Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Mirror

As we walked side-by-side through the parking garage into the hospital yesterday, his 6' frame towering over me...he said 'I don't really even think about having diabetes except on Endo days and sometimes when I have to check a number.'



He then went onto say something that briefly caused my eyes to sting.  He said, 'it's weird, but when I look in the mirror...I don't see my POD anymore.  I don't see the CGM.  I just see me.' 

When Joe thinks of himself, he says diabetes doesn't even enter his definition of who he is.

The Endo appointment went well.  Joe continues to do the majority of his care.  He is an active high school freshman and manages to juggle school, being an athlete, and managing diabetes successfully.  His A1C was 7.  A fine number considering his growth and his independence.

He turns 15 at the end of April.  We discussed his drivers permit with his endocrinologist.  You see, driving with diabetes adds another element of risk to just the act of driving.  People with t1d need Medical Clearance Paperwork, in order to get their driver's permit or license.  When Joe starts to drive, he should check a blood glucose prior to driving and every hour if he is driving for more than an hour's time.  He should not drive unless his blood glucose is 90mg/dL, or higher.  Driving low is more dangerous than driving inebriated.

I'm not sure how I am doing with all of this.  Actually, that's a lie.  I do know how I've been doing.  I've been fairly anxious.  High school has been more of an adjustment for me...than for him; I think.  I have had to back off as a hands-on pancreas and trust that I have taught him well.  I have.  Can I just say, at this age, sometimes having that damn Dexcom is a blessing and a curse all in one.  Watching his blood sugar remotely can cause my mascara-fringed eyeballs to bulge outta their orbits when his number is tanking to the 40's, while he is at school or at a hockey practice.  There isn't a darn thing I can do to help him.  I watch.  I wait.  I worry, then I hope and I trust things will be OK.

A day-in-the-life update.

Friday, November 10, 2017

He Should Do That, He Can Eat That, And His Diabetes May Vary

Daily, I am reminded we each, each and everyone of us, have our "thing".  I believe most of us want others to understand, or attempt to understand, our "thing".  

I want more understanding and acceptance for Joe and all persons with t1d.  The daily care, attention, and psycho-social-emotional toll the disease demands can be overwhelming.  To an outsider we can look like we are micromanaging things and making a bigger deal out of things than there needs to be.  Many people do not realize the attention to detail that must occur, in order for things to run smoothly and safely for Joe throughout his days...and his nights.  Misinformation and misunderstanding and subsequently the judgment of persons dealing with this high maintenance chronic condition can be frustrating.  

The following conversation took place a few weeks ago.

"Hi, is this Joe's mother?"

An apprehensive "yes", was answered.

"This is Mrs. (blank), his (blank) teacher."  

*Silence.  He's never liked the subject matter this teacher teaches.  I entered the conversation with trepidation.

"I wanted to learn more about his type 1 diabetes."

"Ohhkay.  What would you like to know about?"

"Well, it seems like he is doing a lot of 'stuff' for his diabetes during my class."

Joe had just experienced a couple of weeks of low-ish numbers.  So, this did not surprise me.

"What time of day is he in your class?"

"At the end of the day."

"Oh well that makes sense.  He has been running a bit low and he most likely is looking at his number and taking sugar.  After school he either walks a couple of miles home or he has hockey practice.  He typically would need to eat a snack for hockey and he might take some sugar tablets prior to walking home... what have you seen him doing?"

"Yes..he is taking some tablets and I have seen him eat.  ..... I also overheard him...and I didn't want to call him out in front of his friends...but he was telling his friends how he drank a chocolate milk, some orange juice, and he ate some Cheerios.  I know that probably isn't good for his diabetes and thought you should maybe know."

*This is where I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am thankful this teacher called me and wanted to learn more*

"It's totally fine if he eats those things.  He would need to give himself insulin for them to cover the carbohydrates.  Sometimes, he uses those foods to boost up his blood glucose or to treat a low."

"Well, it's just..that....  I have some friends who have diabetes....  It seems like Joe is doing more work ...with his diabetes... than they do."

*This is where I again, take a deep breath and remind myself of my gratefulness for her phone call*

"I think your friends  may be a little bit older than Joe (like by 50 years) and they may not have the same type of diabetes, and they are most likely not as active, and they may not be trying to keep their blood sugar in the range that Joe is trying to keep his in.  Each person's diabetes can vary quite a bit."

Teaching teacher about our day-in-the-life.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Some Ding Dang Blunt Honesty

What he was expressing isn't emoted often. It's rare for him to complain about t1d.  He truly just goes about his day-in-the-life of teenager-hood like a teenager-y boy in a teenager-ish manner.

Being a Teenager

About a week, or so, ago...

Perhaps it was because he does most of his care now.  Maybe it coulda been because he was being a typical 14 year old boy.  And it most definitely could have been because I scheduled his annual lab draw, a flu shot, his Endocrine appointment, and a 504 meeting all on the same day.  I forget - it's alot....type 1, it's management, and the crap that accompanies it.

He was slumped over and apparently taking a "nap" during our 10 minute drive to his Endo appointment.

I was definitely resembling a chatty, perky, 40-something-year-old, mom-type as I rattled off questions with a brisk tongue; trying to engage in some sort of meaningful conversation with my boy.

He hardly responded to me, as in I mean there were moans, groans, and single syllable words used.  I think I was  annoying him.

'Joe aren't you happy you get today off of school?'

A ..'For sucky reasons' was mumbled.

'It's not so bad.' An attempt to encourage him to be more positive was made.

Joe then sat up straight and and then set me straight.  'I get to go get my blood drawn, get a flu shot and see a doctor about a disease that I don't want....I then get to go sit in a conference room ... with a bunch of my teachers ... and discuss the disease that I don't want.  It's the worst.'

'I can think of worse things.' I then mentioned something about death, death of loved ones, and maybe squeaked in the death of his beloved dogs all being way worse than his day with the disease that he doesn't want.

His response...'it's the worst that I've experienced in my life, so far.'

Good point.  I wish I'd keep my mouth shut sometimes.  As we chiseled our way through the diabetes "to do" list, his attitude improved. His A1C - 6.9.  He had some insight into his 504 Plan and discussed it with his team.  He was back to "the Joe" I typically see.

Blunt honesty about his day-in-the-life.