Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going Solo

The birthday party/sleepover was last Friday. At snack time at school Riley’s teacher called to tell me that everything was fine but that Riley didn’t want to eat his snack. It is VERY unusual for Riley not to want to eat, so I asked her what was going on with him. She said she thought he was just excited about the party. Since the party was right after school, I told her to tell him he had to eat snack since I didn’t know when he’d be eating again.

I picked Riley up right after school and took him to his friend’s house. The friend only lives about 10 minutes away. On the way there I asked Riley why he didn’t want to eat snack. He said that it was his stomach. I asked if his stomach hurt, to which he replied: “No, it just kind of feels like it does before a soccer game.”

I told him that just meant he was excited about the party. Then he said he was excited, but he was nervous too. I quickly went into, “Everything will be fine. You are a big boy and you know what to do to take care of yourself. And, I’ve talked to Mrs. B. about everything and she knows what to do for you too.” It upset me a little to know that he was nervous about “going solo” for the first time. But, it also made me proud that he cared. He could have just had the mindset that he wouldn’t bother with his diabetes while he was there.

When he got to the friend’s house all of the kids where playing in the long driveway. I dropped Riley off to play with them and checked one last time to make sure he had the cell phone in his pocket.

When I got to the house the mom and I chatted for a while. Then, I took a deep breath and handed her Riley’s bag with his juice and machine in it. Once again, I found myself reassuring yet another person that everything would be fine, when I wasn’t so sure of it myself.

As I left I saw Riley running around the yard playing with his classmates. Right then I felt a peace about it. I knew I had made the right decision to let him go to the party and to let him try it on his own.

Not only did I leave him at the party alone, but then I left to go shopping an hour away. Of course, my mom and Holden where only a few minutes away from Riley if anything were to arise that Riley couldn’t handle on his own.

Fortunately, nothing like that ever happened.

Riley called at around 5:30. “Hey, Mom, my sugar is 190 and I’m getting ready to eat pizza and some chips.” I told him to call me back as soon as he was done and tell me how much of everything he had eaten.

About 15 minutes later he called again. “Hey. I ate one piece of pizza, 3 cheese doodles, a cookie, and a piece of cake.”

I asked him if he ate the pizza crust too so I’d have a better guess of the carb count. I did the best I could estimating carbs without actually seeing the food. He bolused while on the phone with me and then, he was off to play some more.

At around 9:15 I hadn’t heard anything else from him. I knew he probably needed to eat a snack soon so I called him.

“We’re outside starting a fire to roast marshmallows.” I told him to call me when he was done.

A little while later, “I ate 2 marshmallows and my sugar is 180.” Since I didn’t know the carb count right off hand I asked him to ask the mom to read out the serving size and the amount of carbs. Once again, he bolused while on the phone with me.

A few minutes later the phone rang again, “We’re having weenies too.” I made sure they were not putting them on buns before I told him not to worry about the carbs for the weenies.

I didn’t hear from him anymore that night. Michael went to pick him up at the designated time, 1 AM. He said they were lying in the floor watching a movie and that most of the kids were already asleep.

I was sitting on the couch waiting when they pulled into the driveway at about 1:15. The smile on Riley’s face was priceless. A check of his sugar before tucking him in reveled that it was 71. He drank a juice and got a basal decrease and drifted off to sleep.

The night was a complete success. I am so proud of my little man for doing such a great job at the party. He did everything just like he should. It’s just another assurance that he really is going to be OK and that this disease does not hinder him, it only makes him stronger.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What if....

The sleepover that I posted about earlier is Friday. While Riley will not be spending the night, he will be attending by himself.

Riley has never been on his own at a birthday party before. I always attend parties. This same boy had a party last year and Michael and I were the only parents who stayed. I tried to blend in, but somehow don't think anyone thought I was really a 7 year old boy.

Like a drug dealer I would pull Riley over to the side. There were a few whispers and a black bag and discussions of being high. Then, I'd deliver the drug and he'd run off to play some more.

Riley has gotten to the age that he really wants to go on his own. And, I'm OK with that. Or, at least I'm trying to convince myself that I'm OK with it.

