Friday, July 24, 2009

The Winding Down of Summer

Doesn't that sound ridiculous? It's July. Here in Arizona, the season known as summer will continue until at least mid-September. Then we may see the end of 100+ degree days, and by mid-October, it may be necessary to wear long sleeves in the morning on the way to work (but run the a/c in the car on the way home).

So why is summer winding down?

Because schools starts in TWO WEEKS. Yes, indeed, the kiddos of Arizona will be returning to pencils and books and homework in mere moments. We teachers will be back even sooner.....and there ARE districts where teachers have ALREADY returned to work!

But it's SUMMER, you say! How can you go back to school when it's not even close to Labor Day? How can you send kids to the playground when it's 110 outside in the shade? Well, let's put it this way. The folks who make the calendars aren't the ones who are on playground duty, you know what I mean? Although, to be fair, if we started in September, we'd go well into June. You know, June....when the average temperature in Phoenix is 105, and our high was once 122?

It's hard to have a "summer vacation" when summer last 6 months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's New?

I'm feeling the need to post something, even though there's nothing interesting to's hot. Evil wicked nasty hot - but that's Arizona in July. Nothing new there.

We went to the water park last night, and Mr. Boy smacked his head in the wave pool. Nothing new there, either - if there is a way to injure himself, he will find it. (And he's fine - some ice on the head and a quiet evening fixed him up fine.)

Tomorrow is the 3-month endo appointment....time for another report card on "how good are you at being a pancreas?". Dr. D never says anything to that effect; she actually is very complimentary at how hard we work to take care of Miss M and the D Monster, but it always feels like a failure if her A1C goes up and a screaming success if it goes down. Feeling like a failure at managing a chronic illness in a hormonal pre-teen - nope, still nothing new. We do have good days, and we have bad ones, and the goal is for the good to outweigh the bad. Doesn't always turn out like that, though...

Replacement of the air conditioners at my school continues, so there is no WAY that I can go work in my classroom until it's finished...maybe next week? Summer is rapidly coming to a close for us, at least in terms of vacation....climate-wise, it will be summer for another 8 weeks at least. Not blast-furnace hot, but hot enough that going out to recess isn't a heck of a lot of fun for the kids (or the teachers). Putting off returning to my room? Nope, been doing that for more years than I can count.

Tonight is the midnight opening of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. Why again did I agree to take three 12-year-old girls to this when we have to be at the clinic at 9 AM tomorrow? Oh, yeah, because I'm CRAZY. (that's definitely not anything new) Two weeks from now, when it comes out in IMAX 3D, we're going to have to go see it again, I'm afraid - but the idea of Quidditch on a 3-story tall screen really makes my stomach feel queasy. Mom = motion sick = old news.

So what's new with you? :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Love/Hate relationship

Diabetes technology is a wonderful thing. Had my daughter been diagnosed 40 years ago instead of 4, we wouldn't have home blood glucometers that give a readout in 5 seconds using the tiniest drop of blood. We wouldn't have a blood ketone meter that tells in a half a minute whether or not she is in danger of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be fatal. We wouldn't have a pump, a CGM, rapid-acting insulin, carb counts on all the food she eats, or the wide variety of sugar-free products that are available to us today. Not sure, but we might not have even had disposable needles - the idea of sharpening a needle after boiling the syringes on the stove pretty much turns my stomach. (If she was born 40 years ago, she wouldn't be my daughter, either, but that's beside the point.)

The downside to all this is that all this technology takes time and effort and brainpower that I often don't have to spare in order to keep it working. I LOOOOOOVVVVEEEE having the continuous glucose monitor that reads her blood glucose levels every 5 minutes. OK, for the purists out there, it reads interstitial fluids rather than blood, but it still tells me where she is and if she's trending up, down, or relatively stable. FABULOUS information that is available with the push of a couple of buttons rather than a finger poke every 5 minutes.

Downside 1 - batteries. Tonight, I used up the last 3 button batteries I had trying to get a new CGM sensor and transmitter to talk to each other - a new battery comes in each box, but that doesn't mean that it's a new battery that is fully charged! After 30 minutes of sweating and swapping and praying that the last one would work, I heard the lovely little "BEEEEEEP" and saw the "New Sensor Detected" message I had been trying to find. Now, the 10 hour wait for calibration begins...which is a whole 'nother downside for a different day.

Downside 2 - carrying all this stuff around. The pump is tethered to her body by the tubing of the infusion set. This doesn't mean that it stays put, though - I just watched her stand up and screech because the pump fell towards the floor, yanking on said infusion set....OUCH. No pockets means nowhere to put the pump, the CGM receiver (which is not tiny, either), the lancing device and the test strips, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Downside 3 - she hates all this stuff. HATES it. She doesn't want to go back to shots, because I've given her the option, but having multiple pieces of equipment to carry around with her is terribly annoying. She LIKES not having to poke her finger 10 times a day or more, but the need to drag everything with her really ticks her off sometimes. Understandably, of course. Who wants to be tied to a couple of remote controls constantly?

Shortly after M was diagnosed, we went to a research presentation and heard a local doctor speak about putting kids on pumps. His idea was to incorporate the insulin pump into a cell phone/MP3 player. He said that would guarantee that EVERY teen would want one, and I think he is correct! If only there was an iPod/Phone/Pump wouldn't take care of the battery issue, but integrating EVERYTHING into one easy to carry unit would sure be a step in the right direction!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Numbers Game

Growing up, I was never one of those kids who was a math whiz. Sure, I got by in math class, but numbers were not my friends - I found my comfort in words, in books, in language. I could make sense of the most complex sentences, but throw the Pythagorean theorem at me, and I was lost.

High school algebra was the first time I ever got a failure notice in school...Pulled out a B, I think, but I choked my way through whatever math classes were required, and I certainly didn't sign up for any that were not necessary to get me through. When I went to college, I avoided certain career paths that were going to put me in multiple higher-level math classes, because math is NOT MY LANGUAGE. Maybe I'm just not an ordered, logical thinker (Me? Really?) but when it comes to numbers, they may as well be some exotic foreign language. Or, they might be English, but as spoken by the Swedish Chef.

So, isn't it ironic that my life nowadays REVOLVES around numbers?

Blood glucose readings

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Insulin on board stats(IOB)

Carb Counts

Don't forget the quarterly Hemoglobin A1c tests, doctor's copays, serial numbers for the meters, the pump, the CGM transmitter, the CGM receiver, the phone numbers, insurance id numbers, the fees for doctors, specialists, prescriptions....the numbers never end.

Diabetes is an insidious, cruel, time-consuming and heart-wrenching disease....and it's ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS.

Bork, bork, bork!!

 it any wonder I find numbers confusing? This is what the temperature readout said in my car yesterday, less than 2 minutes apart...

By the way, the 100-degree reading was a LOT closer to reality
than the 80...sigh...