Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Dreaded "No Parent Zone"

The "No Parent Zone" sign, printed on neon green backing, increased my anxiety level a bit.

I explained (or tried to, but how on earth can anyone "get it" unless you live it) to the registration lady that Joe had Type 1 Diabetes and that I needed to talk to his instructor, give him some sugar, and have an idea where he will be on the mountain before I can remove myself from the "parent-free" zone.

Joe was on skis for the first time in his life yesterday.  Hockey is over for his team for the season, allowing time for new "adventures".  Frankly, I was nervous to take Joe skiing when he was younger.  I should have taken him, but I didn't.  His blood sugars would frequent the 20s, 30s, and 40s when he was 3, 4, and 5 years old.  I was not comfortable manning him solo on a mountain, in the cold, on skis (yes, I realize this totally doesn't sound like the Reyna and Joe that you have come to know, laugh at, and perhaps love just a bit).

Back to the sign, the registration lady, and the skiing...Joe started his day with a lesson...

The registration lady tried to usher Joe onto the back of the room to the "No Parent Zone".  I was following Joe, unwrapping Starbursts.  His pre-lesson number was 198 (it is morning, trust me...he will crash).  The lady stopped me from following Joe.

Me:  "Ahhh...I need to give him sugar"

Lady:  "Now?"

Me:  "Yep, now."

Lady:  calls over the Joe to have him come to the "Non-Parent-Free-Zone".

I gave Joe 4 Starbursts (I shoulda given him longer acting carbs, but it was all I had in my coat pocket) and sent him back into the "Parent-Free Zone."  I waited for the registration lady, who is dealing with other lesson-goers.  Once she was free, I asked if I could speak to the instructor.  The instructor was in the "No Parent Zone" and as you maybe can already tell there is no way, no how I am gonna access this "Parent-Free Zone"...and apparently the instructors don't come outta the "No Parent Zone".  So the registration lady stated that she would inform the instructor of Joe's Type 1 Diabetes, that he has sugar in his coat pocket, and that I will be located at the bottom of the hill if Joe needs me.  I watched the registration lady go tell the instructor.  I kinda waited to try to make eye contact with the instructor so that she knew what the mother (and bad-a$$ pancreas) of Joe looked like.. ya know ... in case she needed my assistance.  She never looked over.  I left feeling a bit nervous and anxious.  I was confident in Joe though.  He had sugar...he would be fine...

Off to the bottom of the bunny hill I went.  I think they really discourage this.  Oh well.  I wanted Joe to know I was there if he needed me.

45 minutes or so into the lesson, the instructor called down the mountain (hill...), "Joe's mom?"

Me:  "Yes, is he low?" (I forget he doesn't speak Diabese)

Instructor:  "Ahhh...I wanna move him up to another class.  He can already stop and turn and he belongs in the Moose or Raccoon Group, not the Chipmunks."

Me:  "Will he be going up higher on the mountain?"

Instructor:  "Yes."

OK.  So I went with it.  I checked Joe's blood sugar again (about an hour after the 190-whatever and the 16 grams of carbs).  He was 134.  I give him a couple of glucose tablets and then he is going to apparently slug back some Hot Chocolate in the "No Parent Zone".  So, I went with that too.  Just have like a smallish amount of Hot Cocoa Joe.  Yeah, right.  Who knows what he consumed in the "Parent-Free Zone".  Alls I know is that when the lesson was over and Joe was begging me to rent skis and get a lift ticket so that we can conquer the mountain together his blood sugar was 396.  I did nothing with the number.  It'd burn down.  I had more pressing issues like I was gonna have to ski.  I had not skied since 1996.  I tore my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) the last time I skied. 

Lift ticket purchased, rentals donned, I head out to get Joe off the bunny slope.  He instructed me on how to insert my boots into the bindings.  Once the skis were on, I was comforted that they felt pretty natural to me.  Off to the lift Joe and I went.  There was no line.  Once the chair passed us to scoop-up the people in front of us, I tell Joe to hurry and get up to the loading line.  I then heard him say "crap", I got scooped up by the chair; Joe did not.  He had dropped a pole and was two chairs back from me on the lift.  The people behind him are yelling at him to pull his safety bar thing down.  He did.  The only comfort to me at this point is that his number was 390-something the last time we checked and that he could not possibly be low and dangling 30 feet over the earth, solo. (Now let me insert here that most parents would be worried about their kid  dangling precariously over the earth while trying to man poles and while swinging their skis a bit too wildly - in my opinion... especially when it is their kid's first time on the lift, I think the diabetes just escalates that worry and I was so very, very, very calmed by his previous high-ish number...trying to not think that perhaps his vision may have been a bit blurry with the high.)  Anyway.  He exited the chair like a pro.  Off we went to enjoy some green circle runs.  We did several of the same the same lift.


