Monday, August 31, 2009

Where Do I Start?

So much has happened. Where do I start?

We got Holden moved into his apartment on the 23rd. I did OK until it was time to tell him goodbye. I hugged him and told him I loved him and then I quickly walked to my car as I felt the tears start to spill out of my eyes. Once I got in the car I really started crying and then noticed that Riley was crying too. He and I took turns crying for the next 20-30 minutes. Riley slept in Holden’s bed every night last week and every morning he would tell me how many more days before Holden would be home again.

Holden enjoyed his first week of school. He came home Friday because he had to work. I didn’t see him much, but I did get to see him some. We were able to watch a movie together Friday night. I teared up a little when he told me goodbye last night, but I never cried. The plan this week is to go see him and take him out to eat and then watch Halloween 2 together. We both like horror movies and it gives me an excuse to see him. He doesn’t have to work this weekend, so I don’t know if he’ll be coming home or not.

For the most part, I’ve done OK with him being gone. Most of the time, I don’t think about it. But, then, sometimes, it will hit me that he’s not coming home at night and I miss him. That’s the worst: when he’s not home at night when we go to bed.

Riley had a very good first week of school. He loves his teacher and she has done an awesome job with him. Last school year, which will hence forth be known as “the year of the bad sugars”, Riley said he didn’t like school. He made good grades (all As) and he loved kindergarten the year before. I didn’t really make much of it. I knew I had some reservations about his teacher. I didn’t really know how Riley felt about her until he started 2nd grade. Now, every day he’s come home and said how much he loves school. It seems he didn’t feel very comfortable with his teacher last year. I don’t think she really gave his D the attention it deserved and sometimes gave it the wrong attention. Now, I realize that it was probably stressing him out, thus the high sugars. And, to be honest, it makes me mad. I know it was an added responsibility for the teacher, but it upsets me that Riley picked up vibes from her that made him uncomfortable. But, that’s water under the bridge.

His teacher this year is wonderful. As I said before, she was my second grade teacher as well as Holden’s. I knew she was a great teacher, but didn’t know how she’d handle his D. So far, she has done a great job. I know Riley feels more comfortable with her and she told me on Thursday when I picked him up that she was already feeling more comfortable with it. On Friday she sent a note home which read: “Riley has had a good first week of second grade. He is a hard worker and a sweet boy. I am amazed at his ability to cope and admire you for the hard work that you put in to keep him healthy.” It brought tears to my eyes when I read it.

So far, his sugars have been OK. He had one day where he was in the 300s at lunch, but it came down just fine with insulin. The rest of the week went pretty well. His sugars weren’t perfect (when are they ever?). But, I was pleased with how they did for his first week of school. I sat down Saturday and tweaked his basals some to see if that will help a little. So far, knock on wood, he hasn’t had a single low at school. (Now, I’ve probably just jinxed it.) The start of school couldn’t have gone any better than it did.

My mom is still not doing well. She’s not quite as bad as she was before her surgery, but she’s not well either. She is going back to the doctor tomorrow to figure out what to do next. She is sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Even though I see her every day, I miss my mom. I want her back like she used to be.

And, last but not least, public school started around here on August 25th. North Carolina has been cutting a lot of things out of the budget for this year. I heard horror stories of other counties around me laying off teachers and other state employees. Well, that cutting started happening around here the day before school started. At 3:40 PM on the Monday before school started, I got a call to be at central office for a mandatory meeting at 4:00. I was terrified. I just knew that I was going to be fired.

Turns out, instead of firing anyone, they just shuffled us around. Instead of being at my regular elementary school where I was last year, I was told that as of 8 AM the next day I would be reporting to another elementary school. I had no way to prepare. I didn’t know any of the children at the other school, nor did I know where anything was in the office. But, I was happy to still have a job.

I think they shuffled us all around to try and make someone quit. So far, no one has. I still feel like my job is up in the air. Right now, I still have one and that’s all that matters. I really like the school where I am now. It is less stressful than where I was last year. But, I still kind of miss the kids in the other school. I knew them. And, my student with diabetes got a pump over the summer and I was looking forward to working with her this year.

