Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't Believe Everything You Read

...or everything you see on television!

I get so frustrated when I read things that are incorrect.  Unfortunately, there's a lot of this when it comes to diabetes.  I've written letters before.  I have friends who have done their part too.  I'm tired, though.  Instead of writing another letter I wished I could have jumped through the television screen the other day.  I wanted so much to set them straight at the Today show.

Natalie Morales was interviewing a fitness expert, Jorge Cruz for a short segment on, you know...getting in shape, staying in shape, shaping up...something like that.  The show was playing in the background while I worked.  But then they started discussing carbohydrate counts, my ears perked up.  I sat and listened for a few minutes and began feeling very antsy.  What he was saying was NOT correct.  And the sweet little hostess, Ms. Morales, just sat there, nodding her head, saying "right, right."  Ug!...It was so not right at all!

This guy was rattling off numbers that did not make sense.  After scooping countless servings of ice cream with a measuring cup, I basically know that a serving is anywhere between 15 and 22 grams.  But this guy stated how terrible it is that a serving of ice cream is 54 grams.  What??  54 seemed to be the number of choice with this man.  Did you know that a cup of chocolate milk, nonfat, is also 54 grams?  Well, it's not.  It's about 32 grams.  I was furious and wanted to jump through the television screen and let him know what would happen if I gave insulin to my little kid  for 54 grams of carbs when it definitely isn't 54 grams.

And all the while, the hostess...smiling and nodding, "right, right."

Maybe these shows that are packed with information, just need to back off.  If they're going to cover a story, COVER a story.  Do the research.  Watch what they aire.  To them, it may be just filler time.  But it matters.  At least it matters to me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Weekend Without Diabetes (sort of)

I left for the long weekend with my sister.  We headed north to our favorite meet up with my parents and spend some concentrated time with them.  No kids.  No husbands.  No distractions.  Oh, and no diabetes.

My parents are getting older (aren't we all?) and we thought it would be perfect timing to meet with them and talk about things like their rental properties and how we can help out with them.  Two locations are vacant at this time.  They would be showing them to prospective tenants and we could learn.

I made sure the fridge was stocked, laundry done, meds picked up and reminders written down. 

I almost forgot but C reminded me to get a birthday present for one of her little friends on Thursday night.  C seemed to be the one in the family who had a busy weekend ahead.  She was excited to be meeting with her new softaball team on Saturday and going to a birthday party on Sunday. 

After making sure everyone was set for the weekend, we left.

I didn't worry...too much.  My husband is quite capable.  It was a pretty light weekend, activitiy-wise.  Kids were healthy.  C's numbers had been just fine.  And honestly, there was a piece of me, deep-down, that was ready for a little respite from diabetes.

Later that night, when we had settled in, I made my good-night call.  I threw each one a kiss through the phone.  I got on the phone with the husband.
"Okay hon...have a great time with the folks.  Everything's being taken care of here" he said.
"Thanks!  I will.  Love you..."
 "Oh, just to let you know," he said, "C has a bit of a fever.  Nothing terrible...100 point something."
 "And she's been complaining of a sore throat."
 "Hon?  Are you there?  She'll be fine.  I just gave her some Tylenol."
 Big sigh.  "I know," I said.  "But I wouldn't have left if I had known..."
 "I know.  But it'll be fine.  I'm glad you're there.  You needed to go."
 "Please watch her numbers..."
Really this was the first illness C has had this entire school year.  I couldn't believe it.  I felt my neck.  It was already in knots.  Had I wished he hadn't told me?  Yes.  Would I have gotten angry if he hadn't told me?  Yes.  Oh brother.

I kept my phone on that night.  I just hoped he'd check her through the night.  Sometimes those fever highs are relentless and need more aggessive correction.  We had been doing so well on her bg averages.  And her next endo appointment is in a few weeks.  Argh.

