Monday, October 31, 2011

The Things that I have learned from Halloweens past

Its a rainy, windy Halloween morning.  One of my son's is curled up in his bed waiting for the power to return to his home and my youngest son is off to scare little children during Halloween events at school.  Such is the life of family with teen aged boys. 

At this point in our lives, Halloween is no longer about treats and goodies.  We have begun to enjoy a few Halloween decorations and waiting to see what little ghosts and ghouls will arrive on our doorstep. 

What to do about Halloween parties at school and big bags of Halloween candy are no longer issues in our house. Reading worries from parents of children who are relatively newly diagnosed made me think that perhaps a recap of some of the things that I learned over the years may not be a bad topic for today. So here we go....

1.  Its okay to let him eat candy while he is out trick or treating. In fact, it should be encouraged (as long as usual Halloween safety rules are applied of course--Mom/Dad checks candy or it is from the home of a good family friend).  All of the walking, running and general excitement would always drop my son's bg levels.  Letting him eat bars, rockets (Smarties for my US friends) and other treats was a fun way to keep him in range and allow him to be a "normal" child.

2.  Snack sized Halloween treats are fabulous for lows.  Chocolate bars work for those evening lows that aren't lows yet but will be and a slow release of glucose would be ideal. Rockets and Starburst are great for keeping in your pocket or purse for those lows that need immediate sugar and your child thinks that they have one the little kid lottery!

3.  Snack sized treats are often equivalent to one fruit for anyone who may still use and exchange system and what child will not exchange a fruit for a bar? Well, my kids but they are weird!

4.  Snack sized chips are often equal to a slice of bread.  Again, for those on the exchange system, you can skip a slice of toast or a potato and switch in a bag of chips for the day as a special treat.

5.  Mom and Dad will eat the bulk of the candy.  My children had candy that would last until Easter and beyond.  Parents would gain weight while the children carefully savored each morsel. 

6. For those who have kids who will either not eat the candy or would overindulge, many parent exchange the treats through an Easter Witch or Great Pumpkin.  The treats are left out and gift cards or trinkets are delivered in exchange for the treats.  I have also heard of treats being packed up and given to homeless shelters or hospitals. 

7.  No matter how old your child is, he/she will most likely still want some of those treats.  The carb counts are now on most candies and for those that are not, there are many great resources that provide the counts on many other items so that your child does not "have" to go without on Halloween.

Halloween was a great time for my boys.  We drove all over the neighbourhood, met up with pals and had fun racing across lawns and warming up in cars.  Diabetes did not change this for them.  It meant that we brought a meter on our adventure.  Insulin was nearby but not always required. Basal rates were often dropped later that evening.  Sandwiches were packed but usually exchanged for hot dogs or chips for just this night. Juice boxes were a bonus when given out at the door as they added extra glucose to get to the next house. 

This year my youngest son will be greeting the little ghouls and handing out treats. He will be counting each child and hoping that we will have more treats than children so that he can enjoy a few bars for himself. He has great memories of Halloweens past and to me that is a sign of successful diabetes management.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mom I did a bit of tweaking

"Can you bring me your meters please?"
My son came out of his room with three glucometers for me to review.

"Mom, I have made a few tweaks of my own."

"Oh really? What did you change?" I asked rather intrigued.

"Well I have been coming home low the past few days so I figured I should make some small changes and see how it goes.  I adjusted my basal rate."

Basal rates?  Those can be tricky.  "When were you low and what time did you set the adjustment for?"

"I am low at about 3pm so I brought the noon rate down a bit."

Holy cow! I am impressed. He had been listening and learning after all! "Are you sure its not a carb to insulin adjustment? How long after you eat does this happen?"

"I am not positive but this seems to be working. I was in the twos (low 40s) for a few days and today I was 3.8 (64) when I got home."

"Okay, keep an eye on it and if you are still low try the lunchtime carb ratio."

With that my son headed downstairs to have his shower. I was still in shocked and very impressed. He was taking charge of his diabetes care! He was making the changes as they needed to be made without my help and doing a great job of it.  My little boy was growing up!

I turned to the meters to see what else was going on that I didn't know about.
Ugh! Missed tests at school! One morning test out of four.  I was not happy. I reminded myself that he was making strides in one area. Baby steps, baby steps. 

