Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Sharps Hath Overflow-ith

Well, we have reached the "full" line on our first 2 gallon sharps container, the cute pink one they gave L at the hospital.
I estimate it contains 420 hypodermic needles.
Not counting mistakes, of which there have been many tossed in the bin...
420 plus mistakes.
420 injections my kid has barely complained about.
420 shots in her arms, thighs, and tush.
420 times one of us has said, "L, it is time for your shot."

Four hundred and twenty.

Well, off to metro tomorrow to dispose of it properly.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pancreas Sandwich

I have a history of Diabetes in my family. My dad has type two, his sister had type one (she was diagnosed when she was 11), and my husband's father also has type 2.

On December 25th, my dad, who is 70 was hospitalized for renal failure (kidney failure). We were told he had less than 24 hours to live. While my youngest sister flew out from Maine, my other sister and I juggled hospital visits, finding a place for our dad's dog, looking for missing keys and phones, and keeping our wits about us.

My dad has had type 2 diabetes for 25 years. He has a rare condition called Charcots foot which is a complication of diabetic neropathy, has heart disease (and has had several heart attacks), and he has an HMO.

He was treated sucessfully while he was hospitalized with a "slurry" which meant he didn't have to have dialasis. That was good news. The frustrating news, however was that his A1C was 14 and we couldn't get his blood sugars in the target.

It is now the end of January. We are still trying to manage this. He hit a 170 once, that was encouraging, but still has numbers in the high 2-300s. He has no stamina and therefor cannot exercise. He has told me that he gets winded just walking to his mail box.

I have been taking him to doctors appointments, running errands, and doing a bit of stuff around his house. I urged his physician's assistant (whom he sees regulary) to get him a case worker who could help me navigate what help was available for him and get more help in place as I plan to return to a contract job in 3 weeks. One of the hope I had was to get him on a meal plan that works with his insulin dose, as a nutritionist did with my daughter when she was diagnosed.

This seemed like a reasonable request, however, I recieved a call last night at 7:30 PM from the PA reprimanding me for asking for an appointment to see a nutritionist.

"Your father has seen the nutritionist many times over the years, what are your expecting to accomplish from this appointment?"

(Is this professional? Do doctor's assistants call their patients children after hours on Friday nights to yell at them?)

"Well, I was hoping to work out a carb count to get his meals working with his insulin doses and get his numbers in the target," I answered.

"Type two is not type one," she patronised, know ing I care for a type 1 child. "He knows all this stuff and can take care of himself."


This advice from a PA who didn't think to give my dad an insulin pen until I asked (his hands shake so much he couldn't hold a syringe) and who missed the fact that my dad's kidney's were failing several days before he was hospitalized and sent him home with a diagnosis of a fast heart rate...

Will someone please explain to me the best way to get my dad's blood sugars in the target without exercise and shed some light on this for me?

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Yesterday my husband left for a weeklong trip to Asia for work. We were both nervous about me handling L's diabetes round the clock without any breaks. We wrote lists, reviewed our notes, made more lists, hung them on the refrigerator, checked our supplies, checked again, and tried to to be nervous or stressed out infront of L.

When he left we both felt okay that things would be okay. "I promise the week will go fast and we will be too busy to worry" I assured him. But in the back of both of our minds I know we both know I don't get up on time, tend to get stressed out, and am not as good about keeping on a schedule as he is.

So I made a promise to myself to not worry. It is only one week, and the main thing for me is to not beat myself up if I get off schedule, or if L's numbers are out of wack.

Day one was going to be FUN. L & I had a great afternoon. We went shopping on Hawthorne Blvd, went to the books store, toystore, record store, card shop...We planned for a trip to Ben & Jerry's for afternoon snack, and ran into some friends along the way. No worries.

Then came dinner time, time to test, time for insulin.
"Mom, where is my emergency kit?"
(Gee, L, I don't know. Maybe one of the 15 places we have gone to today?)
ARRGH...what??? Out comes the phone book.
I call everyplace I could remember we had gone...
I called the doctor and had her call in a perscription for a glucagon shot so I'd have one in my house.
(Don't loose you mind, I kept telling myself...)
We have dinner, I try not to get angry - I know L is stressed and feels bad, but I am not going to start out my week as a single D-parent with us both feeling bad.

We have dinner and go get the shot, which is ready about 8:30PM. I invite L to spend the night with me in my room so we can both get a good night sleep and continue our search in the morning.

At breakfast L tells me she had a dream that she found her kit.
"Maybe it is at your studio, Mom"
I didn't think of that, I had stopped there to get something before we came home for dinner.

