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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lost and Found

"M-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-m! I need you!"

Whenever I hear Jack calling for me, using the long, drawn-out version of "mom," I know he's lost something. 

Some kids lose their homework. Others lose their library books, lunch boxes or baseball gloves. When I was a kid, I used to lose my orthodontic retainer, and I remember my mother dumpster diving at McDonald's and other restaurants on more than one occasion. Sorry, mom!

My kid, he loses his Dexcom CGM receiver. When I say "loses," I mean misplaces. Dex goes missing more than any other item in our house. 

Jack will take out Dex after it beeps or just to check it, and then he'll put it down. He won't return Dex to his pocket or belt. 

I find Dex all over the house: on the kitchen table, on the bathroom counter, stuck between couch cushions, on the playroom floor buried under a pile of Legos and in the pantry next where he was looking for a snack among other places. Sometimes,  I even find Dex in the car in the cup holder next to Jack's seat or in the back yard on the patio table. The worst was when I found the dog using it as a chew toy.   

We've been working with Jack, trying to get him to be more mindful. He's a bright kid, who's super responsible when it comes to his diabetes. Nonetheless, for some reason, he is forgetful with Dex.

And, like his father, he can never find anything on his own. Never! Love my men, but oy, they can not see things that are right in front of them! 

So I've been thinking. Dex needs one of those "finder" buttons. It needs a home base on which I can push a button to make the receiver beep continuously, so I can find it easier. Or it needs a built-in tether, so it's always attached to Jack. An optional tether, that is, so it can be unhooked when necessary. Better yet, it needs GPS!

          Dear Dexcom,

          Next time you upgrade your continuous glucose monitoring system, would
          you please be so kind as to include an internal GPS finder system on the
          receiver for easy recovery?

          Thank you for your consideration.

          Sincerely,
          Forgetful's mom




Monday, March 28, 2011

Dex Fell on Deaf Ears



Today's post is brought to you by the number 366.

Apparently, I was so daggone tired last night that I failed to hear Dex beeping.

Gregg checked Jack and he was 212 with I.O.B. (insulin on board). Dex was showing a nice slanted arrow downward, so Gregg left him alone and didn't treat.

A few hours later, he had spiked into the 300s. Jack's first check of the morning, showed 366. So he washed his hands really well and retested to see 306. Since there was a 60-point drop, he checked again and got 340.

He started his day high, and I started my day feeling horrible.

To me, 366, 306 and 340 are just numbers. To Jack, they represent the way he physically feels.

To know he could've felt better, if only I'd woken up... ugh!

I know I'm not the only one who's done this. I know it's not every night I do this. But still, I don't want to do that to him EVER!

And it scares me to think what if I were to sleep through a low alert for a super-low low? I can't go there.

Sigh...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beep

My eyes burn. My head pounds. I lack energy. I can't stop yawning.

Sleep deprivation has set in.

It's no wonder why.

At 2 a.m., I heard Jack's Dexcom CGM low alert with its "beep - beep - beep."

I dragged myself out of bed. I trudged across the house. I grabbed Jack's testing supplies on the way to Max's bedroom, where the boys were having a sleepover. I tested Jack and saw the 69 pop up on his glucometer. I returned to the kitchen, opened the D supply cabinet, took out a gummy worm and then trekked back to Jack. I put my hand under his back, jostled him slightly, elevated his upper body to a slanted upright position, where I held him. I whispered, "Here, honey, eat this. You're low." I fed him the gummy worm and watched him chew and swallow, wanting to make sure he actually ate all of the candy. Again, I whispered, "All done?" He responded, "All done." He rolled over and I went back to bed.

Yet, I was wide awake.

I fixed the covers. I stared at the ceiling. I used my cell phone to check my email.

I got out of bed and walked back to the boys' room. I tested Jack again to make sure his blood sugar had risen to a safer level. I watched my boys sleep, before going to check in on Madeline. I pulled her blanket up and listened to her snore faintly. I went into the family room and looked outside for a few moments. Then, again, I went back to bed.

