Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A $4.97 box of beads

The independence rebellion continues...

Yesterday morning my daughter casually comes out of her room and asks me to check my email. My daughter rarely emails me. So I curiously open the inbox and see a carefully this carefully written paragraph:
Dear Mom,
     Hey mom I saw today on the counter that you had a list for Walmart or Target.
Well last night when dad came in to kiss me goodnight he say that I was on 2 things(My Kindle and my laptop) and said he would like me to read today.Well I've read all my books and i really don't feel like reading them twice.So I thought since I'm responsible You can drop me or/and Ben at the Library and i can read my books.Also my phone is fully charged so if you needed to text me like your there to pick us up.Also you could shop or stay at home.I would like to go by myself or/and Ben because I'm growing up and i want to be i don't want to be held back.So please think about and I told Dad i would do it today. 
Okay, so I appreciate her attempt to communicate with me, and I respond with this:
I appreciate that you want to be independent. I don't feel comfortable dropping you off at the library. However, I'm happy to take you to the library this morning. I actually wouldn't mind checking out some books as well. Just because I'm in the library doesn't mean you have to be dependent on me. You can do your thing and I'll do mine and we'll meet up when were done up front.
Also, I do need to go to a few stores today but you could come with me. You wanted to look at yarn which they have at Walmart and I need to go to sprouts and we can stop at the 99 cent store too.
Alex responds with a happy "okay" and we get ready to go. At this point I want you to note that there is NEVER a mention of beads in this communication. You may think I'm wacked right now for bringing up beads but just work with me here...

We have a nice time at the library and at 11:45 we leave for Sprouts. Alex's dex beeps that she is 46. I have her test and she is actually 77 (Dex is acting up this week with lots of ??? symbols and I am pretty sure it needs changed as it is usually more accurate). I decide we'll do a girls lunch and we stop at PF Changs for a bite.  Since she has been having FANTASTIC numbers for over a week which by the way NEVER happens, I decide to combo bolus her for her 98 gram Fried Rice kids meal. Yikes on the carbs!!! My combo bolus works beautifully and she never goes above 170. We stop at the 99 cent store (for her more than me since it is next to Sprouts anyway) and she buys a hula hoop from the $10 she has leftover from money given to her this weekend. I discourage her from buying a bunch of other junk and remind her she wants yarn at Walmart (she has been making finger crochet necklaces and bracelets for the past week at home). At this point she says "oh and I want to look at beads too!"

Next, we head to Sprouts and Alex offers to push the cart and help get our items there. We head home to unload. Now I didn't REALLY need to go to Walmart this day - I could wait and I offer to skip Walmart (which isn't my favorite place anyway but they have yarn and Target does not). Alex says no she'd rather go back out to Walmart and get her yarn and look at beads. Okay...

So, we head to the Walmart, grab a cart and Alex asks to go right to the yarn while I look at lunch bags for Ben. A few seconds later, we meet up about 3 aisles away where she is having trouble finding yarn. She puts her diabetes purse in my cart because "it's heavy". I direct her to the right aisle and we find the yarn she wants. She seems extremely gleeful. First, she picks up about 4 reams of yarn and I remind her she only has about $8 and I expected her to pay with her money I gave her this last weekend. (Secretly I decide if we get up front and she has behaved I'll just buy it for her and praise her for being helpful). She puts all but one ream back and heads for beads. Now I'm thinking the girl wants beads for her bracelets. I'm thinking she wants a 99 cent package of beads. As we look at beads she also mentioned wanting friendship bracelet thread. Then she picks up 2 containers of beads, each with 1,500 beads and costing $4.97. I ask her what she wants so many beads for. She explains she wants to make a beaded entryway to her bedroom. I look at her and tell her I'm not excited about that plan - those beads aren't very durable, they will break and the dog could swallow them and I"ll end up throwing beads in the trash all the time. We argue for a few minutes.

I put my foot down and tell her that she is not getting beads for her door. She can get a smaller package of beads for jewelry making or the friendship thread. She only has $8 anyway. She says "fine" folds her arms and acts generally bratty at me while I have a ream of yarn and a package of thread in the cart for her. I tell her to knock it off. She whines and stomps her feet. I take the thread out of the cart and tell her to knock it off or the yarn is going back too. At this point she walks away from me in the opposite direction. The next thing I know she is just gone. I toss the yarn out of the cart too and expect she is behind me sulking and will catch up any time. I continue to buy the groceries needed and waiting for her to come out of the shadows. She never does.

