May The Force Be With You

I’m a Dmom. I have two kiddos with Type 1 Diabetes. My job as a Dmom includes any number of things that are normally done by a person’s pancreas but the thing I want to share about today is night-time blood sugar checks. Im not going to suggest that all Dparents need to be doing night-time checks or suggest that night-time checks are unnecessary. Those are personal family decisions that can change daily. I was just reminded lately of a specific night-time check that still makes me giggle years later.

Having two kids with diabetes means the odds are against me when it comes down to getting a full nights sleep. When only one of our kiddos had diabetes I would get to sleep through the night three maybe even four days of the week because blood sugars would be playing nicely and other issues (amount of activity that day, what was for dinner, active insulin still working in my child’s system) were not factors. When my second child was diagnosed the chances of a full nights sleep decreased since all the factors for both kids were less likely to gel.

To check a night-time blood sugar a few things are necessary. First, I need to set an alarm to wake me. This means my alarm clock has to be outside my reach. In my home in Texas I kept my alarm clock in my bathroom, 15 feet from my bed. Thus I was required to get out of bed to turn it off and the chances of me sleeping through it were slim. Second, I need to have the kids glucose meters in their rooms. Normally this isn’t an issue since I check them before I go to bed but there have been times when the meters are left downstairs and so I would need to navigate stairs in the dark to retrieve the meters. Other times the meters would be in their rooms but they would be lacking test strips – this too required a trip downstairs. Third, light. While some meters such as the VerioIQ (we can’t use the Verio because our insurance won’t approve the test strips) have a bright display and a light to illuminate the testing area (finger) our meters do not have a bright LCD display or a light. Without a bright meter a certain amount of bedroom light is necessary to check a night-time blood sugar.

One night a couple years ago I went in to test my son’s blood sugar. I twisted the switch on his bedside lamp but alas no light came. Reluctantly I flipped the wall switch, hoping my boy did not wake up, but that too would not illuminate (light turned off high above via the chain on his light/fan combo). I was tired and likely only half awake so I grabbed the next available light source.

Yes it was an authentic replica of a Star Wars lightsaber. It was a Christmas gift the prior Christmas. It is exceptionally bright and makes the coolest and most realistic lightsaber sounds. I turned it on and heard the ‘whoosh’ sound so familiar to any Star Wars fan or mother of young kids. I wielded it through the room as whooshing and swooshing sounds echoed around me. It provided the light I needed to test his blood sugar which was behaving well. I turned to find my reflection in his dresser mirror. Sporting my bubble gum jammy pants and cami, hair disheveled and face puffy from waking at 3am – yet I stood there waving my Jedi weapon feeling incredibly powerful.

Diabetes has the potential of many terrible complications. I have no desire to go into the physical complications but I wanted to make note of an emotional complication that effects both people with diabetes and those that love them. It is a feeling of being powerless or weak. There are days that Diabetes kicks my butt. On this night in the blue glow of Obi-Wans lightsaber the Force was with me and I felt powerful.

The photo above was not taken the night described above it was taken just last week while chatting with a DOC friend about Star Wars around midnight (yes I am a nerd). I was not blogging back when I used the lightsaber to check a sugar and thus had no inclination to take a photo but having snapped the picture last week I  decided to share the story now for the Day 9 prompt – Tell a story about a memory – from the National Health Blog Post Month list. I am 10 days behind the challenge due to travel, construction and life. 

 

Backseat Driver

A twitter friend @Nitacure4t1d has joined the blogosphere at NitaCure. She wrote her first post yesterday Canada Day in regards to taking a road trip with her son who has Type 1 Diabetes. Comments on my blog give me all sorts of warm fuzzies so I do try to comment on other blogs frequently (do to others as you would have them do to you). As I began the second paragraph of my comment I realized I was hijacking her post with a post of my own. That is not good blogosphere etiquette (well I assume it is not good blogosphere etiquette – I don’t think there is a book on the subject but there should be – I also like saying blogosphere btw – it is a fun word). Thus I deleted my long windy comment and instead offered her the kudos she deserves for her first post. Yet I still had so much to say about road trips and diabetes – thus here we are.

