonja's one of them," I asked with concern?
"I don't know. Take his sugar. See what's happening."
I asked Little Guy, "Do you feel low?" He shook his head, no. I pulled out his glucometer, loaded the needle and pricked his finger of its blood. The glucometer hesitated, blinking out the seconds " 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1." In the next moment, something miraculous happened. Something so amazing. Something only the Great Designer could dream up. Sonja was lying down quietly on her haunches right next to Little Guy, and the glucometer read "68". That was too low! My Little Guy's sugar was low and Sonja knew it even before he knew it! I gave him a juice box with Sonja sitting so patiently at his side, waited our usual 10-15 minutes with a low, and once again, miraculously, Sonja got up from the Little Guy's side and meandered calmly back into the house. His sugar was 105, back to normal. She had done her job! Sonja had instinctively sensed Little Guy's sugar low and had figured out how to alert me of it. It was a miracle!
Vulnerable, us? Absolutely. But we are not left to our own devices (or the diabetic devices of Medtronic, Omnipod, and Real-Time CGMs - my fellow diabetic families know what I'm talking about ;-) Thank God we have God and his wonderful creations - Dogs. Who would've ever known it would come down to this for us. . . . a real, live D.A.D. Ah-Maaa-zing.