Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest blog...Diabetes Impact on the Mental Wellness of the Elderly

I was recently contacted by Jenna Walters, an English major with a passion for diabetes. We know that there is a strong connection between diabetes and depression.  Jenna speaks to the issue of the impact on the mental wellness of the elderly.
Thanks Jenna!

Once diabetes develops in a person, it becomes a life-long medical condition that requires an effective management plan. Most people are familiar with the negative health implications associated with diabetes, which include an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney disease. However, few people realize that diabetes can contribute to various mental conditions, especially in seniors. Regular health screening for diabetes increases the chances of early diagnosis and reduces its impact on mental wellness.

Mental Illnesses Linked to Elderly Diabetics

Depression is a common mental condition that occurs synonymously with
diabetes. In some patients, the diagnosis of diabetes contributes to overwhelming emotions and stress leading to a depressed mental state. Depression in diabetics may also be linked to some medications used for diabetes treatment, metabolic processes or the sudden realization of a life-altering medical condition.

Results of a scientific study published in the September 20, 2011 issue of
Neurology, an American Academy of Neurology publication, indicate an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia conditions in diabetics. Type 2 diabetes and its connection to the development of Alzheimer’s disease is not entirely understood. It is believed that uncontrolled blood glucose levels in elderly diabetics causes a condition known as vascular dementia, caused by blood vessel damage in the brain. This damage to the brain’s blood vessels contributes to mild cognitive impairment, MCI, a phase of mental and cognitive changes that occur between normal aging and more serious conditions such as dementia.

Improving Mental Wellness in Elderly Diabetics

An active lifestyle has been found to improve overall mental wellness of cancer sufferers, such as
peritoneal mesothelioma, as well as in elderly diabetics. Studies indicate diabetics who participate in 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic or a mix of strength training and aerobic exercises, three to five times per week, decrease their risk of mental disease and complications from diabetes. Regular exercise increases mental alertness and improves judgment and thinking skills as a person ages.

Maintain a healthy diet and reduce blood sugar spikes and fallouts. Drastic swings in blood glucose levels have a direct impact on a person’s mood. Extremely high or low readings lead to irritability, loss of concentration and decreased mental sharpness. Use a balanced diet of lean proteins, fiber-rich foods, vegetables, whole-grains and complex carbohydrates to combat food’s affect on glucose levels and mood.

Follow a doctor’s treatment plan for diabetes and mental illness. Discuss symptoms of depression or other mental changes with a healthcare provider. Identifying the source of the symptoms helps treat the underlying cause and improves the chances of successful treatment. Diabetics in a successful treatment regimen tend to manage their diabetes better than those with uncontrolled mental diseases. Good mental health improves a diabetic’s ability to focus on managing the disease through diet, medications and exercise.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Who knew? I Should have.

I mentioned on Monday that I was writing a letter to our provincial government in an attempt to expand our insulin pump program.  I had created a group on Facebook as a way to unite people to get this done.  I knew from past experience that the more people involved, the more letters that were written, the greater our chances of seeing change in the 2012 spring budget.

I invited a few friends to this group.  I asked them to invite a few friends.  We were a small group.  With the exception of me posting encouragement, I did not see a lot of activity.  Was anyone paying attention? Had everyone given up before we started?

As I worked on a draft letter, a few people began to comment.  There were thanks for getting this together. There was an interest in seeing change.  Despite this I still was wary.  Could we create change? Could we at least mount a real campaign in support of this?

I continued to work on my letter. I read studies.  I researched dollar amounts.  I took notes and prayed that I could fit everything into some sort of order that would get the facts out there and would keep the reader's interest.

I sent a copy of the letter to the budget committee. I posted what I was doing here and on other sites and groups that I belonged to.  I emailed some people and hoped that they too would help.  I continued to rally my Facebook friends and family members to get involved. 

I didn't expect a lot. 

