A Waking Nightmare (It Wasn’t So Bad)

Just a few days after I brought now eight-year-old home from the hospital with her type 1 diabetes diagnosis, I had a very vivid dream.

In this dream, I was at a hometown buffet. I was looking around the room at all the different food options. I started to sob, “How can I possibly count the carbs on this? I can’t do it!” Then, in my dream, I collapsed in a sobbing heap to the tile floor while diners around me blithely picked up their plates, filled them, and simply walked around the distraught woman on the floor.
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Fast forward six months. A good friend was in town from Florida. For some reason she wanted to go to hometown buffet. I think she associates it with the state we live and her time here.

Let me just say, I have never really liked hometown buffet. In my opinion, they overcharge for mediocre food. I would rather have a reasonable portion of excellent food than all I want of so-so food for the same price. My kids and other extended family members disagree. Regardless, we were headed to the buffet.

Before we left, I looked at hubby and said, “I don’t know if I can do this. Counting carbs for eight-year-old when she has unlimited food choices will be really hard. It will be just like my nightmare.”

Hubby said, “Well, just do the best you can. Eight-year-old will be fine.”

So off to the buffet we went. I had eight-year-old fill up her plates (yes, plates plural) with exactly what she wanted to eat. Then, and here is the amazing part, I looked at it, estimated the portion size, calculated the carbs in my head and accounted for the glycemic index of the food. All in about 2 minutes or less. Then, I gave her the insulin shot and she ate a mostly normal meal. Well, except for the fact that it was more carbs than I have ever dosed her for before. And, she had to get all her food at once, instead of deciding whether to go back. And she had to test her blood sugar before so I could take that into account, too. Meal times are really not so “normal” any more.

It is amazing what you can learn in six months when you have to. I never in my wildest dreams, or worst nightmares, thought I could actually look at a plate of food, tell you the carbs, take the glycemic index of the food into account, and then just know how much insulin was necessary. But I did pretty well. She was in the perfect range where her blood sugar should have been that night at bedtime.

Score: full-time pancreas:1, buffet nightmare:0.

So, take that, buffets. You can’t scare me anymore! I lived one of my nightmares, and I survived. Let’s just hope I never have to actually live the naked while speaking in church nightmare. I think that one may just kill me.

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The Elephants in the Duct Work

A few days ago, four-year-old was on the vent in the morning, getting warmed up as the heat blew in from below. She loves getting a blankie, throwing it over the top of her and having the warm air blast her all around.

Four-year-old was enjoying the moment until the air turned off. “Mommy,” she frowned, “the elephants went back to sleep!”

“What?” I asked, certain I hadn’t heard her correctly.

“The elephants stopped blowing,” she repeated. “I guess they went back to sleep.”

“Oh, what do the elephants do?” I asked.

“The elephants live in our vents. They blow their trunks to warm us up. Sometimes they blow cold air and sometimes they blow warm air, whatever we want.”

“Oh, I see. And how does it all work?” I wondered.

“Well, they blow when they aren’t asleep, or eating or playing. And if I sing to them, they will blow their trunks and keep me warm.”

“Ah,” I smiled, “that makes sense.”

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Seven year old, listening to the whole exchange, was stage whispering to me, “Mom, why don’t you just tell her? Isn’t there some kind of fan or something that blows the air? It is not
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I took seven-year-old aside and exclaimed, “Sorry, but I’m not going to tell her. That idea is just too cute. Let her believe there are elephants at her beck and call, waiting to blow their trunks just for her. It’s adorable!”

Seven-year-old rolled her eyes at me and huffed, clearly exasperated that I would let such a fallacy stand.

But really, elephants blowing their trunks to keep her warm? And when she sings to them? Could it get any more imaginative and endearing?

I like the idea. Elephants.

Of course, if elephants actually were in the duct work, I’d have to have my ducts cleaned a bit more often.

