Lost & Low at 4000ft

When you have 3 hours of waiting and nothing to do but pace the floor of the ski patrol office the worst case scenarios are what play through your head.

We moved to Washington state in March of 2014. Prior to that we had not lived in an area that was big on downhill skiing. The boys took some lessons early 2015 in Whistler B.C. Then we took them to Kellogg, ID for New Years 2015/16 where they each got another 2 days of skiing. After that they joined the ski club at their school and got another 6 afternoons of skiing experience in 2016. So far in 2017 they each also have had a half-dozen days of skiing. My youngest is very conservative. My older boy, who has always been fearless and confident, is less conservative.

Earlier this week I loaded up the SUV with the boys and my older sons BFF and headed for Idaho. My husband and my daughter were away on a trip out of the country.

The friend my son invited is a very experienced skier and just an all-around wonderful soul.

We arrived at Silver Mt. Resort early evening Presidents Day.

A bit about Silver Mt. resort.

It is nestled in the foothills of Kellogg Mt. and Wardner Mt. Kellogg’s motto according to wikipedia is “This is the town founded by a jackass and inhabited by his descendants.” I actually love the tiny town of Kellogg, and as you will learn reading this post I owe my son’s life and the life of his BFF to a number of folks who call Kellogg home.

To get to the slops of Silver Mountain one has to take a roughly 30 minute ride up the worlds longest gondola, 3.1 miles, traveling from 2,300 elevation to the mountain house lodge at 5,700ft above sea level. From the mountain house lodge snow-sport enthusiasts can ski down as far as chair four at a base of 4,100ft or ride chairs up to Kellogg peak at 6,300ft and/or Wardner Peak at 6,200ft. Silver Mt. Ski Resort has total vertical terrain of 2,200ft and covers 1,600 skiable acres. There are 77 named runs at Silver mt. Ski Resort ranging from beginner to Expert.

Silver Mountain Resort village is not pictured on this trail map. To have the resort village on the map the map would need to be more than twice this size.

So before I begin my story let me just reiterate that the only way up to the skiable areas is by a gondola ride and it is the only safe way off the mountain. It is not like some ski-in/ski-out resorts. The mountain is covered in dense forest, steep ravines, wolves, creeks, and abandoned mines.

My oldest son and his friend Lucy first day of skiing just before they went down Happy Jack.

Tuesday 2/21, first day of skiing. Some fog and lots of falling snow. The two older teens (my son and his BFF who I will call Lucy) had a wonderful day of skiing with no incidents. The powder was perfect and there were only 400 other souls on the mountain which meant zero lift lines. My younger son didn’t feel like skiing, and I had never put on skis, so he and I enjoyed time at the tubing park just outside the mountain lodge followed by board games and hot beverages in the lodge.

My youngest beating my butt at Gobblet game.

My youngest wanted to return to the hotel room at about 2:30 so he went down the gondola alone while I stayed in the lodge enjoying a few more spiked hot ciders waiting on the older teens. At about 3:45 I went down by the gondola loading area to wait on the teens. The lift chairs close between 3:30 and 3:45 to clear the mountain by 4/4:15. There is no night skiing at Silver Mountain. While I was waiting I showed a photo of my son and his friend from earlier that morning to the female loading people into the gondola cabins. She wasn’t sure if she had seen them. As it approached 4pm I sent an iMessage to my youngest (no cell service at all – only iMessage using wifi) that I was still waiting on his brother. A few moments later he messaged back that his brother and Lucy had just arrived at the room. They went down the gondola without me. They basically forgot I was still waiting on them.

Was sending iMessages to my youngest while I waited on the teens and enjoyed another Happy Captain which is apple cider and captain Morgans. Yum

My youngest asks that you ignore is incorrect use of their.

Upon returning to the room I laid into the teens about leaving me on the mountain. They were apologetic and promised not to do it again.

Morning of Wednesday 2/22. As we were all getting our snow gear on and finishing up breakfast I told my older son that we should invest in walkie talkies for future skiing trips to avoid incidents like the afternoon before. He said I was being weird. When loading the gondola to go up to the slopes the young women who I had shown the kids picture to the previous night gave the teens a bit of ribbing and told them not to leave me again. (If this was a book or a movie this would be considered foreshadowing). In the gondola I emphasized how they are to find me before heading down and we would all go down at 3:30 if they didn’t want to go down earlier. I had a my first ski lesson ever scheduled for 1pm. The older teens were taking my younger boy out skiing on intermediate slopes while I rented my gear. My son and Lucy brought my youngest son back to the mountain lodge at roughly noon because he wanted to watch me in my lesson. My older son said he would come back after my lesson to do a green run with me and he wished me luck. Wednesday was extremely foggy. Like maybe 35-50 feet of visibility.

That was about 12:15pm. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I know this part is like the super slow start to a movie you hope will get good.

Me and my boys after I got my rental gear when my oldest brought my youngest back to mountain lodge before he and Lucy went off skiing again. Note the fog.

Since my lesson wouldn’t start for another 45 minutes my youngest son decided to go down an easy run near the lesson area. I watched him ski off and disappear in the dense fog feeling very proud of him. After 10 minutes I started to worry that he was alone and it was foggy. I started to fret that he would miss a turn and end up on a more difficult slope. I paced in the snow by the lesson area until my trainer showed up. I convinced myself that my youngest would be fine and focused on my lesson. (In the movie version this would be additional foreshadowing)

While waiting I took a feet picture. Just FYI I like feet pictures better when they include sand and sunshine.

My lesson went superb. My trainer, lets call him Bob, said I was a natural. After 3 runs on the bunny slope learning how to make a good wedge, turn, and side step Bob suggested we go down a green slope. My youngest returned from his run about 20 minutes into my lesson and had been encouraging me on the bunny slope. At about 1:40 we set off on a green slope and my youngest tagged along. It was still foggy but the fog was lifting a bit when we set off. I fell once. It wasn’t my fault, I blame my youngest. He kept skiing backward like my trainer to watch me but he kept falling. At one point he fell and I was going a bit fast so I had to turn quick to avoid him and my skis dug into a huge section of fresh powder. I went down in an unnatural way but was not injured. My trainer had to remove my skis for me to get upright since my left leg was pinned under me.

By the time we got to chair 1 the fog was gone and the blue of the sky was the brightest and most beautiful I had ever seen. We reached the mountain lodge and bid farewell to Bob at 2:19. My youngest and I went into the lodge for celebratory
hot cocoa while we waited to see if the older teens showed up to ski with me.

Picture of me and my youngest after our run on the green slope with my trainer. Fog had lifted.

By 2:40 my youngest and I went out to do another easy slope but as I was putting on my skis the binding came off one and I had to get it fixed so my youngest went alone. When he got back my binding was fixed but it was 3pm so we decided to call it a day and returned the rental equipment. We gathered our bags and sat down on a bench in the gondola house to wait for the older teens. My youngest was excited to get down the mountain to go to the indoor wa
ter park. I told him that we weren’t leaving without the teens. He was disappointed but I explained that as a mom I couldn’t leave the mountain without them. He assured me they would be fine and that they probably went down already but I stood my ground. At 3:35 I went outside to look for them and my youngest checked the cafe. Outside the fog had rolled back in with a vengeance. Visibility was extremely low and it was already getting dark with heavy cloud cover.

If this was a movie this is when the ominous music would start.

When I was explaining to my youngest son that as a mom I couldn’t leave the mountain until I knew his brother and Lucy were safe, I was just being a mom and keeping with my word that we would go down together. But as I stepped outside in the fog something strong compelled me to act. A feeling I hadn’t felt since I insisted to my husband who believed my son just had a cold, that I take my youngest to the doctor on Feb 7th of 2007, the day he was diagnosed and would have likely died had I not taken him. Call it a mother’s intuition. Call it guidance from God. Call it a sixth sense. What ever you call it – it is what may have saved my oldest son and Lucy. Alexis Carrel wrote, “Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance: it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality”.  I am not patting myself on my back, I am recognizing that there were larger forces at play that are beyond my understanding.

I flagged down two ski patrollers who had just come off a chair lift. I asked if they had cleared all the runs yet. They confirmed that most runs were cleared and chairs were closing. I mentioned I hadn’t seen my older son and Lucy yet and they were just a few minutes late. The ski patrollers asked me to come to ski patrol to talk about it. I declined and said I’m sure the kids would show up – which was me trying to convince myself that whatever I was feeling, it was wrong. A moment later the head ski patrol guy showed up and I explained to him that the teens hadn’t returned and I was certain they would not have gone down the gondola after the previous days incident. None the less the head ski patrol guy kindly asked my younger son to head down to look for the teens. He also had me show the gondola operator the teens photo so he would stop them if they showed up while I went down to ski patrol.

A number of iMessages I had sent to my oldest son beginning at 2:44pm while my youngest and I were waiting. The arrow was at 3:54pm.

The gondola ride is 30 min. I realized once I was in ski patrol that I hadn’t given my youngest a room key so I sent an iMessage to him that he should go to front desk to get a key. I knew he wouldn’t get the message until he got to the gondola house due to no wifi on the gondola. When we got to the ski patrol office the head ski patrol guy, lets call him Doug, called the resort lobby to inquire if the teens had come in for key and told them my youngest would be coming for a key.

