Let is Snow

We have established that my son’s body has an aversion to snow.  He loves snow. He loves to snowmobile and enjoy the cold crisp air. Diabetes on the other hand does not like snow…or perhaps its just allergic to the physical work that snow brings.

For years, whenever it has been snowing and I made my son go outside to shovel he would be low.  No, not after the activity but long before it has started!  Before he can put on his boots, he will feel shaky, test and be low!  It has always drove me insane.

This winter, the snow was piling up.  Larry was outside clearing the driveway.  I could hear my son head into the kitchen, open and close the fridge door, and then head back to his room.  Five minutes later Larry came in and asked him to go outside and clear the steps.  He couldn’t.  He was low–in the two’s (low 40s).  He did come back up, had a cereal bar for good measure and got the job done but Diabetes made sure he was low first.

A few days later, he was again asked to go outside.  Yep, he was low before he put on his mitts!

“Why does your body hate snow?”

“I think it just feels that I really shouldn’t be doing this kind of work. It thinks that snow should be reserved for skidooing and not manual labor.”

Funny boy! Diabetes or not, he does his share of work around the house and that includes shoveling snow when needed.  Diabetes will just have to get used to it!

I think he’s growing up

This morning I watched my son head off to school.  Gone were the days of baggy tshirts and the orphan look.  He is now a young man with his hair just so and tshirts showing off his new developing body.  I know that puberty has arrived because of the nightmare roller coaster of blood glucose levels we are riding on.  I know he is growing because I now look him in the eyes where he once looked up to me.

He is my youngest.  I have always looked at him as my little boy. Diabetes meant that Mom hung around more places with him.  He didn’t venture off as much by himself.  He was always more of a homebody.  He was happy to spend time by himself and could easily amuse himself.

My how times have changed!  He now has his XBox headset on at all times and is steadily chatting with a variety of friends.  He is asking to go over to this classmatess house and to the movies with a group of friends.  He is beginning to take better care of his diabetes which allows me to let him spread his wings with greater confidence. 

He was low over the weekend.  I caught one low at 2am and another after 8.  Of course, he was asleep for both of them.  At the supper table, he mentioned that he must have been low a lot the previous night.  He felt he was low at least four or five times.  I said I had dealt with three lows.  The 2am too a bit of treating.  My fiance suggested that he needs to learn to wake up and deal with his own lows at night. My heart broke at him taking on so much responsibility but I knew that this was true. One day he would need to be able to look after everything himself.  I plan on him having a CGM by the time he leaves home but he still needs to learn to actually wake up if it alarms.  My son however was not worried about any of this. He quickly replied that he planned to live with us until he was at least 30 and thus the problem was solved!

He is taking on other problems however.  Sunday night his low insulin alarm went off.  He told me he was going to fill the cartridge before bed.  I know this is not the ideal time to do anything with your pump and I have had that discussion with him before.  Since I test and check things throughout the night, I will keep harping and hope he will fix this habit in the next few years.

But back on track, I went to bed and my son headed to bed soon after.  I forgot about the cartridge and so did he!  At 2:30, I woke up and tested him.  All was fine but his pump was alarming.  My son actually sat up in his bed. I asked why his pump was beeping.  He said “I

forgot to fill the cartridge!”
“How many units do you have left?”
“I guess you are getting up to fill it huh?” I asked as he headed off to the fridge to get insulin.

I was proud to see him taking charge and dealing with his oversight. I didn’t have to deal with anything. I just had to go back to bed.  His 2:30am cartridge change may not have been his finest hour of diabetes care because he was in the 20s (360+) when he got up at 7 but it was a start. 
So when he was up and heading for school this morning, I sat amazed at how much my son is growing up.  He is more outgoing. He is getting taller and more physically mature.  And the one thing I feared would never happen–my son is getting more responsible.  Wonders never cease! I hope it lasts!

Voyages into the room of a teen with diabetes

Today I did the unthinkable…I ventured into my teenage son’s room and attempted to tidy it up a bit.  In fairness to him, it wasn’t too bad.  I made him shovel all of the used test strips, pump tubing, empty insulin bottles, and old school papers off of the floor yesterday.

My first stop was the bed.  Time to change those sheets! As I pulled back the comforter I found stray socks–used, smelly and rolled in a ball at the bottom of the bed, test strips, and his cell phone. I couldn’t believe that he headed out the door this morning without it!  He must not have been very awake when he was heading out the door but at least I know he did remember his meter.

