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I'm not a Doctor - I just play one in Real Life!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm NOT a Doctor.

I'm NOT a Nurse.

I'm NOT even a Pancreas.

Not really.

I just play one in real life.

It hits me sometimes. How crazy this life is.

Maybe it was opening a cabinet and realizing that pretty much the ENTIRE thing needed to be devoted to D supplies. Because the 2 shelves that we're currently using is far too small with the addition of the Dexcom supplies.

And I'm not talking about the little medicine cabinet that you have hanging on your bathroom wall.

No - this is a MUCH bigger cabinet. Like it has double doors and is as tall as I am.

Maybe it was cleaning out the D bag and finding 34 old test strips.

Maybe it was cleaning out the garage and finding 5 old test strips.

Maybe it's the fact that we have juice boxes and smarties hidden all over the house and in the cars.

Maybe it's the fact that the container of ketone strips are a permanent fixture in our bathroom. (Don't worry- it's not one where we take showers. Strips should not be stored in places with humidity or moisture.)

Maybe it's the blood stains on Sweetpea's pillows and sheets from messy finger sticks in the night.

Maybe it's the fact that seeing my child's blood multiple times each and every day is no big deal.

Maybe it's the fact that inserting needles into my child every three days has also become no big deal.

Maybe it's the syringes that I still find in my car.

Maybe it's the rubber gloves I put on before putting the EMLA cream on her skin.

Maybe it's because I'm on a first name basis with our Pharmacist.

Maybe it's because the smell of alcohol wipes is, somehow, normal and oddly reassuring.

Maybe it's that I know my way around a few hospitals.

Maybe it's all the weird terminology that I use in everyday conversation: basal, bolus, prime, cannula, DKA, EMLA, ketones, insulin peaking, fall rate, lancets, insets, sites, blood glucose....

Maybe it's because I feel like I'm "on call" at night and that I'm awake tending to medical emergencies.

Maybe it's the fact that I inject a life saving but also very dangerous drug into my child. And it's no big deal anymore.

Maybe it's the filling of syringes and cartridges.

Have you even seen exactly how small a drop of insulin Sweetpea needs?

Check this out...

That's ONE unit.

Sweetpea's basal rate, the amount she gets an hour for most of the day, is .125. Did you catch that POINT in there. .125 units per hour. So divide that drop there on my finger by 8.

Without that drop, that drop that is tinier than a tear, she would die.

Maybe that's why. Maybe it's the life and death calls I make every day. Every hour. Sometimes every minute.

It's easy to pretend it's not like that. It's easy to push it away and forget. It all gets so routine.

But it's not routine. Not to have to inject your child with something so that she can stay alive.


I may not have a fancy medical school degree hanging on my wall.

I may not have the letters M.D. after my name.

But I AM a doctor.

I AM a nurse.

and I AM a pancreas.

Like it or not.

I'm Hallie. MoD.

(That's Mother of a Diabetic)


Dexie Saves the Day

Monday, June 28, 2010

How ironic....

As I was writing my last post about dear little Dexie, I was waiting to the two hours it takes to recalibrate and start a new sensor session after inserting a new one.

Once done blogging and working on our Save The Date (stay tuned - will post this soon) cards for our JDRF walk this fall, I headed upstairs to test and enter the 2 bg's that it needs.

It was 1:30 am.

The first test revealed a blood sugar of 76. Crap.

Second test confirmed it.

So.... off to the closet for a juice box.

(What? You mean everyone doesn't keep juice boxes in the upstairs linen closet?)

Sweetpea happily drank down half a juice box without really waking up. So glad we are finally to this point. Right after dx, she had to completely wake up in order to drink and she would cry the entire time.

I went to get ready for bed.

Less than five minutes later, I'm ready to get in bed and check out facebook before rechecking in about 10-15 minutes.

I no more sit down than I hear "BEEP. BEEP. BEEP" coming from the baby monitor.


"Hmmmm..... Interesting", I thought.

So I went back in to see what she was beeping about.

Dexie was glowing "LOW".

