Posts Tagged With: diabetes type 1

No Filter December- Day 28: Flu With a Side Of Diabetes

So, the flu hit. I took the day off yesterday, and was planning to lay low today too, but then the 12 year old made himself breakfast.

Which would have been okay, but he has Type 1 Diabetes and gave himself enough insulin to cover for waffles and syrup.

Which also would have been okay, but the waffles turned out to be freezer burnt, so he couldn’t eat them, and once he has given himself insulin, he needs to eat within the next 30-45 minutes or his blood sugar could drop too low and he could pass out and the paramedics would then have to pay us a visit.

No problem, thought I from my cozy chair by the fire, he can just make himself some pancakes.  Except it’s 3 days after Christmas and I was sick yesterday so no one has been grocery shopping, so we were out of eggs, and all the other drivers in the house were either at church or sleeping off a late-night band practice.

There was no way around it. I had to run to the store to get eggs.

The 12 year old apologized profusely and promised me that he would run in and buy the eggs while I sat in the car, but once we got there, I felt okay so I said I would go in with him.

And then this happened and I realized I really should just have stayed put.014

Categories: Around Town, Christmas, Diabetes, Family | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Diagnosis: Diabetes. Winter Camp

Photo Credit: Karen Capps

Photo Credit: Karen Capps

It’s been three months since my son was handed a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.  They told us in the hospital that things would soon become just part of the routine, and we have found this to be true.

But every once in a while you still kind of stop and go, “Oh.  Right. Diabetes.”

Like this weekend, for instance.  The boy has gone to Winter Camp with the church jr. high group.  Now, this is my fourth child, and I have never had a problem putting a child on a bus for camp. I’ve been to enough church camps myself to know the routine well enough that I know they will be fine.

But, of course, this time it was different.  This was the first time I had to deal with the worry that Something Might Go Wrong.  And see, I’m not a worrier, so I don’t really do it well.  I swing from “Oh no, oh no, what if….” to stiff-upper-lipping it, with such rapidity and regularity that I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong.  Which then brings about a whole other kind of guilt as I worry that I’m not a good worrier and maybe I should be feeling worse than this.

And so, for the weekend, I am sticking to the mantra, “No news is good news.”  And I do mean mantra.  There are times when I’m chanting it, in between forcing myself to breathe.

I know that he’s going to be fine.  He’s been giving himself shots for months, and we stopped helping him with figuring doses a few weeks ago.  We even banned him from using the nifty spreadsheet I set up that figures the doses automatically.  And he’s been handling everything pretty well.

But, you know, he’s 11.  Eleven year olds struggle with brushing their teeth and changing their underwear on a regular basis.  Not to mention that when he is hungry and frantic to start eating, his math skills go out the window.


“Okay, no, let’s try that again. ”

(eye roll) “Moooom. It’s fine.  Just give me 7 units of insulin so I can eat.”

“No dear.  Seven units of insulin will result in a blood sugar of about, oh, 23.  Let’s do the math again.”

So I did a little training session with the two youth pastors that were going to camp, just so they would know what he needed to do and to make sure that he didn’t cut any corners.  Because, you see, when my older son was 10, he went to camp for a week, and when he got back he told me he took a shower every single day. But when I was pulling dirty clothes out of his bag, I came across a bar of soap… still in the wrapper.  Turns out he did take a shower every day.  He just didn’t bother to use soap.

So I was pretty confident that there were going to be some attempts at corner-cutting going on this weekend, and I had some good ideas about the specific areas in which the corners would be cut, and I shared this information with the pastors.  Unfortunately, in order to put that information in context, I had to give an overview of everything Ryan had to do every time he ate.  And this occurred, mind you, an hour before the kids started arriving at the church to get on the bus.

I was already thinking these men were saints for taking the buck-stops-here responsibility of a bunch of jr. high kids at camp, even though they do have an awesome team of counselors going with them, not to mentioned a fully-trained nurse on staff at the camp itself.  But having to deal with a crash-course in the realities of Diabetes right before the bus left has now raised them in my estimation to angels.

In fact, now that I think about it, perhaps I should be worrying about them more than I’m worrying about Ryan.

No news is good news.  No news is good news….