It would be a miracle if he was actually doing everything he was supposed to.  I did not freak out completely. I did not take away privileges. I did suggest what could happen if he forgot again but for the most part I just tried to bask in the glow of the "Mom I did a bit of tweaking on my own".

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Diabetes Hangover

My son has complained of a "glucose tab" hangover after I treat him for a nighttime low.  This morning I realized that diabetes gives me my own kind of hangover.

Last night something happened that I never expected. I should have remembered that we are dealing with diabetes and it is never predictable but I was complacent.

I woke up at 1:30am ready to test until I realized that it was a bit too early. I rolled over to sleep for another hour.  The hour became an hour and a half but my son was still fine(8 or 136).  I felt confident that basal rates were working. He had been low the night before and I had made adjustments.  Life was good and I headed back to a peaceful sleep for a few more hours...or so I thought.

At 5am Larry woke me up.  He said that my son was up using the washroom. He never does that during the night unless there is a problem so Larry knew I should be getting up. I did and asked my son if he had tested. He had and was 17 (289).  What the??? His bg level had more than doubled in just two hours!!  Something was seriously wrong! I told my son to change his site.  This was way to fast of a spike. He told me it was fine , corrected and rolled over to go to sleep.

I went back to bed second guessing myself.  Did I miss a low at 1:30?  Was he alive thanks to a rebound? If he rebounded there would be hell to pay the next day with highs and fears of another low.  Was the site bad? Was the new pump failing already? I eventually managed to fall back to sleep, but not for long.

An hour later I awoke to the sound of vomit hitting the toilet bowl.  This was so not good! I had been right.  My son was not getting insulin.  The site must be kinked. Again, I got up and waited.  My son looked terribly pale.  I told him we needed a new site.  He had one in his hand.  

"I can't believe I would be throwing up at 17." he said.

I told him that he had probably gone up in the past hour.  We tested and he was now over 19 (+323). We chanced a correction on his pump and both went back to sleep for a few minutes.  At 7am I tested him again. He had dropped down to 14 (238) and said he felt a lot better. He was no longer a ghostly white so we decided he was okay to go to school.

I still am not positive as to what happened. His site looked fine when we took it out.  Despite a trip back to bed after my son was ready for school, I still felt out of sorts. The night continued to haunt me.  Questions plagued me.  Where had I gone wrong? As things ran through my head, I realized that like my son's glucose hangover, diabetes gives me its own hangover.  It messes with my emotions and my physical being the next day and then some. Sadly there is only one fix for my hangover and that's a cure for diabetes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Lost Test Strips

It was recently that time of year again...time to clean out our diabetes supplies.  What once was able to fit in a drawer was now taking up a drawer, a roll-out tote, and underneath of my youngest son's bed.  This had to stop.  I had no clue that he had supplies hidden in all of these places and was no longer sure as to what supplies we had and what we needed.

We found boxes of Cozmo reservoirs, a few different types of infusion sets, his very first meter, a Polar bear meter holder, way too many lancing devices and enough lancets to keep him going until he is 100.  We also found test strips that were about to expire.  There was no way I was going to waste these strips.  This was $100 and many people can't even afford to buy them.  The strips would be used at home until such time as they were gone.

My son was fine with that. Like his mother, he loves trying out new meters.  This meter was far from new but since he hadn't used it in a few years, it was new to him again. The novelty quickly wore off.

"Mom, this meter takes FOREVER to read!"

"How long is forever?"

"15 seconds! Can you believe that? This is crazy!"

I started to laugh! My son was far to used to the immediate gratification found after a five second countdown.  He did not remember the days of his first meter.  Thirty seconds seemed like an eternity and yet I remember back then knowing how lucky we were, the previous generation of meters had taken 60 seconds to show results. 

Despite the "long" wait, he continued to use the old strips.  A few lows and bad sites meant that it did not take more than a few weekends for the 100 test strips to be used up.  I must admit that I had been spoiled too. A few nights of having to wait for those extra 10 seconds did seem like forever.  Nonetheless, it still was not as long as waiting 30 seconds and wondering if your toddler was asleep because he was tired or passed out from a low. 

