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?


  1. This is a subject that weighs on me heavy at times...

    My husband works long, hard hours and gets up at 4:30 am every weekday, I haven't given him a lot of responsibility in caring for my daughters diabetes.

    Most days I am checking my girls blood sugars 8-10 times a day X's 2!!! You know how that feels first hand...this equals out to about 20 checks a day...*sigh*

    It is hard and those overnights give me the most anxiety, last night I checked Miss E at 11:00pm and she was 390!!! I couldn't believe it, Lil Miss C was just is a mystery sometimes. Needless to say I was up allllll night and had to do several corrections and she still woke up at 242 :(

    I wish my husband could help me more, I do about 99.9% of the D management...part of that is my fault because I do get some comfort in knowing that I KNOW what to do and also because I sometimes feel guilty asking him to help me because he works so hard, he is always having to run stuff by me because he isn't fully comfortable making decisions about insulin dosing and carb counting etc and that is simply because I have never handed over the reigns and asked him to really help. I know that he does a lot for us, but in the diabetes department I think he has some fears and I understand that completely.

    I need to work on this...thank you for inspiring me to ASK...just one thing, I'll start there :)

  2. I have to remind myself everyday to let my hubby take that one thing. You see I am a little bit of a control freak, and I have a hard time letting him help me because he doesn't do it exactly the way I would do it. Not to mention I have a nice routine down and to have him step in and help "disrupts" that routine. :) I have learned to let go a little, if I didn't I would be in the loony bin. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Great post Meri! I'm not sure what I would do if my hubby wasn't on board in this journey with me. When Bekah was first dx he got such a bad case of vertigo that he was out of commission and I had to to it all on my own. When he was feeling better, I was very happy to give him the job of the 2 AM checks along with injections when I am busy doing something else or keeping our busy, curious 1yr old at bay while I help Bekah with BG checks and injections. (David loves to grab hokey pokey when no one is looking-he calls it po-po) It has to be a together thing or I'd crack.

  4. I am having almost the opposite problem right now! I am a little tired of the day to day tasks of D, the constant adjusting, etc. BUT my hubby does almost ALL of the night checking! I am trying to get him to let ME take some of that on because he is SO tired and is GRUMPY when he is that tired.

    I wish he would just go to bed and let me set my alarm!

    Great post, Meri! I know a lot of spouses who are not involved at all. I hope this post pushes them or their spouse to push them to HELP! :)

  5. So True! I am so lucky to share these tasks with J. We are a team and we split the care. During school, he checks when he leaves for work at 5:45. Then I handle the morning and the school day since she's with me at school. I'm pretty fried when we get home so he helps with dinner and snack. Then we take turns doing night checks. And we always change sites together. I unhook and pass off the pump. He does the pump while I take off the teagaderm and clean the site and remove the old site. The he hands it off to me and I insert it. It's a well oiled machine! I know I am blessed with great support. I highly recommend it!!!

  6. Ok, I plead guilty. BU tI have plenty of excuses - hubby works long, long days and it's mostly me on the frontlines. So I do the 10 pm and the 2 am check. I know, I know, but it's so HARD to give it up. There, that's my whine for the day.

    I promise to think about it and I promise to make one change in it all. Remembering Yoda "There is no try, only DO." Thanks for the reminder Meri!

  7. You were writing about us!

    I do everything and he does hardly anything...except ask if she's been dosed or ask about food, or ask...ask....ask.
    Sometimes I wish he'd stop asking and start doing. But I too am a control freak, a closet one. I say I want help, but get out of my way!
    Summer's really a good time to ask him to help out a little. Even if it's with the Lantus shot at night since she's into her 3rd month of MDI's and not even thinking about that pump anymore.......sigh.
    I guess I'll be the one to ask now.

    Great post keep our brains from going to mush!

  8. Glad Im not the only one that NEVER knows what that 10pm number will be!

  9. Great post, Meri! It's such a struggle sometimes keeping the balance between who does what for us, but we both know we couldn't do it without the help of the other. Diabetes is just one of those things you have to learn to coordinate efforts on!

    BTW, I love reading your posts! Everytime, I'm amazed at what an awesome mom you are. Your boys are so lucky to have you!