OK, that’s enough rambling for now. I will really try to update more often, so I don’t have to jumble everything together.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back to School Stress

I've got one about to start college and one going into 2nd grade. To say I'm getting a little stressed about it all would be an understatement. Riley going into 2nd would be OK, if I could just take diabetes out of the equation. But, unfortunately, I can't do that.

First, an update on my mom. She had a HIDA scan to test how well her gallbladder is functioning. It turns out it's not functioning at all. A result of 35% or more is considered normal. When we visited the surgeon last week we found out that Mom's results were virtually 0%. Well, that explains a lot.

Two months and thousands of dollars later we think we finally have an answer. She is having surgery on Thursday to have her gallbladder removed. Our hope is that will relieve her symptoms of fatigue also.

Holden is moving into his apartment on August 23rd. The apartment is furnished but I have yet to buy any linens or kitchen supplies. Holden and I are supposed to go shopping Saturday and get all that stuff. He is getting so excited. And, I'm really excited for him, but at the same time I know I'm going to miss him terribly.

Because my mom has been so sick I didn't get to go on the mission trip we had planned in July. Holden went and spent 3 nights away from home. I was so happy to see him when he got home. I really missed him. I know once he moves he'll be OK and eventually I will too. I've really done better with it than I thought I would. Of course, he hasn't moved in yet. Once he does I'll have to get back to you and let you know I how I feel then.

It's almost time for Riley to start back to school. His first day is August 21st. If you are the parent of a child with D I don't have to tell you the stress this causes. He has a new principle this year. So, my first task is to meet with him and see what his thoughts are on things. Riley goes to a private school, so they really don't have to do what I ask if they don't want. But, I've never had a problem in the past and I don't expect to have one now. I really, really like the new principle (He started in the middle of the school year last year.) and have found him to be very fair. I will also have to meet with his new teacher.

His teacher this year was my 2nd grade teacher. She was also Holden's second grade teacher. I know her well and totally trust that she will take good care of Riley. Still, that initial meeting is stressful for me. Like I said, he's in private school so they really don't have to accommodate me at all. Even though I've never had a problem that thought is always in the back of my mind.

The plan I have for him this year is different than in years past. I'm going to run it by you guys and see what you think. When Riley was in Kindergarten he checked his own sugars, but at that age the numbers really didn't mean anything to him. I trained his teacher what to do and how to give insulin with the pump. I made a notebook with as much information as I could cram in it. She knew what to do for highs and lows. I went to the cafeteria and got carb counts. I did the best I could to train her in how to take care of Riley.

She did an awesome job. Even though I had trained her and didn't require that she call me, she called me at almost every single sugar check. Of course, I didn't mind it at all. Riley's sugars that year were good for the most part.

That brings us to first grade. It was a whole different experience. By the time Riley was in first he had learned how to dose himself with the pump. His teacher was still responsible for looking at his sugars and counting carbs as well as supervising him while he put his numbers in the pump. She was also responsible for treating lows and making sure he rechecked his sugar in 15 minutes or so to make sure it had come up.

I trained her as best I could and gave her a notebook chocked full of information too. I told her to feel free to call me at any time with questions. She didn't call all that often. She pretty much handled things on her own. She tried to follow my instructions, but as you all know, there is really no way to teach proper diabetes care. You really have to live it to fully understand it.

For example, if I were to check Riley's sugar 1 hour after he ate and it was 95 I would know that if I didn't do anything then he would go low. I would take into account how much insulin he had on board and give him a snack and maybe even a temp basal decrease. Last year his teacher would check and think "OK, that's a good number" and let it go. Of course, in a little while Riley was low. Then, she'd treat with juice like she was told. But, the amount of insulin that was still on board was never considered. I touched on that with her, but like I said, unless you live it, you just can't really understand it.

Now, I'm not complaining about Riley's teacher. She did a good job with Riley. She just didn't do a great job. And, sorry, but when it comes to my child I want as close to "great" as you can get. Riley's sugars were horrible pretty much the whole school year. It wasn't until about the last 2 months of school that things finally clicked into place.