It was a sleepless night.  This was not what I had been secretly wanting.  That next morning, as I was sipping my coffee and enjoying the view of the bay, I decided something.  I was going to release this anxiety, Lord willing.  I figured why in the world should I feel this tense?  I'm here.  She's there.  Husband's got it covered.  I can't do a blasted thing about her illness right now except to pray, as always.

I looked over at my dear mom and dad.  They were genuinely thrilled that my sister and I were there.  I smiled at them.  All of a sudden, I realized my role that weekend was that of daughter.  Not mom.  Not nurse.  I let it go.

Now and then, throughout the weekend, I'd get a text:  243, corrected and resting...mild fever...not complaining...91,eating dry cereal...267, but coming down.  And so it went.  Things were fine.  The sad part was that C missed out on the fun that she had planned that weekend.  But by Monday when I returned home, she was feeling rested and much better.  So was I. 

A weekend without diabetes?  No.  Not really.  Not ever, really.

My favorite place.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Goldilocks and the 3 Cell Phones

Well, it happened.  All of us got new cell phones for Christmas.  Yes, all of us...including the 7 year old.

I know.  I've heard all the comments already. 

"Wow, she's pretty young to have a phone!"

"I wouldn't dream of giving even my 10 year old a phone!"

"What in the world does a 7 year old need with a phone?!"

I have to say that there is a ton of pressure on parents to provide children with cell phones.  And, we put it off until our oldest was in middle school.  He began going places, more and more, with friends.  We were beginning to drop him off at practices and games.  It felt like the right time to give him a phone...for our peace of mind.

Jump back to Christmas...

My cute little pink, breast-cancer-awareness-y flip phone was finished.  Literally, 3 days before our contract ran out with the carrier, it died.  It would not even stayed charged for 30 minutes.  Of course, the husband was out of town.  I couldn't believe it.  We had been waiting with baited breath for the freedom from this company so that we could start fresh, new phones, new carrier.  But I needed a phone right then!  How did I ever manage without one.  I went w/out for one day.  1 day.  It drove me to the brink, people.  This was just before Christmas break and I needed every possible moment to do all those crazy last-minute things a parent does w/out kids in tow. 

Well, I couldn't stand off to the _ _ & _ store I went.

"Sorry, lady.  They don't make batteries for that phone anymore.  Can I upgrade you to a new phone and new plan?"  In other words, "Can we lock you in with us for another 2 years with lousy service and extremely over-inflated charges?"

"Um, no thank you!" I said. "I just need a phone for like, 2 more days.  Anything. Maybe a junkie old one someone just turned in.  Anything?"

"Sorry ma'am.  All we can do is start you on a new phone with a new plan."


I certainly didn't want that.  I went home feeling bound to our house phone.

And then, my 12 year old had a brilliant idea.  "You can put your old SIM card into my phone, mom."

"Awesome!  Thank you dear heart!"

And then he realized he was out a phone until the next week or maybe beyond.  Such a sweet boy!

Anyway, where am I going with this post??  O yeah...a 7 year old with a phone...

So, after getting through that horrendous phone-obsessed weekend, the husband and I talked about our options.  We had really wanted to replace our phones (the 3 we had) at Christmas Christmas gifts.  We wanted to give middle C one as well.  There are many times I just wished he had one.  You know, sports practices, off with friends.

So we decided to get 4 new phones, whole new carrier.  And then, I began thinking again (dangerous, I know).  The kid who really needs one is C!  She too, is beginning to participate in activities that are difficult for us to be at every single minute.  And I need to feel she can reach us whenever the need arises.  With diabetes, we are finding it increasingly difficult to make certain all of our bases are covered with the different adults who may be in charge of her supervision.  Of all places, Sunday School has given us several concerns.  I just can't trust that everyone will consider a blood glucose reading of 47 as important...something that happened a couple months ago.  I feel I can trust C at least call me if she has that option.