Categories: Camping, Diabetes, Family | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diagnosis: Diabetes. The Day of The Unraveling Of Mom.

stress strain redo

Stress Strain Chart: Wikipedia
Additional artwork mine. (I know, I know, it’s a gift)

Diary Entry from one week after Ryan came home from the hospital:

The crisis has passed, and we are now settling into our New Normal of Diabetes Regimen.  Ryan is handling everything very well, Alan is back at work, and we have recommenced school.  Everything is great.  I have nothing to complain about.

I am noticing, however, how very irritating people can be.  I can’t really explain this, but in the past few days, people have been so difficult to deal with.

Other people, you understand, not me.

It occurs to me that perhaps what is happening is that a combination of stress, sleep-deprivation and delayed-onset-motherly-freaking-out has begun to bring out in me my Inner Cranky Person.  I usually keep her well at bay (unless I lose something, but that only happens once in a while, and is TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE).

<Glares left and right just in a case a family member appears to say otherwise>

This week, however, my ICP seems to be making her voice known.  I worried about that for a few seconds, until I realized that I was too stressed, sleep-deprived and freaking out to really care, and reasoned that since I know many cranky people who live their daily lives requiring the world to walk on eggshells around them, it is actually possible to be cranky and not have the Entire World Blow Up.  Which is what I think, in the back of my mind, I believed would happen if I were to ever be impolite. So apparently, and I don’t remember actually doing this, but the signs are there that I have, apparently I decided at some point that it’s my turn to be cranky.

So here’s how today went:

<Fill this part of the post with errands all over town compounded by drivers being affected by the full moon and the fact that I was running these errands for a family member who was getting ready for a long-awaited trip, on which I was now not able to accompany her, given our current status of Newbie Diabetes Family, but I’m Mom, so I couldn’t act jealous.>

Extrapolate mood after that, factoring in a math lesson, once I got home, that was pretty much like this video:

Kid Snippets: “Math Class” (Imagined by Kids)

Also factor in the subsequent realization after this Math Lesson from Hades that I am going to have to enforce a gluten free diet with the child who struggled so much in the math lesson.  She had been on one in the past, but we eased her off it.  Let’s just say the symptoms have returned.  Lack of focus is one of them.

Giving shots is easy compared to policing gluten-freedom.  But I so NEED to have something else to do, so why not?

I finally tried to cook dinner, since my last two piano students mercifully stayed away for unknown reasons, (perhaps their guardian angels whispered warnings in their ears?) but we were out of hamburger buns, so I tried to call Alan to ask him to pick some up, but the son-of-a-goat-herder-phone-cord, which is long so that it can reach all over the kitchen, has reached that inextricably tangled state, and rather than calmly working on it while I talked to him, I just pulled as hard as I could on the ends in opposite directions and walked into the kitchen without really even looking to see if that worked, even though I knew darn well that brute force never works with the stupid cord when it is tangled.

And it hadn’t. So I knocked the whole phone on the floor, along with the stuff on the counter, which included my cell phone, which popped open, flinging its battery and cover all over the kitchen floor. Not to mention that the dang phone hung up at some point in all this violence, so I had to call Alan again, so at that point, the conversation went something like this:

Alan:  Hello! How are you doing?

Me:  Well the phone cord is tangled (still struggling with it) and it just won’t untangle (grunt) no matter what I do (grunt).

Inner Monologue:  This stupid cord! Why won’t it untangle? I’ll just pull harder! That’ll show it!

Alan:  Oh. (silence while he tries to figure out why I called him to tell him that)

Me:  Anyway, what time are you (grunt) coming home?

Inner Monologue:  It’s all Alan’s fault. It’s all his fault this thing is tangled like this.

Alan:  Um…  (silence while he tries to figure out why I am asking him this, since it’s the same every day)…  I should be there by 5:30.

Me : (Looking at clock for first time) Oh. It’s only 4:30. (grunt) Oh, I didn’t know it was 4:30. Never mind. I can get the buns myself.

desert & wine!

desert & wine! (Photo credit: ookalieoo)

Inner Monologue: I’ll go to Target. Then I can buy buns AND a cordless phone.  I’m going to buy some chocolate and junk food too and eat all of it with a glass of wine.

Alan:  Okay. Um. What buns?

Me:  (realizing I’m beginning to sound crazy) For dinner. Never mind. I can get them myself. I just didn’t know it was 4:30.

