Once again…

Why did I get such perverse pleasure from my son freaking out about his blood glucose dropping and my relatively cavalier attitude? Because this week brought us back full circle to Mom freaking out at him and him basically wishing that I would simply go away or at least give up the rant. 

Once again, I looked at his meter.  Once again all of those readings that he supposedly had but could not remember five minutes later were because HE DID NOT TEST!!!! Once again I lost it. Once again I yelled. Once again I told him that I HATE being lied to. Once again I said that he cannot be trusted.  Once again I wanted to sit and cry.  Once again I worried about the future. 

I still want to cry. I still am frustrated.  I still hate diabetes more and more.  My son is a teen. I get that.  He has a serious case of “teen brain”. I get that too. He is not my first teenage son but thankfully he is my last. 

I hate that no matter what diabetes is there wreaking some sort of havoc in our lives.  There have been a lot of changes in our lives recently. I have a lot of other “stuff” on my mind. I am trying to create a new business.  I am dealing with new budgetary issues. There is Christmas coming up, my car that needed brakes and tires and so much more of life’s daily challenges. I really did not have a lot of time to sit and hover over my son to make sure that he was testing when I asked.  It would appear that I needed to make time but… I DON’T WANT TO!!

I am tired of being the diabetes police. I am tired of testing, bolusing and counting carbs. I am tired of waking up in the middle of the night and convincing myself that I do not want to roll over and go back to sleep.  What I really want to do is to get out of bed, wander down the hallway, find my son’s glucometer and test him. 

No I don’t!! I want to have a “normal” life. I want to worry about him being happy.  I don’t want to have to be the one to remind him that when he looks at his budget in career class, he needs to make sure that he can afford the extra $400+ per month required to keep him alive. I don’t want to be the person to say “I don’t think that career will pay you enough.” “Do you think you will have good medical benefits with that job?” 

These aren’t conversations that I have with my other son. My biggest concern with him is that he spend all of his money on restaurants and exotic groceries.   

We have been doing this diabetes thing for almost 13 years.  Some parts are easier…and some parts remain frustrating. Despite that, I am done. I am tired. I want off of this ride.  We have been on it for too long and knowing that my son will never get off tips me closer to the edge.

Once again I rant and scream. Once again it will change nothing. Once again I will breathe.  Once again my son will test in front of me. Once again I will pray that he truly “gets it”…one day. 

The Meter Ate It

“Why are there no readings from the time you woke up until an hour ago? I asked you specifically about testing more than once today. What happened to the readings?” 

I was going through my son’s meter, which I have been doing each day, to check for patterns and see if some of the highs he experienced while away were due to carb counting errors or if there were changes needed. 

“What? No readings? I know I tested.  Well, I know that I tested before supper. I told you the reading. It has to be there. Maybe I used the other meter. Let me check.”

Of course the other meter produced no tests either. He reminded me that he had told me his reading before supper, which conveniently was a perfect 7(126).  I reminded him that he had lied before; and I thought to myself, you lie with perfect numbers because I have lectured you about the dangers of me making changes based on false numbers.

He continued to swear his innocence and give me his best Bambi look. I wasn’t falling for it. I suggested that perhaps we needed to go back to him showing me each time he tested so I could verify that it actually happened. He continued to state that there had to be a test in his room somewhere. As I left his room I suggested that he find it and bring it to me when he did. 

I walked down the hall shaking my head.  Raising children is not an easy task–ask your parents and your grandparents.  Raising teens is a bigger challenge. Raising a teen with diabetes? Well they tell me we will both make it through and I will look back going “Wow, that wasn’t so bad.”  In the meantime, I guess I will be triple checking my son’s glucometer for the next little while.  

More noises from Charlie Brown’s Teacher

When my son came home from school, I reminded him that I wanted to look at his pump and meter later that evening.  I asked him if he knew of any trouble spots that I should be concerned with. He said that he had been high after breakfast but felt that that was probably because of a bolus error. Everything sounded good…until I checked the meter and the pump.