As I went to put on clean sheets, I continued to shake my head.  Down the side of the bed were another four or five used socks, an old cell phone, numerous dead test strips and a few infusion sets. 
The entire situation made me sit back and laugh.  He really is a teen boy–smelly socks, cell phone, deodorant, workout equipment, its all laying around his room in various states of disarray.  He is also very much a teen boy with diabetes–test strips(new and used), empty test strip vials, tubing, sites, log books, as well as full and empty glucose tablet bottles.  Oh my!

Up, Up, Up and now down we go

It seems like forever since we saw any readings that were not double digits (over 180 for my American friends).  Of course during the neverending highs, we had my son’s A1c done. We have not gotten back the results.  I really don’t want to even begin to look at them. I know we had good readings somewhere in that three month period but when? For how long? I can’t remember them so that cannot be a good thing.  Maybe I will just look at the date for our next appointment and not scan to the bottom to view our failing diabetes grade.

Since we saw our diabetes team last week, Mom went crazy and upped all ratios and basal rates.  Nothing was safe. As I state before–I was going to win! I would beat puberty. I would beat hormones.  I would see readings under ten again!

Not long after my acts of diabetes agression, I began to finally see results.  My son texted me from the bus “Mom, I have 7.6 (135)”.  Happy dance! I wanted to scream! It was only one reading but finally something in range!!!

I held my breath for the next reading.  Could we go for two? Had I made some headway? YES!! Another good reading. I was doing a happy dance to end all happy dances.  He was proud.  I was proud and those around us probably thought we were insane.

I quickly got used to readings in range again. We still had blips and sites that fell out between my last test and him getting up but things were pretty good.  So good in fact that when we were out for dinner the other night and he said “Mom, I’m low.”  I looked at him like he had three heads. 


“Yep.  I am 3.6 (65) and I need some glucose.”

Again I looked at him like he was from Mars.  “Glucose? Oh you need some tablets! I know I have some somewhere. They have to be in here.”  It had been so long since we needed them that they were lodged at the bottom of my bag.  The weekend saw more lows–not serious, scary, middle of the night lows,  just “Barb you over shot the mark a smidgen” lows.  This morning we went to the orthodontist.  When we came out I had my son test.  He was low.  He was out of glucose.  Did I have any tablets? What were we going to do? We had been dealing with highs for so long I hadn’t concerned myself with carrying extra glucose anymore or topping up my bottles. It appears that neither had my son!

Tonight its tweaking of basals, praying that he doesn’t go high again and happily filling up all glucose containers with glucose tablets.  Ah the joys of life with diabetes!

Thank you Jed and Ellie Mae!

In honour of World Diabetes Day and Sir Frederick Banting’s birthday, my son decided to run low.  I guess his body felt that that was a good night to show how powerful insulin could really be.

In typical teen boy fashion, he ate his way through a leisurely Sunday.  I didn’t worry too much about his diabetes.  He was testing. He was bolusing and a look at his meter proved that he was in range for most of the day.  By the time the evening came, I felt that all of that food would have to catch up with him overnight and expected him to run a little high. I got him organized and headed off to bed.

A few minutes later my son tested before turned out the lights.  He was 4.6 mmol (85ish mgdl). That is too low for him to go to sleep so he happily grabbed a glass of juice, sent me a text message (in the next room) and continued his evening activity–watching old episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies TV show.  After awhile of me not responding to his text, he decided to call me…again,in the room across the hall, but he forgot that I do not keep my cell phone in my room at night.  The phone rang in the kitchen and my child retested himself giving up on his mother’s help. 

He was now under 4 mmol (below 72) and grabbed some more juice.  Again, he was not really bothered by any of this.  It was a great excuse to stay up and he could watch more “Hillbillies”.  Another episode it was before he was in range.  When he finally climbed above 6 (108), he shut down his DVD player and called it a night. 

A few hours later, it was Mom’s turn to wake, test and find him low.  I didn’t have a TV series to watch so for me it was reading my book while I waited.  I still didn’t know that he had been low earlier in the night.  He told me the next morning when I asked about the call and text.  Thank heavens for a TV in his room and the Clampetts.  Who knew that a show so old could play a part in keeping my child safe during the night!

One step forward and…Ouch We Fell

Didn’t I just finish saying that I knew it wouldn’t last? Didn’t I say that I knew that my son had not miraculously changed? Well, I guess I do have to grateful for small victories and move forward from there.

