Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Facts of Our Diabetic Life

It's been a crazy week! My brain is fried…so I present to you, my life in facts.

FACT #1: I predicted on Facebook we would have an offer on our house this week.

FACT #2: Offer on the table…waiting to see if it will pan out.

FACT #3: Perfect house still available. (Although a little unsure since all my blogger friends seem to think the offer didn’t pan out the first time because it is probably run over by demonic scorpions.)

FACT #4: It would take a million miracles for this all to work out like we want…luckily for me….I believe in miracles.

FACT #5: We have had a couple of people come through the house everyday…which leads to me smattering the house with all kinds of chemicals. As a result, our medical alert dog Lawton has been a bit off his game.

FACT #6: A few long night of lows because Lawton is struggling.

FACT #7: But DANG! Our house has never been so immaculate for such a long period of time. Kinda nice.

FACT #8: If I had a choice, I would choose Lawton’s alerts over immaculate ANY day.

FACT #9: The kids have been hanging out with my sister in law A LOT.

FACT #10: She even had them over night this week.

FACT #11: She is a total rock star.

FACT #12: We had a home showing yesterday morning, and I had to hide the blood drops on my son’s pillow case with a stuffed animal.

FACT #13: I wish One Touch would send me 20 free meters. I’m a meter hoarder, and I’ve only got one left in the box.

FACT #14: I’m waiting patiently for the gift I won from Lora. My husband got a big box delivered from work yesterday and I thought it was from her. I took a pic of it and only realized it wasn’t from her when I tried to pick it up and it was like 100 pounds…

FACT #15: The weather here has been GORGEOUS!!!!

FACT #16: My six year old told me today that sometimes he gives himself the wrong carb amounts on his pump, and he doesn’t tell me because, as he puts it, “once I push ACT, it’s already too late, right?”

FACT #17: After a lengthy talk about it NEVER being too late and he should tell me right away…he told me at dinner that he gave himself 60 carbs. He knew it was supposed to be 65, but he tried to explain to me that the real problem is his finger was just trigger happy. He was so focused on getting to the 60’s that once he got there he would deliver it. He was amazed that we could just add on 5 more carbs after the first delivery and all would be ok.

FACT #18: My new favorite TV show is American Pickers.

FACT #19: My new LEAST favorite TV show is Pawn Stars. (That guy is such a jerk!)

FACT #20: I wish I had time to blog every day. But its summer… and summer is all about getting out of the house and having fun!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The straw that saved the camel's back

I’m not going to lie. There have been a couple times in my life, admittedly more than I can count, where I have silently threatened, “If I have to check a blood sugar ONE MORE TIME, I’m gonna LOSE it!” Which we all know is a bunch of hooey cause, yeah…I’ll be checking someone in like an hour for sure.

But you get what I mean, right?

Once in awhile, we just get overrun with the little things. Now not to toot my own horn or anything, but back in the day when the boys weren’t too keen on poking themselves, I was the gal in charge…

8 times a day…times 3 boys…24 blood sugar checks a day.

And sick days? Forget about it! Times that by two, (at least!) NOT FUN.

Back in the day when my husband worked nights…and days…well, ALL the time…he went to bed before I did and I was in charge of the 10:00pm check. It was always the check I dreaded the most. Because no matter what…someone was off. Walking to their room was like walking the green mile. I always took the walk slowly and allowed myself a deep breath before the checks…I was going to fail someone, I was always sure of it.

Add to that the anxiousness of the moment…not knowing what was on the other side of that three second countdown on the monitor, and you can get a pretty good idea of my state of mind.

10:00pm check = Meri on the edge.

I’m sure it is common for all D parents to hold their breath when doing a nighttime blood sugar check. You NEVER know what that number will be. Sure, you hope it is a good one…you expect it to be a good one…but there is never a sure thing. NEVER. The 10:00pm check tells us if we are going to sleep or not. Where the night is is a lot to take in.