We decided to mix it up a bit.  We tried a new lift.  This lift looked long.  This lift had some sort of midway exit.  As we approached the midway exit, Joe thought perhaps we should get off.  Me?  I thought what the heck?  We should scope out the top.  So, up...up...up we went.  When we exited, we had two choices to get down the mountain.  A blue square to the left or a blue square to the right.  We took the blue to the right.  It was narrow.  It was icy.  I think I maybe said some inappropriate things. 

I finally talked him into lunch.  BG was 262.  He ate.  I bolused for the majority of the carbs, but did not "correct".  Out we went, for more.

By the end of the day, Joe and I were sticking with our first lift/run combo.  Joe would mix it up a bit and go on different runs than me and we would meet at the bottom.  One time I was waiting and waiting and waiting for Joe.  Lunch bolus was on board.  It had been about an hour since he had eaten.  Nothing scares me more than losing him.  It isn't just the losing a kid thing.  It is losing the kid and people not knowing about the blood sugar business thing.  It is the lost in the woods...comatose from a low... in the cold ... kinda thing.

Welp, he was fine.  Apparently he decided to go off some sort of wooden-ramp-jump-thing and did a face plant.

A day-in-the-life of adventure with Joe.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Interrupter, Refuser, Moper...

Pre-post Note:  Joe does not get into trouble at school.  This is an unusual event, my opinion....the "low" trumped the reasoning for his visit to the Principal's Office.

"I thought it was all my fault mom." ... was stated in the sweet, soft, lispy Joe-voice... "I did not even think about my low or that the teacher would not let me see the nurse."

This infuriated me even more; Joe blaming himself.

Joe's daily log came home tucked in Woodchuck.  His numbers were documented.  Insulin doses were transcribed.  A visit to the Principal's Office was also written down on the log.  Apparently, he had to go see the Principal after his morning snack.  His pre-morning snack blood sugar was 66. 

Me:  "Joe, it says here that you had to go see the Principal ...  ...?  What's the story?" (questions were posed in a surprisingly even-tone by your's truly)

Joe:  "I was moping.  I asked my teacher if I could go see the nurse because I felt low ... I interrupted her; she was not happy with that ... she made me sit back down at my desk ... then I wouldn't do my math ... my head was on my desk .... I was mope-y-ish ... she then sent me to the Principal's Office ... the Nurse noticed me waiting ... checked a BG...66 ... " 

Me:  Trying to wrap my brain around the situation, "so you are saying that you asked to see the nurse because you felt low...the teacher made you sit down at your desk because you interrupted...and then sent you to the Principal's Office because you refused to do your math and you moped?"

Joe:  "I did not handle it the best."

Me:  "Did you not do your math because you didn't feel like it because of the low or because you were mad at the teacher?" the way ... I don't know why I even asked this.  It is so, so, sooooo not the point.

Joe:  "My brain did not feel like it could do the math and I was angry.  I really did not handle it well."

Of course he did not handle it well.  The one person who he depends the classroom... the gatekeeper to the nurse, to safety...was denying him access to help.  The "low" trumps the whole situation.  Of course he did not feel up to doing the math... there is a physiological reason for that.  Of course he moped...Joe can be a "moper" in normal situations...add on a low during a frustrating situation and you are gonna get some serious "mope-age".  AND!  Of course he went up to the teacher to ask to see the nurse.  He does not want to raise his hand and ask to see the nurse in front of the whole class.  He does not want to call attention to his "difference".  I GET it.  I GOT it. 

The following morning, as Joe and I were driving into school to rectify the denial-to-see-the-school-nurse-during-a-potentially-life-threatening-situation-situation, from the back seat a "Thanks mom... thanks for sticking-up for me."

Stuck up for him, I did.  It wasn't pretty.  I wasn't that calm.  Cool, I was not.  Collected?  Perhaps.  I was collected in my point.  Denial to the School Nurse is not an option when Joe feels low.  My voice was shaky.  It was loud.  I think I said I was "very upset" ump-teen times.  I did not cry though.  I felt like it.

My message to Joe throughout this ordeal was two-fold: 
  1. Do not let anyone deny you access to sugar or to your supplies if you feel low.  You may whip out your glucometer and do a check and have sugar anywhere.  OR, you may walk out of your classroom and head to the Nurse.
  2. I know this one doesn't seem quite right...BUT...I said something like "Joe, this is an example why you have to be on your best behavior all.the.time.  It will be easier for people to pick-up that you are "off" diabetes-wise, when there is an actual problem.  Maybe not the right message. 
A day-in-the-life of sticking up for my son Joe.