I looked at the meter first. There was a 5pm test and a 1pm test.  Okay, what happened to the 2:30-3pm test? There was the high from breakfast, and the tests from the previous day but wait, we were missing a few more tests.  There were almost as many missing readings as there were readings. This was not good.

As I thought about the after breakfast high, I began to wonder…”Let me see your pump.”

“Are you going to make some changes?”

“Just let me see your pump.  Yeah, I thought so.”


“Well, you came home after school went straight to the fridge.  I asked you if you had tested and you said that of course you had but your meter says that you didn’t. I see that you didn’t bolus your lunch until 1:30pm. Since you are in class at that point and a missed meal bolus alarm went off, I am guessing that you forgot to bolus your lunch.  When I checked for a breakfast bolus, which I remember asking you not once but twice this morning if you had done it, guess what I saw? No bolus again!!! You seem to be forgetting an awful lot lately.  Are we going to have to go back to you testing and bolusing in front of me as well as texting me all of your readings from school? Will I have to demand your meter the second you walk in the door from school?”

“I can’t believe this.  I must have remembered to bolus. I can’t believe I forgot to test.  Let me see. There has to be some mistake!”

I handed him the pump and told him the only mistake was his in forgetting most of his care. He had only bolused for one meal that day and that was the meal that I bolused. Things would change I reminded him as I walked out of his room.

Outside, I wanted to bang my head against a wall. Oy!! We really do make one leap forward and six shuffles back.  Teens really do have minds of sieves.  Its back to observing and not just reminding. Its hoping that one day some of what I say will sink in and mean something. One day I hope my voice will be more than the squawking sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Slack or Strict? That is the question.

School has started and we are back to the same old routine.

“Did you test?”
Of course.
“Did you test two hours after your breakfast?”
I tested at 11am. Isn’t that the same?
“You ate breakfast at 7. No its not the same. Did you test before gym class?”
I tested at 11.

THUD! The sound of my frustrated brain smacking against another wall. My son is 14.  He is very, very private about his diabetes.  He would be just as happy if no one had a clue that he had diabetes. Mom is not this way. Mom would like everyone around him to know and understand diabetes so that he is safe at all times.  I want teachers to know that he is not drunk, lazy or stupid when he looks dazed and weak. I want them to run for glucose and ask questions later. I want people to understand that the six trips to the bathroom during Religion class was not because he really doesn’t like the class but because he was high. I want them to understand that he is not wearing a pager, he is tethered to a piece of medical equipment that keeps him alive.

How much do I push him? His school knows that he has diabetes. I have spoken to most of his teachers over the course of the previous school year.  I asked the principal to meet with them all again. She said they had a nurse come in before school started so there was no need but she would speak to his homeroom teacher about meeting with the teachers he specifically has. I have not heard from the teacher so yesterday I sent them all a detail letter about Liam’s care.  Personally, while the meeting with a nurse is wonderful, the individual needs and care of each student should be further addressed by having the parents of all children with diabetes attend this meeting. Because this did not happen, I went with the letter and hope to see a few of these people at the curriculum night.

Again, how much do I push things? The school will no longer set alarms for him to test. They want him to be self-sufficient and he is in grade 9. I am okay with this…in theory.  I have thought of returning to our three strikes and your online privileges are gone routine but did it get me anywhere last year? Sometimes but it was not completely effective…he is still slipping into old habits this year despite the threat.

The slack part of me says, you know what? My son is really good at knowing when he is high or low.  He will most likely “know” when he is in trouble.  The rest of the readings just allow me to keep a respectable A1c level for him.

The diligent parent in me says, “Punish him! He will one day learn. He has to do this. Its the same as brushing his teeth.”

The slacker response is that at some point I have to respect his desire for privacy.  I have to give him the space to be himself rather than just the boy with diabetes, as long as it does not endanger him.  This could mean allowing him to test as he feels he needs to.  