Yes, he is still bolusing for virtually everything that enters his mouth (and that is a lot!).  Yes, he still makes sure that I am up if he is low before going to bed.  And yes, he tests around lunch time and before he leaves school in the afternoon.  This means that we still have a couple of areas to work on…

He still “forgets” to test after breakfast.  He still “forgets” to fill out his log book.  He still “forgets” to test after a low despite his mother is nagging him in the background, “Did you retest?”  “Have you tested yet?”

Yesterday I was frustrated and I knew that part of that frustration came from being upset with myself.  I used to do all of this and now I seem to have problems keeping on top of him doing most of it.  I am getting paranoid because I have started to sleep a little more sound.  Am I waking up when I hear my child but tuning out the rest of the world? What if I am sleeping too sound and am not hearing him all of the time?

Why am I allowing the log book to fall so far behind? Why am I not checking that it is done at least every other day? Why am I not demanding to see the readings after a low? Why am I not paying attention to that test two hours after he ate? How did I get so slack? If I am this slack how can I expect more from my 13 year old?

Reality check Mom! Doing it all was easy when he was five and ate when you told him.  Doing it all was easy when teachers reminded him to test and he was not a semi-independent teen.  You do wake for the important things…your son stumbling around because he site is blocked and he is high; him hovering over your bed because he is low.  How can you keep track of two hours after a meal when every time you turn around his bum is sticking out of the fridge and his mouth is full?

Time flies by and one day seems to flow into the next.  I do look at his meter every day after school now…this is how I found out within a few days that he was not testing in the morning at school.  I did allow him a day to fix the error of his ways.  I did text him multiple times to remind him to test (he left his phone in his school bag).  I did punish him when he failed to hold up his end of the bargain and remember to test. I have begun putting information in his log book so that I have something to work with.

We have instituted some new old rules.  We are back to sitting at the table after school and filling out the log book every day.  I suggested that he test as soon as he gets to school. Its a little early but that reading will give me more information than a test 6 hours after breakfast.  He has decided to make sure he is carrying his meter at school at all times….HOLD IT!  Not carrying his meter at all times??? Nope, he keeps it in his locker during the mornings.  Ugh! He wears pants with tonnes of pockets.  He can carry his meter.  He carries it everywhere when he is at home.

My son is changing. I have some hope.  He is more aware of his appearance and his hygiene.  He is adjusting to a new environment and a new way of life.  He is being asked to do more regarding his diabetes care.  We are both trying to find our way and the stumbling? Well my knees are getting sore from tripping and I am sure his bum is getting sore from falling. Hopefully we will both keep learning and I will remember to keep my eyes focused on the small victories.

They are victories.  He is moving forward in his care…its just the backward falls that kill me as I seem to trip along with him.  The joys of parenting a teen with diabetes…I know, I am far from done yet!

The Results of Nazi Mom…so far

Its been a little over a month or so since I wrote about my decision to be a Nazi Mom when it came to my son’s diabetes care.  He had not been testing at school, was lying about readings and his actions had basically scared the crap out of me.  I had revoked a lot of privileges for a week, made a new rule for him to text me each day and demanded to see his meter the minute he walked through the front door.

Well, I wish I could say that he started texting, testing and was instantly reformed.  He wasn’t but we have seen some changes.  While he didn’t always text, he was at least testing at least three times a day at school.  The testing amount is not as often as I would like but it beats no testing during school hands down.  I have learned to take small victories and this was definitely a victory.

He has been pretty good about bolusing (thankfully) and began to chastise himself if he forgot.  After forgetting a test or two and a bolus, he went through the house with yellow sticky notes.  The notes were posted in his room, by the computer and other places he felt he might be.  They read “bolus or die or worse” and “… test from Me or die”.  I commented that he was a little extreme with his wording.  He just shrugged it off and said it was important that he do this period.  I left him to it. 

Each week (or more if warranted), we sit down and look at his log book.  If he knows that something is not working, he will come to me and say that we need to make a change. We are far from perfect at any of this.  I don’t expect that he is now perfectly responsible. I do however feel a little better about him growing up and taking full responsibility “one day”. 
He is occasionally paying attention to alarms. He gets himself up in the morning when his alarm for school goes off.  He can make some decisions regarding bolusing and correcting. He now makes sure that if he is low before going to bed that I am up to check on him in case he falls asleep.  Its been a long and painful process. I know we are not done but those small little victories mean so much at this point in our lives!