Wednesday, September 25, 2013

All-Night Diner

Thursday 9/26/13

All-Night Diner

It’s one of those nights.  Good ol’ Diabetes is whipping out his famous torture tactic…sleep deprivation.  In the great words of DH, Sleep Deprivation is Diabetes’ Water-boarding.

I woke up at 0600 on Tuesday morning.  After getting the kids off to school, going to the gym, and running errands, I took about a 2.5 hour nap in preparation for my 12-hour night shift.  With joy, I spent 12 hours caring for other people’s babies.

I arrived back home about 0730 on Wednesday morning.  After tending to the dogs and throwing a roast in the crock pot, I slept about 4 hours.  Ordinarily, I’ll sleep a bit more than that after working, but Wednesday was special.  You see, the schools have these great random days where they release students early.  I call them “Parental Inconvenience Days”; they call them Teacher In-service Days.  Whatever.  I chose to make the best of it.  I took the boys to see Planes, and since Daddy was home, I snuck in a quick pedicure before dinner.  My roast was fabulous by the way, which is precisely why my kids didn’t want to eat it.

My plan was to hit the hay about 10pm after I knew the boys’ blood sugars were ok.  That’s where my thinking became flawed.  Diabetes latched onto my plans and decided to sabotage. We did our typical 7:30 pm check.  Asa was 48, Aiden 133.  I gave Asa 24g of peanut butter crackers.  We rechecked at 8:20, just prior to 8:30 bedtime.  Asa had catapulted up to a whoppin’ 61! 

Typically, the kitchen is closed after dinner, especially after I’ve cleaned.  Not tonight. What would you like from the Diner?  Juice Box for 15g.  Since Daddy was gone taking the big boys to a dumb scary movie, I decided to read.  Asa is my “slow riser” so I planned to check again in an hour or so. 

While reading an interesting book about a killer night shift nurse (oh, the irony), I started feeling pretty sleepy!  I decided to doze for about 30 minutes until the man got home and we could have our nightly “adult time” (Kids in bed, adults can watch TV and converse.  It’s a neat concept).  I guess Diabetes was lurking in the corner, because no sooner than my eyes started to close than Aiden came down stairs at 9:10 pm stating he “felt low”.  He should’ve been asleep 30 minutes ago. Of course, he was 51.  This waitress re-opened the diner and served up 15g of Chocolate Milk.

The man got home about 9:45.  After verbal descriptions and bodily demonstrations of how the movie scared Kyle, I sent him to recheck the boys.  They were low normal.  81 and 100. We decided to go ahead and watch TV for an hour despite my overwhelming fatigue.  Partly, it was because I savor my time with him, and partly, because I know it would do me no good to try to go to sleep with sugars that low.  I’d lay there and think about it instead.  Even when Daddy has it all under control, I have to know and can’t rest.
After an hour or so of TV, I crept upstairs with my spelunker lamp on my head.  My knees creaked with each and every step…all 16 of them.  Sugars were at a lovely 48 and 69. Back downstairs.  I thought the kitchen was closed for the night, but I had to open the diner…again…for these special circumstances.  Repeat the same 16 stairs with the same loud knees to deliver 15g of Chocolate Milk each.  Tired. Still tired.  Still have to wait to make sure sugars are good enough to sleep through the night.  Can I please catch a wink…or a breath, Diabetes?  I’ll tell you whatever it is you’re wanting to hear!

We watched one more show.  Recheck at midnight.  102 and 104.  I decided to retire….finally…at that point.  I set the alarm for 2:30 am so I could assure they weren’t tanking just before the “dawn phenomenon”.  Well, 102 and 104 after lows just isn’t quite comfy enough for my good taste.  So, I lie awake.  I think of this blog. Under the covers.  Out of the covers.  Change positions.  Watch the clock.  Finally, I just get up.  May as well since I just can’t sleep, despite overwhelming fatigue.  I can’t sleep unless I know my babies are safe. (The man is sleeping soundly knowing I have this all under control; he has to work in the morning while I have the option of sleeping if need be.  When I work, he has to do this with no backup.  He rocks like that!).

At 0100, I listen to my knees pop and creak up 16 steps again. This time, I sneak a prick on two little toes since they were sticking out; they don’t like it, but they never know unless I tell them.  It gives their over-used fingers one small break. 86 and 107.  One stable, one declining.  Back down to the diner to serve a bit more juice.  Creak, creak, creak, creak….

(Really, I should have fabulous thighs for all of this home Stairmaster exercise I’m getting, but nope.)

Now, I’m wondering what I did to piss Diabetes off.  Did I bad-mouth your mother? Did I flirt with your wife?  Did I not pay enough attention to you?  (I disagree as we had to do two site changes only to have a PDM error 2 hours later which necessitated a call to Omnipod and another site change.  I mean, who cares, insulin is cheap, right?)  I didn’t lose my temper today (despite the PDM error).  I did everything I was supposed to do.  But, Diabetes doesn’t care.  He heard I was tired and needed sleep.  He’s just contrary like that.

