It’s not that it gets easier, sliding a fat needle under his skin, popping a lancet into his fingers at night and squeezing till the drop of blood grows large enough to measure. It just gets repetitious, and like anything, enough repetition will dull the senses. What is left to say? He holds still preparing for the set change, needs the house to quiet, everyone to keep from moving so he can focus on being ready for the pain. “Go,” he says and I push the tube-wrapped needle into his lower back at a slight angle.

Sometimes the movement is smooth, allowing me to quickly pull the needle back out, leaving the tubing in place. I secure it with adhesive and we’re done. Sometimes the needle catches, is too dull, I don’t know exactly. All I know is that sometimes it doesn’t go easily. He sucks in his breath. I wince, hating that it’s hurting him. That I’m hurting him.

At night, I tiptoe upstairs to check his blood sugar. I turn on the hall light, open his door, remove the meter and lancet device from his kit. The stupid lancet isn’t always sharp enough, which means I have to poke his finger repeatedly, hard and then pushing in hopes enough blood will come out. At midnight, I have little patience. At 3 a.m., I have none. I have to wake him for assistance. I am an inept vampire, unable to fulfill my simple task without help from my victim.

And after a bout of “good” numbers, we’re back to high high high. Is it because he’s not exercising enough? Because he’s growing? Because he’s not tracking his eating closely enough? Because he needs more insulin overall? I make suggestions. He rolls his eyes — he is a teenager, after all, and his mother is dumb and bothersome. But still, I keep talking. We can argue about whether or not his room should be cleaned, but this, his health and the possible long-term consequences of not combating the high blood sugars, this we must solve.

At least one concern has been put to rest for now: he’ll be able to keep getting medical care. That’s a significant relief in a world where reprieves from worry are hard to come by.