Alan:  Okay.

Me: My students canceled so…. anyway, I didn’t know it was 4:30.  Um…I have to go, bye. (hangs up before she does any further damage)

So I went and bought the ding-dang buns. No junk food, though, because when I got to the store, it inexplicably turned out to be the grocery store instead of Target.  And since I had foiled myself on my phone-replacement plan, I became sanctimonious and healthy and rejected all the rest of the promises I made myself over the cheese-whiffing phone cord and bought some nice vegetables instead of the junk food.

After dinner I could have kicked myself for not at least buying chocolate, however, and ate six somewhat stale cookies to make up for it.

And about halfway through the cookies I noticed that everyone had gone to the other end of the house, leaving me by myself, bringing me to the conclusion that embracing my Inner Cranky Person is all well and good, but there is actually a REASON that politeness is a better policy.

It has to do with not eating alone.

Categories: Diabetes, Family, Food, Homeschooling, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Diagnosis: Diabetes. The First Night Home

Welcome Home

Welcome Home (Photo credit: Matthew McVickar)

Arriving home from the hospital was everything it should have been.  The dogs went wild.  The house had been cleaned by a parade of friends and relatives.  Dinner was delivered, piping hot, at dinner time by another friend, along with Welcome Home balloons for Ryan.  I was feeling pretty optimistic about things.

And THEN I decided to treat Ryan to some ice cream.  You see, I noticed that he was starting to feel deprived with all the carb counting.  Reality set in that afternoon when he wanted a snack, which has to be under 10g of carbs, and the first thing he chose was a cookie… too high a carb count for even one cookie, and the second thing was a bowl of cereal, until I pointed out that in order to stay under 10g he would have to have just 1/4 cup of cereal.  So I offered him carrot sticks, peanut butter and a slice of turkey, but that is NOT a typical happy 11 year old boy snack. At least, not this 11 year old, not yet. He ate it because he was hungry but then he was quite sad.

So I went to the store and bought some ice cream.  14g for 1/2 a cup (incidentally, the “low carb” ice-cream had exactly the same carb measurement as the regular vanilla.  Whatever.).  Then, when I gave him his bedtime dose, I added enough insulin to cover those 14g of ice cream and let him have a bowl.  He was very happy and felt very normal.  I was the hero.

White Board | 219/365

What the dosage equation looked like to me at the time.
White Board | 219/365 (Photo credit: mfhiatt)

Until Alan decided to review the numbers we are supposed to use in figuring the dosage, which change for the nighttime dose.  He found a note on the page that said you are supposed to cut the dose in half if it’s bedtime and you are adding insulin to cover a snack.  There are a lot of complicated math-type and detail-type reasons why this is totally not my fault, including the fact that although my oldest son claims he heard the trainer mention this particular detail a number of times, I never did.   I heard related details, just not this particular one.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  At any rate, my bedtime dose was one unit high.  My hero status began to teeter.

Well, okay, then, so just ONE unit, that shouldn’t be a problem, I thought.  But we tested him again just in case (which means another poke in the finger).  It was lower than usual, but still very normal.  Actually, it would have been a good number except that I’d never seen it that low before.   But still well within normal, so I sent him to bed and figured it was fine.

Then came the 2 am check.

We didn’t actually HAVE to do it, but the nurse had suggested we do it for at least a few days until we get good at this.  So I volunteered to do it, because Alan hadn’t slept well ever since this all started, while I had been sleeping a good 8 hours every night, even at the hospital.  (I chalk that up to my training in Youth With A Mission, where we often slept on a school bus driving through the night, two to a bench seat).

The short version of the story is that things didn’t go perfectly.  To really communicate the angst of how badly it went, I think it best to share an excerpt from an email I sent around 3 a.m. to my friend Di in Washington, who works night shift. And let me just give this disclaimer: Yes, good Christian girls do swear sometimes.

…So I get up at 2 am.  I almost go back to bed, because, you know, I checked his blood sugar at 11 and it was okay, but they said 2 a.m., so I make myself get up and go check it.

