Saturday, June 28, 2008

And I'm off....

I'm officially off work for the summer. I don't go back until August 4th. I haven't had this much time off of work since I was 16. (with the exception of surgeries and child birth).

I don't really have too much planned. We're a member of a local beach club, so I'm sure we'll spend plenty of time there. We (me, Michael, Holden, Riley, my mom, and Holden's girlfriend) are also going on a Mission trip for 4 days in July.

We don't live very far from Nags Head so I'd like to spend a day there sometime. We would take more day trips, but gas is just too darn expensive. I hate feeling like I have to sit at home because it costs too much just to drive down the road.

I will be doing a lot of studying this summer. My school nurse certification exam is August 2nd. I HAVE TO pass the first time I take it. #1: because it costs $275.00 and #2 because once I pass I will get a very significant raise.

On the diabetes front things are pretty much like always. He has highs. He has lows. He hangs out in between sometimes. I adjusted basals a few days ago. His sugars were great for a while and then yesterday he stayed in the 200s most of the day.

He missed his endo appointment that was scheduled for this week because his doctor is out on medical leave. We should get an appointment in the next few weeks.

I usually have a good idea what his A1C will be around. But, this time, I don't really have a clue. I haven't been logging like I used to. I kind of just keep track in my head. And, every now and then I sit down and go through his last 3-4 days of sugars and look for trends and adjust from there. I think his last A1C was 7.2 or 7.3. I'll be happy if it hasn't gone up and I'll be ecstatic if it has gone down.

Riley's done quite a bit of growing over the past few months. So, I won't be surprised at all if it's gone up some. Those growth hormones can do a number on an A1C.

His meter average is about what it usually is. It doesn't fluctuate very much. But, I've found that I can't really go by his meter average to determine what his A1C will be. Even though his sugar gets checked 10-14 times a day I don't really know how high or low he goes in between checks. Also, if he is high (like in the 300 or 400s) I always test again to make sure he's really that high before I give him insulin. That will skew his meter average also.

I don't really talk about diabetes much here anymore. I think it's because I don't really think about it much anymore. Or maybe thinking about it has become so common place that I don't even realize it.

It's just always there. But, I still long for that day when it won't be.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


My last day at my home health job was on June (Friday the) 13th. The whole last week was a mixture of excitement and sadness.

It was really hard leaving some of my patient's houses for the last time. There was one patient that I never really bonded with but she had bonded with me. She really didn't want to see me go. I had to see her my next to last day of work. She was upset that I was leaving. After I left and got down the road I realized I had left my sunglasses at her house. I never went back and got them. I didn't want to have to say good-bye again. I guess she has something to remember me by.

I waited until my last day to pack up my desk. That was sad. And, my co-workers bought me some going away gifts and a sweet card on which they wrote some personal notes. I don't like to cry in front of people. So, I held it all in.

I left work at 5:00 on the dot. I cried all the way home. I couldn't believe I was leaving the job and the people I had worked with for the last 10 years. I didn't even know if I would like being a school nurse. And, they had hired someone to replace me already. So, I couldn't just go back to my old job if I didn't like the new one.

Fast-forward a week. I stopped by the office on Monday to drop off my beeper and my key. It was strange to see someone else's stuff on my desk. I didn't belong there anymore.

I love the other nurses that I'm working with. I love, love, love what school nursing is all about. Having a healthy kid promotes learning and I'm glad I'm going to be a part of making that happen. (And, the fact that I get off at 3:00 every day instead of 5 doesn't hurt either.)

So, to sum it up. I love my new job. I can't wait until August when I'll be in my own schools with my own kids. I will be split between two schools (both of them elementary schools). At first, I'll be at one 2 days a week and the other 3. But, once I get things settled I will be at the larger school 4 days a week and the other 1.

It wasn't but a couple of years ago that my cousin's wife (a school nurse) told me of an open position. I told her I was not interested in being a school nurse. I couldn't fathom being in one place all day taking care of kids.

Now, I can't imagine doing anything else.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2 More Days

That's how long I have at my old job, today and tomorrow. Then, I will officially be a school nurse. I am excited and scared all at the same time.

I have been working as a home health nurse almost 10 years now. I like my job. I like the people I work with. It would be so much easier to leave if I hated my job and the people I worked with were jerks.

I also love (most of) my patients. I have to be honest, there are some that I do a little dance when I leave their house for the last time. But, for the most part, I like all of my patients. There are a few that I've had the whole 10 years.

There is one in particular that is like family to me. The first thing he says when I walk in the door is "How are my boys?" (talking about Holden and Riley.) He has a couple of pictures of Riley up in his room. I've taken the kids to visit him before. He's in his 60s. He was paralyzed in a car accident when he was 19 years old. Still, he's made the best of his life. I'm going to miss him. I'm sure I'll still visit from time to time, but it won't be the same.

