Monday, May 16, 2005

Little League

I wrote this on Saturday afternoon, and just now got around to posting it....

Last night, Ryan and Evan simultaneously came down with the same rotten virus I’d been battling for nearly 15 days--- the lingering chest cold that had stolen my voice for four days, laid me out for three more, triggered a bout with bronchitis, and just wouldn’t let go until a lymph gland in my neck joined the fight by swelling out to goiter-like proportions (sorry for the yucky image, but it scared me too, so I had to share). This miserable cold virus had now invaded the bodies of my husband and youngest child.

Thank god it hasn’t touched Joseph. Yet.

Isn’t that just nuts? I hate to see Ryan sick. And my little girl. Tossing and turning last night with a fever. Both of them coughing. And the only silver lining in all of this is that Joseph doesn’t have it. Because for him, it would be so much worse. His sugars would go through the roof.

But Joseph is fine. And because he’s okay, his little league game was a go this morning.

At 8:45 AM.

Now why, if I might be so bold to ask, do they schedule these things so very early on a Saturday morning? Are they hoping to give families the rest of their Saturday to themselves?

Sounds reasonable.

Except that I don't want the REST of my Saturday. I want my early morning.

You see, because Evan was sick last night, she was up virtually all night. This means that I was up with her. And, of course there were the overnight checks of Joseph’s blood sugar, which remarkably, Ryan handled, but I can never quite sleep through. Also, we have our family movie night on Friday, so we always stay up a bit later than usual watching it with the kids.

(BTW, it was my pick— Finding Neverland, which I highly recommend. We all loved it. I was weeping by the end.)

Anyhow, if I could return a moment to my whine. This morning– no sleep. At 7am, I got up, made coffee, then realized we were almost all out of half & half (Damn! Should I take the rest or leave some for Ryan? Hmmmm. Aw hell, I love the guy. And we both love the half & half in the coffee, so I mix a little with milk, and have one lonely, less-than-creamy cup.) Joseph is up with me now. We measure out his Cocoa Krispies and milk, then bolus. His blood sugar, by the way, is 105. Very nice.

Soon he is in his uniform, and we’re out the door. Oh, speaking of his uniform, his team name -- Virchow Krause -- is plastered across the back of it. Now what’s the deal with that? I mean, I realize these little league teams need the sponsorship of local businesses to survive, but why can't they be the Virchow Krause Tigers or, better yet, Red Sox? Instead, they are named for a large local accounting firm that has a reputation for being a sweatshop. Doesn't exactly give you that "baseball-apple pie" kind of feeling, now does it? Last week Joseph and his team faced the fearsome Pertzborn Plumbing. (Ryan and I called them the “Plumbers” – we thought that sounded cooler) And soon, Joseph will be playing First Choice Dental. Then it's on to Keleny Top Soil.

Poor kids.

Ah well, it really was nice to be out at a baseball game on a sunny, crisp morning. Once that first hit of caffeine took hold, that is. Sitting in the bleachers, holding tight to a thermos of hot (albeit half & half-less) coffee, watching my boy warm up. Cheering him on as he made a beautiful play from left field. I could almost forget he had diabetes. And since he disconnects from the pump when he plays, I’m sure he can too. When Joseph comes up to bat, his teammates chant his name. He’s never had that before. The camaraderie that comes with being on a real team.

When I come to the dugout to check his sugar halfway through the game, Joseph resists.

"Can we do this later?" he asks.

I tell him "No. It's important. We haven't checked since before breakfast, and you've been disconnected for an hour and a half. "

I can tell he's running high when he grabs the lancet out of my hands, looking around to see if any of his teammates are watching. They aren't. It's a close game, and his team is at bat.

Joseph's sugar is 217. I opt not to correct. He's going to be very active. And a spike two hours after breakfast isn't unusual. And besides, he is still a bit shy about his diabetes around his teammates. None of these kids go to his school. So whenever he checks his sugar or does anything with his pump, if anyone notices, they stare. I try to encourage Joseph to explain what he's doing, but I think he'd like to view the baseball field as a diabetes-free zone. A place where he really can forget that he has this disease. I'm not sure how safe that is. What if something were to happen on the field? What if he had a severe low? But I will always be there. Or Ryan. Or both of us.

Joseph returns to the dugout. While waiting for their at-bat, he and his buddies blow bubblegum bubbles, obviously trying to see who can blow the biggest one. Joseph's is just as big. Just as impressive as the rest. And, it really doesn't matter that his is sugar-free.


Tekakwitha said...


It's nice to hear that Joseph can just relax and be a kid! I walked by a big park on Saturday and saw 3 different little league games going on. The little guys/girls are just too cute!


Violet said...

I love the glimmers of normal life this post captures--the way Joseph is, after all, a kid, and how you've found ways to balance his care with that ever-important fact. Another of the gifts you give to him every day.

Hope the evil virus has finished making its rounds.

Shannon said...

If you're concerned about his pump getting in the way during games, there's a harness with the case on the back that he can wear. Brendon wears one and he never has to take it off during Little League games. We cut his basal back by 50% so that he doesn't get too low.

Just a thought.

Shannon said...

I forgot to add that he can wear it under his shirt so that it isn't noticeable.

Tyler Godek said...


Anonymous said...


I enjoyed the blog on baseball from last May. My grandfather Henry founded Pertzborn Plumbing in the roaring 20s and sponsored many teams through the years. Happy to hear my brother Bob is keeping the tradition alive. (I bet those jerseys were kelly green!) Grandpa always painted everything green since that was the cheapest paint one could purchase during The Great Depression.:)
I hope the "plumbers" didn't leave your little boy feeling "flushed" or "plunged" following the game.

John Pertzborn
St. Louis