The First Week Home

Several people have been asking me how seven-year-old and I are doing since we’ve been home from the hospital for a week post type 1 diabetes diagnosis. We are both doing well. Seven-year-old is really taking everything in stride. Though she doesn’t want the shots, she still doesn’t complain about them. She is happy, healthy and ready for what this new life will bring her. She did say, “Mom, my life has changed a lot, hasn’t it? Life for our whole family has changed, hasn’t it?” I simply had to say, “Yes, it has, but nothing has changed about how much you are loved by everyone, and that never will.” She gave me a hug and went on her way.
Now to the more complicated question of how I am doing. I really am doing better, but let me see if I can explain how I’m feeling. I feel like those women who go in to the hospital with abdominal pain and get told, “You’re pregnant and about to give birth. Surprise!” Only, the “baby” I was handed is a sick, demanding one–a parasite, not a child, who will harm the child I love with my entire being if I don’t do everything it requires.
So, if I seem a little off my game, please try to understand; I am like the shell-shocked mom of a newborn, a mom who had no idea she was even pregnant. You wouldn’t ask too much of her, would you? You wouldn’t expect that everything she used to do without even thinking about it would simply continue to be done without things being dropped and forgotten. I am talking to myself, actually, not all of you. I know most people aren’t expecting much of me right now. But I continue to expect everything of myself. And maybe I shouldn’t.
So very many people have helped us out with meals, babysitting, gifts, and support in all sorts of ways, from putting away Christmas décor to writing out recipes when food was brought in so I would know exactly what was in it. Thank you for being my angels on earth, the ones God has sent to me in my time of need. I promise to do the same for  you someday.
Mostly, I’m just so proud of my sweetie. She thanks me when I give her a shot, even if it hurts her. Could there be a better child?
Seven-year-old was having a more difficult time with one of her insulin shots the other day. She hates injections in her thighs. It was time for the thigh shot, and she was getting super upset. I told her, “You are a warrior.” Then, I pointed to her sharps container and said, “Look at that jar. It’s your warrior jar. Each of the things in there represent a poke you’ve had. It shows just how strong you are.” So she asked me to take some tape and label it as her “Warrior Jar.” Here it is:
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This is the face of a newly christened type 1 diabetes warrior. And I am the proud captain cheering on my soldier, fighting her way through this new battle, with her every step of the way. I love you, my little warrior. We’ll fight this war hand in hand, with arms folded and heads bowed, together forever more.
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How Bedwetting Saved My Child’s Life

Seven-year-old suddenly started wetting the bed a few weeks ago after not having done so for many years. The first night, I thought it was odd, the second, I was annoyed. The third, I figured she must have a urinary tract infection so I hauled her in the doctor’s office. She very cautiously peed into the obligatory cup and the urine sample results came back. No sign of infection, glucose was present, but no ketones. The doctor asked, “Is there any history of diabetes in your family?” “No,” I replied, as my heart sank. “Any history of kidney or liver problems?” “No,” I said again. “Well, we’ll send her for some labs.”
Since we went in the day after Christmas, labs couldn’t come until the following Monday. They showed everything was good. At least it was if they didn’t know my child was fasting, which I had told the technician and the doctor’s office but somehow that wasn’t communicated. When the results finally came on Wednesday, they told us to make a follow-up appointment for after the New Year.
On Monday, I checked seven-year-old out of school for her appointment. She nervously peed into a cup again. The results were the same. High glucose, no ketones. This time a doctor whom I don’t normally see greeted us and said,”I just want to call endocrinology. And, I think I’ll do a rapid blood glucose here.” So she did. And the result were 411. For those of you who aren’t blood glucose savvy, a normal range is 80-150. “I’m so sorry”, the doctor said, who happens to have my same first name so I felt an instant connection, “but it looks like your daughter has type 1 diabetes. I am going to call the children’s hospital and see what they want me to do.” After another half hour of waiting for someone to get back to her from the hospital, they told us to come, now, for a direct admit.
That was two days ago. I walked into the doctor’s office with a perfectly healthy child who just wanted to get back to school for PE. I walked out of the doctor’s office with a the same, sweet wonderful child who, I was told, has a chronic disease— one that will affect her, and our whole family, for the rest of her life.
I was shocked, but I wasn’t devastated. How can I be when I feel so blessed? We caught her juvenile or insulin dependent or type 1–whatever you want to call it–diabetes before she had any major issues or life-threatening episodes. How many parents can say that? She was still fine until New Year’s, so we got to enjoy our holiday and start the treatment with the beginning of a new deductible instead of having half of it in December.
I have felt so many angels supporting me these past forty-eight hours. I know people have been praying for me. I could feel heaven close around my “bed” as I tried and failed to get some sleep in the hospital. And I could feel the army of angels around my little girl. They stood as sentinels, watching her bedside, making sure she was safe and sound.
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Seven-year-old is being such a trooper. She got out of the hospital last night and wanted to go back to school today. So, I got my first try at being her pancreas at school. I forgot the pen needle cap for her insulin pen, had to go home and come back. Score 1, Diabetes, 0, Mom. But still, I am going to get this. I have so many people offering help, meals, advice, love. Everything is falling into place for my sweet little angel.
So, if your child ever starts wetting the bed after not having done it for a long time, don’t ignore it. Take them in, immediately.

