Oh versus Argh!

I had reminded my son numerous times that it was site change day.  Our movie ended and he headed off to his room. I followed a little while later to give that one last push regarding a site change. 

When I looked into his room, he was sitting on the bed with his site one hand and his other hand was poking his leg. 

“What are you doing??” I asked incredulously. 

“I am looking for a good spot. I need to find the place that when it goes in I go–Oh!Its in?  rather than YIKES! EEK! Man that hurt!”

It made sense I guess but I just look at the spot, find a place with no injection marks, clean it and jab.  Its a simple process.  He was still routing around his leg. 

“Why don’t you just stab it and get it over with?” I asked. 

He looked at me like I had lost my final marble.  What planet did I come from, I am sure he wondered.  Finally he replied that it had to be just the right place. He lined up a spot and then took the site away. He closed his eyes.  He opened his eyes. He made a few faces. 

“Just count to six and BAM! Its done. Why are you clicking it a hundred times? You will wear out the inserter before you ever start.” 

Once again “the look”.  He explained that by clicking and inserting in the air he was loosening it up so that it would be easier when it hit his leg.  It was now my turn to look at him like he has lost a few of his precious brain cells. 

I continued to watch, wonder and press as to when he was actually going to put the site in instead of mauling his leg. After much grumbling I heard the “bang” and….

“AAARRRGGHHH! You shouldn’t have pressured me. You had me hit the wrong spot!”  My son continued to moan and groan in pain as I checked to make sure the tape was in place. 

I felt rather bad (but I couldn’t tell him that). I left the room and shook my head.  Each day he (or I) stab his fingers and make them bleed numerous times.  He says it doesn’t hurt anymore but does it hurt any less? Every 3-7 days (his count not mine) he will stick a larger needle somewhere into his body so that he can live another day.  

I just read a blog post by Scott Johnson in which he notes that diabetes is a constant attack into every aspect of his waking and sleeping life and the only respite will be when he dies–or there is a cure.  It breaks my heart to read this. It breaks my heart to see others go through this and even more so to see my son living that same life. Diabetes is a cruel disease.  

And then there was the bad news

A few hours after my son got home from his time away, I asked to see his meter. I knew there was going to be a problem when the excuses began.  

“Well you see, you won’t find all of my readings on that meter. I used another meter in my shed.”

I asked where the other meter was.  Of course he had left it behind at his father’s.  That was convenient! He said that he had done a lot of testing on the meter he brought home in the last few days so it would give me some idea of what had been going on.  

As I scrolled through the meter I found readings that were between 20-30mmol (360mgdl+).  I tried to breathe.  I asked him what was going on. 

“Well, I was high this morning because I didn’t want to go low last night and interrupt the little bit of sleep I was going to get.  You see how I was low at 11pm? I had a juice and a granola bar to cover it.” 

“A little bit of overkill don’t you think? You were just low (3.7/65), a juice would have done it.  If you weren’t going up that quickly after 15 minutes then you could have added more without sending your readings through the stratosphere.” 

I continued to scroll through the meter and note the results.  I continued to work to breathing.  All of the readings were high and higher! What was going on? 

“I think my site was going bad.  See, my readings dropped once I changed the site.”

“Dropped? When? Where? How long was this site in? You were running over 20 (360) for days!”

He replied that his site was a little old. He had probably gone over by a day or so.  Perhaps his site was as much as seven days old I asked?  He just shrugged his shoulders. I wanted to scream but instead I asked him about a cut on his hand. 

“When did you do that?”


“What do you think it will look like in seven days?”

“I hope it will pretty well be gone.”

“So when you lance a small hole in your body for your cannula, how much healing do you think has gone on around it in seven days? When the tissue around it heals, it can’t absorb insulin any more.” 

He replied that he thought he could go 5-7 days before a site change.  I know that some people will with no problem but he has insurance, he is young, and I really didn’t want to go down that alley with him so I replied that ideally sites are changed every 2-3 days. 

“Oh, well you see all of these highs have meant that I learned a lot this trip. I should probably do this more often. I never realized this stuff before. Now I know it. Wasn’t this a good thing?”

I had to laugh because otherwise I would have strangled him.  None of this information was new. It was all stuff he knew before.  I told him that continuing to run that high would result in serious complications. He told me that he had been told that was hogwash.  I replied that maybe one or two highs would not kill him but doing this forever would quickly result in problems. To help him understand all of this, he was now definitely going to the Friends for Life Conference in Vancouver.  He needed some more training.

Once again he shrugged that teenage shrug and went back to enjoy being home.  I just sat and shook my head.  Maybe he would learn because of this.  Maybe one day everything I tell him about his diabetes care will have some meaning. In the meantime, I will continue to pray, to hate summer vacations and extended periods of insane bg levels.