Diabetes does not like road trips. I can attest to that. I am a road trip woman, partially because flying or even the idea of flying causes me huge panic attacks even with a double dose of Xanax, but also because I love to drive. I love the freedom of detours, Starbucks on demand and bathrooms that are larger than a coffin.

We have taken many road trips since D moved in. Our first road trip after Sugarboy was diagnosed was to the annual Children with Diabetes International Friends for Life conference in Orlando FLorida. This was 5 months after Sugarboy was diagnosed. It is an 18 hour drive from Austin Texas to Orlando Florida. We have made this drive 3 times. We never went directly to Orlando – we would stop by my most favorite place on this wonderful planet – Destin Florida (white powder soft sand and turquoise water – my happy place). Sorry digressed….

During that first road trip Sugarboy was still using multiple daily injections (one shot of long lasting Lantus and 4-6 shots of fast acting Novalog for meals, snacks, corrections). We were very new to diabetes and didn’t realize the toll long road trips would take on Sugarboy’s sugars. Sitting for extended periods of time raise blood sugars – it is that simple. (Did I just use the word simple in relation to Diabetes? I should be fined) Sugarboys sugars were high despite intense carb counting and free foods (no carb foods). With injections it is not possible to adjust basal insulin – you can increase the dose of long acting insulin but it is increased for an entire 24 hour period. That is not was we needed – once we arrived at the beach the boy was running around like mad playing in the surf – no additional basal needed for that. Basically Sugarboys sugars were a mess the days we were on the road but then also while on our vacation and at the conference (conference blood sugar craziness was likely caused by a such huge changes in our routines).

All our future road trips have been with insulin pumps which makes reducing the road trip highs a bazillion times easier since we can adjust basal rates to provide additional insulin for the time leading up to and during long drives which result in long periods of inactivity. Insulin pumps also allow us to decrease basals while enjoying beach time and theme parks since less insulin is required to increased activity. It’s been 5 years now and we are not experts by any means but we are getting better.

After reading my friends post and thinking about the travel that is in our near future I decided to search cyber space for more advice regarding road trips and traveling with diabetes. I found these sites to be very helpful.

How Stuff Works

Fit4D

While searching cyber space for tips for road trips with diabetes I stumbled on this little gem: controlling Diabetes Is Like Taking A Road Trip. It is a wonderful post written by Karen Marschel for KM Nutrition @KMNutrition on twitter. Oh the things we will find when we google. (I am not endorsing any products shared on Karen’s website – I just really liked her post. I have not fully explored her website otherwise – although I will likely add it to my list of things to do.)

 

The Little Engine That Could

I’m new to Tudiabetes so I am still getting my feet wet and figuring out all the awesomeness of the organization. @diabeteshf shared the following challenge via twitter and I am never one to let a challenge go. Thus challenge accepted.

July Blog Topic: Little Engine That Could

Let’s think positively!

Write a post with 5-10 lines where each line begins with “I think I can…” in regard to your diabetes. 

  • I think I can help my kids remember to check their sugars during the crazy summer schedule – lack of schedule.
  • I think I can always say “good morning” “Hello” “How are you?” before I ask my kids what their sugars are.
  • I think I can remember to help my kids log their sugars. (seeing the numbers written down on a log always results in better control)
  • I think I can restrict a little more of my kids “lazy couch” time and encourage more active time (physical activity helps control sugars and increases the effectiveness of insulin)
  • I think I can let go of just a little more guilt that it is my kids and not me that have diabetes.
  • I think I can say thank you more often to all those individuals and organizations that have changed my life because of their involvement in the Diabetes Online Community.
  • I think I can always advocate more.