Now, this means I have to get out the meter, and a test strip, and the pokey thingy, all by the light of my cell phone because the flashlight was in Ryan’s room instead of where I would need it BEFORE I went in.  So now I’m irritated.  So I go in there, trying not to wake up Ian, grab the flashlight, sit down on the edge of the bed and try to simultaneously hold the flashlight while inserting a tiny little strip of plastic into a tiny flat little hole, all the while peering through two pairs of glasses because I don’t have my contacts in and need my reading glasses to read the meter, and my hair of course keeps falling across my eyes, obscuring my view.  I get the damn strip in the damn machine, shove my bangs under the ear pieces of one of my pairs of glasses and grab Ryan’s hand to poke him.  Can’t see well enough to figure out where to poke the damn pokey thingy, and end up picking a spot nigh unto impossible to get blood out of.  Not to mention that after I’ve squeezed it a bunch of times I discover that was the same finger we poked at 11.  Ryan’s too sleepy to be any help. So I get some blood on the strip, but it’s not enough so the machine reads “Error, use a new strip.”

Blood glucose meter and testing strips

Blood glucose meter and testing strips. Yep, I used about that many. (Photo credit: DeathByBokeh)

The bottle of strips, of course, is out in the living room because I, in my infinite wisdom, only brought one into the room.  So I get up, knock a couple of things over and careen out to the living room, grab another damn strip and put it in the damn machine.  Then I squeeze the damn finger again and test it. It’s still not enough blood and I get the same error. 

I still haven’t brought the damn strips into the damn room, so I go back out to the living room, grab another damn strip (still only one because at this point there’s no way I’m admitting this is not a good method) and shove it in the damn machine.  Squeeze the finger again, still not enough blood but this time I get smart and don’t use it on the strip.  Poke another finger and get blood everywhere, at which point I realize I forgot to bring a dainty little cotton ball to mop up with.  Whatever, I just let him bleed and get the damn blood on the damn strip and the damn machine says his blood sugar is 68.  Damn it, that’s too low.  So that extra unit of insulin we gave him DID make a difference. 

So I run out to the kitchen to get exactly 4 oz. of apple juice, because that’s what the book says to do and I was tested on that in the hospital so I know THAT number, anyway. I search for the tiny little juice glasses, because that’s what I always pictured using when we talked about this in training, but I can’t find any of them, and then it finally dawns on my befuddled brain that a coffee cup will do just fine if I measure the juice with a measuring cup first.  I run back into the bedroom with the juice and command the boy to drink it all.  This is more sugar at one go than he has had for days, and it’s his favorite apple juice, so he’s happy, but he actually starts to fall asleep before he has drunk it all. The nerve.  I make him finish it, belatedly hand him some toilet paper for his bloody fingers, and tell him I’ll be back in 15 minutes to retest him.

Then, I have to amuse myself for 15 minutes at 2:15 a.m.  I have finally found a valid use for the Words of Wonder game on Facebook.

Three games later, I go test him again.  Which means poking him AGAIN.  I pretty much hate myself at this point for inflicting so much pain on my child and hasn’t he gone through enough and why did I volunteer for the 2 am shift because I’m all alone here trying to juggle the flashlight and the meter and the damn strip and the pokey thingy and doing everything wrong.  At least I got a good drop of blood on the first poke this time, measured it on the first strip just fine, and the reading was 115, which is normal.   He rolled over and went back to sleep and I went out to the computer and played another game of Words of Wonder because so there I’m an adult and I can play it if I want to.  And then I realized my adrenaline was crashing and I was shaky, so I poured myself a teacup full of apple juice and drank it. If there had been a bottle of wine open I would have had that, but there was no way I was messing with a corkscrew given my recent ineptitude with the pokey thingy.

And tomorrow I have to tell Alan all this.  Except it will be, “Yeah, it was a little low so I gave him some juice and it came right up.  No big deal.”  I will have Ryan wash that hand before Alan sees it and all those nasty pokes will be our little secret.

At the time it was happening, I thought to myself, “I’m pretty sure I’m going to break down sobbing when this is over,” but I didn’t.  I played Words of Wonder and wrote an email.  Apparently this is how I deal.  I’m wondering if the breaking down sobbing that everyone seems to expect from me over this entire situation is never going to come, because I’m just not.  I’m just dealing. Things need to be done, and I am doing all the things.  

And I am playing unnecessary games of Words of Wonder at 3 a.m.


Categories: Diabetes, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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