I turned on the TV. I caught the tail end of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on The Food Network. Guy Fieri was at Cecilia's Cafe in Albuquerque. The food looked so good that I picked up my cell phone and sent myself an email: "When in Alb, go to Cecilia's."

I still couldn't sleep, so I watched a full episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Finally, I drifted off sometime between 3:30 and 4 a.m.

I woke up this morning feeling tired, and I've been tired all day.

Last night was not unusual. Jack's Dexcom alerts and wakes me frequently. And I never fall back to sleep with ease. Once I'm up, I'm up.

So I have a love-hate relationship with Dex.

I'm grateful for the middle-of-the-night alerts. Dex catches highs and lows that I would have slept through otherwise. I'm thankful for this technology. I love it. I really do. I think it's improved our level of D management. Jack is better off for it. It brings me peace of mind. It's truly awesome. I would much rather hear those beeps than not. I want to be the best mama pancreas I can be. I appreciate that I'm able to treat those highs and lows, before they become too high or too low.

But, damn, it sucks to be woken up! Good bye, sweet dreams! Good bye, energy! Hello, under-eye circles! Hello, exhaustion! I hate those frickin' beeps.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Charm for the Cure


For the past several months, my friends and fellow D mamas, Jeanne and Katie, and I have been trying to coordinate our schedules. We’ve wanted a kid-free shopping day to go purchase the Brighton JDRF ribbon charm
Finally, yesterday, we were able to get together. We were three mamas on a mission at the mall, and we hit the Brighton store first.


We made our way over to the charm bar and found the charity charms.



Brighton’s charity charm campaign is fabulous. It features seven ribbon charms in different colors and each charm benefits a different cause: American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, USA Cares, Autism Speaks, Alzheimer’s Association, Breast Cancer Research Foundation and American Cancer Society.


As D mamas, of course, Jeanne, Katie and I went for the JDRF charm...along with a few non-charity charms (Brighton has great charms!), if truth be told. 

The enameled charms can be worn on a bracelet, necklace or a pin. They measure 3/4” high by 1/2” wide. They come with a cute little embroidered pouch, too.


Each charm costs $25, and Brighton donates $20 to the charity symbolized by the charm. Is that a great deal or what?!
When you purchase the charm, right then and there, you receive a $20 check, which has already been made out to your charity. All you have to do is mail the check. There is space to add your information, if you wish to do so.


Jeanne, Katie and I walked out of Brighton on a high. It felt so satisfying and uplifting to buy an attractive, eye-catching piece of jewelry, which will hopefully spark conversation and thereby raise awareness, and get $20 for our favorite charity in the process. 


After Brighton, we moved on to other stores before sitting down to a delicious lunch. We had a blast.
Spending time with dear friends and supporting a cause that means so much to us what a great way to spend the day! As Katie likes to say, life is good!
Thank you, Brighton, for making a difference!

I know Denise from My Sweetest Boy has also purchased a Brighton JDRF ribbon charm. If you'd like one for yourself, you can find a Brighton store here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Be All You Can Be...Or Not




Over the weekend, we attended an air show at a nearby Air Force base.
We watched F-16s and other planes zig, zag and zoom across the sky. The highlight of the day was watching the Air Force Thunderbirds perform.
Everyone around me exploded with excitement and exclamations:
    “Wow!” 
    “Awesome!”
    “Look at that!”
    “Oh, my G-d!”
    “Amazing!”
    “Unbelievable!”
    “How’d they do that?”
    “They’re flying upside down!”
    “That was crazy!”
I whooped it up, too. First seeing small planes do loop-de-loops and other aerial acrobatics, and then witnessing the precision maneuvers of high-performance fighter jets flying in formation was truly spectacular and thrilling.
Despite the fact that I was surrounded by several children, I couldn’t help but belt out “holy crap!” nearly every time an F-16 roared past me. 