So, the house is sound asleep, and I am awake to make sure my baby boys will wake up in the morning.  Worst case scenario, I’m up all night, then I sleep while they’re at school tomorrow.  Then, I hope that tomorrow’s substitute nurse doesn’t need to call me, yet, I hope she does call me if she has any questions about my boys’ care. 

This is a perfect night where a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) would be a great tool so I could rest with the comfort of being alerted for plummeting sugars.  But, I can’t bear the thought of jabbing my sons with any more sharp instruments.  I can’t fathom the idea of them having to wear ANOTHER device on their growing bodies.  And, I don’t think their sensitive skin would tolerate any more adhesive than it already is forced to cope with.

Having to run this all-night diner is a prime example of why I’ve had to give up other things.  Nothing is more important than my kids, so something had to give.  My gym plans fall when sleep takes precedent. My house isn’t as clean as I’d like it because I’m simply worn out some days. My dogs need to go to the groomer. I need a haircut.  I can’t apply for a job that fits my post-graduate education because I have to stay home and be a pancreas, because nobody knows our boys or serves as a pancreas better for our boys than we do.  I’m their Mommy first.  Being a pancreas (and waitress) is exhausting.

It’s 1:30 now.  I’ll listen to 32 more knee creaks as I recheck Mr. 86.  Then, I’ll try to sleep until 0545.  If not, I’m up.  I’m up until because that’s what Mommies and pancreases do.

And think about it.  Really.  Seven broken hours of sleep in the last 48 hours is enough, right?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Maybe a little Random


It’s been almost a month since I’ve blogged.  It’s not for any shortage of ideas, but more because life gets in the way.  Kids started school. Getting insulin levels adjusted for school routine. Boy turned 16. Endocrinology appointments. Pediatric appointments. Football practice and games.  Drivers’ Ed. Working. And, I’ve been focusing a lot of energy on fundraising for our 2013 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Team.  On occasion, I take the chance to sleep.

It’s been 18 months now since Diabetes plopped his big fat butt in our lives uninvited. As I sit and think, I list the things that Diabetes has taught me in the past 18 months.

1.       I’ve learned not to brag.  As soon as I gloat, feel proud, or brag, Diabetes kicks back and reminds me who is boss.
2.       I’ve learned to be patient.  Yes, I’ve broken down in tears due to disappointment.  I’ve cried due to extreme fatigue and frustration. I’ve been downright pissed about having to buy stupid stuff that I’d never buy ordinarily.  Now, I try to just shake my head at the stupidity of this disease because getting upset and angry doesn’t change anything or take it away.
3.       I’ve learned to take nothing for granted.  Most notably, the lives of these two precious little boys. In another day and time, they’d be dead.  That’s a harsh and humbling thought.  Even when they’re driving me nuts, I’m so glad they’re alive and with their Mommy and Daddy. Too many parents can’t say the same thing.
4.       I’ve learned to think about one problem from multiple angles.  I’ve already done this in my nursing career, but you don’t realize how many different reasons for a crazy glucose level there could be.  Once you think you pinpoint the problem, it’s easier to correct.  Did I count the carbs accurately?  Was he active? What does his insulin pump look like?  Is he getting too much basal insulin?  Too much bolus insulin? Is he getting sick? Did he have a lot of fat or protein?  Not enough protein? Does this site absorb better?  Is the insulin good/bad?  Was I holding my mouth right?  Any of these can impact a blood sugar level.  Sometimes, nothing makes sense. 
5.       I’ll never stop learning, being surprised, or being baffled.
6.       My boys are WAY smarter than even I imagined, and they get it. I explain on their level (and maybe even above their level), and they go with it and seem to understand.
7.       I’ve learned to approach people with heart to ask an uncomfortable question…asking for money.  Frankly, I’m independent and stubborn to the point of it being a fault, and I’d rather chew nails than ask someone for money.  But, I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do.

As I mentioned, I’ve been spending a lot of time and energy fundraising for our Walk Team.  If I could just write a check myself, I’d do it, and give JDRF all the money they need to find a cure for my boys.  If the amount of tears I have cried (and other D-parents) could cure this disease, not only would my boys be cured but all other Type One Diabetics would, too!  If sheer willpower was strong enough to make those beta cells work again, T1D would be eradicated.   Unfortunately, that’s not enough.

When my boys were diagnosed in 2012, I literally felt like my heart was ripped open and the breath was kicked out of me.  It was humbling to know that I could not do my #1 Mommy job…fix the problem.  Once I caught my breath, I decided to do what I COULD do, which is help those who CAN fix this problem.  So, I’m working hard on thinking outside the box.  I’m asking a lot of people in a lot of different ways to donate to help JDRF find better treatments and a cure.  I’m finding ways that people “get something” back for their donations.  I’m hoping to have a hugely successful team and raise lots of money for JDRF.  Besides provide the best care I can for my boys, it’s all I can do to fix the problem.

So, if my perpetual asking, reminding, or discussing the topic is wearing on you…ask yourself…What Would You Do?  How would you respond if someone told you your baby had an incurable disease, but a cure is on the horizon?  And, know that the way it wears on you is only a fraction of the amount of wear and tear this disease wreaks on my boys’ bodies and this Mommy’s heart.

So, I’ll ask again.  Support our team today!