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.
"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."