Following the show, we walked around the base, perusing the planes parked on the tarmac. There were military bombers, fighter planes, and cargo jets among other aircraft.
Unlike my husband, who is both a military buff and a history buff and who instantly recognized all of the aircraft, I had no clue about the big birds before me.
All I knew was that we were on military grounds looking at military equipment surrounded by military personnel.
As we explored, I kept coming back to the same thought: Jack will never be a part of this.
Shortly after Jack was diagnosed, Gregg and I decided that we would never let diabetes stand in Jack’s way of doing anything. We would do everything in our power to enable Jack to live life to its fullest. We would help him do and and achieve anything and everything that he would have done and achieved had he not been diagnosed.
But, unless there's something I'm unaware of, and correct me if I'm wrong, the military is not an option for Jack.

And there’s nothing we can do about that. No amount of effort and encouragement will help. There's no battle to wage here for our son. We can’t just fix his pancreas, eliminate his need for insulin, get rid of the lows and highs and make him eligible to enlist. 
I understand the military’s reasoning, and actually, I have no problems with it. 
Besides, honestly, diabetes or no diabetes, I don’t think entering the military will interest Jack. This is probably a non-issue.
Also, please don’t misunderstand me. D didn’t get me down. I wasn’t moping around the base unable to think about anything but D or move beyond the realities of living with D. I had a great time at the air show. We all did.
It’s just that I couldn’t help but think about the fact that if Jack wanted to be an Air Force Thunderbird, he’d be declined. If he wanted to join any branch of the military, he’d be declined. That’s just the way it is, thanks to diabetes.
I like to tell all three of my kids, not just Jack, that they can be anything they want to be, if they just set their minds on it and work hard. But no amount of effort or determination will make my son eligible for the armed forces. 
It’s hard not think of that when you spend the day on an Air Force base...no matter how wonderful that day is.





Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Would You Have Noticed?


Notice anything unusual in the photo above? Anything stand out?
Just in case you live in a different area and are wondering what you're looking at, I'll explain. The photo was taken in a commercial parking lot. It shows curbing and small rock ground cover (a.k.a. "landscaping" in this area). 
Nothing too spectacular, huh?
Look closer. I'll make "it" more obvious for you.




See that blue line? Can you tell what it is?



The other day, we'd gone out to lunch. Afterward, in the parking lot, as we were walking back to our car, Gregg suddenly called out, "Hey, look at this!"
"That's a test strip!" Jack exclaimed with excitement.
Yes, indeed, it was a One Touch Ultra test strip.
From the average adult's height, it was hard to see. Most people wouldn't have noticed, and even if they had, they would've kept on walking. Not my family. That blue beauty momentarily halted us.
Somehow, seeing a lone, used test strip laying on the ground made us feel connected. It was a reminder that we’re not alone in this journey.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to Send a D Mama into Cardiac Arrest

Follow these six simple steps and you're bound to make your mama's heart pound.


Step 1:
Dress like your brother.


Step 2:
Make sure your mother is watching you and your brother. Then, go outside and start playing. When your mother has turned her back, have your brother, who has type 1 diabetes, go hide, while you lie down in the grass and wait. 


Step 3:
When your mother finally notices you and comes running out of the house, screaming “Jack! Jack!” stay very still.
Don’t wiggle. Don’t giggle. Don’t move or make a peep. 


Step 4:
If you have a dog, don't let him ruin the fun. Ignore him, even if he tickles you while sniffing around. You must remain silent and motionless. The idea is to make your mama think something really bad happened to your brother, because of his diabetes. Just stay still and you'll scare the heck out of her!


Step 5:
Have your brother run out from his hiding spot, feign innocence and ask,
“Were you calling me?”


Step 6:
Jump up. Yell, “We tricked you!”
Laugh. Run off and play.

 

The above directions are based on a true story. Two little rascals I know tried this trick. Afterward, their mother needed a stiff drink.*


(*Though she settled for a Diet Coke.)








Monday, March 7, 2011

The L Word

Want to know how to send your friends running? Need to clear a room? Looking for a little solitude?

I have the perfect answer.

I can sum it up in one word: lice.

Yep, just utter a simple sentence, such as "Jack and Max came home from school with lice today." I promise you the majority, if not all, of the people near you will cry "Who has lice???" and then they'll go running. Lice instantly transforms you into a pariah.