In the first day, a person that I had contacted said that five letters had been forwarded through themselves and friends.  Other people began to say that they too had forwarded the letter on.  Soon we had at least 20 copies of the letter sent out and it had only been day one. People were getting out seven and eight copies in a  day thanks to family, friends and their own dedication.  They were spreading the word. 

Yesterday the work week ended. I have no idea as to how many letters were sent out.  I had emails from people in other provinces who wanted to use my letter to help out in their area.  I had people without diabetes who have followed my ramblings who wanted to obtain a copy of the letter and show their support. I was truly touched.

I often worry that I am not doing enough. I fear that my time as past.  I think that perhaps I  need to just give it all up.  What difference does it really make? I am starting to see the difference. 

I can't say for certain that we will see a change in this budget.  I can say that we have created a very strong case. We have brought a large number of people together on this issue and we are not done! Letters and emails have until February 13th to be in.  We will see many more submissions made by that time.  Our voice is strong. I am truly amazed and privileged to have been able to be apart of such a wonderful group.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Let is Snow

We have established that my son's body has an aversion to snow.  He loves snow. He loves to snowmobile and enjoy the cold crisp air. Diabetes on the other hand does not like snow...or perhaps its just allergic to the physical work that snow brings.

For years, whenever it has been snowing and I made my son go outside to shovel he would be low.  No, not after the activity but long before it has started!  Before he can put on his boots, he will feel shaky, test and be low!  It has always drove me insane.

This winter, the snow was piling up.  Larry was outside clearing the driveway.  I could hear my son head into the kitchen, open and close the fridge door, and then head back to his room.  Five minutes later Larry came in and asked him to go outside and clear the steps.  He couldn't.  He was low--in the two's (low 40s).  He did come back up, had a cereal bar for good measure and got the job done but Diabetes made sure he was low first.

A few days later, he was again asked to go outside.  Yep, he was low before he put on his mitts!

"Why does your body hate snow?"

"I think it just feels that I really shouldn't be doing this kind of work. It thinks that snow should be reserved for skidooing and not manual labor."

Funny boy! Diabetes or not, he does his share of work around the house and that includes shoveling snow when needed.  Diabetes will just have to get used to it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Purse

Since its "wordless Wednesday" I figured that a picture of just some of the contents of my purse would speak volumes for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Strength in numbers

Its that time of the year again...pre-budget time in Newfoundland and Labrador.  This means that its our opportunity to try and convince the current provincial government that money spent on insulin pump therapy now will save them money in both the short and long term.

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the better places to live in if you have diabetes. They cover insulin pumps for those people with Type 1 diabetes who are under the age of 25. This is better than those people living in Alberta who have no provincial coverage but is not as good as those living in Ontario. 

Each year, I have worked to see this change. First to see pumps covered at all, then accepting the increase to 25 and now...well I am done with crumbs and I want the entire cookie for people with diabetes in this province!

I have spent the past few weeks researching and reading.  I took that information and spelled out exactly why we need the insulin pump program expanded to include all people with diabetes and continuous glucose monitors. 

Sadly the government only cares so much about the quality of life issues.  They only care so much about how much easier it will make your life.  Their main concern is how much it will cost them. They want bottom line so this year I gave it to them.

With the help of some great studies, I was able to show the cost of less than optimal control on the health care system. I was able to show them the dollar value of a person working versus someone who has had to leave the workforce because of diabetes related complications. I showed how money was saved and funds could be re-routed by adopting a more expansive program.

I am only one person though. I have shared the document with a group of people who want to see change. I have shared it with other people that I felt would be interested in seeing this happen. I have asked these people to share with their families and friends.  Every person who shares this plea with the provincial government brings us that much closer to seeing real change. Never doubt the value of public pressure...even when the government is crying broke.

If you live in Newfoundland and Labrador, or know someone who does, please send your own letter or email me for a copy of the letter that I have sent. There truly is strength in numbers.  Together we can make a difference! but hurry! The submission deadline is February 13th.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Good" is not a number

Does this happen in your house?

