Luke is sick again. The cold has sent his blood sugar climbing, which requires extra insulin to bring it down. How much is anyone’s guess (I was initially horrified to find how much insulin dosing is based on guesses), so I’m sleeping in his bed to keep a close eye on things. If I’ve given him too much insulin, he’ll go low in an hour or two. Too little, and the high blood sugar will stay or drift higher. The smell of maple syrup pervades the room. Thick, rich, and sweet, it is lovely – and disturbing. His blood sugar is drifting in the high 200s, and the sugar is spilling out into his urine.
When he feels me wiping down his fingers, he extends the index finger – even asleep, he knows the routine. The glucose meter beeps, I confirm, and extra insulin is on its way.
As I crawl back under the covers, my mind drifts to the word mellitus. “Diabetes mellitus” – Greek diabanein, to pass through, and mellitus, Latin for honey. Ancients noticed that flies and ants swarmed to the urine of diabetics, and doctors in the Old and New Worlds diagnosed diabetes by tasting urine. That was back in the days of leeches and bleedings, but leeches have made a comeback, and I regularly draw blood from Luke’s fingers to dose his insulin, so who’s to say medicine has changed so much?
He sighs, and I shut down thoughts about complications from high blood sugar – the alarm will go off in an hour for another check, and it’s better to get some sleep during what will likely be a night broken up by alarms.
I silently wish him sweet dreams, bittersweet pun intended.