Saturday, June 29, 2013


A couple of mornings ago...

I forgot that he was going to be getting them.  I remembered, yes...that the Orthodontist said that he may need a few braces on his top teeth to pull the disobedient tooth forward.  The Orthodontist stated that the said tooth would need to be shoved or pulled into position to prevent future possible "pulling" of the tooth and for "cosmetic" reasons to keep Joe's self-esteem intact.  I then proceeded to call Joe "Sharkie" (a nick-name I had given the tooth)...after that comment, the Orthodontist quickly realized that the said tooth would not be the cause of self-esteem destruction.

These new braces mean no more Starbursts for LOW treatments.  The sticky nature of the candy can pop-off a bracket in no time.  So, we are back to Glucose Tabs and juice.  This made me ponder our choice of Starbursts for treating the lows in the first place.  They are sticky ... probably not good for Joe's teeth, ya think?  Furthermore, the unwrapping of the candies must be frustratingly difficult for low, shaky hands and digits.  I will not be around to "mother bird" him forever.

A day-in-the-life of diabetes with braces.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Joe, 911 Cannot Help You With Bolusing"

Yesterday... (a couple of summers ago ~ this is a repost because it is one of my favorites involving the phone and camp)

I was shaking my head a bit, in disbelief, at myself, dressed in black yoga pants, a long sleeve shirt, with a jacket tied around my waist. I was dripping with sweat. It was 90 degrees. I was driving Joe to a rink.

Looking in the rear view mirror, I saw Joe peering down at his phone; thinking about camp I assumed. He then started pelting me with questions. "So, I call you first?" "What if your phone is off?" "What if someone makes you turn it off?" "Then I call dad?" "What if his phone is off" "Then I call 9-1-1?"


My responses were as follows ... "Yep, call me first... but really Joe, I am gonna be there with you most of the time." ... "My phone won't be off. It never is when you are not with me." ..."No one can make me turn off my phone...nope, no one ... no how... "Nope, not even a policeman could make me turn it off." "Yep, dad." ... "I'll tell dad to keep his phone on this week."

Then to address the 9-1-1 question. Oy.

"Ah Joe, the 9-1-1 is on your phone to remind coaches or teachers or friends to call for emergency assistance in case you are unable to help yourself with your diabetes."

Joe replied "Well should I call them if I cannot get a hold of you or dad?"

Clearly my vague response above isn't gonna cut it. I am not one to mince words and have been open and honest with Joe about Type 1, so why am I struggling here?

"Joe please...please...please (insert a silent "For The LOVE of PETE" and a up~and~to~the~right~sideways heavily mascara'd fringed eyeball roll here) DO.NOT.CALL 9-1-1 if you cannot get a hold of mom or dad while you are at camp."

Joe then asked "Well when would my coaches need to call them?"

"Well Joe, they may need to call them if you went so low that you could not help yourself ... like if you went unconscious or had a seizure. The chances of that happening are rare Joe. But, we have to be prepared in case. Right?"

*please say "right"...please say "right"...please say "right" ... and drop this uncomfortable topic*

Joe then had the notion that 9-1-1 could 'help him' with bolusing if he cannot reach me. "Ah, Joe... (where to even begin)... 9-1-1 will not know the first thing about bolusing you. They can save you in life or death emergencies, but please, please, please do not call them for help with bolusing or carb counting. Trust me on this."

A day-in-the-life of hoping Joe doesn't call 9-1-1 for Diabetes Management instructions.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today I Remembered The Shin Pads!

Before we get to Joe, Bridge got ahold of my phone the other day.  Here is what I found:

OK...onto Joe:

A youngish lady was standing at the back of an SUV parked at the field entrance.  She was checking in campers, while another fella sat on a fence post handing out soccer balls to each attendee.

Thought feed went something like: *Nah...I don't think this is where I tell them about the diabetes business*

They instructed us to move on down a wooded path to the fields.  Camp-goers were gathered down and to the left; the coaches were way out on the fields straight ahead.  Joe immediately peeled off to the left.  As for me ...  I was the only parent approaching the coaches.  I identified that I had a camper with medical needs.

Joe attended a half day soccer camp yesterday in 88 degree heat with high humidity.  The camp coaches are British, which in my opinion makes everything they say sound nice.  The camp is close to our home; it lasts from 9 to noon.

Me to coaches:  "My son, Joe Maher, has Type 1 Diabetes."