Riley checks his own sugars and gives his own insulin every day at school. I know he knows what to do. I know he'll be OK. Plus, I've given the mom a heads up about what needs to be done. Riley is going to take a cell phone with him. He will call me at every sugar check and every time he eats. I will count carbs over the phone the best I can and pray for the best. My biggest fear is lows. I don't mind if he runs high as much as if he has lows while there.

As I write this he has fallen asleep on the couch. This after a pretty brutal low that struck with over 2 units of insulin on board. I decreased his basal and he got a snack and a juice, but it still kicked his butt. I just decreased his basal a little more. I will sit and wait for the impending high.

What if this happens at the party? I don't know. I'll deal with it the best way I know how. And, I've learned over time you just can you live your life for the what ifs.

Even though I've learned not to live according to the what ifs, they still scare the hell out of me.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Just When I Think I'm Out, You Pull Me Back In

I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for your kind comments after yesterday's post.

I have been neglecting this blog for quite some time. I do check in on the occasional D-blog every now and then and even comment sometimes. But, I've been out of touch with D-blog ville for a while.

Even so, whenever I need you guys you are always there to lend an ear or a virtual hug.

I cannot express how your comments have helped. First, to know you've had the same issues with sleepovers made me feel like I'm not alone and neither is Riley. We are all fighting this thing together and doing it to the best of our ability. We all screw up along the way because we are human. I know that all I can do is make what I think is the best decision at the time and learn from that and move on.

Also, I really felt very guilty for the ice cream treat, but you guys made me feel better when you said you would do the same thing.

When Riley was diagnosed I mainly worried about what the highs and lows were doing to his body. But, as he grows older the emotional and mental aspect seem to bother me more. I guess maybe because I'm a nurse at a high school and see how much certain things can affect a child's life. Parents play a HUGE role in the mental health of their children and I just don't want to screw it up. There is no rule book and we're all just really winging it.

I know that how I handle his D now will help him handle it in the future. Sometimes I just don't feel strong enough to handle it like I should.

It's nice to know I can come here and you guys will help provide that strength for me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sometimes You've Just Gotta Let It Out

I haven’t come here to vent in a long time. Well, today I’m breaking that dry spell.

Let me start off by saying: I. Hate. Diabetes. With. An. Intense. Passion

Ahh, I feel better already.

Riley’s sugars haven’t been behaving lately. Well, when do they ever behave? But, for the past couple of months I’ve been able to whip them into shape pretty quickly when they did get out of line.

He has started running high quite a bit. I went from making basal adjustments every 2-3 weeks to making basal adjustments weekly, sometimes 2 times a week, with little results.

I knew it was coming. I’ve been around D long enough to know that, but still it pisses me off every time.

Couple that with the fact that Riley has been invited to two birthday parties. And they are both sleepovers!!! Oh, the joy.

When I got the mail yesterday I opened an envelope and received the first invitation. As I read it I could feel the tears forming in my eyes. I knew immediately that he couldn’t actually spend the night. It’s just not doable right now. Yet, it made me so mad that he couldn’t. It just gave me another reason to hate diabetes and what it does to my child. I dreaded telling him that he couldn’t stay. I don’t let him use diabetes as an “excuse” not to do things, but there I was about to tell him just that, that he couldn’t do something because of his diabetes.

I was sitting on the couch thinking of how to approach the situation when he opened his book bag and handed me another envelope. “B. is having a sleepover for his birthday!” He beamed as he handed me the envelope and my heart sank.

B. is Riley’s best friend. I’m sure Riley had been thinking of how much fun they would have all day. I could feel the tears stinging my eyes again. A million thoughts ran through my mind. What if I asked B’s mom to check his sugar? What if I snuck in at 3 am and checked it myself? What if I gave Riley a cell phone and called and woke him up to check himself?

I quickly realized that none of those were feasible. You see, we have always checked Riley’s sugar during the night. There are not many nights that I don’t give insulin or make a basal decrease. Riley has never woken himself up when he was low. Not checking is just not an option. And, putting that on someone else to do is not an option either. There are just too many variables to consider.

Then, I got to thinking. Riley is only 7. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have let Holden spend the night off with a friend at that age. So, I used that approach instead. Besides, due to a comment Riley had made earlier in the day I really didn’t want to use diabetes as the reason.