I love technology!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eating your young or life as a harp seal?

Last night I woke up later than I should to test my son.  I cursed at myself as I stumbled in his room and was grateful to hear the soft sound of snoring coming from his bed. The test showed that he was high. Did he change his site like I asked him? I checked the history and yes he finally had.  While I was up I checked his meter history.  The meter I was using had my tests only.  Hmmm...I found a second meter. It was still seriously lacking some readings but it appeared to be his meter of choice for the weekend.

I silently fumed. He had missed more tests than he had done. I had specifically told him at points during the day to test and nothing was done! I knew he ate a bowl of popcorn at around 10pm and no test before.  I once again felt a kinship to those animals that ate their young.  They had it right I was certain!

I headed back to bed trying to put my frustrations out of my mind so that I could fall back to sleep.  It took a bit of work. This weekend we had been focusing on school not diabetes. I had believed my son when he told me he was studying. I trusted him when he swore he knew the concepts for the upcoming exams.  I had allowed him to read his novel at his own pace not realizing that there was a book report that would soon be due.

Freedom was short lived as my son came home with low marks and a novel with three chapters read that was to be finished and have a book report completed on it in less than five days time.  I was so not impressed but tried to appease myself with the fact that he hadn't lied about the horrible marks.  With a math test looming and a book report that had to be completed in short order, his weekend plans of Xbox and Beverley Hillbillies was derailed by his mother. It was time for him to be put back on a short leash. Homework first, play when Mom says its okay.

All of this now played on my mind. I had been harping about school work, now I would complain about diabetes care. Do I ever stop? I must be sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher by now.  There is no way he will pay attention to anything I say.  How will I get it to sink in? Yes, eating my children when they were young could have saved me these problems.

I finally wound down and went to sleep. The next morning I calmly discussed the issue of testing with my son. Will he change? Did he hear me? Will he pay more attention to testing? Will I harp on his a little less? Probably not to most or all of the above.  I will try not to nag but will continue to remind him and provide consequences for his actions--or lack of them.  Oh the joys of parenting!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another one bites the dust

My son came racing up the stair yesterday with a "get out of the way, I need to use the washroom" look.  I asked what was going on.

"My pump is sirening!"

Crap. The pump is new.  This is not a good thing. "What exactly do you mean by sirening?" I asked as the pump promptly screamed.

"Sirening." He stated. 

Well that was just not good.  I took a look at the pump and the battery life was on zero. I assumed that was the problem and put in a new battery.  All was good to go.  Catastrophe averted...or so I thought!

This morning my son was heading out the door as he bolused his breakfast.  Suddenly he came running back up the stairs.

"Its sirening again!"  Now that was bad timing! We quickly grabbed his old ice blue Cozmo, switched cartridges and sent him out the door.  The upside to this happening so close to the last Cozmo death was that the old pump still had close to accurate basal rates.

A few hours later I called Cozmo customer support.  A gentleman answered my call and suggested that the battery cap could have an issue. I reminded him that this pump was pretty new but he still said it could happen and that it had occurred in his own pump.  He said to put a new battery cap on, put in an empty cartridge and let the pump run for 24 hours on its own. If it didn't siren, then we could hook my son back up.  That worked for me.  I hung up and did as he suggested.  The pump asked to resume the breakfast bolus and I said yes.  It began to siren again.  Well, that was not going to do. I called the helpline right away.

This time I spoke with a woman. She asked me if I had spoken with D on a previous call. I said I didn't remember his name but I guessed that their staff was pretty limited and it probably was him.  She said, that the staff was the two of them. Since I had just called and the solution wasn't working, she was ordering us a new pump. She remembered the problem I had getting Sirius Black  (she was the woman who took my complaint about the slow service) and expressed her own dismay.  She said she would do everything she could to make sure that this pump was replaced promptly.  I was once again impressed by their customer service and began mourning the inevitable loss of this great pump company.

At the moment my son is back to using his trusty ice blue pump. He has Sirius Black up and running on air. He has bolused it a few times with no problems and began to worry.  "Mom, if we send this pump back and its not sirening any more, will they just think we are a bunch of whack jobs?" I assured him that based on past experience, the pump will siren again at one point and that they will not think ill of us for sending it back. 