And ask your doctor to check for type 1 diabetes. Maybe bedwetting could save your child’s life

Sharing is Caring

I had a birthday last week. It was a fun day filled with presents and time spent with family. My hubby and I went to go see Mockinjay Part 2, so I wasn’t at home when my wonderful neighbor and her daughter came over and brought me cupcakes and a sweet card.
The cupcakes came in a fun container of six. I was surprised and delighted with the meaningful gesture, just perfect for my family of six. I looked at those cupcakes and smiled, amazed that my kids had managed not to eat them while I was away.
The first words out of four-year-old’s mouth when I got home weren’t happy birthday. They were, “Mommy! Someone brought you cupcakes, and you can share them if you want to!”
I laughed and didn’t give more of a response. Four-year-old persisted, “Do you want to share them, Mommy, or are you going to eat them all by yourself?”
I looked into those sweet eyes and said, “What do you think I should do?”
She turned back, looked at the ground and said, “Well, I guess whatever you want to do.”
Then, I asked, “What do you want me to do?”
Beaming up at me, she jumped in the air and yelled, “Share!”
“Don’t worry, I’m going to share them,” I assured her. Even though they looked delicious, I wasn’t going to eat all of them myself. How could I when four-year-old was so excited, so happy to have me share a cupcake. And really, birthdays are all about sharing joy with those you love. Happy Birthday to me.
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Saved by Studio C

My thirteen-year-old had a band concert last night. Last year, all the students were encouraged to wear Halloween costumes since it was a Halloween concert.

Before thirteen-year-old’s concert, I asked him if he was allowed to wear a costume again this year or if he needed concert dress. He assured me that costumes were fine.

Rewind a few weeks ago to the discussion of what thirteen-year-old wanted to be for Halloween this year. He had all sorts of ideas, all related to his favorite sketch comedy show, Studio C. (Check them out on YouTube. You won’t regret it.) We ordered the pieces necessary for his costume from amazon and got excited for Halloween.

Last night, as we pulled into the junior high parking lot, my husband and I immediately noticed something. All the other kids were dressed in concert dress– meaning a white shirt, a tie, and slacks or a nice dress. Somehow, my kiddo had missed the memo, the only kid who had. No costumes this year, concert dress only.

Thankfully, my son decided to be James dressed as the Lobster Bisque character, seen here:

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“Quick!” I told thirteen-year-old, give me the gloves, the glasses and the suit coat!” He handed over all the requested items, and voila, he was ready to go, concert dress:

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I can only be thankful that he decided on Lobster Bisque instead of Awkward Avoidance Viking, Captain Literally, or Ann the Librarian. (All choices that he was considering.) So thank you Studio C for having the Lobster Bisque character. Lobster Bisque saved his attire grade, and quite possibly saved my hubby and I from a concert spent hiding under the folding chairs trying to pretend that our son was not the sole kid who missed the no costume message. But what a photo op it would have been.

Insane Side Effect of Crazy Hair Day  

Four-year-old wanted some, too!

Four-year-old wanted some, too!

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My Little Pony has nothing on her!

My Little Pony has nothing on her!

Unicorns unite!

Unicorns unite!

Ahh, Crazy Hair Day!  The culmination of Red Ribbon Week, a week dedicated to having fun and learning about not using drugs.  The slogan for the day was “Use Your Head and Don’t Do Drugs.”

I’m not entirely certain how crazy hair and avoiding drugs are connected.  In the ‘80’s the Big Hair bands also seemed to be the drug bands.  In the ‘60’s, counterculture hair seemed to coincide with experimentation with more than just their lovely locks.

That being said, I wanted to be the fun mom and participate.  I even said–as I was ratting, and putting in elastics, and shoving bobby pins where they were never meant to go—“Remember, this is supposed to help you not to do drugs.”  Seven-year-old just gave me a confused look.  Eleven-year-old rolled her eyes at me, an action she has so perfected her eyes may be in permanent amusement park ride mode.

I’m not a hair mom.  Half the time, my youngest doesn’t even get her locks combed.  She has curls and they look mostly good when she gets up.  And if they don’t, I just insist she puts on her helmet as she rides her bike to preschool so I can then claim “helmet hair” is the culprit for her non-do instead of lazy parenting.  But I do occasionally like to flex my hair-do muscles.  Crazy hair day is the perfect time to do that.  If you can’t really get the hair to look the way you want you just claim, “I meant to do that!  It’s that much more crazy!”

So, after the hair was done, I took the girls out on the porch to spray their hair with colors.  Seven-year-old’s wasn’t so bad.  She only needed a little spritz.  But eleven-year-old’s was, well, crazy.  She wanted her hair plastered with color.  And elastics began to break after being coated with hair spray.  So I had to run in to the house, grab more, re-do the pony tail and then spray again since the color had come off on my hands.

All that spraying left me feeling a little, um, lightheaded.   Maybe even–shall we say– high?  Yes, that’s right.  I had just unintentionally huffed spray aerosol as a result of participating in week dedicated to keeping kids off drugs.  They didn’t say anything about the parents, though, right?