So much for not knowing what to write

So this is my third attempt at a blog. I started one years ago called Crazy is as crazy does but forgot my login and password after not having posted in over a year – so much for that – blogger couldn’t help me because I didn’t even remember what email I opened it with. Then about a year ago I started one called Several Shades of Crazy but again didn’t post and forgot login and password, forgetting this one makes me a little sad since I loved the name of it. So here we are again – third time’s a charm. I’m fairly pleased with the title of this blog Momof2T1s – I use the same name for Twitter – not that I have logged on to twitter in the last 2 years. No I am not normally so disorganized and non-committal – wait yes I am. Anyway – this is my newest and hopefully successful attempt at blogging.

I opened the account yesterday using an email that I use frequently so that shouldn’t be a problem to remember. I haven’t set up much as you can see – no gadgets or whatever – I don’t even know what a gadget is, something like a widget possibly that I learned about in my undergrad years but never have been able to purchase – or maybe I learned about widgets while in technical training for the Air Force while learning how to be a contracting agent. Either way I’ve never actually seen a widget. I digress. So I opened the blog but then sat wondering what I would have to write about. I read a few other blogs and the bloggers I read seem to have all there ducks in a row so I was feeling like maybe I would be in over my head. Then today happened – almost seemed orchestrated so that I would have something to blog about. (disclaimer – I see that there is a spell check available but wanted to warn readers ahead of time that I really am not a fantastic speller. Please forgive me if I miss a misspelled word.)

So back to today. If you haven’t read my ultra short bio let me give you an abbreviated portion of my already abbreviated bio. I am a happily married (98 percent of the time) 30 something year old mother of three. I have two dogs (one small and fluffy the other fat and furry) and two cats (one old and grouchy the other young and insane). Two of my children have Type 1 Diabetes – thus Momof2T1s. My youngest child (son now 7) was diagnosed at age 2, my oldest child (daughter now 12) was diagnosed at age 9 – two years after my youngest was diagnosed. That fact always surprises people, they (the people I referred to) always assume my oldest was diagnosed first. Lesson one in Diabetes – there is no rhyme or reason for 90 percent of the crud that goes along with it. My middle kiddo (son now 9) is just that, a middle child – stuck between an older and younger sibling that both have Type 1 diabetes and both are in advanced classes in school. My middle child really could use a blog all about him – It would not be difficult to find topics to write on.

Again back to today…

Today started at 1am when my alarm went off to wake me so I could check blood sugars (for those that are not a parent of a child with diabetes ‘CWD’ or a diabetic yourself – middle of the night blood sugar checks are common place. So at 1:00 in the morning my alarm sounded, it didn’t sound with a fun song from the radio like normally because one of my lovely children likely played with it so instead of one of todays pop hits I woke to static. So I stumbled into the master bathroom to turn off the alarm – yes I keep my alarm in the bathroom thus assuring I will get out of my bed to turn it off and take care of business. If my alarm is next to my bed I will be able to hit the snooze and/or off button in less than a half second while still asleep. After turning off said alarm I started to undress rather than exiting the bathroom to check blood sugars. I turned on the shower and grabbed a towel. I fully intended to get ready for the day. In no way will I ever suggest that being the parent of a CWD is more difficult or even close to as difficult as being said child, however I do sometimes suffer from diabetic brain (possibly like how some men suffer from sympathy pregnancy when their wife is with child – is that a real thing?) I realized my folly just prior to getting in the shower. Thus I turned off the shower, redressed and instead of checking blood sugars I feel back into bed. (The guilt of this and other times like it plagues me frequently). When my next alarm sounded at 6:00 in the morning I shot out of bed realizing my 1st mommy fail of the day and rushed to check sugars. Youngest at 67, oldest at 234. Thank goodness for guardian angels.

On to breakfast, since the youngest was at 67 I didn’t dose him insulin prior to his breakfast. I also allowed him waffles with syrup and made him smoothie. This breakfast contains about 75 grams of carbohydrates. Normally with a blood sugar below 70 we would give 15 grams of carbohydrates, wait 15 min and recheck the blood sugar. Since it was breakfast time and 67 isn’t terribly awful we moved forward with breakfast breaking protocol. Remember how I said I didn’t pre-dose since he was a little low – well that is also outside the normal routine. Thus at 8:30 – two hours past when he ate breakfast and an hour after he began school it dawned on me that I didn’t dose him for his breakfast. Queue call to school nurse to inform her of my second mommy fail and ask her to check my sons blood sugar at that time rather than waiting for schedule test time. I estimated that he would be in the 500’s (very very bad number – normal is 70-120), I asked her to please get him a water bottle and give him a no-carb snack for snack time. When I checked back with her 30 minutes later I learned his number was indeed over 500 – 518 to be exact. Second dose of guilt for mommy today.

