Sunday, February 17, 2008

it's in the blood

Having officially survived the grueling demands of this weekend, I am finally at liberty to address the weight pressing on my heart. It's a text Brandy sent me from the doctor's office Friday, and I haven't been free to contemplate it until just this minute.

"Insulin."

I won't soon forget the expression on her face as she walked in with a tester, needles, a handful of prescriptions, and the knowledge that, at thirty, she was insulin dependent. But the look was fleeting, for she immediately set to work on all of the madness to which we had committed ourselves this weekend. To say that B is stoic is to say that the ocean is big. She is a warrior. When gang members bludgeoned someone to death on her street, she chased them away without pause. When I got a tumor last year, she carried my entire family through the week during which we didn't know if it was cancer. She even goes after those meaty, hairy-ass spiders, when I vote to call 911. But this was a blow. A big one. Insulin. Forever.

A lot of people are diabetic and have to take insulin shots. But a lot of people aren't important to me. Sorry, but they're not. She is.

As if insulin weren't bad enough, she has inherited a little collection of setbacks from her parents that makes things even harder, though she'll never complain. She will henceforth be adhering to a diet so strict as to make you cry, all the while whipping up a magnificent, indulgent dinner for the rest of us. And with a smile.

Later she disappeared into her room to puncture herself for the first of a million times, and I admit to feeling really sad seeing her bleed. Worse yet is the sight of her sticking a needle into her stomach. I could easily have passed out, but not B. She was singing a lullabye to Maia the entire time, cool as a proverbial cucumber. I am a huge needle-phobe, so I'm sure my reaction was extreme, but it's still hard to know that she'll be enslaved to this ritual for most of forever.

I know this has jarred her, but not because she has said so. She's shaking it off and moving on, and I am immensely proud of her. As an act of solidarity, I've given up sugar, which I know doesn't compare to a needle, but it's my way of sharing in the sacrifice. I suppose I could also let her stick me... She swears it's no biggie, and she really wants to. Something about the new needles being so small, blah blah blah (feeling faint). Okay B, what I'm trying to say is that I'm so impressed with your strength, resiliency, and good attitude that I'M GOING TO LET YOU STICK ME WITH YOUR NEEDLE!

Hope it helps.

Love you.

(Can I have a cupcake when you do it?)

4 comments:

gail said...

this makes me really sad....

Chey said...

me too. i'm trying to be positive for her sake, but it breaks my heart a little, and i just want to hug her.

but she's tough, i'm telling you, and will probably be ordering me to stop my sniveling any second. :)

Brandy Kinch said...

Stop you sniveling! Just kidding. Yesterday was a pretty hard day, diabetes-wise, but I'm hanging in there. Mostly I just wonder, what were my parents thinking? If you are shaped like an apple on toothpicks and all your family has diabetes and heart disease, don't reproduce with someone shaped just like you whose family members all have diabetes and heart disease! I guess you can't choose who you momentarily love.
Your support and encouragement have been absolutely vital. Thanks for all your sweet words. They challenge me to continue keeping my chin up :)

Chey said...

i'm so proud of you. YES YOU CAN!

xoxo