Okay, we'll check there.
Its there

we can handle this...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Flash Carbs

This has been one of our favorite tools to learn about diabetes over the last 6 months. We have these in the car and in magnet form on the fridge. They are designed to help figure out carb counts for foods. The design is great (although a live "chicken" on the poulty card is a bit more disturbing than say, a fried chicken leg...)

they have other terrific prouducts on their website
check them out!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Diabetes Art Therapy Support Group for Kids
This group will run one time per month (the third Thursday) and is lead by Beth Ann Short ATR. This art therapy group is for participants 18 and younger. This group furnishes older kids with the opportunity to be role-models/mentors to younger children newly diagnosed. Younger participants will see hope in their stories. The Diabetes support groups are led by a Master's Level Art Therapist.Groups will be structured with a check-in time, a short art directive and time for members to process and discuss art created. Each week the group will be led using an art therapy experiential to explore feelings and struggles using a specific directive that will serve as a vehicle for group conversation. Some topics addressed in this group include when participants first were diagnosed, needles, family support and tips for managing in our busy world. A healthy snack will be available.
It is recommended that participants call or email within 24 hours of the group to RSVP
1/18, 2/15 & 3/15 from 6:30-7:45pm
This group is paid weekly with a drop-in rate.
Members: $10.00 per session Non-members: $15.00 per session
Scholarships available, please ask a monkey for qualifications.All materials included.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


ALERTU.S. House of Representatives to Vote on H.R. 3 TOMORROW!Contact Your Representative by TOMORROW!
As a result of all of your hard work over the past few years, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made expanding federal support for embryonic stem cell research a top priority for the new Congress. Continuing the momentum that we’ve worked so hard to build by securing another victory in the House on stem cell is extremely important. We need to generate as many different communications as possible to the House in order to pass it.
We need you to complete the following 3 steps:
Click on the link below to our Take Action page. Review the letter supplied and enter your personal story in the paragraph provided. Including your unique and personal story is the key to getting your Representative’s attention. Your letters will be faxed automatically to your Representative’s offices upon completion.
Once you have completed your letters, dial the toll free number below to connect to your Representative’s office. When prompted, enter your Zip Code, and you will hear a brief message reminding you what we would like you to say.
1-800-730-7074Your federal Representative is: Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Forward this Action Alert to as many people as you can and urge them to participate in contacting their Representatives in support of H.R. 3.
Thank you for taking the time to help JDRF. Your efforts are what have made this vote possible. Thank you again for helping us get one step closer to finding a cure!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Gretchin's Necklaces!

I had these necklaces made for holiday gifts by an amazing local artist Gretchin Lair. The "Imagine a cure" tag hands in front of the "type 1 diabetes". You can custom order these and other designs from her. Check out her website:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mom, I want to say the F-word to diabetes

Last day of Winter break. I wanted to do something fun with L so I planned to meet some friends for lunch and then go to a matinee. I asked her to test in the car on the way to the restraunt and she was over 433.

433? What? That is really high. Her target is 80-180. We had started the morning with a mid 200s, but 433? I didn't know what to do. Do I give her the regular amount of carbs for lunch? Do I give her a correction dose of insulin?

I had her call T - I couldn't find my phone, so we used her emergency phone and I read him back her numbers so he could call the doctor and see what to do. By the time our friends walked into the restraunt I was in tears and knew I was going to have to cancel lunch. How was I going to explain that to L?

She was not happy with my decision and in the car ride on the way back home she said, "Mom, I want to say the F-word to diabetes." "Me too," I assured her. Me too...

I called two D-mom's I know while I was waiting for T to call back with the Doctor's instructions and they both knew what I was going through. It was so helpful to talk to them. I hadn't had a freak-out like this in ages. It was certainly magnified by the other chaotic events over the last week. They both explained how they do correction doses, and when I heard back from T, that is what Dr. B suggested we do.

I gave her an extra unit of Humalog at lunch, and another at dinner plus one of Lantus. The happy ending is that her bedtime number was 118. Good night!

Monday, January 01, 2007


We rang in the new year watching L scale a 41 foot rock climbing wall like spider woman. She is proud of the bruises on her knees and can't wait to do it again. I didn't panic once during her climb (compared to the rock climbing camp she took this summer when I sat outside waiting to breathe for four hours a day) and was truely excited when she made it to the top of the wall - not because she over came her condition, but because she has been working on this goal for 6 months!

There was a cranky woman (it was kids climb, first come first serve) who thought L was getting more instruction then her kids, so I had L test right next to her. It was more for the shock factor than anything and also to get L to come off the wall and give her kids a chance to climb. Okay - it was mainly for the shock factor. She left shortly after, so it must have worked!

We havn't been on much of a schedule this holiday, and L's numbers have been less than stable. Bounce-a-rama...We ranged from 62 to 278 today. Go figure. She told me she had a dream that her number was over 1,000 and she was forced to go on a pump. She said it was really scary and old and she didn't want to do it. I didn't realise how afraid she is of the pending end to her honeymoon.