The girl got sick. She came home from her art class on Saturday and went straight to her room. I came in a half hour later to find her inexplicably lying on the floor. So I said,
“What are you doing down there, you silly old sausage?”
She didn’t reply but that was okay because she rarely does. Halfway back down the hallway the notion hit me that she never, and I mean never, lies on the floor. She stands, she sits, she bends, she even snuggles in bed – all positions controlled and easily reversible. NEVER does she lie on the floor.
Sure enough, a blood sugar test showed she had a reading of 1.8 mmol/L. To get this into perspective, the normal blood sugar range is between 3.5 and 8.0, or if you’re using the American standard, it converts to 32.4mg/dl, which in anybody’s standard is pretty damned low.
First in went the honey, then another blood test. Cycle repeated until The Girl’s fingers were speckled red with pin-pricks and the honey pot was half full. Finally her sugars rose to 19.7 – which is way over the top. But slightly more managable.
By now she was disoriented and wobbly on her feet so I manoeuvred her into bed, spoon-fed her some dinner and told her to rest. Best thing, right?
Apparently not if you’ve contracted norovirus! I’m not going into details. They’re all way to ugly to mention. Let’s just say it was a long and messy process that involved a seemingly endless cycle of, “changing jammies, changing bedding, washing everything, then repeating”. All Saturday night, every hour, on the hour.
The next morning I looked like something out of that Michael Jackson Thriller video. My sister, Chookie Lou (not her real name), called and asked if she should drive the three and a half hours from her place up north to come and help me. I stoically told her the girl was sick but fortunately, I never get sick so I was okay.
I spoke too soon.
That bullet I thought I’d dodged ricocheted off the bathroom wall, resounded off the porcelain and hit me at 5:30pm. So there we both were, stuck in the “change jammies” cycle, except now the recurrence had sped up to every half hour.
Finally, at 1:30am I forced myself up out of bed feeling like one of the not-quite-fast-enough at the Running of the Bulls and took her blood sugars again. A whooping 3.2!
I staggered into the kitchen and squeezed half a dozen oranges and grabbed a bottle of lemonade from the fridge. I believe that saved our lives. Or at least, it saved a tiny percentage of what passes for my sanity along with several changes of bedding.
It’s taken us a few days to recuperate. I’ve lost 2kg in weight and learned the difference between the American and the New Zealand standards of blood sugar measurements. Every cloud, so they say.
And hey! I’m still here. And you know what?
I feel good. I love that I feel well again. I love that the girl is getting well again. (Even though she’s now howling because Crash Bandicoot isn’t going the way she planned).
I know it’s tough when you’re the first one up, last one down. I know it sucks when you’re the one those around you lean on, and you only have yourself for support. I know it’s lousy when you get so low you seriously wonder if you’re doing it right.
But when you get to the other side and the sun comes out; when the washing’s done, the bed’s are clean and all The Girl wants is her music on, that’s when you can look back, know you’re stronger than you thought, that you have the resilience to keep going, and the strength to survive.
And that’s when you know you’re truly blessed.