Testing at 11 instead of 9:30am is so far not harming him. Its driving me insane but he is still alive to tell the story.  I can continue to nag. I can hope that one day he will hear. I will work on breathing and not freaking out.  I will look at alternatives to the three strikes…probably…maybe…well I will try.  

Restraint in the face of…parenting a teen with diabetes!

Let me preface this post by saying that I am very proud of me.  I have not had a complete meltdown. I have not screamed, threatened or inflicted bodily harm to anyone or thing.  I have not cried. I have not bounced my head off of the nearest wall. I have quietly resigned myself to the fact that the next A1c will in no way look as good as the last one and worked hard on continuing to breathe.

The Easter holidays brings great things–in that I get to have all of my guys together under one roof.  It also brings a few days of me not having to test because my sons head back to spend time with their father.  That should be a nice vacation for me but as I have said time and time again, its a period of quiet stress. I know that diabetes care is not the same when Mom is not around. I know that reminder text messages are often ignored. I know that testing is something to be done when bored and not when required.

Having all of this knowledge and not wanting to ruin my son’s time away is the reason why I waited a few days after his safe return before I turned on his meter.  I could feel my blood pressure rise as I looked at few tests, some really high readings, and then some good ones to soothe me slightly.  I calmly asked what happened to some of the readings.  There were readings at 4am but they were because he was still up and then there were no readings for eight to twelve hours while he slept.  I won’t even touch on the “where was the adult who should be overseeing the care?”.  I simply asked what was going on?

“I know I tested more than that.  I tested a lot Mom really! Those readings must have been on the other meter. The one at Dad’s”

“Would that be the green meter?”

“Yeah, that one!”

“The one that you told me yesterday was dead, had no battery and no strips? Is that the meter that you were using when you didn’t test on this meter?”

There was no comment. He swore that there had to be more testing. I just left the room with the reminder that that was not the way to maintain a great A1c.

This was last week and I have not brought it up since.  I have been checking his meter from school.  I have been pleased to see him carry his new AccuChek Mobile when we were rushing off to check on the cabin.  He is making some progress but there is such a long way to go (like the difference between “carrying the meter” and actually using it).

Last night, after I checked him and got a slightly high reading, I corrected and decided to check his pump.  I hadn’t seen him get insulin from the fridge to fill his pump in a bit.  I also don’t remember a site change happening this week.  The last site change I remembered was when he came back from his father’s–after leaving the site in for a week, after the previous one week old site named “Timmy”.  I was sure I would see that he had missed a site change…again.

I scrolled through the alarm history and sure enough…site change reminder: May 5th.  Crap! When will this kid learn???!!!??? Breathe, go to bed.  Deal with him in the morning.  I went to bed with visions of taking over his care and doing all of his sites in his butt where he has refused to ever inject or insert.  I wanted to do something to kick him into remembering. I really wanted that pump with the electrodes that worked like a cattle prod whenever its alarms went off.

I had asked people to build one for years.  My son completely ignores all alarms on his pump.  I am not sure why I bother to set them. For my own peace of mind I guess because he ignores them. Its now time to wake him up and remind him about the site change.  He will tell me he will do it after breakfast. I will threaten to insert it in his tush.  He will tell me that he will put it in his leg right after he is done eating. He probably will get it done because his cartridge is getting low.  Then again, he has been known to change a cartridge and leave a site.  He will tell me that he hasn’t changed this site (insert the latest name here) because this site is working so well. I will remind him that he was high last night.  He will come up with an excuse like the fact we had pizza for supper. I will remind him that it was homemade and he doesn’t have issues with my pizza.  He will mutter and shuffle off to his room. 

Oh the joys of teens and diabetes care.  I remember when I dealt with all of this stuff myself.  I forgot things but I knew that they were done as well. Letting him fly and fall is a lot more frustrating.  The joys of being a mother of a teen with diabetes…Happy Mother’s Day all!!

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.