For now we wait for the lastest replacement, wonder what color this one will be and say an extra thank you that the pump still under waranty. The thought that next year we will have to replace him with a completely new pump company still makes me sad but I will cross that bridge when it arrives...sniff, sniff.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thankful for Nightmares!

Last night I went to bed and, for a change, fell asleep right away. It was wonderful! My son was running a bit on the higher end of okay and sleep was my friend...or so I thought!

After a few hours of peaceful slumber, I began to dream. The dream was strange and twisted.  I finally awoke after a few minutes (that seemed like hours) of terror, violence and mayhem.  I hadn't watched anything scarier than part of Gene Simmons' Family Jewels, and I hadn't had anything to eat. I had no idea why I was awake but awake I was and still shaking! 

It was only 1:30am but I decided to get up, shake off the heebie jeebies and test my son.  I stumbled to his room first, found his meter and got an error.  Grr!! I was now out of test strips.  Next meter! Grabbed another one and waited for his reading. It was 3.3 (60).  Where did that come from? I began searching his room for glucose. He had tablets but only green apple. I had been reprimanded recently for improper use of the coveted green apple tablets. I was told that I should not be wasting these awesome tablets at night when he would not remember them.

With that in mind, I headed to the kitchen to grab some of the more acceptable night time tablets.  I fed him in his sleep and waited.  I was still shaking from the dream. I was dying to crawl back into my bed, cuddle in and make the horrible feeling go away.  I was also extremely grateful. 

Again, I had no idea why I had this dream.  It started out nice enough and ended up being horrific, but I was so glad that it happened. Normally I would not wake up until 2:30 or 3am.  I didn't dare think about that could have happened if I had waited. 

That was not the first time  that I had been woken by a dream, a strange noise or the call of bodily functions.  It was not the first time that an interruption to my sleep had caught an unexpected low.  I am not the only person that this happens to but I can guarantee that every one of us parents of children with diabetes who have been woke by a nightmare or a rollerskating Indian say a heartfelt prayer of thanks when all is said and done!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Its the bird's fault

Last night was a lazy night after a busy week.  We were getting ready for some popcorn on the couch and my son was testing his blood in his room. Suddenly I heard a huge crash! I went to see if he was still alive.  He swore he was and that he had just tripped--no big deal.

I trusted that all was okay and headed back to the popcorn and a phone call to my mom.  As I was on the phone, my son calmly shows me his glucometer...1.3(23).  I tried not to panic as I followed him into the kitchen, told him to drink that juice pronto and sit down for heaven sakes!!  I ended my call and continued to watch him as he sat in the living room.

"Are you okay? Do you feel that low? Are you sure you are okay? Do you really think you are 1.3 or do you think its meter error? Are you okay?"

"Yes Mom, I am okay.  Yes I think I am low but no I don't feel that low, just low."

"Do you think that the meter is wrong? Should we check?"  I am praying for 15 minutes to pass quickly and am mentally reviewing where all of the glucagon kits are just in case.

"I'll grab another meter to retest." 

My son came back with his AccuChek Nano and attempted to put strips for his Bayer Contour meter in it.  I explain that its not going to work and fear that he really is as low as the meter said! We got out his LifeScan meter and test on it  as well as the Contour that had produced the 1.3.  He was back in range and the meters had similar readings.  Larry was shocked that he was back in range that quickly.  I explained that there still could be meter error in the 1.3 reading but my son had also just chugged back two big glasses of orange juice before sitting down in the living room.  The aggressive treatment most likely stopped any further drop and brought him up nicely. 

As I worked to breathe again my son explained that the 1.3 was not the first reading he received when testing. The first reading just said "LO".  What the?????? Holy crap child! There went my breath!  "LO"  and he was still walking?!? There had to be a mistake but still "LO"!!!??? Holy Hannah!! I think that there was a reason that he only told me that little tidbit after he was back in range.  He knew the panic that that would instill.

Once again, I tried to get back into recovery mode. My son was fine. He had not seized. He was back in range.  This has not happened in his sleep.  All was good.  I finally asked him to help me to figure out how this had happened.