30 minutes past and I didn’t hear from my youngest or the teens. The lobby called up to say that they had a small boy waiting outside the room and could house keeping let him in. House keeping let my youngest son in the room and he confirmed the teens had not been to the room.Meanwhile back on the mountain Doug was asking the ski patrollers to clock back in and started handing out assignments. This is where my brain gets a bit fuzzy because in my head I began to picture worst case scenarios. Doug sent ski patrollers out on various snowmobiles to run the ski boundary and check chair areas. That was at 3:55pm.

More iMessages sent to my missing son still hoping he and his friend would show up at the mountain lodge and get the messages and find me in ski patrol.

By 4:20 the chair lift areas were confirmed clear and there were multiple sleds (snowmobiles) out running the boundary lines.

While patrollers were out running boundary lines I answered Doug’s questions for a report. Birthdays, where did they plan to ski that afternoon (No idea), how experienced are they, have they ever gone out-of-bounds before, what are they wearing, etc. During this time I kept apologizing for the trouble of it all. In between asking me questions Doug’s radio would sound off with one patroller or another updating him on his progress and a new assignment would be given. These guys were extremely efficient and professional and I was nothing short of impressed at the level of calm they all seemed to possess. I remember consciously trying to keep my shit together because a hysterical mom would not have helped the situation. Inside I was a complete basket case, my stomach was turning on me, and my heart felt like it was trying to escape from my chest. It was during this interview that I told Doug that my son had type 1 diabetes. He asked when my son had last eaten and if he had supplies on him. I had no idea when the kids had last eaten since I hadn’t seen them since just after noon. I told Doug that my son had fruit snacks, jelly beans, and a tube of gel frosting on him. Then I made the mistake of looking at my Dexcom share application on my phone. The last time his phone had connected with wifi was when I had seen the teens just after noon. The graph I stared at showed my son with a blood sugar of about 150 going down. No other connection so he hadn’t been back to the mountain lodge since I had seen him.

The scenarios that played through my head at that point included Lucy being injured and my son going for help but going low and thus passing out in the deep snow. The kids going out-of-bounds and falling off a steep slope both being injured with his blood sugar dropping. I think the reason I worried that Lucy had been injured is because if it were my son than Lucy would have come for help.

After the questions I simply paced the ski patrol office, occasionally going outside to vomit or pressing my hands and face against the cold window glass asking in tearful whispers “where are you?”

By 5:00pm my youngest was still not responding to my iMessages. I sent an iMessage to my friend back home and asked her to call the hotel and have them ring the room so she could tell my youngest to turn on wifi. My friend confirmed that his wifi was on but the hotel wifi was down.  Knowing my youngest has diabetes the hotel staff ordered food for him and delivered it to the room. Seriously the lobby staff was really great checking in periodically with my youngest.

5:01

5:13

5:19

5:21

Sometime between 5:00pm and 5:30pm a patroller found two sets of ski tracks heading out-of-bounds. The patroller began following the tracks out-of-bounds. I don’t remember when I had to talk to the sheriff’s department on the phone to provide the same information I provided Doug. But basically once folks go out-of-bounds the search and rescue falls under the sheriff’s jurisdiction. I think I heard Doug telling the sheriff that they had a promising lead and would follow it. I’m not sure if the ski patrol had to get permission from the sheriff’s department to continue the search. Again my brain was all foggy. Either way the sheriff’s department was on stand-by.

At 5:30pm I face-timed the same friend back home because answering questions via iMessage was difficult and I need to talk to someone. I explained the logistics of the mountain, how long they had been gone, and shared how scared I was. It was a comfort to hear a familiar voice and get the reassurances I so desperately needed that the kids would be found. Doug and the couple other men who were in the ski patrol office with me were very kind. They offered me tea, bagels, and coffee, not that I could eat anything, and they updated me on the search efforts. What they didn’t ever say is that the kids would be ok.

After face-timing with my friend back home I face-timed another friend at 5:50. I hesitated slightly before calling him since he was 3 hours ahead and I wasn’t sure if I’d be waking him. When I called he was in bed reading. I explained the situation and basically asked him to call in some favors. See this friend is a priest, and I really needed someone with a direct line. I don’t often ask anyone to pray and to be honest I don’t often pray and when I do it is more of a plea to the universe to provide comfort for those in need, healing for those hurting, strength for those struggling, etc. But at 5:50pm on that Wednesday I needed prayers.

I can’t recall if there was word before I called my priest friend or just after that a set of skis were found. The time seemed to slow to a crawl or almost stop while I paced the floor.

6:04 message to the friend I had been messaging earlier

It was one set of skis found standing upright in the snow with only one set foot prints heading further down the mountain and then back up. Only one set of foot prints and one set of skis? If you were on the mountain you would have likely heard my heart break and my silent scream of terror. Yes it was something, but why one set only? Where is the other child?

That was at 6:04 based on a iMessage I sent my friend back home. Earlier in my face-time call to my friend back home I asked her in a panic when I should contact Lucy’s mom and she suggested I wait a little longer since there was nothing to be done from 300 miles away. I had asked Doug the same question earlier but he had suggested to wait a bit. At this point I wasn’t getting all the updates as they were coming in faster and Doug was busy redirecting search efforts for different patrollers. Another set of skis was found not long after. Deep Breath. Doug took a moment to show me on a computer where the tracks were first spotted and where the skis were found. It was hard to judge the amount of ground covered but it looked like a huge amount of terrain.

Face-time wouldn’t work to call Lucy’s mom so I borrowed a phone from one of the men in the ski patrol office with me. I explained what had been happening and that the patrollers had a good lead and I would update her as soon as I had more information. Lucy’s mom was extremely calm and supportive. Something that was a real God send since I was in panic mode.

Just before 6:19pm ski patrollers heard the kids yelling ‘we are here’. (I should note that I actually have no idea what the kids called out when they heard the patrollers calling for them. They could have yelled ‘help’ but in my head I had the Whos from Horton Hears a Who in my head. It was a safe animated image)

Deep breaths.

I sent an iMessage to Lucy’s mom letting her know that the patrollers could hear the kids responding to the patrollers yelling for them.

I had explained over the phone that the patrollers were following tracks. Lucy’s mom was contacting their cell carrier to ask them to ping Lucy’s phone. The carrier wouldn’t without a warrant from sheriff’s department.

It was another 17 minutes until the patrollers had eyes on the kids since the teens had to hike up to the traverse where the patrollers were with snowmobiles and hot Gatorade. I still had no word on the teens condition but they were able to walk to the snowmobiles.

They were taken by snowmobile to a groomer (huge tracker type machine used to groom ski slopes) and were warming up and making their way back to the mountain house.

The groomer arrived at the mountain house at 7:08pm. The teens were soaked through and cold but otherwise unharmed.

Bad photo because it is a screen shot of a video I tried to take to send to Lucy’s mom so she could see and hear her daughter safe.

The teens gave a statement and explanation to Doug about how they ended up out-of-bounds, what their thought processes were regarding where to hike to, and what their plans were if they hadn’t been found.  He showed them on the computer were they were found and explained the truly dangerous situation they had been in. He impressed on them the seriousness of the situation and how incredibly lucky they were that their ski tracks were found. Doug asked them each for an email with all the details again and asked them to each share what they (the teens) learned from the experience.

The three of us were loaded on the gondola to head down the mountain by 7:30pm. The majority of the ski patrollers had not returned to the mountain house before we were sent down. They were not as lucky as the teens to ride up in a groomer so I couldn’t hug them all like I would have liked to. Between the gondola operators, official ski patrollers, and a mountain of a man who typically works maintenance but also volunteers for ski patrol, there were a dozen souls working to find my son and Lucy and return them safely.

We were in the hotel room a bit after 8pm. The kids took long hot showers and ate large hot meals.

My son’s blood sugar was about 170 before he ate dinner – I forget the exact number. I had not asked him to check his blood sugar when he and Lucy were brought in from the groomer. I hadn’t even asked him to check in the gondola. Honestly diabetes was the last thing on my mind from the moment I knew they were on snowmobiles. My boy and Lucy were safe. They were unharmed. They were on their way to me. Diabetes wasn’t a thought until the boy sat down to eat back in the room.

So what happened?

Due to the extreme fog the teens missed a turn off for a traverse to cut over to chair 4. The run they were on ended on a second traverse just above the boundary line but they didn’t see the signs identifying the boundary lines. They believed they were still on the run. When they realized they had missed the traverse they believed they were still above the boundary line and the second traverse would be just ahead. They had seen a pink flag and thought it was part of the trail. It was in fact part of an old mining route as they were already outside the boundary. By the time they fully realized they were out-of-bounds it was too steep to climb back up. They thought if they heading in the direction they believed chair 4 was, that eventually they would find chair 4. They knew based on the trail map that chair 4 was at 4,100ft and they knew they were at 4,000ft because my son used snapchat to take a picture and scrolled to get the elevation listed on the photo. They had a plan but did not realize just how far away they were from chair 4 or how deep the snow in the dense forrest would be. At times they were hiking in snow that was up to their chests and occasionally pulling each other out of tree wells. Their skis were too heavy and cumbersome to hike and climb with so they decided to ditch them. It was dark by 5:30 but thankfully where they were lost the fog had lifted and stars lit their way. During their time lost they discussed how if they got to chair 4 there would be a blankets and a radio they could use to call for help or could just stay the night in the chair house. They weren’t sure if anyone would be looking for them or if they could be found. They believe they went out of bounds around 2:45pm.

Blue circle is the mountain house were gondola arrives on the mountain. Red circle is about the area they went out of bounds and they roughly followed the red line to the X area where they were found.