Guilt sucks. I can see how guilt has value – a person commits a crime, feels guilty and confesses – thus justice will be served. However as parents we often feel guilt not because of an intentional wrong doing but as a result of a perceived failure. A child is behind in reading thus the parent may feel guilty for not reading often enough to the child when he or she was younger (yes this is me too and I will likely not address these specific feelings of guilt in this blog). Seeing a picture of the food pyramid may spark feelings of guilt by the parent for not providing the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables everyday (also me although since this deals with nutrition there is a good chance we will revisit this). A parent works long hours either outside the home or possibly in the home as a domestic engineer and when asked by his or her children to play a game the parent tells the child he or she is too tired or has work to do (also me on more occasions than I care to admit). My point – even as parents of typically developing children that do not have special needs (cognitive or medical) we are surrounded by opportunities to feel guilty; add in the responsibilities of a parent of a CWD or special needs child and we have guilt overload. I tend to forgive myself fairly easily noting that I am only human but I don’t bury the entire hatchet – I leave the handle sticking out so when days like today come along with two large FAILS all the past guilty feelings involving diabetes, fluency, playtime, nutrition, etc. come slamming into me and knock me flat on my bum.

Normally on days like today after putting the kids in bed I would retreat to my shower. It isn’t a super fancy shower but it does have a bench built in. I would normally sit on said bench while the hot (nearly scolding) water pours down on me. Sometimes I would cry, sometimes I would just sit trying to clear my head by focusing on how badly I need a pedicure (I’ve only had two pedicures in my life – I’m very ticklish). While those 45 min do help calm me and do provide some therapy I felt like I needed another outlet. Maybe other parents of CWD fight similar battles. Actually I know they do, I’ve been to the forums, I’ve read the blogs – I am not alone. Maybe those parents that post and comment find a level of peace from sharing. Insert Momof2T1s blog here. I am hoping I will provide something for others. It may not be helpful information. It may not be knowledgeable information. You may not even find it funny even when some of it is meant to be funny. But maybe someone will find peace in knowing there is someone out there more screwed up than them (see profile pic – when I get one).

Post Scriptum – (Only Latin I know)

Today happened to be a day that I was volunteering with my local JDRF chapter presenting a Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes at an elementary school. The students and teachers at the school were great and I was on fire with my presenting (some days are better with presenting than others based on level of exhaustion, student behavior, migraine level and amount of coffee consumed prior to presenting – that seems normal right?) My nurse at my son’s school kept me updated regarding his blood sugars. His sugars responded well to his insulin correction and he did not develop a headache (common side effect of high blood sugar for both my son and daughter). So near the end of the day when I had just finished presenting to the 4th grade a student approached me while his class was lining up. He told me that his dad told him that Type 2 diabetes was worse than Type 1. I responded by saying they are equally bad. Regardless of which type of diabetes a person may have they have equal chances of developing complications such as vision loss, kidney and liver failure, heart problems and nerve damage. I assured the student that with proper care and the good choices regarding medical care, nutrition and fitness a person with diabetes will likely not experience complications due to diabetes. The student thanked me and left with his class. On the way home I spent time contemplating if one type of diabetes is worse than the other. As a mom of two kids with Type 1 I feel somewhat biased and believe Type 1 is worse because people have it for a longer period of time (diagnosed earlier in life normally). However, people with Type 2 often have Type 2 for much longer periods of time prior to diagnosis (some may have it for a decade and not know) thus leaving them a higher risk of complications. Do you have a thought regarding which is worse – is one worse?