She showed a blood sugar of 54 with DOUBLE ARROWS DOWN.


I had just given her juice. "Surely that is not right." I thought. "Juice usually works pretty quickly to stop a low..."

But I tested a finger to see....

Yup. 56.

Double Crap.

I had Sweetpea drink the remainder of the juice box and then I went back to the Closet of Fun for smarties.

(Oh now - come on! Who doesn't have smarties strategically placed around the house?)

Sweetpea managed to eat the smarties in a state of half awake and return to sleep right away once she was finished.

By this time, it was after 2 am.

I decided I would spend the night camped out in Sweetpea's room. Just to be safe.

Because I couldn't stop thinking.... What if we didn't have Dexie? I would not have rechecked her bg for another 15 minutes or so. If she fell 25ish points in 5 minutes....where would she have been in 15 or 20? Maybe the juice would have at least stopped the fall. But what if....

After waiting 20 minutes and making sure her her bg was coming up, I moved about a hundered stuffed animals and snuggled down next to my sweet sleeping girl and our trusty companion Dexie.

Before Dexie, I would have been up all night - worried about what was going on and wondering if she was going to crash again.

But with Dexie on duty, I was able to get some sleep. I knew she was watching and monitoring and she would let me know if Sweetpea was crashing or if she got too low.

So I was able to catch a few Z's - even if it was surrounded by the other hundred stuffed animals and two small feet that ended up on my head by morning!

Thank God for Dexie! She really saved the day!

(Musical Accompaniment: You Save Me by Kenny Chesney)


She's a Keeper

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yes, we've decided to keep Sweetpea!

Ha! Just kidding! I'm not talking about my most favorite girl on Earth.

No.... I'm talking about Dexie!

(Our Dexie is a girl, in case you were wondering.)

The DAY BEFORE we left for vacation (how's that for good timing?!?), something special arrived at our door!

Here is Sweetpea opening the box.... (forgive the pictures - taken on my phone and a little blurry)


We were all incredibly THRILLED to get Dexie out of her box and charge up for use! Sweetpea was every bit as excited about Dexie as we were! She kept saying, "We get to keep her. We don't have give her back. She's OURS now!" Yes indeedy!

It was awesome to be able to take Dexie on vacation with us. I never know what swimming is going to do to her bg. Sometimes the activity keeps her at a great number. Sometimes being unhooked while in the water makes her high. Sometimes she's low later due to a delayed activity low. You just never know! But with Dexie at our side, we felt more comfortable.

Dexie (the receiver that you see in the pics) can not get wet. What we did was put her in a plastic bag while we were at the pool or the beach. Then whenever Sweetpea took a break and was close by, Dexie would pick up her bg.

We spent 10 days in Florida. At the pool. At the beach. HOT sun. Disney. Sweaty, sweaty, sweaty.

And Dexie held fast. Not ONE tiny problem with the adhesive coming off.

Sweetpea is showing you how she wears Dexie in this picture. For now, what we do is she wears another pouch facing backward. Dexie goes there. All she has to do is back up to me and I can pull Dexie out and check to see what she says. Sweetpea does not mind wearing two pouches at all. That was one of my big concerns. But it's been a non issue. Also, like when we were at Disney, I will carry Dexie in my purse if we are going to be close together all the time. That way she gets a break from wearing the receiver but I still get the information!

Here is Dexie showing off this evening. I'm not sure why this picture is sideways - it was not like that when it uploaded. Whatever. You get the idea.

I love seeing that arrow going sideways. That means she's steady. The 86 is her current bg. That big spike that you see is from dinner. Notice the time - 9pm. Had we not had Dexie and been able to see that she was steady, we might have treated her to get her closer to 100 for bedtime. But seeing that she was steady, we waited a little while to see what she was going do. It's been a wonderful tool to help us keep an eye on things. It helps us to not over or under treat.

We are doing a Dexie change tonight and as I got out the supplies, I realized how much I like them! They come all together in one nice little pack! Yea for simplicity! Yea for very few pieces! Love it!

