Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Little Island

I have felt like I've been living on a little deserted island, isolated.  Diabetes sits beside me.  We stare at each other day in and day out.  I want to throw a coconut at it.  We are not friends.  I can't wait for a rescue ship to come by.
I was invited to attend an informal meeting, through JDRF, with other people who's lives have been affected by Type 1 diabetes.  I had no idea what to expect, but realized I needed to find other people to connect with, that would understand my island life.  I brushed the sand off my pants, adjusted my straw hat and headed out.

As a mom, I could not have been happier to meet other moms of diabetic kids.  D-Moms.  The information was incredible.  Being able to talk to someone who is actually living the same life as me was wonderful.  My fears of Madeline's future have become far less worrisome.

We talked about how our lives have all changed since diagnosis.  Want to go to the park for a couple hours of fun?   Running a 10k marathon backwards would be less exhausting.  So my diabetic child wants a little more independence?  Ain't happening, get over it.  Time to start school?  Here is a refrigerator box filled with all my child's diabetes necessities and 50 pages of notes that may be helpful.  Invitation to a classmates birthday party?  Sure, my child and I would love to come!  The list goes on and on.

We learned that our kids have adapted well to their chronic illness.  As parents, we have had to learn a whole new way of life, but the children have adapted, they are unchanged, and continue to just be kids.  As it should be.

As I got ready to head back to the island, I realized I no longer wanted to just sit in the sand waiting for a rescue ship.  It may never come.  If I had to live on this crap island, I was going to make some changes.  This will be my life for awhile, so might as well get comfy. Take that diabetes.

And yes, I threw a coconut at it.  Hard.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stuck Like Glue

I have been blessed with the best big sister anyone could ask for.  Kim and I have been best friends our whole lives.  We complete each other.  Or compete with each other?  I forget.  My dad has always said "friends will come and go, but you are stuck with your family".  We are inseparable, and I would not want it any other way.

Kim loves Madeline with all her heart.  Kim is terrified of needles with all her heart.  So when I asked if she would babysit  Madeline two days a week,  I could see the terror in her eyes. "You want me to give shots?!".  I really don't know what kind of response I expected from a woman that has to hold her kids hands when she gets a flu shot.  Here's me: "Kim, I'm desperate.  I am ready to lose my mind if I don't get some help".  Here's Kim; "You want me to give shots?!".  I shouldn't have, it was wrong, but I did.  I threw in the Puss in Boots eyes.
She agreed (really, how could you not looking at those peepers?).

After a month of sweating, shaking hands and "man, I hate needles", she did her first solo run and gave Madeline an insulin shot.  I was thrilled!  Kim was completely freaked out. We were both relieved.  She was now a full fledged diabetic caregiver.

Not only do I have a great best friend, I now have a buddy who completely gets the whole WTF with diabetes.  She sees the crazy blood sugar fluctuations for no good reason.  She understands why I have to test Madeline so many times a day.  She totally understands how hard it is to care for a diabetic toddler.

Madeline loves her Aunt Kimmy very much.  Aunt Kimmy loves Madeline so much she conquered her fear of needles to care for her.    

Friends will come and go, but you are stuck with your family.

Thanks Dad. 



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Let The Games Begin

So it happened.  I knew it would.  It was inevitable, but somehow, I was still not prepared.  The flu bug came to visit Madeline.  That little microscopic stomach bug joined forces with her diabetes for many fun filled days.

The fist game we all played together was Catch Me If You Can.  This is the fun game of catching vomit before it hits the floor, bedding, walls, or best of all, me.  Diabetes added extra fun to Catch Me If You Can.  Blood sugars had to be tested continually to be sure she was safe.  Since this game started at 12:30 in the morning, we lost the first round, but came back strong for the next 6 hours and took the victory. Madeline-1  Diabetes-0 

Our next game was You Can't Win.  This game was a bit more tricky.  Blood glucose had to be tested hourly, if not sooner, to be sure there were no major number fluctuations.  I thought I had this in the bag.  Madeline's numbers stayed within her safe range and I was even able to introduce liquids.   12 hours into our games, Madeline was finally hydrated enough to wet a diaper.  It must have happened when I was looking in the mirror yelling "oh yeah, that's right, who's the mama", but  diabetes added LARGE ketones in her urine.  Great.  Time to call the doctors office.  I had to stop my feel good moment and push anything I could that had carbs to get her glucose numbers up, so I could give her an insulin shot, to bring them  down.  Confusing you say?  Yes it is.  It's called Diabetes.  Remember I had already played Catch Me If You Can, and now I had to push things, she did not want, into her sensitive little system to clear the ketones.  Incredibly, 6 hours later, there was only a trace of ketones.  We did a high five and accepted our win.  Madeline-2  Diabetes-0

Our final game was How Low Can You Go.  This game was introduced to me 3 days post flu.  Madeline was back to her crazy little self and eating her normal foods.  We had just finished dinner, then it happened.  Out of the flipping blue, blood glucose numbers dropped super low and hover there for 3 hours straight.  Fantastic.  There is a frantic call to the hospital (to find out that this does happen, but not too often) and to keep pushing carbs to get numbers up.  Juice, cookies, candy.  47.  More juice, carb loaded soda, fudge brownies.  46.  Arrrrggggg!  Madeline was extremely tired, queasy from all the junk we were making her eat, and just not feeling well from the low numbers.  I was testing every 20 minutes and had the Glucagon kit ready.  Those 3 hours went by so slowly I swear the clock was going backwards.  At 9:30pm the number 80 finally came up on her meter and there was a huge sigh of relief.  Scared senseless, but still victorious.  Madeline-3 Diabetes-0

Diabetes is a poor loser.  It just couldn't sit back and chill.  It decided to spike Madeline's blood sugar numbers through the roof overnight.  She woke up droopy and exhausted, to a blood sugar over 300, with  a soaked diaper, jammies, and bedding.  Love it.  We spent the next few hours making insulin corrections to get her numbers back in range.  Crazy blood sugar numbers followed for the next few days.  Good times.

I am happy no one else in the family got the flu (thanks Kim and Tim for taking Sophia!!!).  I am happy Madeline never had to go to the emergency room due to the "games" we played.  I am happy I had 24 hour access to knowledgeable doctors at the hospital.

I am not happy that I heard a small voice say "tag, you're it".