Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It was tempting to rip the packaging open last Wednesday and click-click a Dexcom sensor into my daughter. My cautious nature stopped me.
In fact Dex is still nestled in its packaging, though not as tightly as it was last week.
I've taken it out and set the time, set up the alert parameters, and played with the different sound choices.
I've read through the start-up info and viewed the online tutorial.
This is where I keep getting stuck:
This terrifying looking contraption will insert the sensor onto and underneath my daughter's skin.
Every time she looks at it, my daughter says, 'that thing's just scary looking.' It's not really said with terror, just as a matter of fact. And she's right.
I spent some time yesterday trying to alleviate my apprehension about this process by typing 'dexcom sensor insertion' into my trusty search engine.
Guess what? It worked.
This video from Diabetic Danica and this one by One Happy Diabetic were the best for what I needed, which was to see how to use this thing on a real person. I needed it explained step by step in a peer-to-peer sort of way. Watching multiple videos taken from multiple angles was helpful too. One person, for example, made it very clear how to tell if the transmitter is clicked into place perfectly by checking the two little tabs in the back. Others showed helpful adhesive advice. This one from Arden's Day was uniquely great since it shows a dad putting it on his child. It's the one I'll show my daughter before we begin.
Blogs were helpful too. Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes' kid is in my kid's age range, and she's funny, so her recent dex experience was helpful to review again. Diabetic Advocate's tips and tricks were clear and practical. As always,I consulted D-Mom Blog and SixUntilMe too.
I read and watched and skimmed countless other resources, and every one had something helpful or reinforced the key things to remember as we start up this week.
So in a nutshell, 'Yay Diabetes Online Community!' Advice from the manufacturer and our medical team is, of course, paramount. But seeing and reading about real people using this gizmo in real life was the extra piece I needed. My confidence has been built. Thank you!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
This is where needed to be yesterday afternoon. The 'to do' list was as endless as always but in a flash of wisdom I realized I needed to take a few minutes for myself.
It's been a long week. With my husband traveling, diabetes has been my responsibility alone. He generally takes late evening checks and every other overnight. As a person who needs her sleep, I'm dragging. During daylight hours, I've been working through the paperwork for a Dexcom system, analyzing new trends in blood sugar numbers in child who's grown an inch in one month, and troubleshooting my fair share of random incidents such as this one.
I could have done many things in the hour before school pick-up yesterday. I chose to take a walk.Views like the one above, the sound of ducks quacking, and the wind at my back were what I needed. The exercise sent me back energized despite my sleeplessness.
I often forget to do things like this for myself, to fuel myself up for the journey. It's never the wrong choice though. The to do list will still be there when I get back and I'll be better equipped to tackle it.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
My daughter is excited about World Diabetes Day this year.
She made postcards similar to the one above to send to 5 people around the country.
She's wearing blue from head to toe (almost...she'd now like a pair of blue shoes).
Her second-ever instagram post went up last night. She posted an image reading 'wear blue tomorrow for world diabetes day!'
She scrolled through images tagged #WDD this morning, liking and sharing. She was excited to find so many and excited to post her own later this afternoon.
She's intrigued by the idea of buildings lit in blue tonight and other unique events to raise awareness around the globe.
She's planning to do the big blue test in gym.
She likes that there's a day set aside to spread the word about diabetes and why we need a cure.
I love that she wants to do all these things. I love that she's not embarrassed to advocate for herself and the rest of the people in the world who live with diabetes.
May we learn from her example and find a way to raise awareness today, particularly beyond those who are already well aware of the challenges diabetes brings.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
One highlight of last weekend's 12th birthday celebration was a day out with two of my daughter's best friends. I took them to lunch, then a to pottery painting place. The party ended at our house with presents and brownies.
She checked her blood sugar as usual before her huge plate of french toast, and we guesstimated carbs as best we could.
We walked half a block over to the pottery place where the girls thoroughly enjoyed painting their own unique pieces. Almost two hours later we headed home.
Presents were opened. Happy Birthday was sung and brownies emerged from the kitchen complete with a candle. The girls enjoyed two apiece with tea or milk.
My daughter was well into her second one, approximately three and a half hours after she tested for lunch, when I realized she hadn't checked since.
At this point, did I:
1. Stop the giggly conversation and send her immediately to wash her hands and check?
2. Let her eat her brownie and giggle with her friends, bolusing for the carbs and hoping for the best?
For a couple of reasons I chose 2.