A couple years ago my hubby started a new job and I happily handed him over the 10:00pm check. Well, I didn’t really hand it over…I more like forced it on him…but seriously…Best decision EVER. These days I jump in and help in once in awhile, but truth is, I’ve been doing bulk of the 10pm checks for 12 years now…HIS TURN. Letting go of that one thing has made a ton of difference.

NOW blood sugar checks don’t bother me. The boys do a lot of them themselves. My husband does the 10pm…I’m happy to do the rest.

It is funny how changing up the routine just a tiny bit can change your outlook on everything. I absolutely recommend you give it a shot. If you are overwhelmed and feeling like you are doing it all on your own, have a little talk with the hubby or wifey. Hand him/her over one thing. You would NOT believe the euphoria. It is like your load has been lightened tenfold.

I’m not kidding. Little things add up. It only takes one straw to break the camels back…maybe if you lessen your load by ONE THING…that is the straw that makes everything lighter.

If your spouse isn’t stepping up to the plate, time for tough love. They need get over it. They need to do ONE THING. One thing every day. Maybe they can count dinner carbs and bolus for dinner. Maybe they can do the morning check. Maybe they can get the pump ready for a site change. Maybe they can go to the pharmacy. Maybe they can measure out the cereal in the morning.


I’m living proof. It makes your brain less puffy.

Now I don’t want you all to think that my hubby did nothing before taking over the 10pm check. He does 99% of the site changes, and he has always been my partner in crime when he was around. He would do things if I asked. But when our situation changed, I knew I needed him to help out more, because he could. The biggest thing is I don’t have to ask him to do it. It is understood. It is a burden lifted. I don’t have to think about it anymore. And the less space set aside in my brain for remembering diabetes stuff, the better.

Because honestly, my brain/attic is stuffed with information, so much so I would gladly hold a yard sale to lighten the load.

For sale: Remember that B goes low in the late afternoon every day.
Anyone? Anyone? For you, I’ll let go of that bit of fodder REAL cheap. I got TONS of stuff like this packed up to the rafters of my brain. So you can see how removing one of these things might make room for a little sanity.

So I’ll get off my soapbox and hope that a little of my craziness rubbed off on you, and you are ready to march up to your spouse (or maybe cozy up to your spouse) and say…ONE THING every day….what will it be?

Because the reason the little things get to us sometimes is because in diabetes land…every little thing, is really a big thing. Every sugar check is important. Every carb count is important. Every decision we make on our diabetic childs behalf…is important.

I saw this quote from Helen Keller and thought it was spot on:

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

Now isn’t it selfish to keep all that nobility to yourself?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Meri's Soap Opera...These are the days of her life...

It wasn’t pretty people.

We had an offer on our house. They people LOVED our house. They paid for all the inspections. They even had the appraiser there that morning…so we felt good.

We had found the perfect house. In the perfect location. With the perfect amount of space.

Hello…I’m not exaggerating…PERFECT.

We put in an offer.

We were elated hoping they would accept it. We had full on perma-grin for two hours.

Yeah, only for two hours.

Because two hours after we put an offer in a house, we were called with the news that OUR buyer suddenly backed out. So we had to take the offer for our dream house off the table.

It was over that quickly.

So I did what most people would do in my situation…I felt sorry for myself.

But since I’m not like most people, I then I took it a step further. I went through all the emotions of a catastrophic event. I was able to keep most of it to myself, but man, it was like my brain was on rocket fuel…ready to take off to outer space at anytime.

You might not believe this…but I was feeling SO sorry for myself I couldn’t even blog. I know! GASP!! Or even…get this…read others blogs. I even wasn't that keen on facebook either. That is pretty serious in my book.

I was in my self-pity/depressive/why is life so unfair state.

So since I couldn’t sleep I grabbed the only book on our bookshelf I hadn’t read…a John Grisham book my husband bought for our trip last year that he never opened.

For two days I read. I read and read…trying to keep my mind off the real world. Trying to change my dreams from houses to courtrooms, and to some degree it worked.