How do I know this? I speak from personal experience.

Yep, it's true. After school last Thursday, I spotted specks of white, and sure enough, those stupid, sticky specks were lice nits.

Determined to get rid of them and their creepy, crawly counterparts, Gregg and I have spent the last several days shampooing, combing, nit-picking, bagging, washing, drying, vacuuming, freezing and so on.

It is a serious hassle. The workload never ends.

Eradicating those little buggers requires one to be mindful, thorough and vigilant 24/7, and the routine is all-consuming and exhausting...just like diabetes!

And let me tell you: diabetes and lice do not make nice.

Imagine this: your hands are full of smelly, gloppy, tea tree oil-infused, lice-busting shampoo. You're applying this it-better-damn-well-work goo to your son's head, when all of a sudden he says: "I feel low." Now you need to react fast, but you need to wash your hands, make sure you don't drop any goo, and make sure your son is in a position, so that he doesn't drip goo. Then you need to get your testing supplies, while keeping your eye on your son in order to ensure that he doesn't scratch his head and get the goo on his fingers. You eventually treat the actual low, but then because he's low, he wants to take a break, before finishing the goo application. So then you need to make sure he doesn't get the goo on the couch, carpet, his hands, the candy he's eating to treat the low, etc. Then you need to beg him to finish the goo process only to hear, "I don't want to. I still feel low."

Or imagine this: You know you have the lice removed from your kids' hair, but you still have days of precautionary shampooing, combing, nit-picking, washing, drying, vacuuming, freezing and more ahead of you. Your kids are now safe to be around others and so you send them to Sunday school. While they're there, you race around the house, stripping beds of all bedding, drying all bedding on high heat, laundering dirty clothing, running the washer and dryer non-stop, vacuuming beds, vacuuming chairs, vacuuming floors, etc. You're trying to do as much as possible in your daily de-lousing routine, while your kids are out of the house. You glance at the clock and you realize you have 10 minutes to pick up your kids at the temple, which is located 20 minutes away. You race out of the house and over to the temple. You get your kids and head off to grab a quick bite to eat, before you must drop off your daughter off at her play rehearsal. You're in the drive-through at In 'N Out, with cars ahead of you and cars behind you, when you realize you forgot to bring insulin with you. Your son has his D kit, but no insulin. You feel like absolute shit for letting lice get in the way of his diabetes management.

And then you feel further like crap later on when your daughter returns home and says, "E's mom told me to stay away from her, even though I don't have lice." (I wasn't kidding about the pariah bit.)

Or imagine this: you're looking up information on lice online. Your son enters your office and whines, "I feel low." You hear him, but you're so enGROSSed in the information, you don't process what he says. You're trying to figure out if your other son's rash is lice-related. Five minutes pass, and then you hear another whine, the kind of whine that makes you jump to your feet with worry. "Mooooommmm, I said, 'I feel low.' Didn't you hear me? I feel like I'm 22. I feel like I can't walk. I need you to test me. I can't do it myself. Mooooommmm, let's go! C'mon! I'm loowww!" You test your son. He is 43, and you feel like shit for letting lice get in the way of his diabetes care a second time.

Or imagine this: It's midnight. You've finally finished all you need to do. You're caught up with kids, school, diabetes, lice, laundry, mail, dishes, etc. You're physically, mentally and emotionally beat from dealing with the double whammy of diabetes and lice...not to mention "regular" life stuff. Your eyes burn. You bones and muscles ache. You desperately need sleep. You fall into bed, and just as you're drifting off, you hear "beep beep." It's your son's Dexcom CGM alerting you to his high blood sugar. You drag your sleepy self out of bed and go test him. He needs a correction dose of insulin. You must now stay awake until 1:30 a.m. to ensure his blood sugar level drops, but doesn't drop too low.

 
There's been no imagining any of these scenarios for us. This has been our licey life of late!

I hope that with all of our efforts, we only have to battle the bothersome buggers once, because D is enough for this family.