  10. I don't know where single parents find the strenth to do it alone. Not to mention single parents of D kids! No, my husband doesn't do nearly as much as I do, but he's great at sensing when I'm done, and he needs to take over for a while. This is a great reminder to ask for help BEFORE I lose my mind!

  11. Meri....first I have to say I don't know how you do this with 3 kids. You are a ROCK STAR!

    Second, I really needed to read this. My huband helps with very little d-care. Maybe 5%? Such a shock to me. I never thought I would have to go this road alone. But here I am....'re right. I need to pick ONE THING and get him on board with this. He'll do it if I ask, but, know.....

    Anyway, thank you again for your encouragement! And for making me feel normal with those late evening checks! (Don't they stink?!) LOL

  12. well i will say this I was a single parent and did not have anybody else to share the care with so it was all on me and I m so glad that i did do it cause honestly I dont think their father would have gotten it anyway , how can I say this nicely he was a careless father and he would do things just to spite me and when you would tell him not to give jack ice cream without checking his sugar he would say oh i forgot . I could not take it at all so i had to teach jack how to do for his self when he was not with me . It aint easy being a single parent but you have to do it and take a deep breath just like meri said and yeah you just never know what that 10 pm reading is going to be .

  13. Early into this journey, I quickly realized that I would absolutely go insane if I did everything. When Jeff was still in the restaurant industry, I did over night and days, but dinnertime belonged to Jeff. Even him doing that ONE check and that ONE shot took SOOOOO much off my shoulders.

    And yes...the evening checks I hate the most!!

  14. I am with Tracie... ask...ask...ask! It drives me crazy. I am so tired of NEVER getting a break. I can't go to the store without the phone ringing for STUPID stuff that "someone" should have learned a year and a half ago. It is truly mentally exhausting. NO KIDDING!!

    You must be in my brain writing this post because I have been feeling a bit enraged about the lack of interest in D care going on around here.
    Before long... my heads gonna spin around exorcist style so that shit starts getting done!!!

    Phew ~ do I sound a little edgy???

  15. Great post! I'm so incredibly blessed to have a partner who is willing to do anything at anytime.

    Hate those 10pm checks too!

  16. Message received. Thanks for putting it out there :) - Mo

  17. Great post and I know what you mean! Loren took over breakfast carb counting and bolusing and it is so nice!! The little things!

  18. As always - great post! I know I need to ask but I am somewhat of a control freak!

    if I want something done right - I have to do it myself. :)

  19. Meri,
    Looks like you hit the heart of D parents again with this post! So great to be able to bring something up and get us thinking about makig just one little change.

    In our house, because my husband has had diabetes the longest, he is definitely there to do anything that has to be done. Sometimes we disagree because he is doing something in a way I call "old school" and I tell him we were asked to do it differently at CHOC.

    Still, because I am the one who knows what has been going on inside their little bodies all day I am the one who makes most of the decisions about management.

    Every so often we have one of those conversations you've described so he can take on a little more. I totally resonated with the concept that with D care little things always feel like big things. I'm going to ask him to read this 'cause sometimes that's the part I think isn't getting through.

    Like the Hellen Keller quote too.
    Thanks again:)

  20. You're so right. I'm already dreaming of the one thing I'm going to hand off to someone else!

    I love your new sidebar picture. I think you are darling.

  21. I have just found your blog from another link on Facebook. I must commend you on the care you give your 3 D children. I cannot imagine being in your shoes!! Your blog is a wonderful insight into your thoughts. I must show this to my daughter. I am a grandma to a D child Miss A!! She was dx'd at 4 and is now 13. She does most of her care herself with checking, bolusing, and changing pump sites. But for checking.....she has to be reminded. I think, at 13, she is trying to ignore the fact that she has D. Her thoughts right now are about boys and losing weight. Issues, issues, issues. Such a struggle for these kids. Thanks for sharing and letting me vent.

  22. Far be it from me ti keep all that nobility to myself!!! ;) I think I would go absolutely ape, if Gregg weren't as involved in Jack's D care as much as I am. After reading this post, I think I need to go give him an extra hug and kiss and say another thank you.


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