Ellen’s Pajamas

Ellen's PajamasFriends and family members who deal with diabetes challenges, also need support

“Ellen, you’ve been so heavy on my heart, I needed to call. Are you OK?”

“I can’t believe you called,” said Ellen, my neighbor. “The baby’s really sick and the doctor hasn’t called me back.”

Her baby, Jimmy, had just been diagnosed with Type I. I threw my winter jacket over my shoulders and ran toward Ellen’s house, thinking how difficult it must be to have a fifteen-month-old with diabetes. It was hard enough with a fifteen-year-old! I felt grateful that Joshua communicated so well with Jordan and me about his diabetes, even though teenagers can be selective about speaking to their parents.

I found Ellen in her robe and pajamas, pacing the kitchen floor with Jimmy in her arms. She was understandably exhausted and frustrated that she had not heard from the pediatrician in four hours. To calm both of them, I suggested we put Jimmy in the bathtub. He could play, Ellen could relax a little, we could get an accurate reading of his blood sugar, and we would know how much insulin to give him before lunch. After his meal, Jimmy took a nap and Ellen and I chatted over a cup of tea.

“I understand how overwhelmed you feel, Ellen,” I told her. “It feels like bringing home your first newborn. At first, I measured and weighed every morsel Joshua put in his mouth. We ate precisely thirty minutes after he took his insulin injection. We even put a baby monitor in his room in case he had a low blood sugar reaction in the middle of the night.”

I suggested that she rest before her other three sons arrived home from school. Before I left, she understood that it was going to take time, patience, and understanding until her family got used to living with her son’s diabetes. Yet as she showed me to the door, Ellen wearily asked, “Will I ever get out of my pajamas?”

“Yes, you will,” I promised as we hugged good-bye.

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