She really has shown great responsibility for her new phone.  She knows it's not a toy.  It stays in her bag.  The only numbers in her contact list are family members.  I think our new motto is going to be "test, treat & text." 

So, the result is this.  We all got phones for Christmas.  All of us.  Even the 7 year old.  There are limits.  And there are restrictions.  But now I'm able to reach all my kids and they're able to reach me. 

I suppose people will think what they will.  But they don't know my daughter.  They don't know our life.  And, unfortunately, most don't know about diabetes.  If having access to her phone makes even one low  less scary for her (and me) then that 5th phone in our family is worth it...not only the money, but all the raised eyebrows and questions.

Goldilocks and the phones

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Batter Up!

So, C had softball tryouts on Monday night.  Yes.  7 year olds...trying out for a sport. 

Now, both the boys are deep into baseball.  Our family lives it...breathes it.  However, I guess it never dawned on any of us that, though, C is constantly there, at all the games (since life began for her)...she never really has played the game.  Hmmm...

Just after dinner, they began to practice.  Throwing, pitching, batting, catching.  A crash course for sure!  I was nervous for her.  I didn't want her to feel the pressure.  So, we hopped in the car and headed for the field...all of us, brothers included.

While I checked in at the registration table, Big C took her to the practice field to give her a few tips.  (This warmed my heart.)  It would be quite a wait for C's group to be called.  Group #1 was finished.  Group #2 was being rounded up.  C would be in Group #4.  So, we chatted with other parents.  Middle C met up with a friend.  We watched as the other girls were "trying out."

Group #2 was finished...on to #3. 

I began to fidget.  C needs to get checked, I thought.  I tried getting her attention on the practice field.  Big C was still giving her some catching advice.  I tried waving to him.  They're absorbed in practice.  Okay, it can wait.

Group #3 was half way through.  She's got to be tested, I thought.  And though I tried setting her up well with the dinner bolus, you never can tell what surprises diabetes will hold.  Dad was now out on the practice field as well.  I didn't want to make a I whipped out my new fancy phone and texted him.  "C needs to test!" response.  I texted Big C.  "Bring C over so she can test..."  Neither one reached for their phones.

"Group 4!" a lady called out.  Finally, there they all came, in from the field.

C seemed fine enough.  She grabbed a helmet and started over to the group.  "Hold on," I said.  "You've got to test."  5...4...3...2...1...54!  Darn it.  Juice box.  She scooped up all her equipment and headed to the dugout.  I motioned for Dad to follow with her kit.  "Let someone know she's low," I said.  They would have to skip over her until her number comes up. 

I sighed.  Apparently, I sighed heavily.  An older lady, standing nearby looked at me and said, "Oh, we have some diabetes in our family too.  It's just great how the kids can take care of it themselves and it's no big deal, is it?!" 

What?  What???!  "It's a bummer," I said.  "It's a huge deal."  I forced a smile.  Then I got up and walked away.  I guess I wasn't in the mood for a new year's resolution.

Oh, C's tryout?  She hit the ball 2 out of 3 times.  She never caught it, but she threw it hard!...Like an All-Star!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Some Diabetes New Year Resolutions

Not that I want to set ourselves up for failure...but...

Here are some diabetes-related resolutions for 2010 (by the way, I like saying "twenty-ten"
  • We will change sites every 3 days...not 4, not 5, get the picture!
  • We will definitely order Minimed supplies when ours run down to 1 month left so that we don't need to frantically drive to Minimed's home in Northridge. : )
  • We will keep a supply of diet 7 Up and regular 7 Up, hidden, away, so that it's there for those unexpected sick days.
  • We will communicate w/C's endo in more timely ways when her numbers start to creep today!
  • We will step, further, out of our comfort bubble to make sure those around us learn about diabetes (at appropriate times, of course!)
  • We will use our many sets of measuring cups more!
Those don't seem too lofty of goals, do they?  What are you hoping to do/accomplish this new year?

Happy 2010 to you all!!!