In the 4 hours before they were found my sons dexcom continued to show him dropping and he consumed 2 pouches of fruit snacks, the tube of frosting, and most his jelly beans. He was saving his remaining two pouches of fruit snacks in case they had to spend the night in the dense terrain or chair house, one for him and one for Lucy. They checked their phones periodically for service with no luck.

Based on his Dexcom graph it doesn’t look like his blood sugar ever went below 70 while they were lost. He did not take an actual blood sugar with his meter while they were lost but said he felt low often and didn’t trust his Dexcom was keeping up with his numbers.

My son insists that the hot Gatorade was the best thing he’s ever consumed in his life. I’m fairly certain he only feels that way because he was starving and freezing and it was hot.

This sign hangs both at the bottom of the gondola and the top. Let me just say again how very thankful I am for the Silver Mountain Ski patrol. They truly did go above and beyond (or technically below and beyond) to find, collect and return my son and Lucy to me. I will never truly be able to thank them enough.

Ski patrol rarely, if ever, recovers ditched equipment from the mountain.  Their job is to get people safely off the mountain. So in addition to being forever grateful to the men who rescued the teens and the women who stayed late to operate the gondola to get us and the ski patrollers off the mountain, I am also thankful that the patrollers risked their own safety a second time the following morning to recover the skis the kids ditched.

While I won’t be able to ever fully thank them I did send what I could up the mountain on Thursday Morning. Gift cards to the local grocery store, hand written thank you notes from the teens to each person involved in the rescue and an appropriate treat. *upon returning home Lucy’s mom was very generous and reimbursed me for half the cost of the gift cards.

So over a late breakfast at the Morning Star lodge restaurant the teens shared more about their ordeal. During their hike they discussed how if their story ever became a movie the writers would ruin it by adding a bit of romance into the story and would also likely add injuries or other drama. They also said they thought they kept hearing planes overhead but I explained that the sounds they would occasionally hear were likely snowmobiles searching the boundaries. We also discussed all the real dangers the teens could have faced while out there including, wolf packs that roam the mountain after dark and the risk of avalanches. I think I began a number of sentences to them with the words, “you could have died…”

Lessons learned include:

  • Staying in one place once you realize you are lost.
  • Suspending or disconnected the insulin pump to help avoid the low blood sugars.
  • If you feel compelled to hike, leave a trail by maybe ditching equipment in separate areas to help rescue teams know the direction you are headed.
  • Always be sure other members of your party who are not skiing with you know which areas you plan to ski.
  • If you don’t know the mountain and visibility is limited ski conservatively.

 

In the 3.5 hours between when the kids didn’t show up at 3:30 and when they climbed out of the groomer a bit after 7pm I aged at least 10 years. I vomited 3 times. I made a number of promises to the universe and to God. I pleaded with the mountain and the forrest to keep my son and Lucy safe. I cried. I silently screamed (I was carful to not actually scream because I was experiencing extreme fear of avalanches.) I prayed for the safety of the ski patrollers out searching. I apologized repeatadly to Doug and the other men in the ski patrol office for all the trouble. I saw visions of my oldest son from the day he was born through that afternoon in my head on repeat. I whispered the words ‘please be safe’ well over a hundred times.

Luck was with the kids and the patrollers. Finding their ski tracks was a huge break. But luck alone didn’t save the kids. The keen eyes, dedication, experience, courage, and selflessness of the ski patrollers and mountain staff saved the kids, but I don’t believe they worked alone.

Last photo before we left Silver Mountain Resort for home. I love these two crazy teens. Again so thankful for Ski Patrol and Silver Mountain staff.

Have Fun.

Play Hard.

Carry Glucose.

I Get It Wrong Often

Last night my Middles, (13 year old teen boy) was over 400 before going to bed.

He was 238 before dinner and bolused (used his insulin pump to deliver insulin into his body) for dinner with extra insulin to correct the high.

That was 4 hours before he was going to bed.

He was surprised by the high blood sugar before going to bed.

The infusion site he had on was only 36 hours old.

I chose not to drill him regarding what he might have eaten after dinner that could have resulted in the high but I did assume he had eaten something or somethings.

I just told him to correct (bolus insulin for the high) and to go to bed.

I set alarms (two) on my phone to wake up and check his blood sugar around midnight.

I don’t remember hearing the first alarm.

I do remember hearing the second alarm and I remember silencing it.

I awoke with a start at 4:11am realizing my neglectfulness.

In the moments walking between my bedroom and my sons bedroom my heart pounded against my ribs. The fear parents of children with diabetes experience when we know there is the slightest possibility our kids could have experienced a sever low at night can be monstrous. The relief when we see our child sleeping peacefully while their chest slowly rises and falls with each breath is equally as immense.

My boy was sleeping soundly and breathing normally. Exhale.

I checked his blood sugar.

403.

Fuck.

My assumption that he had eaten some rogue food between dinner and bed was incorrect. Instead the high before he went to bed was very likely due to a failed infusion site (place that insulin from his pump is infused into his body). The site needs to be replaced a minimum of every 3 days – his most recent site was only 36 hours old and shouldn’t have failed.

I had to wake the child and ask him to come downstairs to replace the site and insulin in his pump.

He didn’t complain. He felt like crud and he knew that insulin was the only way he would feel better.

Ok he whined a little. It was 4:15am and he didn’t sleep as soundly as I had first imagined.

New site, new insulin in his pump and a large bolus to correct his blood sugar.

We don’t own a ketone meter (a small device similar to a glucometer that checks the amount of ketones are in the blood via a finger stick/drop of blood), ketones are often present during periods of extreme high blood sugars. Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy, excessive ketones poison the body and when combined with dehydration can result in ketoacidosis, a life threatening condition.

Before he came into the kitchen to get his new site and insulin I heard him in the bathroom. It was too late to ask him to use the ketostix (paper strips with a small patch on the end that is chemically treated to change color if ketones are present). The ketostix are not a very accurate way to test for ketones – because the paper sticks check the urine for ketones the result is about 4 hours delayed, meaning not the most accurate ketone level, but at least it is an indication of what was happening in this body. Alas – he used up all his urine so no ketone check.

Sent the boy back to bed.

He will need to go to school regardless today. I am scheduled to work.

In the hour since I awoke with a panic I have been berating myself for yet another fail.

We own Dexcom CGMs (continuous glucose monitors). CGMs check a person’s blood sugar every 5 minutes and have alarms that can alert the wearer and others that blood sugars are high or low. Had he been wearing his CGM we likely wouldn’t have ever got to be in the 400s last night and certainly wouldn’t have stayed in the 400s all night as I slept through phone alarms.

Had I done the nagging parent thing at bedtime to determine if he had actually eaten between dinner and bed I might have been able to determine that the high was in fact due to a failed infusion site rather than by a teen that likes to snack and forgets to bolus.

Had I just stayed up between 10pm and midnight I would have not been sleeping at midnight and I would have been able to replace the failed infusion site 5 hours ago vs. letting my son sleep with such dangerous numbers.

Like I said, I get it wrong often.

I’m sorry middles.

Ps. In the 40 minutes since I wrote this and went to take a shower for work I spoke with my husband. He confirmed that he observed Middles eating multiple tangerines before checking his bedtime blood sugar. Thus, it is likely he was high before eating the tangerines but also likely he forgot to bolus for the tangerines. Suggesting that while he bolused for the high before bed he neglected to take insulin to cover the tangerines.

Sigh……

An Honor And A Privilege

Having three kids with diabetes is hard.

It sometimes means late nights.

It sometimes means running supplies or even a forgotten insulin pump to the school.

It sometimes means food fights.

It sometimes means difficult ‘discussions’ about blood sugar checks.

It sometimes means educating an uninformed or misinformed public.

It sometimes means fighting with insurance.

It sometimes means consequences for ‘non-compliance’.

It sometimes means holding your breath when you go to wake your child up after not hearing alarms at night to check a blood sugar after bolusing to correct an extreme high with enough insulin to down a mammoth.

It sometimes means letting your kid ‘shout it out’ when they have reached their breaking point.

It sometimes means meeting with school staff to ensure your child is safe at school.

It sometimes means laying awake wondering about their lives after they leave the safety of home.

It also means:

Watching your children thrive despite a chronic disease that disrupts their days and nights, seeps into every corner of their lives, and rages war on their bodies.

I don’t often talk about how hard diabetes is for the parents of kids with diabetes.

I don’t ever want pity and I get a good deal of hugs without playing the diabetes card or sharing my personal frustrations with the world at large.

It is hard being a parent of a child with diabetes and I have 3.

It is exhausting.

It is scary.

It is emotionally challenging.

I do cry. I cry often. I hate diabetes. I hate fighting with my kids about diabetes.

I worry often about them when they leave my home and I hope I have armed them well to continue the fight when I am not standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

Since my first child was diagnosed I have gained over 60 pounds. 60 pounds in just under 10 years. Some of that is Rice Krispie treats and lattes. A lot of it is due to sleep deprivation, periodic depression, and exhaustion. Not getting 6-9 hours of sleep on a consistent basis causes weight gain. It disrupts hormone levels and leaves us in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’. I blame much of that on diabetes.

Still I don’t want anyone to pity me. Least of all my kids.

I don’t want them to ever consider how diabetes effects (affects? – crap IDK) me.

I don’t want them to apologize for highs or for not checking.

It isn’t for me that I want them to manage diabetes well.

It is never and will never be about me.

Well – maybe in 15 years when I write a book it will be about me. (Names changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent of course.)

I love my life.

I love my kids.

There is no job more important to me than raising my kids, providing them the support they need (sometimes against their will), and loving them.

