Category Archives: transitions in diabetes care

Still Finding Feathers

My nest has been empty for over a month now and it still taking a bit to get used to.
My son has been quite good at making sure he uploads his pump for me to look at his readings. He appears to be testing more than once a day so I try to offer little criticism and simply make gentle suggestions where needed.
Moving diabetes to the back of my mind after all of these years is a challenge.  I still wake up a lot during the night. I still worry but that is what Moms do. I worry about both of my children. Diabetes just gives me one more thing to be concerned about.
I really don’t miss diabetes. I don’t miss having to get up in the middle of the night. I don’t miss wondering why he had a higher or lower reading than expected. I don’t miss time spent at diabetes clinics.  I don’t miss trying to figure out a new insulin pump.
I do however miss my son. Don’t get me wrong, I miss both of my boys but I have had a bit longer to get used to my oldest being away.  My youngest and I have spent a lot of time together over his lifetime.  His best friend is my best friend’s son.  We visited together. We went on trips together, we counted carbs together.  He is now enjoying life on his own–doing stuff without Mom always there. I am sure he is loving the freedom! It’s different for me.
I still miss walking into the kitchen and seeing him sat at the table surrounded by a fridge full of food.  I miss seeing his chin up bar dangling from a door way. I miss his dry, quick whit and timing. I miss the chicken fights that we would break into as we met in the hall. 
We text every day.  We talk at least once a week. I make sure that diabetes is the last thing that we discuss. It is rarely ever the very first. I ask about his day, his school work, his friends…then I ask about readings, meters and his pump. When he tells me “I screwed up.”  I try to remind him that his job as a pancreas is both unnatural and exceptionally difficult.  As long as he knows what he did wrong and he tries to fix it next time, its something to simply learn from and move forward.
I still find test strips in the most unusual of places.  There was one in my washer even though I have not done any of his laundry in ages.  We have a fridge full of insulin “just in case”.  There is a bottle of test strips that I found hidden in a box and part of an insulin cartridge that still sits in a place of honor in my car.
My new life of a Mom of children who no longer live at home is still very busy. My boys are always in my thoughts and their ability to stand on their own shows that I have taught them independence.  They will be home at Christmas.  I will savor every moment. I will fall back into the testing routine.
Life is changing.  Change is part of life but finding those little feathers (also known as diabetes waste) in hidden places of the house no longer make me grumble at their ability to “jump” out of the trash.  They now make me smile because they remind me of my son.
empty nest Dstyle

Taking a Low in Stride

DING!

I check my phone. Who is texting me at 6 in the morning? I really wanted to sleep in until at least 8 today.  It wasn’t my phone.  It must have been my iPad. Probably my oldest messaging me to tell me that he is up for work.  I had been teasing him about over sleeping.  I tried to go back to sleep.
“Your phone is ringing.  Answer your phone. Its your phone. Please answer it!”

Nothing good comes from a phone call at 6:30am.  I see my youngest’s phone number. I hear a deep voice.  He had  a site issue the day before. I am sure its my ex-husband calling to tell me that my son ended up in the hospital or they need help.  As my mind clears, and I hear “we need to make some changes. I was low at 6am.”  I realize that it is my son!

“What are you doing up this early?”

“Got to get my exercise! The early bird catches the worm! You can’t sleep your life away.”  says the child who can easily sleep until two in the afternoon!

Hold on! He said he was low. Now he is saying that he is taking a morning walk.  My brain is starting to clear and this does not sound like a good situation.  I ask him if he is still low. He says no but he is walking and taking breaks just in case.  He swears he is testing and he is okay…and then the connection is gone.  I call him back. It goes straight to voice mail. I call again. Same thing. I try to go back to sleep but my imagination fires up in high gear. What if he went low and fell in a ditch somewhere.  I text him to call me.  I try to go back to sleep. It’s not happening.  I call again.

Finally after about 10 minutes I get through. He had been camping with friends, got up this morning and was walking back to his father’s house. He was no longer low.  The low was earlier.  I asked if he had over bolused the correction from his site failure, been drinking, or made a bolus mistake in some food that he ate.  He said to no to all of the above.  I am not sure that he would have honestly answered question number two but I threw it in there amongst others so he could say yes, without saying a specific yes to the alcohol part. Either way, we decided to leave the low for another night because the corrections may have had an impact…amongst other things.

We chatted for a bit longer until he informed me that he was back at his dad’s and was hoping for a big cooked breakfast before his father headed off to work. We discussed bolusing strategies after his morning walk and then said good-bye.

I tried to go back to sleep but at that point I was sadly too awake to think about it. Instead and I lay there and realized that this was a foreshadow of times to come.  Times when he would be by himself and possibly calling to bounce a diabetes strategy off of me (or not).  Times when I would worry and wonder if he was safe after a low.  Did he fall and there is no one to help him? Those are things I will worry about but he also showed that he was okay.  He was taking it all in stride…literally. I will have to learn to do that too…one day…some time..later.morning-walk

She Kicked Me Out!

Yesterday we had our regular clinic appointment…a day dreaded by mother and son for none of the obvious reasons.  We simply find it rather boring.  Because Mom is a bit obsessed, learns a lot, and surrounds herself with diabetes experts, diabetes clinics rarely have much new information to offer us. I also make it my job to educate my son so again, he is not often shown anything that he hasn’t already heard about. I will say that the people at the clinic are pretty respectful of this but we still must wait to see the required list of people…and we are easily bored. 