I go up front and pay for my items. I text her to meet me up front. I'm VERY angry and worried at this point and realize she still has her diabetes bag in my cart. Then I realize I have her phone too. I have no way to get a hold of her. I wait for a few minutes thinking she is more likely to come up front than to be in the back of the store and if I start wandering we could miss each other. I'm shaking I'm so mad at this point. I start wandering the store. I walk the store with my cart of groceries 3 times. As I'm headed up front to call her from customer service, she appears shaking and saying she is low and grabs her diabetes bag and storms in front of me towards the car. Dex is again beeping and saying "47".

Fortunately, Dex is wrong and she is 72. She has a tablet and I tell her it's best if both of us don't speak on the way home. She is storming and stomping in the back seat. As soon as we get home, she goes stomping into the house. I quietly go to her room and grab all her electronic devices - the laptop, the iPod, and the Kindle. She seems to be more shocked and heads to her bed to sulk.

About 30 minutes later, she comes out and tosses a note into my face and walks off. The note says that she didn't run off - that I didn't wait for her and that she didn't want to follow me because I would look like "this" and there she draws a face of a mean mother.

I decide I need another 30 minute time out before talking to her.

Finally, I go to her room and tell her that she isn't 2 years old and her behavior was completely unacceptable and ridiculous all over being told no to a $5 box of beads which were never on the list in the first place. I tell her she is going to hear no many times in her life and people won't be nearly as kind as I will be when they say it nor as kind as I was when or if she reacts the way she did. She is a child who has an awful lot of STUFF and leads a good life and was getting more STUFF. But she deserved none of that for the treatment she gave me and herself. Then I explain it wasn't my job to chase after her in the Walmart. She is almost 11 and it's her job to stand up and communicate like and 11 year old and not a 2 year old. Furthermore, her running away and leaving herself without her meter or quick sugars was not showing responsibility at all. She glared at me all the more and I left the room.

About 4 hours later she was saying she was sorry and asking when she could have her electronics back. I told her when I felt she was sorry for her behavior and not sorry because she was bored and wanted her electronics back.

A D-suck factor added in for insult? Changing a Dex site when we're both angry and frustrated! 

This morning I received another well thought out letter of apology (handwritten and I don't want to disclose all of it here).  I asked her to take the letter back and write how she needs to handle herself in the future when she hears the word "no". After a re-write, she now has one of her electronic items back. I'm not sure when she'll get them all back. I haven't decided.

All over a $4.97 box of beads...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes 2013

We had so much fun doing the American Diabetes Association Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes last year, that we are signed up again. Last year, we raised $1,719. This year our goal is to raise $2,000 by October 12th.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The balance of managing and letting HER manage

I can't believe my girl is going to be 11 years old in about a month. I can't believe she has lived with diabetes now for almost 2 years. While there are many joys to watching her grow and become more independent, there are many bumps and moments of frustration for me. One of them is carb counting.

I don't think Alex left our sight for at least 6 months after she was diagnosed. And it took me quite a while to allow her to go somewhere without family or very close friends. In the past year, we have loosened up quite a bit and for a while it worked decently enough. She would take her phone and supplies. We would make sure the adult in charge was aware of her diabetes and how to treat a low. Alex would call or text when she was eating something or if she had a number out of range for advice.

As time as gone on, she has become less willing to communicate with us. Case in point this weekend...she went with a friend on Saturday to a local mini-amusement park. She left around 10 AM. By 2 PM I hadn't heard a word out of her. I tried texting her. I tried calling her. Her dad did the same thing. I tried texting her friend. That finally got a response out of her. She said she was 197 and she hadn't eaten anything or had any lows. They were headed to eat now but she wasn't sure she wanted to eat or come home. Fast forward to 4 PM and I try calling and texting her again. She texts back that I ask too many questions and she is on her way home anyway. Wrong answer!

She comes in all huffy and says she is getting her bathing suit and swimming at her friend's house. I ask if she ate and she says she had a small burger and nothing else. Her dex shows 279 and double arrows up. I ask for her pump while she changes. Now up to this point I haven't lectured or judged that I can tell anyway. I've asked for information and made no comments about her management or choices.

Her pump shows she had an 82 around 1 PM. It is the ONLY time she tested the entire day. It shows she bolused 3.1 units for about 25 carbs around 3 PM. She did NOT test first. 