I finished the book last night at 1am. The ending sucked. The bad guy came out on top. It WAS NOT the ending I had been waiting for.

My husband tried to use it as a parable. He said sometimes we don’t get the ending we want in books and in life.

It was really hard not to karate chop him in the neck.

He then said we could have bigger things to deal with. He mentioned some of my blogging friend’s families who have had difficult times lately.

Even though he was entirely right…I REALLY wanted to karate chop him then.

Too bad I don’t know karate.

I don’t know why I’m putting all my selfishness out on the table for the world to see…but I needed to document it for some reason. Maybe I need to get it all down so I can move on.

I’m going to do my best to catch up on what is surly 100 blogs that I have missed this week. I think that last sentence nicely attests to the fact that I have been completely self indulgent in my misery because here I am writing a blog that many will read when I haven’t read anyone else’s for like 3 days or more.

But I think what is important here, is the fact that I’m feeling better today. I’m emerging from my funk and looking outward rather than inward. I’m back baby!!! And it feels good.

Back to square one. I have woken up from my WOE IS ME COMA and will now go on with my life.

Dramatic much?

Why yes, yes I am, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In it to win it...together.

I was looking at my boys this morning. They are so big and have come so far. The journey they have taken so far has already been epic.

My three youngest were diagnosed as babies. 8 months. 2 years. 5 years. They needed so much help for years…we did E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. for them.

But now…NOW…things are different. They check their own sugars when they wake up. They often make their own breakfast, they count their own carbs…they bolus themselves. Even my 6 year old knows how many carbs are in a bowl of cereal, or a piece of toast, or his favorite, Eggo's. He knows if he has milk with his Eggo's he needs to use the little glass, and then add 10 more carbs. And if he forgets, my 12 year old is there to remind him. CRAY-Z!

It is so surreal.

They still totally need me of course…but life is so much easier now. Easier…not easy, but hell, it is a cake walk compared to when they were babies.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…those years were all a blur to me. I didn’t blog then, so my fuzzy memory is like an old broken down TV giving short grainy flashes of what was. The worry was deafening. I couldn’t focus on much more than their care. My husband was working 15 hour days then. Our marriage was strong…but only existed in two hour increments here and there. Sleep was a rare luxury. It is all there in my memory, but a distant echo of what was.

I’m glad I don’t relive it every day. I’m glad I have almost forgotten the archaic insulin my 8 month old was on…and the insane expectations that came with it. But lately, the babies have been on my mind.

Not my babies…those in our blogging community. I read their blogs and it breaks my heart. I know about the erratic blood sugar numbers that sometimes seem IMPOSSIBLE to fix. I know about the effect it has on their little personalities. I know their story. It is the same as mine.

I know.

So today I just wanted to send some love out to the babies and their parents. And I want to tell them that someday…someday soon, but not soon enough…it will be easier. You will soon share the responsibility with your baby. And your baby will surprise you at every corner with their bravery, their strength, their perspective and wit.

Your baby will amaze you. As my babies have today.

They will count carbs. They will give their own insulin. They will share the responsibility and it will make a huge difference in your life. You won’t be in it alone anymore…you’ll be in it together.

And together my friends, makes all the difference.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

From Zero to Hero

You know that saying…”Sometimes your best isn’t good enough?”

Well in my life I often feel like…”Most of the time, my best isn’t good enough.”

I fail a lot.

In my eyes anyway.

It’s hard to fail ALL the time. It wears on me. It is overwhelming. Every time the boy’s blood sugars are not in range, I feel like I fail. It’s a ding to my armor…and my armor is seriously unrecognizable these days friends…it’s hanging on by a thread so to speak.

But, I walk around like my armor is all shiny and dent free…I can pretend anything away these days. A number will pop up…and I say, “It is what it is…let’s fix it and move on!” But on the inside I’m bracing for the new armor ding. Sometimes it comes as soon as I see the number…sometimes it comes in the shower when I am alone and can cry it out.