It is an honor and a privilege to be their mom and all that comes with it.

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A Lesson In Parenting

Parenting lessons come at us in many ways.

Some lessons are from friends or colleagues who have ‘been there, done that’.

Some lessons are overt as with our own mothers or mother-in-laws that come to help with a new baby, especially the first baby.

Some parenting lessons are learned by observing or experiencing ‘bad parenting’ and consciously choosing NOT to be that parent.

There is an endless supply of books on parenting – most of those I was given or purchased have never been opened.

Then there are the social media posts, often inspirational quotes with adorable pictures of toddlers with muddy hands or faces full of food, or the posts that talk about how a piece of paper crumpled and then unfolded will never be the same thus be careful with words. I think there were also a few commercials some time ago that depicted young kids picking up the same “bad” habits (cell phone use, smoking, drinking, etc) by watching their parents.

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My favorite (read ‘most humbling’) way to receive parenting advice is from my own child.

My middle child – who I often refer to as Middles, is 13 now. He is in the 8th grade. He is taller than me now, his voice is getting deeper and he has just a bit of peach fuzz on his upper lip. He is clever and funny and kind and I love him for exactly who he is, even on the days I want to throttle him.

Middles has had diabetes the least amount of time between my kids. He just past his two-year diaversary on August 1st.

Being diagnosed with diabetes is never easy and every person (kid or adult) handles the diagnosis differently and also manages their diabetes differently. Some with more zest than others. Even then, ones diabetes management often has an ebb and flow due to diabetes burnout, life circumstances and for those diagnosed before the age 12 – puberty.

In my experience my Middles has had the hardest time with diabetes. My youngest (Sugarboy) was diagnosed at age 2 so he really doesn’t know a life without diabetes. My oldest (Sweetstuff) was diagnosed at age 9, and while she remembers life before diabetes she was young enough to develop a routine and habits before puberty hit. Middles diagnosed at age 11 clearly remembers life before diabetes and didn’t have enough time before puberty caused his front lobe to take a sabbatical. (IMHO)

All my kids have off days when they forget to check blood sugars or bolus for lunch or a random snack but Middles forgets most often. There were school days toward the end of the school year last year in which he went a couple of weeks without a single blood sugar check during the school hours. Now before you are tempted to judge my D parenting skills and wonder how I could let a couple of weeks go by without verifying or downloading (giggle) meters let me say I put a lot of trust in my kids and the majority of the time I am not disappointed so I don’t act like the diabetes police 24/7. Instead I do random checks on their meters – the randomness of the checks typically keeps them on their toes while allowing us to put diabetes in the corner and focus on the really important stuff like how my boys can’t seem to get their aim just right in their bathroom.

So going back to the couple of weeks of no checks…

Once I discovered the discrepancies, discussed the discrepancies with Middles and provided time for my son to get his act together I did another check. Imagine my surprise when there were few to no checks. That earned Middles the privilege of checking his blood sugar in the health office 3x a day for the last few weeks of school. He was not pleased but knew in advance what the consequences would be if he didn’t pull it together. School ended and we moved on.

Before the start of this school year we discussed how he would return to independence but chronic forgetfulness would land him in the health office 3x a day again.

Alas, I checked his meter last night. No checks for the last 7 school days. Bugger.

Now I should have likely waited a bit before discussing the issue with my dear teenage front lobe deficient son. I was a bit worked up, not just for the lack of blood sugar checks but for a few non-D related issues with him. I didn’t wait. I called him downstairs and with very little planning laid into him in a manner reminiscent of Tom Cruise (Lt. Kaffee) cross-examining Jack Nickolson (Col. Jessep) in the final court scene of A Few Good Men. (Shared below for those under the age 40 who may not have seen it. Pretty sure my face looked just like Tom’s in the still shot below).

Middles reacted just as one would expect – (re-watch if needed with Col. Jessep playing the role of Middles)

It wasn’t pretty.

Me: yell, yell, accuse, yell, threaten, etc.

Middles: yell, yell, deny, accuse meter of being faulty, yell, yell

Me: more yelling, more accusations, more threats.

Middles: Crying

long pause

Me: (ignoring what I saw as deflecting behavior) “Empty the dishwasher please.”

Middles: (slamming cabinets as he puts away dishes) “You know mom, you could have just been nice.”

Me: “What? What do you mean?”

Middles: (In a voice that was supposed to be mine) “Honey. I noticed you haven’t been checking your blood sugars. Is everything ok at school? I worry about you. Is there someway I could help you remember to check”

Me: (I had nothing. I just stood there with my jaw on the floor. I knew he was right and I knew I was just schooled by my 13 year old) finally I said “You’re right. I could have handled this better. I shouldn’t have yelled. What can I do? How can I help you?”

Middles: (because I wasn’t humbled enough) “Well, you could hug me more”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how your own children give you parenting advice.

 

Whack A Mole

When my kids were younger I would take them to Chuck E Cheese often. We lived in Texas and the summers were hot so the days we didn’t hang by the pool we would hang out with the mouse. Yes it was a petri dish of germs. No I didn’t take hand sanitizer, might not have even required the kids to wash hands before eating. A favorite game was always Whack A Mole. All three of my kids loved whacking the mechanical moles and often we would race since there were two games right next to each other. There was something therapeutic about whacking those plastic heads repeatedly always trying to beat the game.

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It is no longer therapeutic. The moles are no longer cute plastic rodents with hard hats and a grin.

The moles are highs and lows, the game never ends and I don’t get any tickets to trade in for trinkets.

Also I am now playing three games at once. Are you imagining me dashing between three arcade machines with a mallet whacking heads? Oh and the mallet – it is always attached to a single machine with a short cord so often I forget which mallet I’m holding and find myself flat on my ass because I tried whacking a mole with the wrong mallet. (giggling yet? It’s ok – I find humor in it too because if I didn’t I’d need to be drunk off the cheap beer)

My kids are 15, 13, and 11. Hormones, puberty, outside play, missed boluses, sports participation, lazy day electronics, lack of any meal schedule, late nights, endless snacking, and more make the whack a blood sugar game all that more difficult.

Yesterday on a FB page for parents of kids with diabetes another mom was waging war on a stubborn high with her 14-year-old son. Multiple highs and multiple corrections with different insulin (MDI) and she and her son likely felt they were using a 19th century flintlock pistol to lay siege on an enemy using 21st century armor. At least that is how I felt between 10pm and now at 6:30am. In the FB feed when she first posted her concerns of repeated highs despite corrections I, like others, had said if it’s a pump it may be a bad site. If it is MDI it may be bad insulin. Any chance the child was sneaking food? This exchange took place long before my 13-year-old returned home from a babysitting gig and learned of his 432.

Of course he isn’t currently wearing his Dexcom so he didn’t realize. He had checked his blood sugar at 7pm and was in the upper 200s. He and the boys he was watching ate pizza (yes part of the issue I’m sure) and he bolused and corrected. I called him a bit before 9 and asked him how he was. He checked BS and was in the 400s. He corrected.  He returned home a bit after 10 and checked, still in the 400s. He corrected again with his pump thinking it was pizza related and went off to bed, well he is a 13-year-old boy and it was a Saturday during the summer so he corrected and went off to veg in front of his Xbox. A bit after 11 I was going to bed and asked him to check again, 512. What? New pump site, new insulin, correction, kisses good night, alarm set for 1am for me. 1am – 355 not a big drop for 2 hours. Another correction. 3am 279. 6:30am 224. Stubborn ass high for sure. A losing battle of Whack A Mole or laying siege to a heavily armored enemy with a flintlock. Either way I am left feeling defeated.

Every person and child with diabetes reacts differently to insulin – oh and there are different brands of insulin that work better in some than others. Teens have raging hormones that seem to taunt the best offensive line of diabetes management.

I think I may have strayed from my original intention of this post which was to describe what it is like trying to help 3 kids of different ages and genders manage diabetes. Different games of Whack A mole – trying to use the same mallet on all three games, etc. It is true – corrections like the ones my middle son completed would have likely corrected my youngest son with little difficulty – less hormones. The corrections would have also corrected my daughter easily on most days. Why is correcting highs in my 13-year-old son more difficult? Perhaps his pump settings such as his correction factor (how much insulin he gets to correct out of range blood sugars) needs adjusting – although we had increased the ratios just a few weeks ago.

I’m not sure this post has any redeeming qualities. I think I was mostly venting. But if you ever feel like you are playing an endless game of Whack A Mole perhaps you will find solace in knowing it is a game we all play at times and if you are a parent of a teen and the game is getting harder, it is normal. I hope you won’t make the same mistakes I have made and accuse your teen of sneaking snacks (although mine really does often sneak snacks but nearly always boluses for them). I have found the less I trust my teen to be doing the right things (how do we define the right things in a teen that wants to be normal?) the more difficult it becomes to help him manage his diabetes. When he is high and I try to help discover why he immediately goes on the defensive. That isn’t helpful to either of us. I have never punished my kids for high blood sugars and I’ve never rewarded them for in-range numbers. I commend them for checking and bolusing but that is about it. Still the temptation, especially towards my middle child, for me to say “what did you eat?” is a strong one. I have said it many times and accusing him (whether I was correct in my assumption or not) has built a wall of defense. I don’t need an additional wall of defense to negotiate while trying to battle the actual blood sugar.

Sigh. 3 kids with diabetes, two teens and one right on their heels.

Thank goodness for coffee, cookie dough ice-cream and the diabetes online community.