I'm trying to focus on the positives of the new job, but it's hard to do when I'm still at the old one. I feel like I'm cheating on my home health job if I think about how great the other job will be.

Sometimes I panic and wonder what I was thinking taking the new job. Sure, the job I have now has it's moments, but so do all jobs. I have it good where I am now. I have a boss who is very laid back. I have a lot of flexibility in this job with my schedule. As long as my patients get taken care of it doesn't matter if I'm a little late in the morning (like every single morning).

But, then I remember why I wanted the school nurse position. I am excited about taking care of the kids with chronic diseases (diabetes and asthma are the two biggies). I am excited that I will be the air condition all day. Right now I'm in and out in 100 degree weather and I go in plenty of houses that all they have are box fans for cooling. No more going in roach infested houses. No more drug houses. No more getting called out at 3 in the morning to see a patient.

And, the icing on the cake with my new job is that I'll be home with my kids when they are home. I will have the whole month of July off, a few days at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, and the whole week after Easter off. So, will Michael and the kids. I'm really excited about that.

Still, I can't help but be a little sad about leaving my home health job. It's comfortable. I know what I'm doing. I know I like it.

Even though I'm sad that I'm leaving I'm looking forward to getting tomorrow over with, so that I can have it behind me and can look forward to learning all about the new job.

What my new job means for you guys is that I will have less time to blog. I blog a lot at work now when I have some free time. I don't think I'll be able to do that with my new job.

I'll post when I can and I will try my best to keep up with my usual blog reading.

If I don't get back anytime soon I hope you guys have a great summer.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Race

Last night I was watching Riley run around the living room like a wild man and I realized that sometimes I forget he even has diabetes. Earlier he had asked to go out and catch lightening bugs. I told him he could. Diabetes never crossed my mind. I just let him go.

Well, I say diabetes never crossed my mind, but it probably did. I probably thought about how long it had been since he'd eaten and what his last sugar was. But, I didn't even notice that I did it.

I don't really know how to explain it. Maybe I've finally accepted that diabetes is a part of Riley's life. For so long I was fighting it tooth and nail. Now, I've just come to accept that it is what it is. And while "what it is" is a stupid horrible life threatening disease, there's nothing I can do to change it.

I've heard others say that diabetes has become their new normal. I've often thought that it will never be normal for us. But, now, it is.

I still worry about the highs. I get scared by the lows (he was 56 at 4 o'clock this morning--aghhh!). But, I think I've finally, after 2 1/2 years, accepted that it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

I've always said that Riley can do anything anyone else can do. Before, I think it was more lip service than anything else. Now, I really believe it.

While writing this post I've realized what it is. It's not me or a change in my attitude as much as it is that Riley is growing up and taking on more of the responsibility himself.

He's able to dose himself now. He checks his sugar like a pro. He's been able to check his sugar almost since diagnosis. But he didn't really know what the numbers meant. Now, when the number appears on the screen he knows if it's high or low or just right. Not only that, he knows what to do if it is high or low.

He's able to read labels now and insists on telling me what the carb count is of what he's eating. Most of the time I have it memorized but still let him look and tell me how many carbs there are. He was hit and miss for a while, but now he's got it down to 100% accuracy.

He's very good at telling when he's low. Maybe that's why I didn't really give it a second thought when he asked to go out in the yard last night. Not only is he good at telling when he's low, he can usually also tell when he's dropping.

Last night at supper he was 101. He ate and got a bolus. 45 minutes later he said he was low. He was 80, but he had .85 units of insulin on board. He knew he had to eat.

When he's high now he knows that snack might be delayed. Last week one day he was at my mom's and at snack time his sugar was in the 300s. My mom said he looked at her and said, "I guess I won't be eating snack right now." Not long ago he didn't understand. Now he knows that it's best to let his sugar come down a bit before he eats anything.

In 2 more days Holden will officially be a Senior in high school. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding him in my arms.

I know from experience that all I have to do is blink and next thing I know Riley will be a Senior too.

But, now, I've gotten a glimpse into the future. I've seen how responsible Riley is with his diabetes even at the age of 6. Of course, I know things could change. He may become rebellious later on in life. But, I'm comforted to know that he has the knowledge to take care of himself.

It used to make me sad to think that Riley would one day take over management of this disease. But, now, it makes me proud. I'm proud because I know he can handle it.

I see the strength that he has at the tender age of 6. I know that strength will only grow through the years. I see the stubborn streak he has. (I don't know where he gets that from;-) And, I know that it will serve him well in his diabetes management.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years I finally feel like he's going to be OK. I know there will be bumps along the way. But, I no longer feel like diabetes is going to win.

I have glimpsed the finish line and my kid wins by a mile.