"Do you think that you messed up a carb count? Is your basal off? Do you think it still was meter error and you weren't nearly that low?"

"I was probably at about a 2.9 (50) rather than in the one's.  I think the problem was with the bird.  I think he scratched out the wrong number." 

I looked at him and began to laugh.  "The bird?" 

"Yeah, the little bird inside the glucometer.  You know? The one that takes the blood, figures out the reading, scratches it on a card and then it appears on the display screen."

I was weak from laughing. Larry thought we were even more strange than normal.  I tried to stop laughing long enough to explain.  "Remember the Flintstones? All of their "electronic" devices had little birds and creatures inside that were really doing the work.  He figures that the bird inside the glucometer made a mistake." 

Larry got it but still thought we were crazy.  I was amazed at my son's insight and ability to completely change the mood of the evening.  I can still see that little bird in the meter. Larry told my son to get a new bird.  I just wonder where I managed to get that kid!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Its a new look!

As you may, or may not have noticed, I have changed the Diabetes Advocacy logo.  It will appear on the website in the coming months (as the site undergoes a face lift) but I thought that I would launch it here first. 

Some of you may be looking at this new logo and wondering what sort of drugs I was on when I said "Yeah! That's what I want to use!"  You may be thinking that I was exceptionally sleep deprived and forgot what sort of a website I was running at the time I accepted the image. 

Or perhaps you never really got the first logo and figured, well its still just as crazy as before so what's the big deal?

The original logo had a phoenix wearing a grey diabetes ribbon with a map of Canada in the background.  The diabetes ribbon was an obvious connection as was the map when you know that I live in Canada.  The meaning behind the phoenix was not as easily interpreted.

The phoenix is a bird that rises up from the ashes.  Its splendor is amazing especially when looking back at where it came from. Yes, it eventually burns out and becomes ash again but it will always rise again.  This has become symbolic with my life and more importantly with life with diabetes.  We have days that are good, days that are amazing and days that we feel that we have crashed and burned.  For me the phoenix is a symbol of hope, because no matter what we will rise up from the ashes and be even more amazing and beautiful than before!

The new logo focuses more on the phoenix.  Its power and its beauty.  Diabetes is a nightmare but the friendships it has brought us are more beautiful than any of the ugliness.  Diabetes brings hardships but it has also given me a strength to challenge issues and create change where I never would have gone before.

I have also given up the grey ribbon in place of the blue circle.  I love the grey ribbon, not for its dark color but the drop of blood was a real reminder of what our loved ones deal with each day.  Despite my attachment to that symbol, there is a movement for diabetes to band together and use one symbol--the blue circle that was adopted by the UN.  There is a renewed desire to make this symbol as recognizable as the pink ribbon is for breast cancer. 

I have no idea if this will happen but grey is making way for blue.  We see blue candles lit in memory of who have lost their battle with diabetes. There are the campaigns to light up your home/town blue on  World Diabetes day in November.  Grey is drab, blue offers hope so I have traded in the grey ribbon worn by my phoenix and instead encircled him in blue. 

With that in mind, it was time for me to change as well. It was time for a new logo, a new sense of purpose, and a new face forward in our rollercoaster life with Type 1 diabetes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A moment of sadness

Last night I woke up at 3am as usual.  I grabbed my housecoat and headed across the hall to test my son.  He was low.  He had been high the night before but a site change and set things back on track...he was now low.

I decided against feeding him glucose tablets because of his aversion to the "glucose hangover".  I headed instead to the kitchen to grab a glass of juice.  Just in case, I added extra sugar. It was 3am and I really did not want to be up until after 4. Armed with juice and straw, I headed back to his room. I touched the straw to his lips and watched him drink it down like so many times before. 

I went to my room to grab a book and my glasses. I had at least fifteen minutes to kill before retesting so it was time to get an Iris Johansen fix.  I curled up on the couch and settled into my novel.  I kept my phone nearby so I could see when my time was up.  Fifteen minutes quickly passed. I slowly walked back to his room. I tested him and he was in range.

Normally I would remember the reading that allowed me to leave my book for the night but last night was different. It was overshadowed by a sadness. I don't normally allow any sadness or much pity to enter my life when it comes to diabetes. I have had a "no nonsense" approach since I learned my son would live. It has served me well for over 11 years.  Don't get me wrong, at 5 am, after two hours of battling a low, I do still have meltdowns and the "why me??'s". 