Yesterday was no exception…except when the doctor came in.  She asked my son his age and then asked me to leave the room! Wow! I have never been kicked out before! Well from kindergarten but not a doctor’s appointment!  

I know that he needs to learn to speak for himself and to communicate with his diabetes team.  He needs to know his rates and we are working to get him to understand where to make changes and how….BUT my son is super quiet! Don’t get me wrong, once he knows you and is comfortable it is impossible to keep him quiet but for the most part he is very reserved and mumbles one word answers. How was this going to work? 

I paced the floor outside of the examining room.  The support staff looked at me and said “Kicked out, huh?”  I smiled and nodded.  This was obviously a common practice.  As I paced, and worried that she would get no information out of him. I realized how important this was.  He needed to speak up on his own now before he reaches 18 and sees a new doctor.  I try to make him answer questions when we see his team but often he defers to me.  This one on one session would make him answer the questions. 

It seemed like I was wearing a hole in the floor. What were they talking about? Were they getting to talks of sex, drugs, alcohol and diabetes? That would be good…not that I want my son engaging in any of those activities, especially at his young age, but I don’t know enough about them to talk to them from a diabetes angle. 

Finally he came to door and beckoned me back in.  I tried not to be too obvious in my relief.  As I sat down, she turned to me for all of the basic information that my son could not provide…basal rates, carb to insulin rates, etc.  For some reason under the pressure of having to do it with a relatively new doctor in his presence, he had forgotten where to find the relevant details. 

I gave her the information she wanted.  She signed our DTC form without a second glance and refilled a prescription she had given my son during his last visit.  After she left, while waiting to see the other members of the team, my son expressed his approval of this doctor. Not only was she a nice person (and she is a nice looking lady which I am sure is not lost on a 15 year old male), she also told him that since he had great control he could forgo having his annual blood work.  She was a star in his eyes! I hope he realized that it was the hard work of maintaining good blood glucose control that allowed her to give him that reprieve. Either way…my little boy is growing up! Where has the time gone? I am guessing I will be kicked out on a regular basis now…. 

Growing up, independence and Mother’s fears.

Time moves so quickly. It can feel so slow when you ask your son for the twentieth time if he has changed his site and he hasn’t.  You wonder if it will ever change. Will he ever get it? Will he remember to test? He will not live with me forever no matter what.  How will he continue? Will any of it sink in? How will he handle things? What will he do when he needs a break?

I am a worrier and the thoughts going through my head lately will soon drive me over the edge if I am not careful.  Preparing for my oldest son’s graduation from high school and realizing that he is on the verge of manhood, is sending my mind reeling.  My children are growing up! Have I prepared them well enough? What else can I do for my youngest? How will I handle their independence? It will not be easy but I suppose I will adjust.

When I look at my son’s log book I wonder. When I see how well he pays attention to site change reminders…five days later, fear takes over.  How will he handle this for the rest of his life?

I then listen to him react as I ask “Where are the tests? Why did you not test for this food? Why did you not check after that low?”.  My questions are no longer asked in panic mode.  I no longer ask in that hysterical, meltdown voice.  I simply ask the questions and wait. 

His answers are now more interesting. “Mom, my new year’s resolution is to test more. I can’t believe that I am missing these tests. I can’t do that. I have to do better. I will definitely be working on this.”

I know, you are thinking, yes he is saying everything he feels that I want to hear. You may be right but I have also watched the actions. I no longer “freak out” as often over his care mistakes.  I think a lot. I wonder what else I can do but I give him facts. We look at trends together and decide what needs to be done.

“Why where you high? Oh you made a bolus mistake. No problem. Now you know for next time.” 
“Where did that low come from? Right! Exercise, okay we will work on that one but where is the retest? Oh there it is.”

He is learning. The process is so painfully slow that I still fear him leaving my house.  The rational part of me says that I allow him to do a lot of his care without my hovering now.  He is left to go places and must face the world on his own.  He comes back alive and well. We still have another three plus years at least to learn, stumble, fall and brush off his knees. He has learned a lot in the past few years, he will continue to learn. We will be okay…I pray!

Mom I did a bit of tweaking

“Can you bring me your meters please?”
My son came out of his room with three glucometers for me to review.

“Mom, I have made a few tweaks of my own.”

“Oh really? What did you change?” I asked rather intrigued.

“Well I have been coming home low the past few days so I figured I should make some small changes and see how it goes.  I adjusted my basal rate.”

Basal rates?  Those can be tricky.  “When were you low and what time did you set the adjustment for?”

“I am low at about 3pm so I brought the noon rate down a bit.”

Holy cow! I am impressed. He had been listening and learning after all! “Are you sure its not a carb to insulin adjustment? How long after you eat does this happen?”

“I am not positive but this seems to be working. I was in the twos (low 40s) for a few days and today I was 3.8 (64) when I got home.”

“Okay, keep an eye on it and if you are still low try the lunchtime carb ratio.”

With that my son headed downstairs to have his shower. I was still in shocked and very impressed. He was taking charge of his diabetes care! He was making the changes as they needed to be made without my help and doing a great job of it.  My little boy was growing up!

I turned to the meters to see what else was going on that I didn’t know about.
Ugh! Missed tests at school! One morning test out of four.  I was not happy. I reminded myself that he was making strides in one area. Baby steps, baby steps. 

It would be a miracle if he was actually doing everything he was supposed to.  I did not freak out completely. I did not take away privileges. I did suggest what could happen if he forgot again but for the most part I just tried to bask in the glow of the “Mom I did a bit of tweaking on my own”.