35 Minutes

“I’m 127”

“Ok, don’t forget your helmet”

So my youngest, he’s 10, was heading out on his bike with friends on Saturday. We live in a quiet neighborhood scattered with parks and trails. Surrounding us are acres and acres of forest with streams, lush flora and abundant fauna. Trails weave in and out of the vast forests throughout the neighborhood. Some trails do indeed lead out of the neighborhood into surrounding towns and even down to a 200 foot cascading waterfall. There is one trail just a block from my house that descends deep into a forest with various side trails leading in different directions including the falls and other cities. I’ve told my kids to stay off that trail unless with me or their dad. The decent isn’t steep due to many switchbacks but the elevation difference is indeed quite a bit from the starting point near our home. There are also dangerous animals that live among us. Bears, Bobcats and Cougars. While I’ve not seen any in our neighborhood they are here.

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the bridge over a creek about a mile from the house down the trail.

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The beginning of the trail.

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A glimpse of how deep the trail goes. This is taken about half way down and goes oh so much deeper.

 

So off my kiddo went with friends to the park near our home. I’m sure if he got caught up in the moment or perhaps even made the conscious decision to ignore my requests that the kids not venture down that trail. 25 minutes after his departure I rang him up to ask how and where he was.

“mom we went down blank blank trail.”

“the one near our house?”

“Yes, we got to the end and now we are on a gravel road. I don’t know where.”

“can you check your blood sugar please.”

“I think I forgot my meter.”

silence

“ok I need you to come home and get it and check.”

“It’s a long way up. Henry (name changed) said there is a burger place close”

“A burger place? In the forest?”

“I don’t know. It’s called Burger place (changed name).”

I googled Burger Place. It was in a neighboring city. 2.7 miles from my home.  A 25 min drive since I can’t drive as the crow flies.

“Ok I’m calling Henry’s dad. Go toward the Burger Place. I will come there.”

I spoke to Henry’s dad. He agreed to head that way too.

From the time I called my boy and the time I saw him and his friends emerge from a trail near the Burger Place was about 35 minutes. It was the scariest 35 minutes ever. The boy left the house with a blood sugar of 127, which is in range but could easily drop with all the physical activity. Granted it was all down hill. I had no way of getting to him if he was still lost in the forest. No way of finding him if he was hurt or low. (well technically he had his iPhone and I did try to use ‘find my phone’ but the password had been changed so it was useless) He had no fast carbs on him. His friends know nothing of diabetes.

35 minutes of me freaking out. Not out-loud though. I kept it together for him and for Henry’s dad. In my head there were scenes of search dogs and helicopters. There were two friends standing helplessly while my son passed out. 35 minutes of me hating diabetes so much I could have screamed and cried and beat up the universe. I was much younger than my son when I took off on my bike for hours. No phones. No helmets. My friends and I would disappear into the woods behind our home for hours and hours. Trying to find the missile silo shafts of the old Nike Missile Sites. (we never found any) I spent 35 minutes wondering how many moments diabetes would steal away.

The truth of course was I wouldn’t have been so worried had he had his sling pack that held his meter, juice boxes, fruit snacks, and granola bars. Had he been prepared I wouldn’t have been worried. I likely would have been mad he went down a trail I asked the kids not to go down (of course that request was made a year prior when we first moved here so he probably forgot). I didn’t have time to be mad. I was too busy hating diabetes.

He had set down his sling pack when he dutifully put on his helmet per my request. I found it resting on a box in the garage.

His blood sugar when he arrived at Burger Place was 97. He was safe. He was smiling ear to ear, so pleased with himself for navigating the trail and riding to a burger joint. I gave him money and he ordered a hotdog, fries and a milk shake.

I put his bike in the back of my van. He didn’t want to try to ride back up the trail and neither did the other boys. Henry’s dad took the other bikes and I took the boys.

I dropped the other boys at Henry’s and continued home.

Sugarboy and I chatted about what it means to be prepared. How he isn’t supposed to leave the neighborhood and that includes taking trails leading out of the neighborhood. We talked about how fun and scary riding down the trail was. How the Burger Place had the best fries and great chocolate milkshakes. We talked about maybe putting some fruit snacks in his pockets just in case he doesn’t have his sling bag. We talked about how he can do everything and anything anyone else can do despite diabetes.

It ended well, but I guarantee you I aged 10 years in 35 minutes.

 

Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday April 1, 2015 was the first day of The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.

I’m not starting out well for the challenge since I’m a day behind and it’s only day two. The challenge is to write using the 30 prompts provided.

I also avoid selfies. I’m not feeling great about my physical appearance over the last year.

So instead of a selfie, inspired by my daughter’s socks that depict Edvard Munch’s The Scream, I painted what I call a 5 minute masterpiece. (It actually took about 9 minutes)

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The actual prompt for today:

“Since this is the start of HAWMC, post a picture that shows how excited your are for the next 30 days. We always love a good Health Activist Selfie!”

I am excited to participate in The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. I am a bit worried I won’t be able to keep up. Note again how I am already a day behind. Life gets crazy. with three kids with diabetes. I will do my best and try not to berate myself when I don’t meet deadlines. Also – I should note that the title of todays prompt was supposed to be ‘Wordless Wednesday’. I dare you to find one Wordless Wednesday post of mine in the last 3 years that don’t have at least a couple hundred words.

In years past the first day of HAWMC typically asks writers to tell their story or why they write. I haven’t looked ahead so maybe that prompt is in the mix. But for any that don’t know, I write about diabetes (mostly) and our families adventures in navigating life with 3 kids with type 1 diabetes. There are funny times, scary times, angry times and frustrating times. Everyone has something and there are many days I am thankful for my kids it is Type 1 diabetes (if it has to be something). There are more challenging things to have. My interpretation of The Scream is less about how I feel regarding participating in the challenge and more of how I feel about participating in the diabetes word. (not to be confused with the diabetes community). There are simply days when the world seems to move around me while I scream.

Oh and to give you more perspective…

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It is less than 2 square inches – seen above with my Starry Night done back in December.

 

 

I know That Tune

Yesterday both my boys had games. Middle kiddo had a lacrosse game and youngest kiddo had a soccer game. The games would play nearly at the same time in opposite directions from each other. My husband had to be at work all day. Thankfully we have been with the soccer team since August and I have a number of friends on the team. Friends that understand diabetes because Sugarboy has developed friendships with his teammates and has hung out with them before. That meant I could send my youngest into Seattle with another family to play his game and not worry about him. Sadly it meant I would be missing his game. My Middles has only been with the LAX team for about a month or so. I don’t know the coaches or any of the parents on his team. Middles has talked to his coach about diabetes and the coach keeps a bottle of mountain dew in his coach bag in case Middles needs it. Middles obviously keeps many fast carbs with him as well. Still I’m not quite ready to send the boy off for a 45 min warm up and 2 hour fast paced LAX game without me or his dad.

After wishing Sugarboy luck and sending him off with friends to his soccer game I loaded up Middles and drove him 30 minutes away to his game. It was raining so instead of watching the 45 minute warm up I dropped the boy and headed to the Starbucks just up the road. A mom and young girl (4 maybe) were ahead of me in line. She mom ordered a latte and the girl a glass of milk and old-fashioned donut. Then the young girl found a comfy seat by the window. I ordered my drink and took my place by the pick-up counter. Just behind me in the plush chairs I thought I heard the familiar sound of a pop. The pop that you hear when the plunger on a lancing device releases to pierce the skin of a tiny finger. I honestly thought I had imagined it. I didn’t turn around to look because at the time I was watching a baby goat play with a dog on my phone.

A moment later the mom was standing at the pick-up counter looking desperate. She called out to one of the baristas to get their attention. The one who heard her said “I’ll be right with you ma’am”. She spoke again – she said “I just need some juice”. Then I turned around. I saw that same sweet young girl from the front this time. Her face was pale. Her eyes sunk. Her body seemed like it was being held up with silly string. I looked at the mom. She was agitated and nearly frantic. I opened my purse took out 4oz box of juicy juice and a roll of smarties. I tapped her shoulder. She didn’t look at me first she looked behind her at her daughter. Then she looked at me and I put the juice and smarties in her hand. She didn’t thank me. She barely made eye contact. She just popped the straw as she rushed the 6 feet back to her daughter.

Her daughter sucked the box until it collapsed on itself as mom opened the smarties.

I looked around – it was something out of a science fiction movie where everyone was frozen. A dozen strangers were watching the comfy chairs. I heard an “excuse me” behind me and turned to find the barista standing there. He handed me my venti latte and asked if I was with the woman and child. I said no and then said “but if you could just pour a half cup of any kind of juice into a cup it would really help her”. He looked past me and then did what I asked. I took the juice to the mom.

Looking up I could see the strangers turning back to their own conversations, phones and laptops.

I turned to walk away and a shaking hand took mine. I stopped. I didn’t know what to say because honestly I felt like any word would make this mom – this Dmom burst into tears. There was so much fear in her eyes.

I put my other hand on the moms shoulder and told her it would all be fine. The child seemed greatly recovered. The mom motioned with her head for me to sit in another plush chair. I did. I think she was afraid to talk too.

I asked what the number was.

21

I asked when her daughter was diagnosed.

13 days ago.

The child was now eating her old-fashioned donut.

The mom said “I was so scared”

I said “I know”

We sat in silence for a bit.

Then she asked, “how did you know?”

I said “I heard a pop and saw myself in your face”

We chatted for about 15 minutes. When was my child diagnosed and how old was she? Wow, all three kids, is that common?

I assured her multiples were not common.

