Thursday, December 11, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not


We don't usually get down to the actual last drop, but this is what the pump screen looked like when my daughter got home from school yesterday.

When she started pumping (at 3), I put about 40 units in the cartridge with each site change.  We're up to 100 now and it looks like we need a little more.

Although maybe when Christmas cookie season has passed she'll be less likely to come home running on fumes.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Enough Already

Here's an abbreviated list of things I wish I never had to do again:

-Hear my alarm clock at 2 a.m.

-Receive a text that has only a blood sugar number in it.

-Answer a call from the nurse's office.

-Hear "I feel low."

-Do math before my first cup of coffee or in the midst of a party.

-Lug pounds of diabetes supplies through a museum or up a mountain.

-Worry whether my child is passed out somewhere.

-Explain type 1 diabetes.

-Argue with a pharmacist, insurance company representative or medical provider.

-Support my child through a disappointment or frustration diabetes has caused her. 

This parenting a child with diabetes job is intense and unrelenting. Being responsible for keeping another person alive,safe and healthy is a stressful job. It involves countless physical, mental and emotional tasks every day. I must also help with the math homework, do some laundry, make dinner and provide sufficient regular-people parenting support to a 13 year old.  In my spare time I should surely contribute to society in some productive way.  Then I need to get out to see the latest movies, read the big novels, exercise, and make time for the rest of my loved ones.

I've heard diabetes described as a juggling act among carbs, insulin, activity and multiple other factors, and it's a good  metaphor.  There are occasional days when this juggling act seems possible.

But then diabetes throws in a knife or a flaming torch and all those other balls must instantly lose my attention.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seasonal Chaos

'Tis the season.  The busy one.  With the endless stream of places to be and people to see.  The one with the cookies and cider.  The one with distractions around every corner.

With the aforementioned cookies, cider and chaotic schedule, diabetes should really be getting more attention this time of year.  In a sense it does, with increased blood sugar checks and carb count research.

What we lose track of is the big picture stuff.  Does the basal rate or carb ratio need to be changed at dinner or has she been high after dinner every night because we spent the weekend eating leftover Thanksgiving pie for dessert?  How could we possibly do any kind of basal testing to see which we should change when there's leftover pie to eat for dessert?  If it seems something should be changed, can I manage to remember to do so when she and her pump are in the house with me or will I only think of it when she's at school or when we're together at a gathering at dinner time?  That's the current dilemma here.

Last week brought a night when it was tough to squeeze in just 10 minutes to do a site change.

Next week I need to remember to order the test strips.  It remains to be seen whether I can retain that in my memory bank (or even notice it among the items on the seasonally long to-do list) by then.

To a certain extent, I think letting the diabetes stuff sink a bit among the priorities is o.k. once in a while as long as it doesn't drop too far.  A little change of focus can do wonders for the mental health.

The trick in this season, which lasts over a month, is to bring it to the forefront again on a regular basis to address the troublesome spots.

So tonight, no pie.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

One Of Us Is Happy To Be Home

To celebrate my daughter's 13th (ack!) birthday, we spent a long weekend in Washington D.C.

We stayed in a lovely downtown hotel.  We walked everywhere and once we got to our destinations, walked some more.  We toured the Capitol and visited countless monuments and statues including a trip to the top of the Washington Monument. We enjoyed a few Smithsonian museums and got pictures of the White House from every allowable angle.  Our only Metro train trip was to the National Zoo where Bau Bau, the baby panda was adorable.   We ate in a couple of incredible restaurants, and on the actual birthday we ordered room service breakfast as a very special treat. We had an amazing time.


She was low at the Library of Congress, the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, the panda exhibit, and on many street corners.  She was high, and drinking contraband water, in the Capitol building and at the top of the Washington Monument.  And here's a hint: don't eat a room service continental breakfast complete with a yummy cinnamon roll and then get in the car for several hours.  Your birthday morning will be spent in a haze of dexcom alarms, people handing you bottles of water, and highway rest stops.

I can't remember a vacation Diabetes hated more than this one.  The Dexcom graph looked like a never-ending roller coaster.  High right after breakfast.  Low by 10.  Creeping up by lunch, then high-ish by 2. Crashing by 4.  High after an incalculable restaurant dinner (with dessert!!!) but coming down alarmingly quickly during the walk back to the hotel.  Or the complete opposite, depending on the day.

Most frustrating was that we were actively trying to prevent these swings.  She checked often.  Dexi was a constant companion.  There were temp basals and calorie king app checks and taste tests of foods to judge their contents.  Yet we were left wondering if the end result would have been just the same if we'd put in much less work.

We kept going, with our usual 'diabetes isn't going to stop us' attitude and enjoyed the capitol to its fullest. My daughter was a trooper and despite feeling the effects of those highs and lows, kept enjoying everything she was seeing. The only thing I wish we hadn't seen so much of were the city's benches and stone walls.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


"Do my doopities?"

I still remember the first time my daughter asked this question.  She was very low.  She had some juice.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

Within a couple of months of being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 13 months, my daughter had made up this word.  "Doopities" meant checking her blood sugar.  Nonsensical?  Absolutely.  But when it was time for food or bed, we'd say, "let's go check your blood sugar," and she'd say "doopities."

"Do my doopities?"  The first time she asked this out of the blue, she was maybe 24 months old.  She felt low.  She knew what she needed to do.  It was a bittersweet moment for sure.  Mostly, though, I was relieved.

From the day we brought her home after being diagnosed, we spent every waking moment watching her like a hawk.  Was she slowing down?  Were her eyes glazy?  Was she pale?  Why was she crying?  Was she lying in the grass because it was fun or because she didn't feel well?  Was it o.k. to let her play in the sandbox by herself 40 yards from where I was weeding the vegetable garden?

After this first request for 'doopities,' we were not, of course, home free.  She was 2. We watched her like a hawk for several more years.  We still usually picked up on lows before she did.  We still needed to be responsible for keeping her safe.  Yet at that moment, we turned a little bend which brought us all the way to where we are today.

Now that's she's 12, it's increasingly rare that I'm the one suggesting she check her blood sugar.  Once in a blue moon there will be excessive crying.  Those eyes still noticeably glaze over sometimes.  More often than not, though, she catches lows on her own.

But these days she just says, "I need to check my blood sugar."