Her friend is in the living room with me while Alex changes and I ask her what they had for lunch. Her friend says they had burgers and fries. I decide because her friend is there I'm going to table the conversation until after swimming. Part of me wanted to say your staying home but I chose not to make a scene in front of her friend about Alex's diabetes care (or lack thereof). Plus, she is high and swimming will help anyway!

She comes home about an hour later and asks about having a sleepover. At this point her dad and I decide it's time for a talk. We explain that being independent is a privilege. Yes, it sucks to have diabetes (as she vents to us). But you have to take care of it. I ask her why she didn't tell me she had an 82 when I asked her if she had any lows. She said that wasn't low. I asked if she did anything when she was 82. She said she had 4 tablets. I asked her why. She said she "felt low". That was a reason to text or call then! I asked if she had a burger or burger and fries. She said she had both. I asked her how she came up with 25 carbs. She said she "guessed" because "you always guess". I explain there is a difference between guessing wildly and guessing because you've eaten for example pizza once a week and have an idea of the carb values when they are not available for a given restaurant. And the fact of the matter was she ate at a chain restaurant and the carb count for burger and fries was 70g. She could have texted me to check the carb count (and is supposed to). She said texting "takes too long". She could have looked on her iPod touch with has the Calorie King app. Again, "that takes too long". 

We explain a sleepover is not happening this weekend. She starts crying and screaming that we are unfair and that it's only because she has diabetes. I try to explain that it is more a matter of trust and responsibility. You have these rules to follow. If you can't follow them, you don't get privileges. She's 355 by the way at this point and not being reasonable. Finally we send her to her room because the conversation is going nowhere fast.

Later that evening, we talk some more and she says she is sorry for not checking the carbs. I hug her and try to explain to her that it does indeed stink that she has to do these things but that she FEELS better when she stays in range. She enjoys her friends more when she stays in range. She agrees.

I guess all I can do is keep focused on the path and try to encourage her to take the time to do what she needs to do and enforce the rules set forth for independence. I don't know what else to do. Sometimes I want to get down on the floor with her and kick and scream that it isn't fair and that I hate diabetes too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Overcoming Fear of Water Parks

One of the things I have feared most since Alex was diagnosed is spending the day at a water park. And, the two time we dabbled in water slide adventures prior to a water park visit reinforced my fears.
  • Test 1 was a water slide visit at my mother in law's community pool and slides. In about 45 minutes, Alex went from a blood sugar in the high 200s to 46 just by going up the stairs and down the slide for that amount of time with friends. It scared the crap out of me. 
  • Test 2 was a birthday party with an inflatable slide. Blood sugars remained decent but her pump site and dex site were compromised a number of times. She ended up in tears and angry over the constant interruption of dealing with failing adhesives. When we gave up on the sites and ripped them off, she then was angry and upset that mom had to stay at the party and then pull her aside after the slide fun was over to insert new sites. It was a stern reminder than diabetes does get in the way sometimes.
Alex has been begging and pleading with me to take her to Wet-n-Wild since May. She knows the names of all the rides. She had mapped out all the things she wanted to do there. I knew I needed to take her...because the only reason not to take her was diabetes. And that just wasn't a fair reason to say no.

Being my OCD self, I've scoured the Internet for advice on water parks and diabetes. I spoke to her doctor last month who advised me to lose the Dex altogether for the day and take an ice pack to store the pump when on the rides while testing every hour or so. We discussed switching to shots for the day but we both agreed that was a less favorable option over staying connected to the pump which is waterproof and which could be stored when we decided it wasn't needed if she was having lows, etc.

I finally decided yesterday was the day we were going to face this fear. I purposely decided to NOT invite friends with us in case things went badly as that would just cause more tears for Alex if she was low, etc. and a friend was made to wait or went on without her on rides. So, it was Alex, Ben and I for the day and I knew that also meant I wasn't going to be parking my butt in a chair in the shade and asking the kids to check in from time to time. Not with diabetes.

I bought a dry pack with a lanyard and packed a roll of glucose tablets, a small cheap mini meter, strips and a lancing device.  I left her expensive Ping meter at home with the dex. I wrapped the mini meter in a Ziploc bag inside the dry pack (we tested it the day before in the pool and it stayed dry!)

