Woman, Independent Parent, Artist, Advocate, Artifical Pancreas.... and EVERYTHING in between.

I am blessed to be parenting two beautiful girls, ages eight and eleven. My youngest nearly lost her life at age six (August 2010) to diabetic ketoacidosis: an often fatal consequences of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. This is OUR journey: raw and sometimes, uncensored.

Thank you for visiting wishing good health and a cooperative pancreas to you and yours.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

School Mornings

I've never been a morning person. But with two elementary school aged daughters, you've got to do what you've got to do. That being said, I find that diabetic care just adds another hurdle to try and leap over, and still get them there on time before the school bell rings. Some days I'm able to leap over it, other days, like today, I take many running starts at the hurdle, and manage to, very ungracefully, land flat on my face with a mouthful of dust and dirt.

Rowan woke up low this morning, which means before I can even *think* about getting breakfast and insulin into her, I have to feed her a "rescue food" to bring her glucose levels high enough to be able to give her the insulin. If she is already low, and is given insulin, it will have disasterous consequences, which fortunately, we have not yet experienced, and I'm not eager to experience it (it usually would require hospitalization).

So before she even got dressed, went to the washroom or brushed her teeth, she sat at the kitchen table and ate a vanilla pudding cup. Not a low-sugar pudding cup like she'd normally have to. A *real* pudding cup. I wonder if it's ever confusing to her why sometimes she gets to enjoy the type of treats she once frequently indulged, and why other times it's off limits. Don't get me wrong, she could indulge more often, but that would require more insulin, and since we're administering the insulin with an old-school syringe, we'd rather not have to. It truly is a mutual decision. She doesn't want to get stuck more than she has to, and I don't want to have to wrestle her to the ground to try and stick her.

After her pudding cup, I sent her to get dressed while I assembled her breakfast. She balked at having rice krispies this morning, so instead she had a nutella sandwich, the two pieces of bread counting as her 30g of grains/carbohydrates. A wedge of watermelon, her 15g of fruit, a yogurt and half a glass of milk counting as her 15g of milk or alternatives. I have difficulty getting her to drink milk, so we go through alot of yogurts (ca-ching!).

Before she can begin her breakfast, the insulin needs to be administered. When this whole "D" thing began, she used to be able to watch television when I injected her. However, I have found that the television didn't really act as much of a distraction, she still fights me off like a wildcat, and then I have to deal with even more drama when the television is turned off. We don't have the luxury of time on school mornings. As it is, we wake an hour before we have to get to school, and we are late often. I don't give myself permission to be late because of her condition, but I also don't have much remorse for her being late. Sometimes I see the looks of staff or parents, and I think "Sure, did YOU have to wrestle your little kid to the ground to give them an injection? Try doing it for a month, and we'll see how often you're late." Maybe it's for the best that I stay in the car as the girls walk into the school. I'm strung a little tight these days, and I don't like tearing strips off of innocent bystanders.

Anyhow, this morning's struggle to administer the insulin was trying, as usual. She and I have agreed that on school mornings, we will always inject into the back of her arms, as opposed to the upper sides of her thighs, or upper buttocks. Another option is the stomach, but she steadfastly refuses, and that's fine by me, there's something particularly heartbreaking about administering a syringe into the stomach of a child that you carried for nine months. It seems unnatural. Not that the other options are any more pleasant.

This morning she charged around the apartment, fully dressed, hiding out wherever she could to avoid my reach. Somedays I think this is her rebellion to the entire situation, other days it feels more like a game that I don't want to have to play. Don't have time to play.

Have you ever seen how slowly a six year old can eat? Aye-carumba!!! In the time that Rowan is still working on her breakfast, Trinity is finished, has gotten dressed, and is helping me by unloading the dishwasher and putting everything away. I write two notes to each teacher apologizing for their late arrival, and yet Rowan is *still* plodding through her breakfast.

I am making Rowan's lunch, numbering each item for her so she knows what the priority is. Recently, she's committed to memory what the priority order is: sandwich, yogurt, fruit, then anything else remaining. But the lunchtime staff still aren't aware of the order, so the numbers continue to be written meticulously on each item. She is having a mini-bagel with cream cheese (item #1), a yogurt cup (item #2), fifteen red grapes (item #3) and a cheese-string (a free food, meaning it doesn't count towards anything.) and a water-bottle with peach-raspberry Crystal Light. Some days I laugh, that I, the mother who was so resistant to my children consuming aspartame, or any artificial sweetener, is now the mother who leans on such sweetening substances, regardless of their chemical composition.

Finally, off to school they went, only twenty-five minutes late. Yes, I hang my head in shame as I type that. But this is my new reality, and for those who are biting their tongue with their criticisms, I welcome you to come, stay with us for a week, and tell me how badly this would affect your punctuality. Some days it really doesn't, other days, like I said- I take a running leap at the first hurdle of the day, and plop, land flatly on my face.

Fortunately, I have the rest of the day to pick myself up, dust myself off, and prepare for the afternoon battle. It's going to be an unusual one today. This is our first swimming lesson class after our diagnosis. Of course, the lesson is right-smack dab at dinner time. So I'm going to have to switch her bedtime snack with dinner, and phone Children's Hospital to find out now that I've done this nifty switcharoo- when do I give the insulin?

Fingers crossed. I've tasted enough dirt for the day.

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