(for some reason I then kind of wiggle the Woodchuck side-to-side ... like the Woodchuck represents the diabetes)

I continued:  "What time does snack take place?"

One of coaches (in British accent):  "Haf pas ten."

The "haf" and the "pas" threw me off, so I asked to clarify:  "Ten?"

The young woman coach could see my confusion and responded:  "Ten thirty."

I then unzipped the Woodchuck and showed them my plan:  Glucometer/sugar/snack/track phone and pointed out my cell phone number, which is written right on Woodchuck's lid.  Joe would be checking a blood sugar at snack time.  He would call me with his number and he and I would discuss how much, if any, of his Go Lean Bar (snack) he would bolus for.  I then briefly went over lows, their immediate threat to his well being and pointed out my phone number again.

Me to the coaches:  "Do you want me to bring Joe over here so you know which one he is?"

Coaches:  "Nah...Joe Maher...right?"

Me, a little wary:  "Yea"  (wiggling the Woodchuck again) "he'll be the kid with this bag".

So, I left him.  I left Joe at a half day camp with no intention of returning until noon.  It was a first.

9:42am I get a call.  It is Joe.  It's his quiet voice; the I'm~not~feeling~good~and~not~having~fun voice: "I'm 84.  I'm calling for your opinion."

My opinion:  "Eat two Starbursts and then your snack now Joe...for free."

Apparently Joe had an opinion about my opinion: "No, mom... that is for snack time..." and then something was mumbled about the heat.

My other opinion:  "K.  Do four Starbursts then."

We hung up.  I was worried that he was just slumpily sitting on the sidelines not feeling well.  An 84 in the early morning is not a safe place for Joe's blood sugar to be.  He usually has a ginormous post-breakfast spike (like into the low 300s) and his settings are adjusted accordingly (i.e. he receives a 1:10 breakfast ratio...with a 1:60 morning snack ratio to put the brakes on the breakfast insulin).  After all this thought and careful planning that doesn't even seem like "thinking" or planning anymore because I have been doing this for like seven years now...I realize that I sent the little guy to soccer camp without shin pads.  Ugh.

I called his phone at 10:00, hoping that he would not pick-up.  If he did pick-up, it meant that he was not feeling well at all.  He didn't pick-up. 

10:30am another call from Joe:  "Hi, I am 117 and it is snack time."

Me:  "Eat the Go Lean for free...have fun! ... oh and sorry about  the shin pads."

Him:  Mumbling and grumbling about the heat.

A day-in-the-life of taking diabetes, but not shin pads, to soccer camp.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Too Many "Special" Things?

A quiet, drawn out plea of "Stay .. with .. me .. mom." came from Joe.

"You want me to read some of our book?"


It was last night.

His blood sugar was a bad 39.  Not that there is a good 39, but the "bad" means he was really feeling the 39.  His eye lids were closed.  His lanky bod was twisted up in the covers, curled tight in my bed.  He was motionless.  At times it was difficult to tell if he was still "with me".    As I read "Catching Fire" aloud to him, I would check in with a ..."Joe, you ok?" every few paragraphs.

Yesterday afternoon he had attended a three hour birthday party.  The party included three hours of swimming with eight of his buddies. The swimming consisted of playing "King Of The Cheese"... basically this can be described as "King Of The Mountain"... but in the pool using an inflatable cheese as "the mountain."  There was freezy pop ingestion in the hot tub where Joe reported if you wanted the freezy pop to be less freezy, you just dipped the bottom tip of it down into the warm hot tub water.  Of course the party included a couple of pieces of ice cream cake and snacks.  His blood sugar was steady throughout the party (80s to 130s).

On the heels of the party, we decided to have dinner out as a family.  You know...stuff a normal family should be able to do.  Pasta Alfredo and a sundae was ordered and consumed by Joe.  Carbs were counted.  Boluses were dispensed, combo and regular.  Within and hour after dinner, Joe's above mentioned 39 was experienced.

Joe's original response to the 39 was regret over eating the pasta for dinner.  I reassured him that it was not his fault.  I explained that I over-bolused for his meal while underestimating his previous activity at the birthday party.

Here is where he got me.  It is here where I felt the sting of the unfairness of this damn disease.

"I guess we just did too many special things today ma." 

Too many special things?  Really!?  He went to a birthday party and then out to dinner.  These are things that all kids should be able to do without a second thought. 

A day-in-the-life of  childhood and Type 1 Diabetes.