But here is the thing. Even though I feel like I fail all the live-long day…I look at my boys and I wonder, “How are they not a big affirmation of my failure?" Because they don’t look like a failure raised them.

They are beautiful. And smart. They are healthy. And happy.

Practically perfect in every way.

How can I fail so often and have such happy, well adjusted boys?

Maybe because my failures aren’t really failures? (Stay with me here…I’m trying to work this all out in my ridiculously swelly achy brain.)

Maybe, maybe…my failures are really small victories. AHA! A high blood sugar! I stab it in the gut with insulin and bring it down as quickly as possible. That is a win, right? The high isn’t staying there for days or even hours on end, is it? I karate chop it in the neck…and move onto my next victim. AHA! A low blood sugar! I nurse it back to health with quick acting sugar and a pep talk that would rival any NBA coach. I fix it. Is that not a win?

Every time we fix a blood sugar, it is a victory.

I think we’ve been looking at this all wrong. Well at least I have. I think all those blood sugars that are just not right…and let’s face it there are a lot…may be our chance to kick diabetes arse.

Maybe I’m not a failure.

Maybe I’m a warrior.

A kick butt one…one that has a rockin bod and long flowy hair…like She-RA or something.

Maybe I start off losing these battles…but I always end up winning in the end. I win every dang one of them. EVERY TIME. Sure, sometimes the battle goes on for hours…but it is won eventually. And in the grand scheme of things…isn’t that a victory?

Persevering…not giving up?

I will NEVER give up!

I will fight to the end!

After all…only failures give up.

And for this warrior and all her warrior friends out there…giving up will never be an option.

It is time for the boys snack, and that means another sugar check....CHARGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Reenactment: Too tired parents.

11:00pm the night before the last day of school.

The boy’s blood sugars are 108, 112 and 183. (A total miracle they are all pretty good.) The parents are on their way to bed when…

Mom: “You checked B’s insulin on board, right?”

Dad: “No, I thought you did.  You checked L’s IOB, right?”

Mom: “No, I thought you did.”

(Parents do an about face and check IOB only to find that both boys need a small snack to make it through the night.)

Dad: Sets one alarm for the 1am check, and the other for 3:30am for his sales meeting… and then collapses into bed.

Mom: “Man alive, I am EXHAUSTED! You have no idea!” Her back to him, small smirk on her face. She knows her hubby worked like 12 hours today, and then attended the 6th grade promotion like she had. He wasn't probably more exhausted, he was definitely more exhausted. But that is how she rolls.

Dad: “Yup, you are right…I have no idea…your exhaustion is always better than mine.”

Mom: “I wouldn’t say better…maybe just 100 times more intense.”

Dad: “I bow to your exhaustion.”

Mom: “I can’t tell you how happy I am that tomorrow is the last day of the school year.”

Dad: “I don’t get why you are you so happy about it?”

Mom: “Duh, sleep baby! I’m officially dubbing this summer: The Summer of Sleep.”

Dad: “So I can’t call you in the morning during the week?”

Mom: “Nope, no calls until after 11:00. I’m going to get up and feed the kids, bolus them, and go back to sleep.” (She’s grinning ear to ear now…she knows this is a complete fantasy…but one she will dream of tonight none the less.)

Dad: “Hmmmm…The Summer of Sleep. I feel a blog coming on! It’s kinda’ like I just walked into a giant stadium and the crowd is waiting for the big game, and you can cut the tension with a knife…a blog is coming for sure.”

Mom: “I'm super impressed you can predict the future in your exhausted state. You're slurring your need sleep.  But I’m still more exhausted than you…”

Dad: “I’m not worthy of your exhaustion.”

Mom: “It is my higher calling. Too bad you don’t read my blog…you would understand that my mental exhaustion even outweighs my physical exhaustion.”

Dad: “I read your blog. I just do it discreetly. It’s pretty good.”

Mom: “You wish you could blog pretty good like me.”