"What was your reading?"

"No, what was your reading?"

"I don't know but it was good."

Arggghhhh!! "Good is not a number. Good is a four letter word.  Yes, "four" is a number but good does not necessarily mean "four". "

At this point, my son usually looks at me like I am completely insane.  If I am lucky he has figured out that I would like to hear a real blood glucose reading and not his generalization of his take on his reading. 

"10.0" (180)

"That is not good.  That is actually a bit high since you just woke up and should technically be under 7." 

"I like it. Its good for me. I think 10 is a good number."

"And that is why good is not a number. What you define as good and what I define as good are not the same."

The teen years can be trying enough, but a teen with diabetes? Well he may well tip my sanity scale! Time to buy some more hair dye to cope with the dozen new grey hairs he just caused me.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update after...Hating Five

I was driving in the car with my youngest son. He yawned and I asked if he was tired. 


"Well, I thought you might be tired since I was up all night wondering when you were going to go low.  You hovered between 4 and 5 all night. I wasn't sure what to do and didn't want to send you high so I ended up awake for most of the night. You finally did go low, I gave you a juice and things eventually worked out."

"Next time give me a sandwich."


"Next time I'm low.  Don't worry about the juice, I would rather have a sandwich."

Oh my! Teen boys and food! Its not like I haven't fed him a sandwich while he slept before but that was back in the days of injections and NPH. Nowadays its juice, gel or tablets and some sleep. 

After this nightmare night, as I mentioned, I had to decide if I should decrease the basal rate or give it one more shot.  We had a huge dumping of snow that day and my son had been out shoveling for a few hours. When the evening came, I had to decide what to do. I went with the wait and see approach. In hindsight, it wasn't my most brilliant decision but this time he was over 7 (130ish) before going to bed so I thought I had a lot more wiggle room.

Wrong! Two o'clock in the morning saw him dropping again. There was no sandwich.  I found some regular pop and decreased his basal rate.  I also changed the previous rate back down to where it was to begin with. I was not taking any more chances!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why I hate Five

Its been three Thursdays and we are still doing the "Reading Review Thursdays"! Yesterday was actually a bit of a fluke.  My son had been having high reading overnight for the past three days. I knew that it was time to make a change. I decided that it was easiest to look at the rest of his readings then as well.  As I was writing down dates, I realized that it was Thursday! I was right on schedule. Yeah me!

Yes, I need a life and am a little sleep deprived.  You see, despite being high for three nights (and I mean close to 20 or 360 for my American pals) my son was perfect to on the low side all night long last night. 

After our pump tweaking, we sat at the kitchen table and chatted while he drank a Tim Horton's smoothie.  He was 4.5(81) before he started.  He then ate two Eggo's as well.  I felt that he would soon be running a lot higher and my basal changes came just in time!

Erring on the side of caution however, about 20 minutes after he went to bed I had him test again. He was 4.2 (75)! Crap! I sent him to the kitchen to chug a glass of juice. 

"Should I stay up and retest because I am low?"
"Well, you aren't technically low. You are just in a range that I really don't like you to go to sleep at.  The juice should cover it. You have school tomorrow, get some rest and I will check later."

I checked him a few hours later and he was right around 5 (90).  Was he going to go up or drop? I was not going to get any sleep.  I hate these nights--no clear low but clearly not safe yet either.  I didn't want to add glucose and send him too high but was it safe to leave him? Would he stay around 5? Could I be that lucky? My mind would continue to race like this all night long.

I slept for another hour but I had to get up and check again. He was dropping.  At 4.2(75) I gave him juice, grabbed my book and waited.  By 4am, he was back up to 5.6 (101) and I could sleep for another couple of hours.  By 6am I was up again but he was finally up over my favorite number 6 and had climbed to 8.6(155).  A bit of peace at last!!

