Much of the last few months has consisted of words and phrases like this: “Again? Still? Damn. Don’t worry! I know it’s upsetting, but we’ll figure it out.”

Despite our good efforts, Nick’s glucose monitor beeped numbers at us in the 200 range. The 300 range. A couple times, his blood sugar even surpassed 400. That’s really bad. But in between, he’d have some safe numbers, some numbers that reassured us even as they made finding a pattern – and thus, a cause that could be responded to – difficult. Consulting the doctor helped. Adjusting his insulin based on her suggestion improved things. But the numbers still skew higher than we’re comfortable with, push Nick’s average farther out of the “good” range. 

I know to expect this. On the surface, we’re rolling with it without too much drama – Nick’s occasional frustration is enough to remind me to keep my calm and stay comforting. I fetch a pint glass of water, go over what could have caused the elevated glucose. Too much snacking? Not enough exercise? Should we increase his nightly Lantus amount? I struggle to force the recording of information; how can we find a pattern without knowing the details of what he ate, what he did, how his blood sugar rose and fell throughout the day? Everyone’s so busy, though. School, work, sports, homework, groceries, laundry… suddenly the 9 p.m. insulin alarm’s ringing and I’m again shocked to find the day has slipped through my fingers, despite my every effort to keep a grip, not let it get away.

So, the proverbial deep breath, the hastily jotted details, the emails to the doctor, the adjustments, the re-reading of the reference books, the reminder that he’s doing great, really. Playing fall baseball and soccer at school, surfing when conditions permit. Nick’s a happy kid, mostly. A smart-ass with a typical 12-year-old boy’s lowbrow sense of humor, sure, but I’d rather have him laughing inappropriately than moping around. Which is why it kills me to witness the erasing of that grin by bad news. So many finger-pricks and shots all day long and he doesn’t complain. But the high blood sugars… those worry him, remind all of us of his vulnerability, makes us feel as if our management of this disease is as much chance as science.