Then she said “everyone was just staring at us”

I said “it happens, they don’t mean anything, its human nature”

I had to head to my son’s game. She was off somewhere too.

I gave her my card and invited her to contact me anytime.

Driving back to the LAX field, in those 10 minutes after a conversation that we all think of all the better things we could have said I thought I should have quoted Fredrick Nietzsche.

“And those seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”

EDITED – Since posting this yesterday I have come back to add something:

Many of you have left comments here, on twitter or on the SWIS Facebook page praising me. I appreciate that – I truly do. However I didn’t really do anything that any of you wouldn’t have done, plus I am severely uncomfortable accepting praise in this situation. I would like you to consider the other mom. Her daughter had been diagnosed just 13 days prior. Yet she has her daughter at Starbucks, buying her an old-fashioned donut (which are my favorite too btw) and is checking her child’s blood sugar in public and had the child not been severely low had intended on injecting her daughter right there in the plush chairs of the local Starbucks before her daughter consumed her milk and donut. The real ‘hero’ in this story is not another parent of a cwd that happened to have some juice – the hero is the mom who has not allowed diabetes to change their Saturday morning routine of a donut at Starbucks. The hero is the mom who admitted to a stranger she was scared. I hope the mom calls me or texts me. I didn’t have any of my business cards for my advocacy I only have my substitute teacher cards. I told her she could find SWIS on FB and the web but it was a short visit that focused on her daughter not me. I do hope she finds here way here though and when she does I hope she will read comments about her bravery not me.

(not that I don’t appreciate all the love guys – I prefer it in the form of Egg shaped Reeses cups though)

Stream of Consciousness

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I’m a mom with three kids with diabetes. It is a thankless job. A job that comes with many arguments, tears and fears. A job that requires a lot of attention much of the time and a still a job that requires me to back the hell off much of the time. There are fights each week, who didn’t check often enough, who ran out of insulin, who forgot to charge their meter or insulin pump, who ate three bags of Cheetos and left the bags under the couch cushion, who forgot to bolus, who skipped PE by telling the teacher he/she was low when in fact no check was done, etc etc etc (is the three ‘etc’ redundant?). It is also a job that includes; way to go, great job, I know it’s hard, I’m sorry, you’re doing great, just take a juice with you and have fun, I’m proud of you, it’s not your fault, thank you for checking, go have fun, let’s go get ice-cream, who wants a brownie, etc etc etc. It is an exhausting job with late nights, small hour alarms, neglected house work, twitching eyes, and an anxious pounding heart – thundering in my chest as I try to navigate the crashing waves of success and not-quite success. It is a proud job with a star soccer player, a dedicated lacrosse player, excellent grades, amazing friendships, funny moments, big hugs, bumped knuckles and high-fives. It is a job of advocacy with tweets, Facebook shares, diabetes mom lunches, camp committees, letters to congress, educating the public, writing this silly blog, and conferences. It is a job of worry because often diabetes brings a sidekick called depression – for the kids with diabetes and the caregivers who struggle to be the rock. Will my kids battle mental illness along with a chronic illness? Will they feel important and whole despite the crazy that diabetes is? Am I doing all I can? Could I be better? Will my kids grow to be the badass humans I know them to be? Too many tears. Too many days feeling lost and confused and questioning every parenting moment I’ve had. I look at my kids, I watch them sleep, laugh, and play and I know that at those moments they are safe and happy. I can’t fix it all. I can’t take the pain away. I can’t take their diabetes away. All I can do is make sure they know I love them. Make sure they hear often how important they are. Make sure they know it isn’t their fault. Encourage them to always try their hardest and ask for help when they can’t. All I can do is take it a day at a time loving them despite poor choices and things bigger than they are. It is hard and some days I just don’t know I have the strength anymore but there are no alternatives. We keep swimming and spend more time rejoicing in the moments we are given. Don’t look back – we aren’t going that way. Things will not get easier but we will get better at navigating the course and reboot when needed because this shit changes all the time. My head hurts, my eye twitches, and my chest is tight. Yet I got up, I showered, I got dressed, I hugged my kids and today is a new opportunity to love those around me.

I Wasn’t Talking To You

Having multiple kids with diabetes can be a real challenge. <<<< Biggest understatement ever.

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Ok in fairness this might have been the biggest understatement ever. Apollo 13. Totally unrelated to the post but most certainly an understatement.

 

Someone is always high or low or out of insulin or needs a site change or can’t find their meter or forgot to dose for a snack or has a low battery in a diabetes related device. There. Is. Always. Something.

I’m ashamed to admit that there are times I am a bit envious of my friends who have only one child with diabetes. That only lasts a nanosecond before I give thanks that multiples is not the norm.

My kids think I nag too much. The thing is, I bet on average I only ask each kid what his/her blood sugar is maybe 2 times a day and I might ask/remind each kid to bolus 1-2 times a day. That’s it. Many of my friends who have 1 child with diabetes ask/remind two to three times what I do. (Some even have the Nightscout system and have blood sugars sent to them 24/7 – totally not what I am going to talk about on this post – not sure I ever will share my thoughts regarding Nightscout other than we do not Nightscout.) I do have requirements that I expect to be met – a minimum of 3 checks during school hours and checks before eating. I let my kids do their thing and occasionally scroll through a meter to see that they are. If they are not we have a discussion. But back to how often I ask each kid about numbers and bolusing – not often.

HOWEVER – my kids hear a repeating record when they are home. What was your number? Did you check? Don’t forget to bolus. Etc. Only all the times I say it are not directed at one child alone it is distributed between 3 kids. The problem with this is regardless of whom I am badgering they all hear it – repeatedly – over and over and over again. It’s worse when I ask all three what their numbers were within the same few minutes and thus forget what each told me and ask again – ok that is my fault. Totally my bad.

Most kids with diabetes that don’t have siblings with diabetes get a break from the constant barrage of questions and reminders and nagging (all of which is done with love btw). My kids don’t often get that break because there is nearly always some diabetes dialog happening somewhere within earshot.

That must seriously suck for them.

It feels like this:

(gosh I hope you didn’t listen to the entire 10 minutes)

I totally need to work out some kind of system so there is a break in D talk.

Meri of Our Diabetic Life has a white board. Meri was recently quoted regarding one of her reasons behind her white board on the new Disney T1 Everyday Magic site “With three boys diagnosed with diabetes, I find it’s hard to keep track of blood sugar trends. To remedy this, I’ve hung a whiteboard in the hallway. We write all the nighttime numbers on the board for several days and then analyze the numbers on the weekend. Writing the number down helps us take ownership of the number. And erasing it when we’re done is completely therapeutic!”  If you are a parent of a child with diabetes and you haven’t already checked out the Disney T1 Everyday Magic site maybe bookmark it and when you are done thoroughly reading my posts and leaving meaningful thought-provoking comments you should check it out.

Anyway – I envy Meri’s white board. I suggested a white board and my kids nearly staged a coup. They didn’t especially like the idea of having to see the numbers all the time. I get that. Oh and when I say ‘they’ I mean my oldest didn’t want to see the numbers all the time. She has been struggling with some stuff of late and I think she doesn’t want an “ugly” number written down where she would have to see it. Although I think some of the pushback from the kids was due to me suggesting ‘they‘ write their numbers down which requires them to do an additional task. But oh how I would love a white board. My mistake was in asking them what they thought. Sometimes I think we (parents) just need to make decisions and tell our kids what the new procedure will be. I don’t typically go that route since my kids need to own their diabetes but sometime I daydream about how nice it would be to just look at a whiteboard rather than ask questions.

I

I was playing with shadows.

 

Ok I’m done venting now. It’s bedtime. I have to go ask for numbers. Sigh.

 

 

I’m just here for the gloves.

It is 2015 and just so there is no confusion later this really is the year Marty came to in the future.

maxresdefaultAlthough that has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Honestly it has nothing to do with anything but somehow that picture has shown up on my Facebook feed a half-dozen times since Jan 1st. Granted similar photos showed up in the past only claiming that 2012, 2013, and 2014 were all the years Marty went to. Why is this so important to people? Anyway – be sure to post on your Facebook feed how everything you post is covered under copyright law – I hear that is important. Do it while sipping okra infused cinnamon water and your personal photos will be protected while you cure diabetes.

Moving on –

My kids all have had Endo appointments in the last 1.5 weeks.

I took the boys separately but together, meaning I took them together but separate from my daughter.

I took all three kids to the appointment before this one and honestly I am surprised we all made it out alive and free of any criminal charges. Seriously – my advice (free of charge) to any parent with multiple kids with diabetes or just multiple kids in general. Schedule separate appointments if you can. Doctors visits are stressful with just one kid. The stress for all parties increases exponentially with each additional patient.

Ok so the boys had their appointments back on December 29th.

It was time for blood work too.

IMG_5282 IMG_5283Those finger puppets were in the sticker basket. I was about to try to distract the boys from the poke of the blood draw needle but honest to goodness the blood whisperer (the man whose head you see) had poked each boy and drawn their blood in less than 2 minutes flat each. Neither boy felt the needle or knew what the heck happened before the blood whisperer dismissed them. *I did not name this saint of a man the blood whisperer. I was informed who he was after posting the picture of Sugarboy on my FB page wherein another Dmom saw it and told me about the blood whisperer. He is well-known in our community as being the best phlebotomist within 100 miles of Seattle.