Today I have to decide if I keep the basal rates at their new higher level and risk a repeat performance (although with a little knowledge, a temporary basal would be added to the mix if things began to tank) or if I go back to the old settings and assume that the highs were site related. Decisions, decisions. Just another night on the Diabetes Roller coaster.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two..its not so terrible anymore

For years I couldn't look at two year olds for more than a few minutes. My heart would break when I realized how truly small they were. I would look at the tiny fingers with no marks on them and want to cry. 

I have had to get over this. Yes, my son was that small once. Yes, what he had to endure was not what a two year old should experience but he is alive and healthy today.  He still goes through things that a teen shouldn't have to think about either but that is our life and we have to live it. 

I have a precious little two year old girl in my life.  I am able to look at her tiny fingers and simply see the amazing things that she creates with them and how she uses them to pull her mother's face close as she kisses her.  Every once in a while, I still slip back. 

Yesterday she came for a visit.  We nursed her dolls back to health, caught up on Dora, played with play dough and colored a few pictures.  All of that work required a snack! She sat down to the table and chose what she wanted to eat.  She ate the amount that she wanted and was blissfully happy.

For just a moment, I looked at her cute little face and realized that she was the exact same age now as my son was when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I didn't have to count her crackers. I didn't have to measure out her milk.  She would not be forced to eat when she wasn't hungry.  She would not have to learn about "cow-bo-hi-dwates" until she was an adult and only then if she chose.

The thoughts of diabetes faded quickly however as she showed me her mouth filled with food and laughed at my feigned disgust.  Its a game we have been playing for months--I "see" the food all mushed in her mouth, she swallows and then tells me that she sent it to her tummy and shows me that.

Diabetes no longer robs me of these moments but it still lurks in the background taking me back and making me grateful for healthy pancreases in those I love and more.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How much is it?

Friday night I had to run out and on my way home I stopped into Dairy Queen.  We don't often have ice-cream in the house and despite living near many fast food places, don't often frequent them. Friday night we deserved a treat! 

I ordered three blizzards and headed home. I knew that I would be met by two happy young men.  I was right. I had chose the right flavors for each child.  The next thing was to figure out the carbs for my son. 

I asked him "How much do you think that is?" 

His friend instantly replied, "They cost a lot!"

I laughed to myself.  We were looking at the carb count and that was the furthest thing from this boy's young mind. That was great!  

I smiled at my son and pulled out my phone to search for the carbs.  We established it was around 64 grams.  The other boy had now realized what we were talking about and was shocked to know that his ice-cream was so high in energy.  I know it didn't diminish the flavor for any of us!

We all enjoyed our treat and it was refreshing to see a "diabetes free" perspective on a question my son and I ask each other numerous times each day.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Book of Better

A few months ago I received an email from a person claiming to be a publisher. He wanted me to read a book by someone I had never heard of.  I did a bit of enquiring to see if this was for real or they would be later calling asking me to send my bank account information to Pakistan. 

It turned out that it was all on the up and up.  They just really wanted to send me two of my favorite things--something free and something to read! I gave them an address to send the book and promised I would mention it one day here.

After Christmas and a few personal issues, I finally made it through the book. Please don't think that the book was a struggle. Actually I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed it.  Making time to read was my personal challenge.

Like any other non-fiction book that I read, I read this one with a check-out receipt nearby.  I use the receipt to rip and mark pages that strike me for some reason.  This book got eight of my fancy bookmarks.  Not bad!

Chuck Eichten provides a very basic explanation of what diabetes is.  We have all used the car model whereby we tell people that glucose is the fuel that makes the body run just like gas is the fuel that makes a car run. The book of Better. Life with diabetes can't be perfect Make it better, suggests that diabetes is "as if we sprayed gas all over the car but never opened the gas cap." I thought that was a great visual for people who have no clue.