I tried to take a pic of Sweetpea's bum tonight when I took off the old sensor to show what it looked like after wearing Dexie for a week. It didn't turn out and I didn't want to take a full bum shot - she IS a big girl now, you know.

Here's what I saw.... A very tiny red dot. NO BLOOD. Not a drop. Faint markings where the adhesive was. That's it. Dexie sites look better than pump sites when they come off. You could hardly even tell she had something there.

This is a picture of the sensor once it was taken off. That thing that's sticking up is what's in her rear end telling us her bg! It looks really long - which it is. But it's very, very thin. Thinner than the pump cannula, I think. And a little more flexible.

I took this off her rump just like a band aid - without her even flinching. And that's a big deal for us! Sweetpea likes to have all her "insertions" done at night while she's asleep so she does not have to worry about it hurting. This is the girl who cried and fought every single shot for 5 months. She fusses about taking off real band aids - and often chooses not even to wear one. She refuses to get a cut wet in the bathtub. Only recently has she gotten "cool" with having her nails clipped. Even the littlest things can cause a big dramatic scene. So - for her to not even flinch is a BIG DEAL!

We LOVE Dexie! We already rely on her a great deal. She helps us decide if and how much is needed to correct blood sugars - both high and low. She gives us a sense of security. It's like someone else is watching out for Sweetpea. And she's saved us from some nasty lows.

As you may know, Sweetpea does not usually recognize her lows. Today we went to the mall to enjoy the A/C and hang out with friends. We had just finished lunch and stop at the pet store and were heading to the play land when Sweetpea told me, "Mom - Dexie beeped". I figured she was high. It was only an hour tops after lunch.

Nope. Low.

Good Grief. I pulled out the tester in the middle of Gap and tested her bg. 64. Dexie said 72. And she was falling fast because we set Dexie to alarm once she's below 90.

I would not have checked her - for a LONG while. She did not feel it. Not at all.

Scary. But crisis averted. We caught that before she got too low.

Usually, Dexie will catch it before it even gets THAT low. We also have her set to alarm any time Sweetpea has double arrows down - meaning that she's falling pretty fast. Specifically, it means that she's falling faster than 3 mg/dL min. Yikes! That's info that I want to know!

So.... we are totally, completely, over the moon in LOVE with Dexie!

Even Sweetpea loves her!

I hesitated to try a cgm because I was afraid of putting another site on her already small body and I hated for her to have to wear another device. Both of those concerns, while valid, have become non issues. I'm so glad that we were able to try it and then to get our own!

A big THANK YOU to the folks at Dexcom for allowing us to trial a cgm and for helping speed along our paperwork so that we were not only able to get our own Dexie - we were able to get her in time for her to go on vacation with us!

To read more about the Dexcom Seven Plus CGM, you can read my previous post about it, A Very Welcome Houseguest, or check out the Dexcom website. The website is great and has an awesome tutorial that shows you step by step how to insert the system. I watched it and was good to go. Honestly. It's easy peasy lemon squeezy! You can also watch the Seven Plus being inserted into a very cute little superhero over at My Life With the Superhero and the Princess!

As always, I don't know if the Dexcom Seven Plus will work for you. All I know is what works for us. And it works for us! Personally, we are hooked.

Dexie is DEFINITELY a keeper!

(Musical Accompaniment: I Can't Help Falling in Love with You by Andrea Bocelli)


Disney and Diabetes

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Diabetes and Disney

We did it folks! Just last week.

We decided to go for a "trial run" while we were in Florida to see if we thought we were ready to do a longer trip next year.

We had no idea what Diabetes and Disney would be like together.

Would they go together like chocolate covered strawberries?

Or would it be more like chocolate flavored tuna fish?

(Now, before you go thinking that I thought up that little bit of nastiness on my own, I did not. I saw it on a sign. It was too hard to see the picture I took - but I swear to you that it said "Chocolate Flavored Tuna Fish - Stop in for a Free Sample". How nasty is that? I know Floridians love their seafood but that might be taking it a bit far....)

