Welcome back to life with diabetes!

The new pump is on. The old basal rates have been retrieved. All rates are now posted on a sticky note beside my computer on top of the “MOTHER” heart my oldest son made for me back when he was probably in Grade 5 or so. 

My youngest son arrived home yesterday.  Together we sat down and uploaded the new pump and decided to try something different–we put food into the menu section of the pump.  Its a “thing” that allows you to have the carbs for favorite foods right there. We added the important things like Big Macs and Tim Horton’s Smoothies.  He was then good to go.

I really wanted to look over his meter and see what he had (or hadn’t) been doing while he was away.  I decided to let him settle back into his own routine first.  I thought about not looking at the meter at all.  What was it going to tell me? 

It would probably tell me that he ran way higher than I would like. It would probably tell me that he wasn’t testing when he was supposed to. It would probably just elevate my blood pressure and frustrate me.  There was nothing that I could do about the past. I was best to just focus on today and go forward. 

That was in an ideal world but by now you should know that I am far from ideal.  I had to look. I had to know. 

Just before bed, I asked him to see his meter. Despite the fact that I was sure that he was out of One Touch test strips, he swore that he had used an old green One Touch meter while he was away and left it behind (convenient!).  To make life simple for me however, he had found an old log book and written down all of his readings!  What a great child with diabetes.   

The logbook showed readings from every day.  There was one low.  There were some highs with notes as to what had happened. There were a few readings in range.  

My son waited for my reaction.  I said that I liked that he had written everything down but sadly he had logged before and created every single reading. I was not so sure that I could trust this book either. Part of me felt terrible for saying that. Part of me knew that there was a very good chance that I was right to doubt him.  Part of me hoped I was wrong.  I wanted to think that he did test when he wrote down that he did. I want to believe that the readings were all correct.  The diabetes police inside of me said that while some readings were right, he most likely did not have enough test strips for two weeks of using that meter.  His readings were far from perfect but not as bad as I would think that they should have been for all of the sites he swore he lost (four site changes in one day) as well as a pump that was failing. 

He just shrugged. I don’t know if that was saying “well I tried to get it by you.” or “I logged, you don’t believe me. Whatever.”  I hope its the first. Either way, today is a new day.  Last night was a night of highs.  Welcome home diabetes! 

Diabetes Nazi Mom.

Anger. Frustration. Fear. Terror. Sadness. Tears. Overwhelmed. Frustrated.

Yes, that was frustrated twice. As a parent, there is nothing worse than when a child lies to you. I know we have all done it. As a child, you seem to have to try to see what you can get away with. You want to make your parents happy so why show them some of the ugly reality? Besides, they tend to get mad and you get in trouble. 

As a parent, its a knife in the heart. Its that perfect little person that you held in your arms those first few months and promised you would protect at all costs.  That perfect little child grows and will tell you what they think you want to hear and the hurt when you find out its not true cuts you to the core.

Its not like my son is my first teen.  I have a 16 year old. He has lied to me. He has gotten in trouble for doing things that I felt were inappropriate and even illegal. He has never seriously hurt himself and continues to get good grades. I remain thankful for that  but each slight hurts just as much as the first.

Add diabetes to the mixture and these teen years…well I am working to fight back the tears because the consequences of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, unsafe sex, and non-compliant diabetes care are all the same.  Its having that last item thrown into the mix that just makes matters that much worse.

Last night I went to check on my son.  I was more than a little concerned about his overnight readings because he has recently decided that he wants to be fit.  His body has become his temple and he is feeding it good food and exercising.  Being a supportive parent, I have allowed him to purchase some gym equipment and remind him to test before, after and even during a workout.  He has been doing that. Last night I was tired and went to bed before him.

“What is your reading?” 
“Okay, you are going to have a snack and test before you go to bed right?” 
“Call me if you have any problems.”

At 2:30am, I had to get up.  I tested. He was low.  I cursed and headed to the fridge for some juice.  I came back, he drank and then I went to check his meter to see what his last reading was.  That was when my world began to fall apart once again.

At midnight, the last test before mine, he was 3.1 (55).  Fifteen minutes before that he was 3.5(around 60ish).  He was dropping and he went to sleep!!! He did not call me for help.  He just went to sleep risking not waking up again.  I was shaking and wanted to cry! I literally thanked God that he was still alive and hadn’t seized or worse.  What was he thinking???

If this was going on, what else was going on? I sat on his bed and began to look back through his meter.  I was livid.  I was in shock.  I wanted to scream but it was now 3am and people wanted to sleep. For weeks, he had been lying to me about his readings at school.  He put in numbers that were in range so I would not make any changes.  He knew that that could be a problem.  They were never perfect.  They just looked okay but they were ALL fake.  My heart was broken. My baby was lying to me. He said he wanted to be fit and look after his body but he was working to kill it.

I was beside myself.  I wanted to pull him out of bed right there and then.  That would do me no good. After he was in range, I went back to bed and tossed and turned.  What the heck was I to do? How do I get through to a teen who thinks he is immortal? We have all been there.  How do I teach him? How do I not scream at him in my frustrations? He is a good kid. He is breaking my heart.

