Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why I Love My Alarm Clock

(**Note: This post was written a while ago and I never got around to publishing it.)

I’m not what one may call tech savvy. I do pick up on how to use new technology pretty quickly, but I’m not really into all of the latest gadgets. For example, I don’t have Internet on my phone nor do I own an ipod or mp3 player. I have recently begun to text, only because it is Holden’s chosen form of communication with me.

I wouldn’t say I’m old school. More like “not as young school”.

The thing is as much as I’m not into technological advances; I get giddy when I read about the advances in insulin pumps and CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitors). When Riley was diagnosed 5 years ago CGMs were talked about but didn’t really exist. Now, I “know” several people who use them or their child does. When CGMs first came out they seemed archaic, at best. But, recently it seems they are becoming more and more reliable.

Still, I’m apprehensive to begin using one with Riley. It’s not really the cost, although that does have to be taken into consideration. Because if I really thought that it would make a huge difference in Riley’s diabetes control, I’d get a second job to pay for it if I had to do that. With his A1C in range I’m not sure it’s really worth it right now. It took me a LONG time to become accustomed to having him hooked to a machine 24/7. It was years before I didn’t cringe at the sight of his pump tubing snaking out of the waistband of his pants. I’m not sure I am ready to hook him up to another machine. I don’t think Riley would like two pieces of hardware hanging off of him.

Also, I’ve heard the needle changes are brutal. I’m not ready to subject Riley to that if we don’t have to. My hope is that over the years they will become even more accurate and eventually be integrated into one piece of hardware (by Animas, I love them). And, they will downsize the needle a bit.

I’m not opposed to trying one out. I’m just not ready to jump on the bandwagon and buy one. To be honest, the main reason I would like to have one is for nighttime. I wish there was a way that he could only wear it at night, but I know that it takes a while to calibrate and all that, so that’s not an option right now. I have to be honest, since the story of the 13 year old girl who never woke up in the morning, the victim of dead in bed syndrome, I’ve let Riley run a little higher at night. It’s not a conscious decision, really. I’m just more wary about giving insulin if he’s high. I’ve cut back on the amount he gets which, of course, makes him run a little higher.

My husband and I get up more to check on him too. And, we’ve been sleep deprived for 5 years now. Every minute of sleep is precious to us. But, I can’t seem to go as long between checks now. It doesn’t help that a few nights ago at around 1:30 AM Riley’s sugar was 65. He drank a juice and got a basal decrease. 20 minutes later, he was 63. After another juice he was fine for the rest of the night. But, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if we had not gotten up to check when we did. What would have happened if the alarm clock didn’t wake us and we hadn’t done the check 20 minutes later? Would his liver have helped out and kicked in some glucose? Or would his sugar have continued to plummet? Would he have become a victim of DIBS?

Speaking of technology, I am completely dependant upon my alarm clock. It doesn’t just help me get to work on time; it helps me insure my child’s safety. Most people probably buy cheap little alarm clocks. They will get the job done just fine I guess. Not me, I buy top of the line alarm clocks, the ones with all the bells and whistles. You see, when you are constantly resetting your alarm for every couple of hours every night to the week, alarm clocks don’t last as long. I found out it’s best to spend a little money on them. They will last longer.

I always have to make sure that the alarm is loud enough to wake us. You see, when the alarm goes off every couple of hours your sleep deprived brain will learn to ignore it. Right now the alarm clock is on my side of the bed. In a while, we’ll switch it to Michael’s side of the bed. Eventually, I begin to hit snooze and ignore the alarm, sometimes for more than an hour. That’s when I know it’s time for it to go to Michael’s side of the bed. And, when he starts to ignore it, we switch it again.

We recently bought a new alarm clock. This time I bought one with some sort of internal battery that keeps time even when the power is out. Before, we had an alarm clock that used a 9 volt battery so that when the power goes off it will continue to work. Well, turns out, our power went out and the 9 volt was dead and so the alarm didn’t work. The alarm has to work. ALWAYS. So, I shelled out a little more for an internal battery thingy. It helps me sleep a little better on stormy nights.

This is one of those “little things” I’ve talked about before. I’ve said it’s the needle sticks and the food restrictions that get people's attention. But, the fact of the matter is, that for those of us that live it, it’s the “little things” that weigh us down. The not-so-normal things that take the toll on our minds and the minds of our children. The “little things” that make him different. The “little things” that make me different. I mean, it’s not normal to love your alarm clock. But, I do. And, as much as I love the alarm clock, I absolutely positively love, love, love Riley’s little blue pump. I cannot imagine life without it.

As much as I don’t really get into technology, I am still very thankful for it. Who would think that an alarm clock is so important? But, it is to me.


Tammy said...

My husband works a swing shift. When he's home, he checks our son at 2 a.m. I never hear the alarm clock. When DH works last shift, it's my job. I sleep with my cell phone in my hand and set the alarm on it. It vibrates and rings. Just the vibrating wakes me up. And I have to open my eyes and manually turn off the snooze. This seems to work best for me.

The point is that T1 parents have to do whatever it takes to keep our kids alive, and we'd rather be safe than sorry. Our son usually runs higher at night, but like you said, occasionally there is that scary low that assures us it's still necessary to check.

Hallie said...

I love my phone (which is also my alarm). I love a little pink pump. And I love our cgm!! For us, it's a necessity because she never feels her lows. Not even low lows. I love that device and I rely on it a lot. Especially at night. The needles isn't so bad if you numb it. We do our changes at night and Sweets doesn't wake up. But- it's not for everyone! And that's ok! I'd really like the Animas and Dex integration, too!!

Kelly said...

Little things indeed! I think we all have a love hate relationship with our alarm clocks! I had to laugh out loud, I find myself moving my alarm clock all around the room. Snooze buttons are a BAD idea!

I agree Penny, the CGM is just another gadget in my mind too. If our A1c's are good without it, then I aint using it. (unless maybe we start to have unawareness) And the DIB issue? Im very guilty of keeping Maddison higher these days too!!

Stacy Lu said...

Dear Penny,

I'm sorry to barge in on comments, but I have been trying to reach you. I'm a writer working on an article for a national parenting website, about parents of kids with type 1 diabetes, and I would love to interview you. If you are interested, please contact me? Thank you. Stacy Lu, healthbeat@gmail.com

Jules said...

i just found your blog and im looking forward to reading along. i hear ya on the alarm clock - i was given a verio BG meter to try..and i was like, what, no ability to alarm me at test time..? thats no good...

Hypatia said...

I live in Norway and there we get everything that my son needs for his diabetes for free: insulin, glucose meter and so on. Isn't that so for you?

EMR said...

I can understand the apprehensions and the fears at night.If you did not...but look after yourself too,your good health will ensure him to be better looked after...when he is doing a little better grab some sleep.

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