By the way, if anyone needs a crash course in Lice 101, let me know. I've amassed a bunch of good tips and I'll be happy to share, but I hope none of you ever needs my help, if you know what I mean!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ice Ice Baby


I should have known the day was going to be rough when at 7:30 a.m. Max and Jack came running into my office, where I was perusing Facebook. Madeline would have normally joined them, since she had been playing with them just moments before, but I think she was hiding from me, pretending to not have been involved in the altercation that sent the boys into my office.

Jack looked guilty as all get out and refused to look me in the eye. Max burst into tears.

"It was Max's fault," Jack began. "He deserved it."

"He deserved it?"

"Yeah, he deserved it," Jack said with a tone of righteous indignation.

"No, I didn't," Max screamed.

"Yes, you did," Jack insisted.

"No, I didn't!"

"What happened?" I wanted to know.

Max was wailing at this point. I'm talking heaving sobs with big tears. I was trying to comfort him to no avail.

"Well, remember he deserved it," said my little lawyer.

"He deserved what?! What happened? What did he deserve?"

"Madeline and I duct taped Max's mouth shut and then we duct taped his arms to his body," Jack finally fessed up.

"You what?!"

I know there are a million and one uses for duct tape, but binding my son was not one I would have thought of on my own.

I still don't know what Max did to provoke his brother and sister, if anything, not that duct taping your little brother is ever acceptable. All I know is that I should've known by the way Max was carrying on that something was up. Of course, being turned into a silver mummy is scary and maddening and well-deserving of a good cry, but Max bawled non-stop. That's a sure sign of impending illness in my house. I should have noticed the red flag.

A couple of hours later, Max lost it. Up came breakfast all over the kitchen floor.

And so it began a day of puking.

(I promise no more posts revolving around GI issues for a while, if ever again. It's just that I have another good tip for you here.)

He couldn't keep anything down. Since he doesn't have diabetes, I was mostly concerned with simply keeping him hydrated. What I did for him, I do for Jack when he's sick, too.

I pulled out the mini ice cubes!


Doesn't sound all that amazing, huh?

Well, I'll admit it: this is not rocket science. This is nothing extraordinary. This is just something kid-friendly that works really well with my kids, D and non-D alike.

I make little Gatorade and Powerade Zero ice cubes. You could use Pedialyte, too. I like to use Powerade Zero for Jack, because it contains zero carbs.

I'm not a fan of the artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, but once in a blue moon, on a sick day or two, won't kill my kids. Most likely, I could find a healthier version of electrolyte water at Whole Foods or a health foods store, but I haven't done that yet.

These cubes are truly tiny, about the size of a finger tip. They probably provide no more than a half teaspoon of liquid at a time. Because they're so small, they rarely come back up...unless consumed in quantity. But a little bit of liquid here and there, one cube at a time, helps with hydration, which is especially important for kids with diabetes, who can develop ketones simply from the dehydration alone.

By the way, I don't serve them on a plate. I just pop them out one at a time and hand them to my kids. Photographing them on the plate seemed best, however. 

Because they're so small, they freeze quickly. 

I bought the tray at my local grocery store. I recently saw the trays on sale for 10 for $10, but if I remember correctly, I paid $1.99 or $2.99.

So there you have it: another simple tip for surviving the stomach bug.


Please remember that this blog is not intended as medical advice. I'm just a D mama, who's sharing what's worked for her child. Always consult your doctor.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hope


Pointing Toward the Future

Today is a day of hope.

Today, in honor of their dreams and optimism and to raise awareness for type 1 diabetes, people all over the world are writing the word "hope" on their hands or displaying it elsewhere, such as on t-shirts and Facebook status updates.
Since October 8, 2007, the day Jack was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we have hoped for a brighter future, for better treatments and technologies, and ultimately for a cure.
Even on our darkest days, we maintain our hope. We never give up.


We hope the day will come when Jack will no longer have to do this.

Not to make light of the day, but Gregg and I were hoping for a nice number here.

And the meter says ... 101! Nice indeed!