Settled

As I lay here trying to calm my soul and my breath, my mind is racing. Some comments made recently hurt a little deeper than I should have let. Some people just cannot wrap their minds around my life.


They think I’ve settled. That I’ve taken some sort of easy path, because I’m not working a job for money. They wonder what I do with my time. Some think my talents are being wasted. Others say it’s a shame my life has turned out this way. It stings. No. It burns.


They think I’ve settled? Really? Trust me when I say this: I’ve never settled for anything in my life.

The glucose alarm goes off. He’s dropping. His blood sugar is 70.


Slow. Deep. Breaths.


l Iook at time. It’s 5:45am on a Sunday. Give him 15 minutes to respond to the alarm.

Symptoms when blood sugar starts to drop below 70:

  • anxiety, nervousness, rapid heart-beat

  • behavior changes similar to being drunk

  • blurred vision

  • cold sweats & paleness

  • confusion

  • drowsiness & weakness

  • excessive hunger

  • headache

  • nausea

  • nightmares or restless sleep

  • slurred speech


Sometimes this happens. I look at his numbers from the past 6 hours. They look good. He’s done nothing wrong; didn’t give too much insulin. Sometimes this happens and there is no reason.


It’s been 15 minutes. Time to call.


Call. no answer

call again. no answer

call again. no answer


The wispy cloud of worry that always follows me has become a thunderhead and is wrapping around me like a dense fog.


call again. no answer

call again. no answer

call again. no answer

20 phone calls. Listening to 120 rings. Waiting


Start texting. Maybe the text tone will wake him.


no answer


keep trying. keep breathing. slow. deep. breaths.


He continues to drop. Quickly. Now he’s at 51…


I wake my husband. We use his phone; it has a different ring tone. Maybe it will wake him.


call again. no answer

call again. no answer

call again. no answer


text again. no answer


Symptoms when blood sugar starts to drop below 40:

  • unable to eat or drink

  • seizures and convulsions

  • loss of consciousness

  • coma

  • death


Fear comes to sit. I give it space. It’s large and dark and sitting so close I feel its heaviness on my chest. My skin is clammy. My heart is racing. My mind is racing. I remind myself, “You know what to do. Stick to the plan. Breathe. Don’t let Fear replace the knowledge in your head. You know the steps to take. You are the expert. Do it.”


call again. no answer

call again. no answer

call again. no answer

text again. no answer


We have a protocol to follow.


Start to text the roommates to see if they can wake him.


call again. no answer

call again. no answer

call again. no answer

text again. no answer

48 phone calls. 288 rings. 20 texts.


no answer


Grab a bag to pack for the hospital.


Set a timer. He has 10 minutes to respond before we call 911.

call again. no answer

call again. no answer

call again.


He answers


He heard his roommates’ knocks on the door. He’s at 47…


He stays on the phone with me as he drinks a juice. I hear his breath. I keep talking to him. Together we wait for the blood sugar number to rise.


Up it goes. He’s at 83.

I tell him to rest and I will call again in an hour.


He goes back to sleep. His body needs to recover.


I watch his numbers closely for the remainder of the day. Thankfully, he is living nearby. Thankfully, his roommates were home. Thankfully…


For the rest of the day, my husband and I stay close to each other. The squeeze of a hand, a small smile. We reassure each other. We breathe deeply and we try not to let what just happened shake us. We direct our focus to our youngest son and get on with the day.


Later that night, he comes home. He is smiling. The three of us discuss our protocol (what went right and what went wrong), make a few tweaks, and give long tear-filled hugs. He leaves to go back to his apartment.


This wasn’t the first time this has happened and I know it won’t be the last. With his combination of diseases, the low blood sugars happen more frequently than the highs.

Over the next few days, I try to go through my normal routine, but I’m on edge. I can’t sleep through the night. Every sound has me jumping for my phone.


My nerves are like shards of glass under my skin. I’m prickly. My senses are heightened. I can’t get myself calm.


I start to write. I can’t.


I start to cook. I lose focus.


I wander around my empty house. I’m shaken.


I sit in front of the TV. So many choices but nothing I want to see.


I lay down and grab a pillow. I lay the pillow on my chest. When the boys were babies, I used to love to lay with them on my chest. The weight of them, the smell of them, the cadence of their breath.


I grab a blanket. It’s soft and warm and helps me stay weighted down.


I realize I don’t want to watch anything new. I don’t want anything to surprise me. I cannot feel any more emotions, but I need to look at something and hear something so my brain can slow down. I try to let Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan distract me.


The thoughts surface again. As I lay here trying to calm my soul and my breath, my mind is having trouble resting. Their comments surface again. “Settled.” (sigh)


I think about what happened on that Sunday. What if….? Well, I can’t even finish that sentence. Nothing good will come from finishing that sentence. But, you know what?

We are ok. We made it through. He is ok.

I knew what to do in a terrifying situation. I was focused and strong.


This is what I do now. This is my job. I feel fortunate that I can help him. My husband is thankful that I was willing to give up my career for this new path because he can't. I am thankful that my son lets me help him. He knows I have his back. He knows I will do whatever I can to make his life easier, better.


And suddenly, I feel it…my mind, my nerves, my heart…I've settled.