Mr. Eichten uses humour to get his point across in a wonderful way.  He is matter fact about the reality that we are simply people trying to a job we were not taught to do...be a pancreas. We can only do our best and aim for "better". 

The book also makes a lot of use of color.  Personally that is a problem as well as a positive feature. I love the boldness in such pages as 110, when he notes that "In 1921, the life expectancy of a person diagnosed with diabetes was less than 12 months.  In 1922, life expectancy was more than 12 years. In 1921, if you had diabetes you died. In 1922, you lived." The choice of black, white and yellow poses a real problem when you are trying to read at night. Between aging eyes and colored print, I often missed key points due to the frustration of not being able to properly see what I was reading.

I also appreciate Mr. Eichten's pro-pumping take.  I personally agree that pumping is the best method of insulin delivery. I love, love his illustration of the number of injections (portrayed by small yellow dots) you would take in ten years versus the small yellow box of infusion set insertions.  I like that he notes financial restraints may be a huge hurdle for many.  He turns to governments and pump companies to change this.

The book of Better. Life with diabetes can't be perfect Make it better takes a stab at the issue of children with diabetes.  I agree with him to a degree. Our children are a lot more flexible than we think.  As parents, we are a lot less flexible than we could be.  I think that some children still have huge issues with this lifestyle change but again, agree that ultimately children learn from parents. I have always said that my job as a parent of a child with diabetes is to learn all I can and then teach all I can to my son. His job is to use these tools wisely. 

All in all the book is great. If you want a touch of humour to give you a kick in the right direction, The book of Better. Life with diabetes can't be perfect Make it better may be just what you are looking for.  If you are a little older, I would advise reading the book during the day when natural light is plentiful to get the most out of what it has to offer.

Thank you Jonathan Lazzara for contacting me and thanks to Chuck Eichten for tackling the serious issue of life with diabetes with the right touch of humour!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What if I met an intruder at 3am?

Last night I was reading a murder mystery novel.  The bad guy was lurking outside of a house waiting to break in. It was the middle of the night and he noted that people slept the most sound between 3 and 5 in the morning.

I started to laugh. I wondered if he had made sure that Diabetes did not live in the house first?  I am constantly up and prowling around between those times.  I have, on more than one occasion thought about the what if... You know, the what if someone was in your house and you ran into them as you were going to test. 

The more I thought about it, the funnier it became.  If I ran into someone in the house I would most likely have a heart attack.  I would be freaked right out of my usual middle of the night stupor that sees me stumble into my son's room praying that I don't have to fully wake and think on a nightly basis.  Seeing someone else up in the house would mess with that big time!

I then thought of the intruder who was in my house.  The trauma that they would sustain after finding someone wandering around in a house they assumed to be asleep would definitely be significant.  Worse than that however, would be the fright that they would receive after seeing me stumbling around with my hair standing on end, no make up, and in my fuzzy red housecoat. 

The upside is that the police would most likely easily catch the burglar.  I would have shocked him so much I expect he would faint or go screaming off into the night!

Ah the things we can think of in our sleep deprived states.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Diabetes Boot Camp...Revisited

In March of 2009, I pondered the idea of a diabetes "boot camp".  I had mentioned the idea in previous posts as an option for a non-compliant teen but began to think about it in a bit more of a serious tone at that point. I wondered if one could truly create a place for learning that was not a supportive atmosphere but a place for tough love?

So many people think of diabetes as not that big of a deal.  We often hear of teens who just can't be bothered.  There are people with Type 2 who do not take the disease seriously and there are the adults with Type 1 who are just burnt out and can't get up the energy to fuss any more. Could I create something to help these people had been my question. 

Over the years, this remains my most popular post.  Comments are still coming in and my mind is still wondering, thinking and inquiring.  As some of you know, I am a big supporter of the CWD Friends for Life Conferences.  I am on staff at the Canadian conferences and tell anyone and everyone that they should go to a conference. They are vital to many but there are a few who arrive desperate for their child to "get it".  They hope that the interactions will be the magic pill that they need for their child to focus and take care of themselves.  I wondered if a more harsh approach would be best.