I also packed  large insulated bag with the normal water park needs and her red ADA lunch bag with an icepack to hold her pump. Then I packed the following supplies:
  • 2 pump sites
  • Opsite Flexfix tape
  • Tegaderm dressings
  • scissors
  • 5 shots in case we needed to switch to Novolog by shot (drawing it out of her pump reservoir if it came down to it)
  • Glucose Gel (3 tubes)
  • Glucagon
  • Alcohol Wipes
I stuck a temporary Type 1 tattoo on Alex's hand and gave her a rubber Type 1 bracelet (no metal bracelets on the slides).

When we got to the park, I rented a locker and was pleasantly surprised to see the park really wasn't THAT big. It would not be a big deal to go back and forth between the locker and rides when needed and I knew we would need to more than normal. I just didn't feel comfortable leaving her expensive pump somewhere under a lounge chair while we were on a ride even "hidden".

I went to first aid as soon as we entered the park and asked if we were going to have any problems with her wearing a pump on the slides. The first aid staffer was very nice and said it was absolutely no problem and if there was any questions to explain it was okay to any lifeguard that asked. For the record, no one asked us and we never had a problem with her wearing her pump or either of us wearing the dry pack with the meter and tablets. 

We started out the day with Alex attached to the pump.  Her BG was 215 and I chose not to correct. We started out on some double tube water slide rides and had a ton of fun! I'm not sure I would have gone on the slides so many times without diabetes. It was hysterical. One of the rides was a "bowl". Ben went on it by himself in a double tube and shot right down the bowl into the hole without stopping. Then Alex and I got on. We circled the bowl twice and got "stuck" in the bowl and the next thing I knew our tube slid backwards down the hole. We came out laughing hysterically. I'm sure the lifeguards were laughing at us too. The pump was just fine.

After about 7 times down the slides, we went back to the locker and Alex tested and was 197. We stored her pump in the locker to go to the wave pool. We spent about 40 minutes in the wave pool. It was very stressful. We all went out to the deep end (the kids choice of course!). We were up and down jumping the waves. Alex being my little rebel kept going farther and farther away from me and liked diving into the waves. I of course was in fear the entire time. What if she got tired and wasn't in arms reach. I am sure I was the annoying mom who kept asking "are you okay?" or sending Ben out to check on her because I just wasn't comfortable so far out in the waves. Part of me longed to be one of those moms sitting at the beach entrance chatting with a friend with our feet in the water. But...part of me really enjoyed jumping the waves like a 10 year old too. And it was way better exercise.

After the wave pool we again visited the locker. Alex tested and was 147. We reconnected the pump and headed to some more slides. After several times on some slides, this old mom couldn't manage the stairs again. So I decided to grab my camera and take some photos and let Alex and Ben go on the slides while I stayed at the bottom. I gave her the lanyard with the meter and sweated it out at the bottom while they waited in line on the stairs. 

At about 11:45 I decided it was time to eat lunch. The kids of course ordered the pizza and breadsticks. I bolused about half the normal amount (I guessed on the carbs) as Alex was 101. I am sure the pizza and 2 breadsticks were somewhere around 70 carbs. I bolused Alex for 40 carbs. She ate her lunch and a couple of my french fries too.

We went around the lazy river after lunch which we all found rather boring. Then, we went to the play area with the big bucket that spills water and a ton of mini slides and climbing areas. 

Alex was on the thing for about 20 minutes and came over and said she felt low. She tested and was 47. I handed her 2 tablets and had Ben sit with her while I ordered some ice cream. We all had ice cream and that just felt better than making Alex sit and eat tablets and watch others play including her brother. Instead it was more like just a break for ice cream and not a break because she was low.

She retested and was 151. We spent about another 2 hours on the slides and back in the wave pool. I suspected she was now high because she was getting cranky and saying some unkind things. She was mad when Ben and I got too far from her on one of the rides. She was mad when we moved to a different ride. Her site peeled off around 3 PM. Sites and water parks just don't mix! I decided not to insert a new site because we planned to leave in an hour and she was 221 but we were still running around on the slides. When it was time to leave for the day she was just plain ugly. She tested and was 300. I had no way to bolus her until we were home. So we drove home and she showered and then threw a fit about getting both new pump sites and dex sites. But we got them done and she had normal numbers for several hours. She had a few lows in the 50s and 60s between about 8 PM - 11 PM but came up with tablets. She woke up this morning at 161 and Dex showed a nice stable line all night.

So...we survived! We had some fun! We would go back. But I won't lie and say it was easy. It was very stressful for me. I felt on guard all the time. I had to take a lot of deep breaths and act like things weren't a big deal in front of Alex so that she didn't start getting upset and saying how much she hates diabetes.