As far as the actual appointments went – the boys A1Cs both came down a fraction. I don’t typically share A1Cs for two reasons: 1) Diabetes is not a competition 2) It is an average. I could say my boy had an A1C of 5.5 and all that might mean is he spikes extremely high and then plummets to the lowest of lows – and voila a very pretty A1C. *my boy is not 5.5 – I was simply using that as an example.

Sadly the appointment did come a good week into the holiday break which meant the weeks numbers prior to the visit were useless. Eating at random times, continuous snacking, lots of high carb treats, missed boluses, sleeping in, staying up till the witching hours and hours and hours of sitting in front of a game system. (yup – my kids spent quite a few hours playing video games and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Ok I am a bit ashamed – we could have, should have spent more time out doing something together, but they don’t get a ton of screen time during the week and this was their break and by golly it was mine too. I’m fairly certain a weeks – fine two weeks – of video games will not have ruined them for life.)

Anyway I asked the endo to ignore the pump/meter downloads from Dec 20th on. Instead we focused on the first weeks of December. In general the boys are doing well. Each is checking blood sugars 7-10 times a day and bolusing at least 4-5 times a day thus covering meals and snacks. Middles had quite a few boluses without blood sugars and spent many afternoons/every evenings above target. The doctor discussed how grazing or frequent snacking and bolusing without blood sugars is often the reason for the later afternoon/early evening highs. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Middles agreed to cut down on random milk consumption and snacking and improve his bolusing with blood sugars.

Sugarboy didn’t have much to discuss. The doctor noted his post lunch lows and it was determined that he boluses before eating but often runs out of time before finishing his lunch. It was decided he would bolus for half his lunch prior to eating and then the remainder of his carbs after he is done. This is how he had been bolusing for lunch since kindergarten. This was the 1st year he had switched to a straight up pre-bolus.

It was a painless visit for all of us despite blood draws – seriously every endo office needs a blood whisperer.

You still with me? – How boring is this post right? I feel like some comic relief or intermission is in order. I read this  in a comment on tumbler and I am dying to try it.

Next time you are in a public rest room and you are washing your hands and a stranger comes up to wash their hands, cup your hands under the water to allow it to pool. Allow it to run over your hands. Then with a stone serious face say to the stranger “this water is getting out of hand.”

Did you get a good laugh? Maybe stretch your leg? Good.

Sweetstuff’s visit was tonight. (which was now last night because it is ow Tuesday morning)

She hates hates hates the endo. Not any particular endo – all endocrinologists. They tell her what she is doing wrong. They nit-pick, they tell her what she has to do or should be doing. There is nothing my daughter hates more than someone telling her what she should be doing or needs to be doing. Well, she hates the sound of someone chewing. She also hates the sound of the dogs lapping up water, and her cat cleaning herself, and she isn’t particularly fond of loud breathers. But her real hatred falls on endos.

Her appointment was at 5pm. I made dinner early and fed all the kids. She and I left at 4pm to get into the city. When we arrived I asked her if she wanted Starbucks and in the same breath told her she would be getting blood work done. While she was saying something like “yes, wait, what the heck?!$&?#!” I asked her again’ so how about Starbucks?’. We checked in and then went to the blood draw window. I told the receptionist I needed the blood whisperer (only I used his actual name). My daughter gave me the most annoyed yet somewhat intrigued look. We found a comfy spot to sit and soon she was called back for her blood draw. I told her she wouldn’t feel a thing and it wouldn’t take but 2 minutes. She gave me an exasperated look and declared to the blood whisperer that she was a hard stick due to spider veins. Where does she get this stuff? Three minutes later she came out looking both in shock and in awe. She admitted it was crazy how quickly and painlessly the whisperer did his job.

Moments later we were called back for measurements and vitals. She got on the scale and then checked her height. At this point I declared “You’ve been weighed. You’ve been measured and you’ve been found wanting.” She rolled her eyes. I was cracking up. It isn’t often I can quote a favorite movie in the literal sense. She was not impressed. Well she didn’t let on that she was impressed but I saw the corner of her mouth curl up just a smidgen while she shook her head with disapproval for my shenanigans.

When the nurse came in to ask for Sweetstuff’s pump I inquired if they had yet received the software to download a TSlim. They had not. They (the hospital group) have not endorsed the Tandem pump just yet. No doctor in the group has prescribed one (although I think our doctor would like to). I had anticipated that and I had printed out a months worth of pump data and meter data.

When the doctor came in with A1C results and to discuss the pump data with me I motioned her (the endo) towards my daughter. I said “she needs to discuss it with you, I’m just here for the gloves” waving a couple of rubber gloves in the air. Seriously the kids and I totally play with the gloves while we are there and I always leave with a few in my pockets – you never know when you might need a non-latex glove.

Sweetstuff’s A1C also went down. Not exactly where we want it but not anywhere that would suggest she isn’t doing most of what she needs to do. Her data shows 5-8 checks a day and 4-6 boluses a day. While she has had a number of extreme highs they could be explained by missed boluses, bad infusion sites or the occasional dead pump battery or pump out of insulin. She is a teen and while I don’t like to admit it to her often – she is doing a very good job most of the time and her occasional blunders are nothing out of the ordinary for a teen her age with diabetes.

The endo pointed out a half-dozen ways she (my daughter) was doing wonderful and made only a few suggestions of things that might improve some of the not great numbers. The endo complimented her on the number of blood sugars taken and her lower A1C. The endo never criticized, told her she was screwing up, or even told her she could do better. It was the perfect visit.

My daughter left feeling empowered and successful. IMHO – there is no better way to help a teen with diabetes do better than to allow them to feel pride and independence.

Woohoo! 3 Endocrinologist visits done and no school was missed. All the kids doing well. Plus I scored a few gloves.

My bit of advice – again free of charge:

  • Don’t fret over numbers the few days before endo visits – those numbers right before will not have an effect or large effect on your kiddos A1C overall. That goes for my adult friends with diabetes too – so many of you fret over bad numbers right before the endo. Stop that.
  • As much as possible have the endo talk to your child, even the littles ones. Empowering the kids makes a humongous difference in how they view their diabetes – do they view it as theirs or yours? Let them own their success or their short comings.
  • An A1C is not a report card. It is a progress report and can help you/your kiddos see what needs to be done to change things. Still it is an average – the numbers could be 400, 36, 390, 54, 512, 59, 464, 61, 63, 42, 119, 84, 72, 123, 111 averaged = 172 which would be roughly an A1C of 7.5 which is what the ADA recommends for kids. In no way are the imaginary numbers I listed above healthy. Again an A1C is an average of the amount of sugar in a person’s blood over a 2-3 month period. I was once told by an endo that just 2 missed boluses (resulting in a substantial highs) can increase an A1C by as much as 0.5. Imagine how many missed boluses a teen has in a 2-3 month period. Those 2+ missed boluses are not the only indication of how well the teen is managing his/her diabetes. 
  • Download pumps and meters at home between endo visits. I don’t do this and I should. Those pie charts, bar graphs and line graphs provide a wealth of information. I have no problem changing my kids basal rates, carb ratios, and correction factors. Why do I avoid pump downloads? Imagine how much more informed I would be if I looked at the data each month and taught the kids how to review the data. The data from Middles pump showed clearly that he was bolusing without blood sugars. I had no idea and it had been a chronic issue with him since school began. Knowledge is most certainly power.
  • Don’t forget your gloves. They are basically party favors from the endo.

I know this was long, but seeing as I haven’t posted in a couple of months I was making up for it.

Happy New Year all.

May 2015 find you happy and healthy, surrounded by love and laughter and full of moments that turn to memories.

Cheers.

Purple Because Aliens Don’t Wear Hats

If you accidentally bolus 25 units of insulin when only 3.5 units were needed and each unit of insulin will reduce blood sugar by 50 points while every 10 grams of carbs would normally require 1 unit of insulin and your blood sugar was 300, keeping in mind fast acting insulin takes approximately 20 minutes to be active and remains in the body 3-7 hours with a peek between the 2nd and 4th hour, how many carbohydrates should be consumed and over what period of time should said carbohydrates be consumed in order to avoid convulsions, coma and death?

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The facts:

At approximately 10:30 pm PST my daughter checked her blood sugar. The result was 300.

She wears a t:slim insulin pump. She input the data (the blood sugar of 300) into the pump.

The pump completed the required calculations to determine the amount of insulin needed to lower my daughters blood sugar.

My daughter pushed the required buttons (really its a touch screen pump so there are no buttons) to deliver the required amount of insulin.

The t:slim pump delivers insulin very slowly – in (I believe) 0.3 unit increments. They say it is a safety feature – and honestly it would have been had my daughter noticed her nearly deadly mistake early enough.

After approving the suggested bolus on the pump my daughter clipped her pump back to her pajama bottoms and tucked in for a good nights rest.

Minutes later her insulin pump alerted her to a problem. Basically it had delivered 25 of the 30 units of insulin that was required to complete the suggested (and approved) bolus.

I am 100% certain my daughter had a total WTF moment although I wasn’t there to witness it. I just know she came downstairs saying “Mom Mom Mom Mommy Mommy Mom”

Her pump is programmed to never give more than 25 units of insulin at one time (meaning for one bolus). The suggested bolus was 30 units of insulin – thus the pump gave 25 and then asked the user (my daughter) if she wanted to give the remaining 5 units. Clearly we need to reduce the number of units that can be given at one time to perhaps 15 units but that is just one lesson we learned in the small hours of last night. 

What happened? 

