INSULATED

She held the blanket to her face and breathed in. The fragrance hit her. She pictured him in sunshine, among the flowers of the rose garden they used to visit. She saw his smile and those wide blue eyes.

The fragrance wasn’t him of course. The smell that had stained the blanket was the medicine, the insulin that had kept him alive. How many injections over the years had she given him? Every day, at least five times a day, those little units of clear liquid that controlled his blood sugars and allowed him to grow.

And then the war had come. At first the chemists kept up a supply. Gradually it became inconsistent. The black market sprang up to fill the void. He had no choice, she had no choice. When the money ran out she did what she had to for the life-sustaining vials.

By the third year of the conflict even the bootleggers and charlatans had given up. There was no more insulin to be found in the city.

She did what she could for him. She nursed him as he grew weak, as his body ate away all its fat and energy reserves. She thought it would have taken longer, but it was over in a couple of weeks. What had he died of in the end? Kidney failure? Abdominal damage? In the end, after he had spluttered up blood one night, he simply fell asleep and didn’t wake up.

Her boy, only ten, was gone.

She pulled the blanket close to her as the shelling began for another night. She cowered in the corner of her apartment, smelling the sweet fragrance of life, and prayed once again for one of the bombs to fall on her.


rose-garden
Copyright Sue Vincent

This is a response to the #writephoto Prompt – Fragrant curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

68 responses to “INSULATED”

  1. Very touching story. Well framed words Iain. Miseries a war can bring in to life is very pathetic. The pain and sufferings can last decades and more.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A lovely but very sad and painful account of what this mother went through and the desperate lengths she went to care for her son only to lose him in the end. As Anjana said, it’s a very touching, well framed story that tugs at the heart strings.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Scary picturization, and then, when you say – he was ten years old ….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, that’s depressing. My grandson turns 10 in February.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My son has recently developed type-1 diabetes, so writing out my worst fears…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, that’s horrible. I am so sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s not ideal, but he (and we) are facing up to it and getting on with life, there’s not really any other way to deal with it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. A friend of mine of many years has a diabetic son. When I first met him, he was a little boy. Now, he’s graduated high school. There’s hope.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Absolutely, a lot has changed over the last few years and there are lots of advances in treatment all the time.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Oooh this is so sad but so well written at the same time! It’s beautiful and portrays how horrible war is. Then it was like another stab to the heart when you said that he was only 10! I was thinking it had been her husband all along. You are so good at those twists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – my own son has recently been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, so he is insulin reliant for the rest of his life. Needless to say, I hope war doesn’t break out anytime soon.

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      1. Sorry! I had read this and wasn’t able to respond at the time and now just remembered. Sorry about your son, a life change for him and for all of you. I totally agree with you about not wanting war to break out anytime soon. I really can’t fathom the life of the people that have to deal with living life in a war torn country . Makes you realize how blessed we are.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for coming back to give a comment, always appreciated.

          Like

  6. Dark and sad, but well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That had me in tears, Iain.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sue, very kind

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a sad story, and you told it so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Heartwrenching Iain, and I remember you mentioning about your son’s diagnosis. I hope you get things under control and into a fixed routine before too long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Things are going along fine at the moment Di, fingers crossed it continues that way

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      1. Good to hear Iain. Kids are amazingly resilient. Does he have an epi-pen for his insulin?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, although too young to use it himself at the moment, so relying on us and teachers at nursery to do his injections.

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          1. One of the things I was anxious about being a first aider at work was administering insulin, though the only guy who was dependent said not to worry and just to give him a mars bar and full coke as he’d be able to do it himself then.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I am already an experienced injector – no worries there. A new skill and useful to have.

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              1. It is, especially now.

                Liked by 1 person

  10. The death of a child is terrible, Iain. I think you would feel like this.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Beautiful story Iain The sadness of loosing a child must be unbearable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine what it would be like. Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  12. A heart-wrenching story of the loss of a child. Our first instinct, honestly, would be a desire to go too. I know it’s personal for you as well. I hope your son is doing okay with adjusting to the insulin. So thankful for advances in this area. My husband takes medications for diabetes. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Brenda, he is doing great so far, starting to settle down and getting used to counting carbs and injections.

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      1. That’s good to hear. =)

        Liked by 1 person

  13. oh, Iain that was amazing. so well told.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Violet, glad you liked it

      Like

  14. Brutal, and so touching.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So terribly sad… yet beautiful in its agony…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I feel for you Ian (especially with having three sons). Hope needs to spring eternal…A heart-breaking piece of writing. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. We are so dependent on each other to survive. Nothing good to be said about war in that regard. A difficult and sad story. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading. If only that dependency could cross opposing sides in times of war.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. A sad story made worse by the fact that it might easily happen the state the world is in 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I’m sure in some war-torn countries there will have been victims like this. Life is such a precarious thing, we often forget that.

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      1. Yes indeed we do until something turns around and slaps us in the face.💜💜

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I felt this in my heart. My daughter was diagnosed when she was 8, and she is now 25. This prompted me to post a poem I wrote 15 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s always comforting to hear stories of those who have managed the condition over the years. When my son was diagnosed we quickly found we were not alone and many parents and children were going through the same. I’m glad this meant something to you. Look forward to reading the poem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. […] poem was brought to mind when I read Insulated, by Iain […]

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well done, Iain. Sad and touching.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Iain.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Such a strong story, and sad in so many ways. A well written story.
    As so many have said, your son will learn to manage, you’ll be surprised. And it’s a lot to take on.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Very moving, Iain, the pain is as tangible as the scents on the blanket. Reading the other comments I was sorry to hear about your son. Diabetes of both kinds is in my family and those who have had it have lived long loved lives. I hope this for your son, treatments are improving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts Antonia, it is so reassuring to hear from those who have dealt with the condition and have lived full and loved lives 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh, my. So sad. Tugs at the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. That is quite a twist on that picture prompt.
    But so realistic. Because, yeah, I can picture a lot of people who would die if a war meant a shortage of meds. I know a lot of people who are dying/ getting worse because, even with insurance, they can’t afford their meds and food and shelter, even while working two jobs between hospital stays where doctors say unhelpful things like “stay home and rest, you can’t keep working the jobs, but here’s another bill which puts your balance at just over half a million dollars, will that be Visa or American Express?” Yeah, like adding 23% interest on from a credit card is going to help with the unaffordable bills.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are so lucky over here to have the NHS. The cost of treating my son’s diabeties would cripple our household if we had to pay for everything. Even then, a lot of the new treatments aren’t available on the NHS, and if we want the best for him, we may be forced to pay in the future. It’s a vicious circle. On top of that I couldn’t help thinking that if we lived in say Syria, our son would not be able to survive – which is a scary thought, and one that makes me think of the plight of those caught in war zones more keenly.

      Like

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