Last night, something different took over. It was a complete sadness. A sense of futility.  I looked at my son sleeping in his bed. I knew how lucky we were. I was grateful for a five second meter.  I appreciated the pump that kept his life almost "normal".  I was glad that I was able to wake so often and catch both highs and lows. 

All of that paled in that moment for some unknown reason.  I looked at his sleeping form, peaceful and without a care, and I saw no end.  I saw no end to the highs and lows at night. I saw no end to the testing--no end to the worries. I saw him becoming a man and carrying this burden himself. I saw him trying to balance the financial burden with his need for quality health care.  For just that moment, there was no stopping the sadness--the desire to take it all away while knowing that you can't. I felt hopeless. 

I slowly walked back to my room with a tear stain on my heart but in the morning I would be ready to face things again.  We can only take each day as it comes, brush away the sadness, and hope for a better tomorrow. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day for those of us living in Canada.  Its a lovely fall day, with the leaves changing color and just a slight sharpness in the air.  Its a day that I use to refocus on the positives in my life.  For many years, I have tried to practice gratitude--you know that practice of stopping at the end of each day and count out ten things that you are grateful for? At this point in my life, I simply try to remember at least two things each night before I go to sleep. 

There are many more than two or even tens things to be thankful for of course.  I truly appreciate a warm bed, a roof over my head, clean drinking water and a hot shower each morning.  There other things like access to medical attention, a good dentist and a lovely orthodontist that are also blessings in our lives. 

Living with diabetes there are a few different things that I remain grateful for like the support of family and friends.  As well as the support of friends who have become like family.  The support of those people who "get it" and are there for me no matter what. The support of those people who work hard to learn and try to "get it".  Their efforts mean just as much.

I am grateful for the work of Sir Frederick Banting, who's insulin allows my son to lead an active "normal" life.  The genius who created our "Sirius Black" insulin pump that lent a new level of flexibility to our lives.  The companies who worked to make glucometers provide results in a mere 5 seconds.

I appreciate the hair color companies more and more after each stubborn low.  Without them, my hair would be a lovely shade of white by now.  I also appreciate the makers of the Olay products and the various foundations used to keep the stress lines at bay and poly fill in those that make it through.

We often curse diabetes.  Nightly we pray for a cure.  We beg for a day without injections, testing, fighting, and fear.  Today is a day to be thankful. 

It is a time to be thankful for the work of so many who make our lives just that much easier. The people who have advanced our science to make it possible for my son and others to live longer, more fulfilling lives.  The people who fight for equality in schools and in the workforce for people living with diabetes.  Its a day to be greatful for the people who work hard to raise the money for research and those who use their know how to one day cure this disease.  Today is a day to refocus, to count the blessings brought to us by diabetes and the wonderful advances that have made our lives just a little better than it could have been.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Does Diabetes Control my life?

The other night, as I was stumbling around in the hall trying to find the knob to my son's door and check his blood sugar level, I thought to myself "Diabetes controls my life." As I began to wake a little more fully I began to wonder about that statement. Did diabetes truly control my life? Had I allowed it to do this? Was it an excuse or was it the reality of living with a  child with a chronic disease?

I asked people on my Facebook page what they thought. Did diabetes control their lives? One of the answers I received was "Anyone that has Type 1 that says that diabetes does not control their life, probably has an A1c of 10+.  Unfortunately to have consistent and healthy blood glucose, it has to control a portion of what you do, it does not have to define you and let it impact your overall lifestyle."

Diabetes definitely controls a portion of what I do. It wakes me up at night. It keeps me up at night. It has changed how I look at food. It makes me gave me something new to associate the "Band Aid" smell with.  It has changed many of my thoughts and actions.

My son's A1c has, to date, been under 10 so maybe I was safe. Maybe diabetes did control my life and that was not a completely bad thing but what is "control"? How do you define "control" over your life? I turned to Google for the answer. According to and Merriam-Webster, control can be defined as "to exercise a restraining or directing influence over."