This year my plan is to take decision making power out of the hands of the teacher. I want Riley to call me after every sugar check and I will tell him what to do. He's old enough now that he can do what he needs to do while I talk to him on the phone. I will still train his teacher like I have before. She will still know what to do, especially for lows. And, she will still have to learn how to count carbs. But, as I said before, there is no way to teach how to handle insulin on board and exercise and sickness and stress. There are just too many variables. I refuse to have another school year like last year.

My hope is that administration will not fight me on it. I hope that they will see that it is what is best for Riley. Also, it really does take some of the strain off of the teacher.

I've talked with Riley about it and he says he's fine with calling me when he checks his sugars. On a good day in Kindergarten his sugar only got checked 2 times. On a good day in 2nd, it should be the same (once we get basals ironed out and except for PE days). Once we get things straight I'm OK with him checking at snack and lunch and then again if he has PE. Of course, there will be high days and there will be low days. I know there will be days when he'll have to call 5 or 6 times. To say that it doesn't add to my stress would be a lie. It's going to force me to think about it more at work than I'd like. But, I think it will be the best thing for Riley.

Last year there would be days where Riley would run in the 300s for hours. No one would call. The teacher would just have him give himself insulin. Or, there was one day when he was in the 400s at around 1 or 2. He got insulin and was never checked again before he went home. Of course, I called the teacher and told her how dangerous it was and that his site could have been bad and that he could have gotten really sick. The instructions in the book told her to call for any sugar over 350 and for Riley to recheck his sugar 1 hour after dosing for highs to make sure they are coming down. But, this wasn't done. There was also one day that she forgot to get Riley to dose for his snack. If he's calling me at every sugar check these things won't happen.

It's times like this that I really hate this disease. Most days I've made peace with it. But, when I start thinking of all the responsibilities Riley has to take on at such a young age it makes me mad. When I think of everyone else running off to PE while Riley has to stay back and call his mom it upsets me.

But, just like anything else with this disease you just gotta do what you gotta do. You have to take the lot you've been given and do the best you can with it. My goal is to keep Riley as stress free about his diabetes as I can while maintaining the best control possible. It's not as easy as it sounds.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Update on Mom

There isn't much to update. My mom is just as bad if not worse than she was when I last posted.

She was admitted to the hospital last Friday. They ran bunches and bunches of blood tests. They sent her home on Sunday and said once the blood tests came back maybe we'd know something.

By Thursday all the results were back and all of her blood tests were perfectly normal. They have tested for just about everything under the sun. They've tested for all sorts of vitamin deficiencies. They've tested for celiac and liver disesease. They've tested for increased levels of things like copper and lead. They've tested her thyroid and adrenal glands twice.

Since the only pain she's having is right-sided pain which very much resembles gallbladder pain she had an MRI of her abdomen scheduled for this past Friday. (She's already had a gallbladder ultrasound and a CT of her abdomen and pelvic.)

On Thursday the GI doctor's nurse called and said the MRI had been cancelled because insurance would not pay for it. They said she needed a Hida scan first. A Hida scan is a more specific ultrasound of the gallbladder where they inject die and watch how it goes through the gallbladder and ducts. (She had one two years ago which was normal. She was having the pain off and on back then.)

Well, I got on the phone with my mom's primary doctor and explained we needed something done NOW. They were able to schedule the scan for the next day (Friday). When we showed up for the scan we were told it was cancelled because the person who does the scans called in sick. (Welcome to the middle of nowhere.) So, she is now scheduled for the scan this morning.

She is still weak and barely eating. She is unable to stay alone anymore. She and my dad have moved into my grandmother's house for now. At first they did it to see if maybe something in her house was making her sick. But, she's not getting any better. Now, she needs to be there because she needs someone with her all the time. Did I mention I have to return to work tomorrow?

I don't know what we're going to do. Her primary doctor mentioned sending her somewhere like the Mayo Clinic or somewhere like that.

Please continue to pray that an answer will be found soon. I want my mom back.