These teens often shrug their shoulders and skip vital sessions. They are not interested in making new friends and block out attempts to get through to them. Would a harsh approach work? What would a harsh approach look like? How could you get results like "Beyond Scared Straight" but for a disease?

What about type 2s? How do you get to them? I think that in some respects they would be easier than teens and in others they would be a lot harder to reach.  Someone suggested learning sessions with or without your partner.  I think that would be helpful. Adults know that they are going to die.  They can be shown that they are putting themselves on the fast track by pretending that they do not have a serious illness.

That leaves adults with Type 1.  They know the drill. They may even know what to do but they need a kick.  They are living with depression or burnout and they need help.  A butt kicking approach could be successful but with a lot of support thrown in once they decide to move forward.

Diabetes boot camps do exist. I have seen a few posted that are directed at primary care providers.  There were even one for people living with diabetes but I did not see anything along the lines of what is in my head.  What is that? Well its a very fragmented idea at the moment. I see three very different needs.  I see the need for specialized experts who are also very caring individuals.  I see the need for sponsors to be involved and the support of diabetes organizations. I see exercise as being important but so are many other areas. I see intensity and education balanced with compassion and understanding.

I invite you to re-read the old Boot Camp post.  I also would love to hear what you think on the subject.  What would you want to see? Do you know people that could use this approach?  Could it be virtual or should it be only a physical location(s)? What problems or benefits do you see? Leave a comment or email me.  I would love to hear from you as I seriously begin to revisit this concept in 2012.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reading Review Thursdays

Despite pretty good A1c's, and a long standing obsession with logging, we have become very slack. As I have allowed my son to take over more and more of his disease, logging has become a thing of the past.  He hates to log.  Asking him to do it was worse than asking him to clean his room. I knew that he would never, ever, never log when he grew up and moved out on his own so why was I torturing myself?

They say that when you are raising children, you need to pick your battles. For years, I saw this as a very important battle. It had to do with the health of my son. Analyzing trends was important.  As I have gotten older and more tired, my perspective has changed. I still look at trends but now I bounce more off of him. 
"How are your lunch time readings?"
"Do you find that you are high before going to bed?"

and in return I get...
"Mom, that high before supper was because I just grabbed an apple a half hour ago."
"Mom, I forgot to bolus that bowl of cereal before bed."
"Mom, I think I over guesstimated that smoothie."

This means that I have a general idea of what is going on and then ask if we need to make changes.  Now remembering full well that he had five days of "in range" readings over the holidays that included a 28, I only believe him so much. This has led me to rip off the "chicken Thursday" guy and create "Reading Review Thursday".  It is the day when my son has to pass in all of his meters and we review.  I have a piece of log paper. I do the logging (its a lot less painful that way).  When I see bumps, I ask questions and look at his pump.

I have "Reading Review Thursdays" marked on my calendar so that I don't make it "Reading Review...someday".  We have to get back into some habits. I have to continue to use these times as teaching moments so Thursday it is! Now let's hope I can stick to it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Diabetes Burnout

This morning I read a post about an adult who was suffering with depression and struggling to keep his diabetes in check. He knew what to do but just could not always bring himself to do it. The post really struck a chord with me.

As a parent of a teen with diabetes, I don't have to remember to test before and after every meal or intensive activity.  I don't have to remember to bolus for every meal. I don't have to watch my pump for reminders of site changes, low cartridges and low insulin. I do not have to carry around constant reminders of my diabetes.

My son leaves the house and takes diabetes with him.  When he sleeps elsewhere, he is in charge of his own care.  I technically get a break.  I still think about it. I still count the carbs in a meal out of habit. I will still keep an eye on dates and ask about site changes. I will look at trends and deal with adjustments. I get tired and yet I am not the one living with diabetes 24/7. This scares me.