Diabetes definitely has redirected my life.  I have two sons. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree and spent several years prior to children working in the finance industry.  My life plan prior to March 17, 2000 had been to go back to work when my youngest son started school.  That plan was completely derailed. 

I had always been vocal when I saw social injustice but diabetes sent me to an entirely new level.  It caused me to fight all levels of government, learn about various social policies and as well as see many social inequities. 

Diabetes has redirected our travel more than once.  Our first trip to New York included a side trip to a diabetes family beach party.  Our last trip across Canada included stops at the homes of friends who also lived with diabetes. Each year diabetes sends me to the Canadian Friends for Life Conference and it keeps me planning to go back to the Orlando FFL one day.

So had I allowed diabetes to control my life? Did I let it have a "directing influence" in my life? I guess I have.  Part of me will say that I had no choice, I had to stay with my son. I had to fight for our tax credit. I had to expand my social network to find others who lived in our shoes.  Part of me would be right but many people have taken a different route.  Many parents have made different choices.  My choice was to let diabetes become a very large part of my life.  My choice was to try to change that little piece of the make it better. Maybe diabetes controlling my life isn't the worst thing that could have happened to me but I still wish it hadn't come knocking on my son's door.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons from Death of a Cozmo

Things I have learned when our Lean Green Pumping Machine cracked for the final time and had to be replaced...
1. A break at the top where the cartridge goes in is a very bad thing.

2.  The emergency number for those of us still clutching to our Cozmos here in Canada is the US toll free number.

3.  When you call the toll free number they will tell you to call your doctor for a back up plan.  Call our doctor? We used our first Cozmo.  She was was my son because "my" back up plan is inject the basal amount via injection every four hours until we got our new pump (ideally within 24 hours).
4.  When you switch from the beloved green Cozmo back to the reliable ice blue, it would be a lot easier if the software still worked on newer computers.
5.  Switching from the newer Cozmo back to the older version requires the brains of at least two people. Mom programmed the first 75% and child user figured out the other 25% rather than get out a calculator and do math.

6.  "I think we are too late to get you this pump tomorrow" means be soooooo terribly glad that you have that back up ice blue Cozmo because it could be over seven tomorrows and three phone calls before the new pump arrives.

7.  When you are dealing with a pump that the manufacturer no longer makes, the Lean Green Pumping Machine can and will be replaced by the first pump that they can still find on their shelves.  On our case this means that we now are pumping with "Sirius Black"  (Thanks Rhon!). 

8.  Remember to keep cartridges for your old pump.  The number of tomorrows it can take a pump to arrive may not be as few as you remembered. Having your old Cozmo to rely on makes waiting for the new one so much better!
Our back up, Our dead Green Machine and the new Sirius Black all hooked up!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The lancet is thrown back

As you may recall, my son was going to have to do his own night testing this past weekend. I had to have day surgery on Friday and was worried about how well I could handle testing him. My son was less than impressed with the new arrangement but agreed.

Friday night came and I was literally up every hour.  He stayed up until 1:00am. I tested around 2:30am (because I was up) and found him low.  Thankfully the anesthetic wasn't impairing me too badly so I stayed up, read, and waited for him to come back up.  I eventually checked his alarm clock and noticed that he hadn't set it to wake up at three either way! He had felt that the 1am test would cover his night testing duty.  Wrong! I woke him up and told him that he was on the 7am test because I needed to get some sleep.  He reluctantly agreed.

Saturday night arrived and I again reminded my son to test. I was terribly sore and tired. I could really use the sleep. He looked at me with a pained expression and said "How much more of this do I have to do?"

I tried not to laugh. I reminded him that he hadn't tested Friday night because I had and I would make sure to do it on Sunday night so he had a decent sleep before school. I could visibly see the relief on his face.

Saturday night, he tested himself before he went to sleep. I woke up at about 2:45am and tested him. He was a little bit low.  Not seriously low, but not where I would feel comfortable. I gave him some glucose gel and went back to sleep.  He should have been up in 15 minutes to test.  Thankfully he was. I tested him again when I woke at 6 and all was fine.

Sunday night he went to bed with a look of joy in his eyes.  Mom was back on duty! He could sleep. There would no longer be the issue of setting an alarm.  He was safe for a few more months at least!