We drove over to the Land of the Mouse on Tuesday. We immediately went to Downtown Disney because our little princess was getting a makeover! She went to the Bibidi Bobidi Boutique and was made over into Cinderella!

Shortly after this pic was taken, Cinderella ditched her glass slippers in favor of crocs! I don't blame her!

She LOVED it! She was fascinated with the long hair!

That evening, we went to dinner at the Grand Floridian with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Trumaine , Anastasia and Drusilla! Sweetpea was so excited she could hardly eat!

Until she met Prince Charming! We had bought Sweetpea an autograph book to collect signatures in. While I had my head turned at the table, she took the pen and wrote in the front of the book where her name was supposed to go. Now Sweetpea knows how to write her name. In fact, she's even starting to write the first letter of words she wants to write (which makes this teacher Mommy very proud!). But, a lot of times she will just scribble. To her it says something. And that's fine. She's 4. But Prince C looked at her book and saw the scribbles. He said to her something along the lines of "Your name is Sweetpea? It looks like this says your name is scribble scribble scribble.".

Not Good, Princey. She was crushed. She asked me, "Mommy, do you think Cinderella is going to say I scribbled, too?"

I could have wrung that stupid Prince's scrawny little neck!

Half way through the meal/experience, Sweetpea got a little clingy and started to cry and say she wanted to go home. I'm not sure if it was because of the "so called" Prince or if it was because her bg was too high (probably due to excitement). It wasn't too much longer before she perked up, though. The dinner insulin was starting to work and she seemed to be feeling better.

The next day - Magic Kingdom!

I had no idea what to expect THAT would be like with a 4 year old with D. On a day when the heat index was 105.

We decided that we'd try to get a medical pass. If we got one, great. If not - fine.

I walked up to the window and explained to the kind man behind the counter my concerns. Sweetpea is very sensitive to heat. In just a few short minutes, her body is sweaty, her hair is starting to form wet ringlets and her little cheeks are bright red. Her bg goes up. She dehydrates quickly. Ketones. You know the drill - this is what I explained to the man behind the counter.

He immediately told us that he could give us a Disability Pass. It turned our stroller into a wheelchair. So we were able to go through the wheelchair lane to get to the rides. CONSIDERABLY less waiting. CONSIDERABLY less time spend in the hot sun.

Was I ashamed to use this pass? Did it bother me that it was called a "disability pass"? Did I think that it was not something that we really needed and should saved for others who truly needed assistance?

Hmmm... Maybe for like... 2 seconds.


I did not feel bad one little tiny bit.

As much as we pushed water that day, Sweetpea hardly used the bathroom at all. I was continually pushing her to drink and worrying about her dehydrating. She did not need to be standing in the heat and sun all day long. And I was grateful for the assistance we got. I don't care what it was called. I don't' care what anyone else thinks.

This is how I see it. Sweetpea has diabetes. It sucks. It makes life harder. We have be vigilant in her care. If I had let her roast out in the sun of the lines all day, KNOWING of her sensitivity to heat and dehydration, I would not have been a very good Mom. I'll take this perk. It's pretty much the ONLY perk of having D that I can think of. And we didn't abuse it. We got fast passes when possible. We stood in indoor lines. But it helped keep my girl safe and allowed her to have fun. So, THANK YOU DISNEY! Thanks for giving us the pass that helped her have fun - like every other kid. Without it, we might have had to bypass certain rides with long, outdoor lines. THANK YOU!

We had a blast at the Magic Kingdom. We were there when it opened. We saw Mickey ride in on the train! And we were there until after the Electrical Parade!

Sweetpea did great! Her favorite ride was Dumbo and she LOVED the parade!

The best part? D cooperated the ENTIRE DAY! Great numbers! I did a happy dance!

The next day, we went to breakfast at the Beach Club with Minnie, Donald, and Goofy. Then we headed home (well, back to the condo, anyway).

We had a blast! It was a LOT of fun! We might wait one more year to go back for a longer stay and go to other parks. But it was a Magical experience that we will never forget!

DEFINITELY a chocolate covered strawberry experience!

You can check out some of our Disney pics in the slide show!




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