Mad Writing Urge To Purge

You know how when you’re mad or in the middle of an argument you might say things you don’t mean – or at least say things that you mean but didn’t mean to say aloud?

I have made a point these years to try not to write when I am really angry, upset, sad, frustrated, overwhelmed or exhausted. While with writing, I have an opportunity to take things back by using a the backspace key, or highlighting and deleting, or simply saving a post to return to it later, there is still a chance I will be so caught up in the moment I will not have the good sense to step back, re-read, consider repercussions, and evaluate how accurate or fair the story is. I could, in just seconds, air my families dirty laundry by hitting the publish button.

I’m not suggesting I never write when I am angry or after some knock down drag out fight with a member of my family. I do. I have a dozen or so posts in my drafts folder to prove it. Thankful they are just drafts.

When I go back to read those drafts, often weeks after I penned them, I realize that what was big at the time was really small. That I may have overreacted a little during an argument. That I may even sound a bit whiny – especially if say something an augment started over included wrappers from food items used to treat lows. (There are wrappers all around my house – fruit roll-up wrappers, fruit snack wrappers, peanut butter cracker wrappers, smarty wrappers, granola bar wrappers, and empty juice boxes.) Imagine that – to actually publish a post where I am whining about wrappers? That would be crazy. Ok there was other stuff in the post but two paragraphs were about wrappers – and yes, it is likely true that when I was whining about wrappers the wrappers actually represented how I feel I lose control over diabetes management and/or diabetes is always messing up our lives or something deeper than just some wrappers on side tables and night stands, but still readers wouldn’t know that, they would only read my whining – meanwhile somewhere in this world a child is dying because there is no insulin or refrigeration to keep it safe.

Yesterday The last few weeks The last couple months Since we moved there have been many arguments within my walls. I have written (have not shared them) or been tempted to write about many of them. There is a problem though – even bigger than the problem of writing when mad. The problem is the stories are not entirely mine. The stories also belong to my kids. As a parent of kids with diabetes it has become increasingly difficult to determine what stories are mine to share and what stories belong to my kids.

Why does it matter you ask? Because one day my kids will leave my walls. They will go out into the world and find jobs, and friends, and be their own people. Maybe one of my kids will be considered for a scholarship. Maybe the university will google my kids name. How would my kiddo feel if the admissions office of the university sat about reading how they left wrappers all over my home. What if in addition to reading about my child’s wrapper issues it turns out my kiddo hadn’t told the admissions office about diabetes, why would he/she – the university wouldn’t need to know about diabetes. But now I’ve given up information that my child may have wished to be secret, at least for a time. Same goes for being interviewed for a job. I guarantee the perspective employer is googling the applicant. (hmmm – ok sometimes google shouldn’t be a verb)

I try to protect my kids identities.

I haven’t used their names.

I don’t ever want to do an internet search on my kids and see a link back to my blog or other social media.

However there are people who know our family and read my ramblings. Would it be fair for my daughters friends to read about all her wrappers? Maybe. Maybe not. I mean if she chooses to leave wrappers everywhere and she knows I write stuff than she should know better right? No. Not right. My kids, all kids, should feel free to live their lives without the world watching or be worried that the world might hear about all the dirty wrappers. I mean unless that kid is Honey Boo Boo. (face palm)

So why this post right now?

Because I have shared some amazing moments with my kids. Moments of pure joy and pleasure. Moments that any parent can be proud of. Of course I want to share those stories and my kids like those stories being shared. Imagine parents at a company picnic telling a small crowd of co-workers about the home-run little Timmy hit. Timmy would be beaming with pride. Imagine that same scene but instead Timmy’s dad is telling his co-workers how Timmy doesn’t pick up wrappers. Timmy would be embarrassed and begin to lose trust in his parent. I share a lot of company picnic worthy stories. Thus, someone who reads my blog might begin to think ‘man her life is so perfect, her kids do everything they should, their diabetes management is so wonderful, she is so positive and supportive’ then that same reader may look at her life, her cwd, her kids diabetes management and wonder ‘why does my teen leave so may wrappers around? (to clarify in case you’ve missed it – wrappers can be anything from forgetting to bolus, not checking blood sugars, non-stop snacking, forgetting meters at home, loosing Dstuff, lying about numbers, basically anything and everything that makes managing diabetes with kids difficult, frustrating, and heart breaking)’

My kids are not perfect and I’m the farthest thing from it. But if you don’t read a story here about any one of my three kids with diabetes back-talking, forgetting to bolus, forgetting to check blood sugars, intentionally NOT checking blood sugars, eating too much sugary crud, letting their pumps run out of insulin, loosing medical devices, forgetting to bring medical devices, forgetting to pack fast acting sugar when leaving the house, not answering their phones, screaming at me over something when their blood sugars are 400+, etc – it is NOT because those things don’t happen. Oh they happen. I just don’t share them when they do happen.

Raising kids is hard. I’ve never heard any parent say it wasn’t.

Raising kids with a chronic disease adds a layer of difficulty.

Raising kids with a chronic disease and moving them to another state twice in two years adds all kinds of difficulty.

Add in teenage hormones and basically I start to wonder why the heck I don’t drink daily.

I am tired. I have been to ropes end with my kids and with diabetes.

It is good that school is starting soon because I think my kids have had enough of me and each other. Not all our arguments are about diabetes – in fact only about a quarter of them are. Most our arguments are about chores, attitude, bickering, and disrespectful behavior. My kids are normal. They argue with each other, skip out on chores, forget to say please and thank you, leave their stuff everywhere, ask for sweets all the time, ask for stuff all the time. They are normal.

Jury is still out on my normalness. (When you blog you get to make up words. It’s true.)

