Friday, March 28, 2014

Ideal is not real.




At 11:00am in the morning, these numbers are money.

At 11:00pm at night, these numbers are no bueno.

I was hoping to dream of something other than numbers last night, but the fates had other ideas. 

My dilemma?  I was exhausted.  Lately I’ve been priding myself on how much energy I have.  I wake up alert.  I go through my day alert.  I go to bed alert.

Not last night.  Last night at 10:00pm I fell asleep hunched over my keyboard.  I woke up in a haze at 11:00, completely discombobulated.  Innately, I knew it was time to check the boys…but as I stood up my body continued to slumber.  Like a robot on autopilot I stumbled into the boys rooms saying a little prayer, hoping that all would be well.

Everything was a little too well.

Fifteen minutes later I was in bed, wide awake.  Keeping children alive does that to a person.  I pondered the perfect numbers.  What would be the perfect number for my boys to fall asleep at?  The one number that would allow me not to worry and in turn result in a good nights sleep.

After grappling with my conscience for a good half hour I came to the conclusion that there is no perfect number.  And there never will be.

Because in a perfect world, the 95, 89 and 90 would be exactly where my boys need to be.  In a real world though, those numbers just aren’t a realistic for the night.  Hormones, exercise and food dictate that those numbers could easily fall dangerously low.  They are way too risky.

In the real world, I need the numbers to be in the high 100’s for me to sleep.  Which often means they’ll wake up in the 200’s.  In a perfectly healthy world, that isn’t ideal. 

Ideal: (adj.) existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.

Higher numbers for my boys to ensure sleep for myself is sometimes a necessary trade off, but never a comfortable one.

Our last Endo appointment was months ago. Our Endo insisted on raising my youngests' target numbers to 175 at night.  Every bone in my body ached thinking about the selfishness of that choice.  But I knew at this time in my life, it needed to be so.  Their A1C's were plenty low enough to accommodate this change…it’s just I’ve always felt a deep responsibility for the nighttime numbers.  It is the time with the least variables.  It is a time where I have the most control.  It is half the battle.

And if I lessened my fight, would that be the opening the door to diabetes, allowing it to wreak havoc on my family?  Would everything fall apart?  In my experiences, small changes have a tendency to do just that.

It took time to adjust.  Some mornings they would wake in the high 200’s, and my heart would rip in half.  I’d spend the morning sewing it together with reason, repeating my mantra over and over in my head:

“It is ok to let my boys have higher numbers at night sometimes so I can get a restful, full nights sleep.” 

I pretty much had to brainwash myself into believing that. 

But when I have to, I let it happen, and shockaprisingly enough, I’m beginning to believe it.

At 11:00pm last night I wrote the boys’ numbers on the whiteboard, staring pensively at the two digit figures, trying to decide what to do.  Should I treat gently and wake in a couple hours to see where they are going…or…should I treat in such a way that I know they will be safe…so I can sleep.

For a mother, the answer isn’t easy.

In the end I allowed myself some leniency, repeated my mantra, and adopted some faith.  I went to bed last night with all three boys on Temp Basals, and 10 grams of carbs in their bellies.

They woke up 92, 144 and 153.

I’m not fooling myself…I know that a lot of what made up those numbers is just plain luck.  Sure, I had a little bit to do with it, but let’s be honest…diabetes does what it wants to do when it wants to do it.

Playing the lottery with my boys’ lives is not fun.  In a perfect world, I’d never have to.

But in the real world?  I do it every day and every night.

When I SWAG a treat.  When I send them to bed.  When I send them to school not seeing the amount of cereal they poured for themselves, but giving them a carb amount anyway.  When I bolus for popcorn before a movie not knowing exactly how much of the bag they are going to eat.  When they run the track.  When they are going to play at a friend’s house.

It’s always guessing.  It’s always weighing what the safe option is vs. what the ideal option is.

A lot of give and take.

Sometimes I give my sleep away.  Sometimes I grab my sleep and hold on to it for dear life.

Because the truth is, I don’t live in a perfect world.  There is no such thing.  Also, there is no such thing as a perfect pseudo-pancreas.

I’m real.  My decisions are real.  And so far, every time, it’s always worked out in the end.

I have to lean on that. 

And know that in most cases…my best is good enough.


  1. Love this! These two lines pretty much sum up diabetes:
    "Sure, I had a little bit to do with it, but let’s be honest…diabetes does what it wants to do when it wants to do it." and
    "It’s always guessing. It’s always weighing what the safe option is vs. what the ideal option is." Truer words have never been spoken! :)

  2. I think it's OK to sort of fudge a little bit when Re: cereal amounts and how much popcorn they'll eat because, as a T1 of 25 years, I can tell you that they'll be doing the exact same thing years from now. There's only so much control you can have over this beast, and it sounds like you're doing fine. :0)


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