“Riley, I know you really want to spend the night at B’s house, but I think you’re still a little too young. I wouldn’t have let Holden spend the night away at your age either.”

“How about if I talk to B’s mom and see what time bedtime will be and I will pick you up right before everyone else goes to bed? Then, you’ll really only miss the sleeping part.”

“OK”, he said. But, I could tell he was disappointed.

Would I have let him spend the night off if he didn’t have D? I don’t know. I really can’t answer it. He does have it. I don’t know how to make a decision about him without taking diabetes into account. I know one day the time will come for a sleepover, but not right now.

Not long after this conversation Riley said his sugar felt low. It was 65 with 1.8 units of insulin on board. For Riley, that is a ton of insulin. So, I decided to take him for ice cream.

Yes, I just got through saying that Riley had been running high for days. Maybe ice cream wasn’t the best decision at the time. But, because of something Riley had said earlier I did it anyway.

Earlier, before I saw either of the invitations, I told Riley we had to go on and change his needle. It was a site change day anyway and he had a sugar in the 300s and one in the 400s at school. I knew it needed to be changed soon.

Riley was giving me a hard time about it and really dragging his feet. I told him it was important to go on and get it changed because if he didn’t his sugar might be in the 500s.

He looked right at me and said, “I don’t care if my sugar goes into the 500s!”

My stomach lurched. “Why not?”

He shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. I just don’t care.”

I left it at that. I did the site change. And, then when his sugar went low I’m not sure why I decided ice cream was appropriate.

Well, yes I do. I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I can’t “fix” him. I felt guilty because he really shouldn’t have to care what his sugar is. He should be able to eat all the ice cream he wants without worrying what it might do to his sugar. And, I felt guilty because he’ll never be able to do that, at least not without consequences.

We got in the car. On the drive over I glanced at him in the rear view window. The glow from his DS was on his face. He looked so sweet. And, once again, the tears welled up in my eyes. All I could think was, “It just isn’t fair. Why couldn’t it just be me?”

I don’t know why diabetes gets to me like that sometimes. It is a very rare occasion when I let diabetes get me down anymore. But, it still happens. And, every time, it shocks me, like I thought I was immune or something.

Riley turned off his DS and I took it as an opportunity to start a conversation.

“Hey, Riley, earlier today when you said you didn’t care if your sugar went in the 500s or not, why did you say that?”

All I got was a shoulder shrug.

“Did you really mean it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, you know it’s OK to get angry about diabetes sometimes, but you always have to take care of yourself. Sometimes your sugars are going to be high and there really seems to be no reason for it. But, if you know how to keep it from happening, then you should always try to do that. You should always take insulin whenever you eat. And, you know you shouldn’t eat ice cream and sweets every day. No one should do that, sweetie, even me.”

“And, even I eat things I shouldn’t. I eat things that have too much fat in them and that’s not good for me. But, I try not to do it all the time. So, I know that sometimes you may eat things that you shouldn’t. But, what is important is that you always take insulin for it.”

“Do you understand?”

“Yes. Like it’s OK to eat cake at B’s birthday party. I just don’t need to eat stuff like that every day. And, I just need to call you and ask how many carbs it is so I know how much insulin to take.”

“That’s right, little man.” I’m trying to suppress the uneasy feeling I have from having him go to his first birthday party by himself. I’ll deal with that later.

As we’re waiting in the drive-thru for his chocolate ice cream cone, Riley asked, “Hey, Mom, how am I ever going to get to go to a sleep over? What will I do about checking my sugar in the middle of the night? Maybe I can just set an alarm clock and check it myself.”

“Maybe”. And, there’s the damn tears again stinging my eyes. My 7 year old should not have to worry about things like that. He just shouldn’t.

Much to my chagrin the cone was piled high with chocolate ice cream. But, Riley enjoyed every last carb-filled bite of it. And, his sugars ran high all night long because of it.

And, his sugars haven’t been under 200 today until a few minutes ago when it was 150.

I think I can deal with the sugars if that’s all there was to deal with. It’s the other things that really get to me. Things that affect his psyche. Things that make him feel different. Things that no child should have to worry about.

The sugars will eventually come down. But, I don’t know how long these emotions are going to affect him. And, that’s what really bothers me.