I am going to try the health angle.  I have taken away his new prize possession for a week–his dumbbells. Its the only thing at the moment that he seems to care about.  I thought about his phone but that will be the next stage.  I will now be texting him at school every day. Its allowed and it will be done. I will be asking for readings at set times. I will be checking his meter EVERY night. He will learn that to be healthy and buff on the outside, he needs a healthy body on the inside as well. I have to try and do this without freaking out. That is going to be so hard because watching your child potentially hurt him/herself is so devastating.

I told my fiance about this at breakfast.  He knew I had been up with my son last night because he was low but didn’t know the rest of the story at that point.  As we discussed it, we both decided that part of the problem most likely is not wanting to test in front of his new peers.  I am sorry but that is life. That is the life of a person with diabetes and not wanting to is not going to change things. There are things in my life I do not like to do but it has to happen. And I wonder why I have stress and anxiety in my life? I don’t know that it will ever end with diabetes in the picture…and children.

I guess its back to tightening the reigns, being more diligent, kicking his butt and being the terrible mom.  It feels like grounding him…you know Mom is punished as much as he is but time for mom to suck it up as well. This is serious and needs to be nipped in the bud NOW!

Wish me luck…I am in for an extra long and painful long weekend with a grouchy teen and a rough week to come!

Doug Burns, Former Mr. Universe and PWD

Can I cry now?

Can I cry now? I feel like just sitting down and letting everything go. I am not sure if I would be crying for my failings or the failings of my child. Would it change anything? Probably not. Would I feel better? Well until I looked in the mirror and saw those horrible puffy eyes but then again they would go quite well with the increasingly greying hair.

Tonight was a repeat but worse of many nights we have had over the past few months. Liam has only just got a permanent teacher this week. I was away for the first day of this week. I was busy with his brother yesterday and then he was with his father last night so tonight I asked for the week’s readings. Bad move…well bad move for my nerves.

Liam had forgot to bring his log sheet to his father’s so he wrote things down from memory and meter. I wanted to see a few more days and could not immediately find his log sheet so I went through the meter. Again…bad move.

As I scrolled through his school meter I saw tests at 7 am and then nothing until 2pm. I saw readings of “HI”. I saw tests at 9 am and then not again until 3pm. I saw lows that were never retested and then heading out to play on the playground. I was in shock. What the heck was wrong with the teacher? Why wasn’t he reading the information I had sent to school? What was going on? Was this my fault? Have I been too lax in letting him test and learn on his own? I am asking if things are being done. He is lying to me and telling me it is but I am not looking at the meter each day. I am trusting him. This is my second go-round with a child this age. I should know better but funny it still hurts just as much.

I didn’t know what to do. I told him I was sick and tired of this. How can I help him when he can’t be bothered to help himself unless Mom is sitting on him. At home he tests fairly regularly. Does Mom need to follow him everywhere? He has lost some freedoms. I will be going into his classroom tomorrow. I am at school anyway but I will make a point to see that he has tested and to have a quick chat with his teacher. I have added more alarms on his pump. I hate having them on because I am the only person who seems to hear them. All it does is drain the batteries. When he is at home he ignores them. When his is at school, he seems to just turn them off. When he is at his father’s house they all ignore it. The only one that it seems to help is the battery company because we end up going through so many more of them.

I have been told to step back and let him fall like this. I have been told to be there to pick him up, to help, to push. I tell others to do the same. The logic is sound but the practice? Its killing me and I worry that it is killing him. Am I expecting too much? Am I not on top of things enough? Should I be hovering again? I am going to have to in some respects but will we both get slack again? Will I feel comfortable and trusting again only to see another explosion of disappointment? Raising a teen is tough. Raising a teen with diabetes?? There is too much involved for one person but you do what you must so I will probably allow myself to cry for a moment and then I will pull up my boots and do what I must. I will hover. I will talk. I will check. I will listen to alarms. I will try and stay sane through it all.

Diabetes Boot Camp

There has always been a joke about creating a diabetes boot camp…well actually it is half serious. A camp where kids/adults would be sent and forced to learn about diabetes. They would have to realize how important it was to test and inject. We would show them reality and help them to face it.

Today I began thinking a little more. What about something much more serious and encompassing? What about family camps? I know that family camps exist but what about family camps targeted to families who have trouble dealing with diabetes? Who have children who are in DKA a set number of time? What about a camp for families who just are not getting it?

I know that no such thing exists in my province. I also realize that this would be a very costly venture. There is the camp itself, food, and the cost of experts.

You would need doctors willing to talk on basic care as well as the realities of complications. Someone to discuss therapy options and the importance of testing. You would need a nurse and dietician to discuss diet, exercise, etc. You would also need people to lead discussion groups–ones for parents, for children of different age groups, and for families as a whole.

You would need to organize fun as well. Things that would bring families together and create bonds with new friends. I know that groups have done this in the past. I also realize that money is tight for all organizations currently. I still wonder if this could work. How it would work? Who would you approach?

Any ideas? Please let me know. I think this might be something I want to seriously look into. A camp for…2010?? Hey let’s start dreaming!!