Well technically exactly what the endocrinologist at my daughters last appointment said could happen and why she (the endo) refuses to prescribe the Tandem t:slim pump to children (including and possibly especially teens). BTW – my daughter didn’t care for me reminding her of that conversation with that endo. She (my daughter) doesn’t like it when others may have a valid point (I’m not sure where she gets that from).

Basically – my daughter input the 300 blood sugar as carbohydrates rather than as a blood sugar. Her pump is programmed to calculate insulin needs based on blood sugars and total carbs consumed. The amount of insulin needed by my daughter to lower a blood sugar of 300 to 150 is 3.5 units. Had she input the 300 blood sugar as a blood sugar all would have been well. However, she put the 300 in as carbs. Her pump is programmed to bolus (that means inject) 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbohydrates; which is why her pump wanted to bolus 30 units of insulin.

There are a number of screens on the pump a user has to go through in order to initiate insulin delivery. Each screen provides the user with some information such as how the pump calculated the suggested bolus, confirmation that the calculations appear correct, confirmation that the user wants to deliver the suggested amount of insulin, an opportunity to change the suggested amount, again a confirmation before it will deliver and finally a screen showing what t:slim calls the ‘Bolus Splash’ which also displays the amount of insulin being delivered.

So just as the endo suggested could happen with kids and teens (and likely adults too) – my daughter put in the 300 blood sugar as carbs and then in a matter of less than seconds tapped: ‘DONE’, ‘NEXT’, ‘YES’, ‘DELIVER’ – and voila! the pump initiated the delivery of enough insulin to kill my daughter within just a couple of hours whilst we all slumbered away.

*quick side note for those that may not be familiar with how diabetes can kill a person – people with type 1 diabetes (my kids) must take insulin to stay alive because their pancreases don’t produce it. There must always be a balance between the amount of insulin taken and the amount of carbohydrates consumed (carbohydrates are not just sugar – they are potatoes, rice, bread, fruit, milk, yogurt, pasta, etc). Too much insulin will lower a persons blood sugar and cause hypoglycemia which is typically anytime a blood sugar is below 70. A normal blood sugar is between 70 and 145 for people who do not have diabetes. The lower the blood sugar the more danger a person is in. Most people will lose consciousness, convulse, and possibly die with a blood sugar less than 20 but some people can be symptomatic long before a blood sugar of 20 or less.  If my daughter had not alerted us to the accidental overdose her blood sugar would have dropped to less than 20 within the first hour or so. It would have dropped so quickly based on the amount of insulin she delivered she may not have become aware of the drop in time to take action. 

What did we do?

Well for starters this…

IMG_4801

Banana, Teddy Grams, 2 juice boxes, mini butterfinger, mini 100 grand, full peanut butter and jelly sandwich (she was eating the other half)

The above picture shows approx. 125 grams of carbohydrates. She really needed a minimum of 200 grams but the child could not consume another bite.

She was exhausted. I sent her to bed and told her I would wake her if she needed to consume more. (IF?!?! – of course she would but I didn’t want to alarm her)

I checked her after 30 min. (11:00pm)

She was still in the upper 200s. Insulin isn’t really active until after 20 – 30 min so that was expected. She had eaten a number of fast and long acting carbohydrates (referring to how fast the body absorbs the sugar and/or converts carbohydrates into sugar) so I wasn’t sure what her blood sugar was going to do. I mean I knew it was going to go down but I didn’t know by how much or how fast.

11:30pm – blood sugar 118, woke her and had her drink 30 grams of juice.

It was at this check that I realized I had let slide a very important step in preventing an insulin overdose from ending tragically. I forgot to suspend basal insulin delivery. Basal insulin is insulin that is almost continuously delivered – a small drip basically to mimic what a functioning pancreas does for people without diabetes. Obviously my daughter did not need her basal insulin delivery at that time. Thus, I suspended all basal insulin for the next 4 hours – that should have been done at 10:30pm when my daughter made us aware of the accident. (BTW – this is only valid for people/kids who wear insulin pumps – those that get their basal insulin via an injection have no way of suspending the basal insulin)

dammit.

At 12:00am – blood sugar 124, gave 30 more grams of juice. She did not want to drink the juice this time and I actually had the first of two ‘drink the juice Shelby’ moments. That sucked.

12:30am – blood sugar 131, gave 15 more grams of juice.

1:10am – blood sugar 108, 15 more grams of juice. The second ‘drink the juice Shelby moment’

1:45am – blood sugar 145 – hallelujah she was going up. At this point the majority of the insulin, if not all of it was out of her system. I was still nervous though. It isn’t really an exact science when it comes to how long insulin is active. Each body is different. Thus I grabbed a pillow from the couch and climbed into bed with her. I felt safe enough to close my eyes at that point but I didn’t want to be far off. Prior to that I had watched a number of DVRd shoes afraid to close my eyes even for an instant.

My alarm woke me at 2:30am – blood sugar 162. Fine.

I stayed in her bed until my alarm at 6:00am.

Her blood sugar this morning 274. I think perhaps I could have turned her basal insulin back on at 2:30am but would you have?

She doesn’t remember any of the juices although she saw the juice box carnage on her desk. She woke with a slight stomach ache – well duh she drank 6 juice boxes in the middle of the night.

As a side note – it dawned on me sometime around 1:00am that I could have possibly used small injections of glucagon rather than juice boxes. I have never used the ‘mini-glucagon’ before – never had a reason to. Clearly I need to school myself on mini glucagon doses. (Glucagon is a hormone naturally produced in a persons liver as a last natural defense against hypoglycemia but it has also been synthesized and is typically used in emergency situations when a person experiencing severe hypoglycemia is not conscious. It has also been used in situations similar to ours last night or during periods of illness when carbohydrates can’t be consumed.)

Had it not been for the alert that the pump still had 5 units of the suggested bolus to deliver, or had my daughter ignored the alert this story would not be being told with sarcasm and purple hat wearing alien jokes. This story wouldn’t be being written the morning after while I wait for my youngest to finish getting ready for school. Had the pump not alarmed or had she ignored the alarm when it did alarm, this morning would be a huge black hole that no amount of expletives, sarcasm, tears or cyber hugs would bring me back from.

Diabetes is hard. I know sometimes many of us in the diabetes community make it look easy. We share pictures of bolus worthy food, laugh at the word ‘high’, share random silly moments with diabetes humor, climb mountains, run across Canada, win pageants, Nascar races, Indy races and Ninja Warrior challenges, send our kids off to college and sleepovers, walk, run, and bike. Oh and then there are these folks over at Connected in Motion who are just all kinds of awesome. We do all of these things and often we make it look easy peasy, but diabetes is hard. It is 24/7/52 FOREVER. Yes, I believe there will be a cure and there are always new treatments and tools being developed that make managing diabetes easier. But for right now it is forever, it is frustrating, it is dangerous, and it is damn hard.

I get a lot of kudos from friends, relatives and strangers who stumble on my blog posts. My kids get a lot of kudos too. It’s always nice to hear ‘you are a strong mom’, ‘you are so brave’, ‘your kids are so lucky’, ‘your kids are amazing’, etc. But I have to be honest – last night rocked my world. I was scared – more scared than I’ve ever been. With all my involvement in the diabetes online community, with all the books and blogs I’ve read, with all the conversations with Dfriends  – I forgot some of the basics – suspend the pump, give mini-glucagon. 

I am not sure how I feel about Tandem and t:slim right now. I don’t blame them or the pump but I also don’t blame my daughter. I can understand anyone doing just as she did. It was an easy mistake and even I’ve jumped through the multiple screens when I’ve given my daughter a correction bolus in the middle of the night. The danger is due to the exact reason the pump is so wonderful – ease of use. My daughter loves her t:slim pump and I want her to have the tools she deems best – it’s her diabetes. But honestly this event – it never would have happened with an Animas pump. Animas pumps will do the calculations to determine the proper insulin dose but prior to delivery the user must ‘scroll’ up using arrow keys to match the suggested bolus amount to the amount being input. Thus, the user can’t simply tap buttons without paying attention to the calculations and suggested bolus amounts like they can do with t:slim. I’m not sure about Medtronic or OmniPod pumps. Medtronic pumps don’t require the user to input the suggested bolus like Animas pumps do but the steps needed to get to the point of delivery are longer and more cumbersome than with t:slim. We’ve never used OmniPod or played with one so I have no idea how their system works.

When considering an insulin pump do research, find a way to get your hands on a pump to play with it, don’t just go with what your doctor wants you to go with. I still recommend the Tandem t:slim pump. I believe in it. It is the easiest pump to use, has the smallest profile of any tubbed pumps, has a rechargeable battery which is better for the environment IMHO (although stay tuned for the latest in a serious I think I might call ‘oops she did it again’), and holds 300 units of insulin which is important to many. I do not recommend the t:slim for younger kids. It is sooooooo easy to use and clearly at times too easy that I personally don’t believe it is the best pump choice for kids under 12. AGAIN MY HUMBLE OPINION.

I also fully support and recommend Animas pumps. Currently my boys both use the Animas Pings. Fabulous pump for all ages. There is a rumor the Animas Vibe will make its debut in the USA very very soon – the VIBE combines the Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor) with the Animas pump so that the CGM results can be seen on the pump screen versus carrying a separate receiver. Sadly it means no more ping technology (the ability to program a bolus using the ping meter remote without touching the insulin pump – comes in handy for blood sugar corrections on small children after the witching hours).

Hug your kids. Hug your spouses. Love fiercely. Stock up on juice. Eat chocolate. Laugh as often as you can.

Oh hey also maybe do me a solid and go like the Stick With It Sugar Facebook page.