Dad: “Yeah, me to blogging is like Brittney spears to acting.”

Mom: “Brilliant!”

Dad: “Me to blogging is like William Hung to singing.”

Mom: “I need to get paper…I can’t make this stuff up…you are totally off your rocker…”

Dad: Singing. “I am the rocket maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.”

Mom: “You have lost it.”

Dad: “No, I think that is what William Hung sung on American Idol.”

Mom: “This conversation has gone on way too long. I’m already so confused about how we got to William Hung.”

Dad: “I don’t need sleep…I’m getting up for the 1am check…that is how much I don’t need sleep.”

(Two hours later, the alarm goes off and the exhausted husband gently, but firmly, nudges his dear wife off the bed with his foot. But she is totally ok with it…tomorrow is the last day of school…and the Summer of Sleep will soon begin!)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I may have never met this girl before...but I knew her better than she'd ever know.

We walk by hundreds of people a day. Walk by them and don’t give them a thought. Their lives are a complicated woven web of facts and information, feelings and experiences. But once in awhile, we stop and notice someone. We look up from our hectic crazy life and SEE someone. And they touch your heart.

I had such an experience last Friday at a Wendy’s of all places.

After I had picked up J from camp, we were not able to return home for an hour as a realtor was showing our house to some clients.

So we went to the corner Wendy’s for a long chat about his experiences at camp. But before we even had a chance to sit down at our table…I saw her.

A beautiful young blond girl with the tell tale black blood sugar monitor case sitting beside her.

I knew it the instant I saw her. I knew what that case was. I knew that she was Type 1.

She was with her grandmother, and there was a sort of desperation in her Grandmothers voice as she fiddled with her cell phone and told the young girl that she would try another number.

“I’m pretty sure you should give yourself 2 units…but I want to be sure. I’ll try this number.”

The pretty young girl sat quietly gingerly eating fries as she patiently waited for her grandmother to get hold of her parents.

(Fair warning, I am a wicked eavesdropper...)

Once the grandmother got a parent she told them she was 62, and wanted to make sure the best course of action. The grandmother was frazzled…worried. The girl was cool as a cucumber. Patiently waiting.

There was a air about air of maturity. She wasn't snobby by any was just her calm demeanor told me she was wise beyond her years. I guessed she wasn't recently diagnosed. I have seen children carry themselves the same way fact I had one of those children sitting right in front of me at the time.

Once information was transferred from parents to grandmother to girl...they ate and spoke. J checked his own blood sugar and left his black case on the table next to him. He hadn’t seen the girl.

We were two feet away from each other. I kept looking from her monitor to his. I tried really hard to focus on J. I had missed him so much this week and wanted to know of all his adventures…but there was another blood sugar monitor right there…I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

All I could think of was Jessica’s post.


I kept thinking it.


This little girl held a place in my heart, I knew nothing of her life…I didn’t even know her name…

But none the less…”Same.”

J and I had finished, and I just couldn’t walk away.

I walked up to her and said in probably the lamest way possible, “So you belong to the type 1 club too?”

The quiet girl smiled a wide grin, “Yes I do.”

She started talking a mile a minute. She saw our dog and wanted to know everything about him. I found out she was from Hawaii, visiting her grandmother. She was 11, diagnosed at 18 months old. She was on lantus and humalog…and was nervous to start a pump.

J told her it would change her life. That she would feel more in control of her own body. I watched him encouraging this girl, and I was so proud of him. He was confident with his pump. He truly wanted her to take the leap. He has lived before and after. It was a so surreal to watch him…he was so sure about what he was telling her.

“No pressure or anything,” he said, “just for me, it’s awesome.”

We said our goodbyes and walked away.

I’m sure I walked by 12 other people as we walked out of Wendy’s. Each living a complicated life…each with their own story to tell…but I didn’t give any of them a second look. My mind was still on the young girl. Her life wasn’t a mystery to me. I knew her the second I laid eyes on her.

She was the same.