First of all I couldn't bring myself to allow diabetes to break up this birthday moment. She won't have another 12th birthday but diabetes will be a part of every day for the foreseeable future.
Secondly she appeared to be fine; not lethargic like she was very high and not out of it like she was very low. I really did think this through, and if looking at the big picture I'd had any cause for concern then I would have called a time-out.
Thirdly (and maybe I'm just rationalizing here) she was well into the second brownie. What information, exactly, were we going to get from this check? If she was high, would I correct the high and bolus the carbs? Or would I assume the high was at least partially from the brownies? If she was lowish, would I take off some of the carbs I would have bolused or assumed the brownies would shoot her back up anyway?
The end result? Her 90 minutes post-brownie number was 148.
This is obviously not medical advice. We check before eating 99.99% of the time as recommended by every endocrinology team on earth. We simply got lucky with the end result...a little extra birthday gift, perhaps.
Once I'd realized the mistake, the scene took on a bittersweet tone. I guess this is how other kids celebrate their birthdays. There's no awkward pre-cake pause. No blood is involved. There's no possibility that the dessert will be downsized due to an astronomical number. Nobody hovers as the candles are blown out to tally carbs and deliver insulin.
It was nice, if only for a moment, to forget.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The phone rang.
'School' read out on the caller ID.
When I answered, I could immediately hear the fuzzy echo of speakerphone.
My daughter's voice: "I don't know what my blood sugar is."
She has 2 meters at school, one with her and one in the nurse's office. There are 3 other kids with diabetes and the nurse has a back-up. There's no way this information wasn't available. "What do you mean?"
"I checked with the one in my bag in the classroom and I was 195 but I felt really high so I came down here anyway. I washed my hands and the one in the nurse's office says I'm 348. I checked again with the one in my bag and it said I was 297. Then we tried the nurse's spare one and it said I was 140."
The nurse chimed in throughout the story and concluded with, "We really aren't sure what to do next."
There I was, on the other end of the phone, expected to solve this problem.
Ultimately we decided that I would come to school with her meter from home, the one we use all day every day. She was instructed to drink some water and went back to class for the time it took me to get there.
I remembered on the way out the door that I had a bottle of control solution. I threw it in my pocket with the trusted meter.
Our meters at school checked out with control solution. The nurse's was a different brand so we couldn't test that one.
My daughter was called down from the classroom. She checked on 4 meters.
Personal Nurse's Office: 260
Nurse's spare: 254
We corrected using 260 as a safe average and sent her back to class. I left her home meter with her for the day with newly opened test strips.
Meanwhile, Strip Safely anybody? We need to keep encouraging the FDA to tighten standards. I can't figure how this was caused by anything but technology failure.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
It's been 3 years since my daughter has gone trick-or-treating on Halloween. First there was a freak snowstorm that put our town out of commission for a week. Then there was Sandy. Each year a different night was designated for trick-or-treat, but the experience lost some of its luster with the delay and the lingering damage we walked through as we navigated the sidewalks.
Below is the post I put together after last year's "Halloween." It shares our candy allocation system, which will be the same this year. Rereading it, though, I was particularly struck by how it highlights our Halloween philosophy. It's not about the candy. It's about wearing a fun costume, being with friends and visiting neighbors. Combine those factors with the excitement of going out ON Halloween night, and tonight should be spookily delightful.
No...this post isn't late. It's only the day after Halloween at our house. Our sense of time and connection to the rest of the world continues to be altered a bit from the after-effects of Sandy.
Glad for the opportunity to trick or treat, my daughter the witch met up with a blue and green striped monster and a werewolf for a some fun last night.
As is our tradition, we came home and sorted the winnings into four piles:
From left to right, we begin with the dish of candy to keep and enjoy over the next week. Next is the container of fast-acting carbs like smarties, sweet tarts and nerds. Third is the container of pretzels and chips, great to throw in the lunch box or to snack on. Last is the bag from which my husband and I will pull a few favorites before the rest gets donated.
I often get asked if Halloween is hard for my child because of diabetes. I have two answers. First, I clarify that she can enjoy candy in moderation. Then I talk about all of the other fun aspects of Halloween like costumes, pumpkins, being a little spooked, enjoying friends, and walking around after dark. Last night, we walked around a neighborhood which had only had power back for about 24 hours. People were so happy to have the kids come by and to catch up with their neighbors. Doing something so fun and frivolous after the week we'd had made this Halloween extra special.