Incidentally I was chatting with whining to my friend Meri yesterday about the crazy difficult frustrating life of raising teens and asked if she ever felt the urge to purge on her blog. I had mentioned how my stories are not only my stories and she asked if I had seen her post –  she had just blogged about that same thing – that day. This week has been busy with school meetings so I hadn’t read any blogs this week but of course I pulled up Feedly and gave it a read. Good stuff. You can read her take on ‘ours vs. theirs’ here.

Thanks for making it to the end. I feel like there should be some sort of reward for those that make it through all my disconnected thoughts and rambling. Sadly I got noth’n. Not even a funny cat photo.

 

 

Size Matters

Last night around midnight I woke to check Sugarboy’s blood sugar.

He uses the Animas Ping pump with Ping meter. The Ping meter uses the One Touch Ultra test strips.

We have been using the Ping and One Touch Ultra meters for over 7 years. We love the Ping and feel pretty good about the Ping meter although it isn’t our favorite meter. We prefer the One Touch VerioIQ meter because of the color screen, smaller blood sample size and the very appreciated light at the test strip port. My two older kids both use the VerioIQ – one also uses Ping pump but doesn’t wish to use the Ping Meter. My oldest uses the TSlim pump so there would be no reason for her to use the Ping meter.

I don’t know exactly when the change was made – I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday so remembering when One Touch made the change would be ridiculous. I believe it has been within the last year though.

When the change was made I was initially excited – yea for having more strips in a container. Other test strips manufacturers had been putting 50 per container for some time.

It took only a few days for the change to seriously frustrate my son. He is only 10 and has tiny fingers but still had a hard time retrieving a test strip from a freshly opened canister. The frustration continued until he had used about 20 test strips. To combat his frustration (and mine) we began just putting half the strips from a new canister into the nearly empty or empty canister he was using. This worked fine albeit annoying. The problem of course would be if we ever had issues with the test strips there would be no way of knowing if the test strips were truly part of the LOT number listed on the canister. Not really an issue since we never had a quality issue to report.

So last night like I said, I woke up to check my son’s blood sugar. He had just replaced his canister of test strips at his last check. He didn’t just reload his empty canister – he put a whole new canister in his diabetes bag. That meant it had 49 test strips in it.

Considering my 10-year-old with tiny fingers has trouble getting a new strip out of a new canister of strips you can imagine my frustration at midnight with my 40-year-old fingers that aren’t nearly as cute and slim as my sons. After my third attempt at pulling up a single test strip I had to shake them half way out of the canister to retrieve one. This resulted in a half-dozen strips falling into the bed-clothes. Since the Ping meter doesn’t have a light like the Verio I was doing this with only the dim light of the hallway. Since test strips are costly and not to be wasted I had to turn on the bedroom light to find the renegade strips. I watched my boy squeeze his eyes tighter shut as the light flooded the room. I found more than a half-dozen within the bedding. Realizing that some might be used (my boy puts his used strips back into his Dbag and opening the Dbag sometimes allows the used strips to slip out) I had to then peer at each strip with my sleep deprived eyes to determine if it already held DNA or if was an unused strip.

This whole process took about 7-10 minutes. Not a ton of time but those 7-10 minutes felt like a lifetime in the middle of the night.

Frustrated and more than a bit angry I sent a tweet to One Touch. I think I sent multiple tweets. But one tweet got the attention of One Touch.

strip2photoToday One Touch responded to my tweet. They asked me to DM them. Here’s my issue with sending a DM. Trying to express my frustration in 140 characters is like stuffing 50 test strips into a canister made to hold 25. Although I appreciate they reached out.

Here is the problem via pictures:

strip4photo

We have both Verio and Ultra in our home – different kids with diabetes means different preferences for diabetes tools.

The Verio canister is the same size as the Ultra canister and both contain 50 test strips.

strip3photo

 

Notice the the difference in ‘free space’ between the two types of test strips – both are new canisters containing 50 strips each. There is no issue retrieving a Verio test strip. Retrieving an Ultra test strip from a new canister is close to impossible unless they are shaken loose (often resulting in spills).

Why the difficulties with one and not the other? Well if you can’t see the difference in the size of the strips from the above photo look here…

strip1photo

Size matters people. The Ultra test strip is thicker. BTW it also requires more blood but that’s off topic.

One Touch in their response to my tweet said they wanted to help.

Dear One Touch – Im not sure how you can help. It means a lot that you responded at all. We have been loyal One Touch customers for many years. Not that we haven’t tried other meters but we always return to you. I’ve already said how much we like the VerioIQ. Anyway – my youngest likes using his ping meter to remote bolus. How can you help – work with (if you’re not already) Animas to get the VerioIQ to have the same technology as the Ping meter so it can remote bolus. That would be the best solution. Might be out of your hands though. I appreciate any attempt made to reduce waste and make managing diabetes easier and I believe those were likely the contributing factors that lead to putting 50 Ultra strips into the same canister that used to hold 25. I actually applauded the decision initially because it meant half the waste and less time replacing canisters in my kids diabetes supply bags. But alas – the first two to three days of a new canister is really frustrating. Im just not sure there is anything you can do to remedy the problem without increasing the size of the canisters. I see a few problems with increasing the size of the canisters: a) it would seem counter productive since you would no longer be reducing the waste b) would leave more space then necessary in the Verio canisters, assuming you would still use the same canister for both types of strips c) no one wants to increase the amount of bulk their diabetes supplies create.

Thank you One Touch for responding to my middle-of-the-night exhausted Dmom slightly irrational tweet.

If you still wish to chat I can always be reached at stickwithitsugar@gmail.com.