My son came home a few days ago after spending time with his father and other family members.  He didn't change his site.  I avoided looking at his meter until later that evening. He had come home alive.  I did not want to ruin our reunion if things were not as they should be...and they weren't.  When I finally scrolled through the meter that he used, I found times that he went over 12 hours without testing! The readings that were all "in range for the most part", included a 28 (504). 

I was too tired to scream despite having just had five days away from diabetes. I was too tired to fight about it. I read through the readings aloud.  I asked him if he had used another meter because there were a LOT of missing readings.  He gave me his usual look of "of course I must have used another meter because I would never do something like totally neglect myself just because you were not there to remind me." I knew otherwise. He knew I knew. I walked out of his room.

If I can get this tired, this frustrated, this worn out after 11+ years and its not my disease, how do those living with it handle it? How can we not expect depression? How can we not expect burnout? We can't.

We can only offer help and be there to lean on.  My son has been able to bolus on his own for many years but there are still times when he hands me his pump after a meal.  He has been doing his own site changes since he was at least 11 or 12 but he still calls me in now and then to do them.  I am okay with those breaks. He knows what to do but some days its just nice to let someone else deal with it. I hope I can continue to do this for him...not forever but whenever we are together.  Hopefully it will help when he has to battle his own diabetes demons.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Reason to Test at Night

We all know the many reasons that people like myself test their children's blood glucose levels at night.  There is the fear of dead in bed, the desire to "know" what is going on in their bodies, checking basal rates, making sure an infusion site is working, checking on the result of so much activity during the day and many, many more.

This Christmas I discovered yet another reason to test at night...the turkey!

Yes, the turkey.  In this part of the country, a large holiday meal is usually served at noon rather than in the evening.  This means that if you are having a turkey of any size, it needs to be put into the oven long before normal people get out of bed for the day. 

We were having all of our children over to eat.  This bird was going to have to see the oven long before daylight would be arriving.  As I thought about having to crawl out of bed during the wee hours I was less than thrilled but then I remembered that it was okay.  I had to be up anyway! I would kill two birds with one stone, in more ways than one!

With both of my boys home, I knew that they would have been up late so I did not have to be up too early to test. Four in the morning would be fine...and it was! I got up, tested my son and he was perfect.  You know that perfect that makes you wonder if he will drop or be okay? Lucky for me, I had a bird to stuff and get in the oven.  I did just that and then went back to retest him. He was fine.  I could sleep for a few more hours before the Christmas mayhem began.

You have to take the benefits of diabetes where you can. This holiday season that one worked for me!

Monday, January 2, 2012

But my readings were still okay

Our Christmas break is over.  I enjoyed a wonderful holiday with family but all good things must come to an end.  Today I picked up my son from the airport. He had spent the New Year with his father. 

As with every trip, I packed extra insulin, test strips, and infusion sets. I added alcohol swabs and extra insulin cartridges.  He had his cell phone and as  was our routine, he would be able to check in with me by text or a phone call. He was set for his time away.

Once again, his cell phone quit working within a day of his arrival.  I really need to get him a new, more reliable phone.  I asked his brother to make sure that he called me after a few days. He did. He swore his readings were all pretty good. He had handled a low but all was fine. I reminded him that he was due for a site change. He was going to do it right away....or so he said.

This morning, as he sat at the table, I noticed his site was still in his arm.  I looked a little closer. There was tubing attached. It was red.  He had not changed his site! This was the same site that we had put in before he went away! I could not believe it. 

My son swore that the site had been working fine. He was running high today but it was the first time.  I did not even want to look at his meter.  If he managed to forget his diabetes enough to ignore site changes, how often did he forget to test? I have to remember that he is still young. He still has a few years left before he has to do this without his mother looking over his shoulder. Thank heavens for small favors!