What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!

What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine too!

This sums up my son’s attitude to the snack boxes in my pantry and it can be a source of friction amongst my three boys. My middle son, who has Type 1 diabetes, has his own shelf in the pantry. It’s well stocked with juice poppers and snacks which he uses as a hypo treatment. It’s also a general snack box which he uses for school lunch boxes, and quick carbs to have in the middle of rugby games.

Everything is in packets worth about 15g carb each. I tend to buy the same snacks for the other two boys so their snackbox looks pretty much the same (minus the juice). If I buy something a bit different, usually as a bit of a treat, they disappear at lightning speed yet no one ever admits to having eaten them.

The box of my son with Type 1 is sacred, never to be plundered by his brothers. Touch it at your peril!

Their box however,  is regularly raided by my son with Type 1. They are constantly confused by how quickly the snacks in their box disappear. Interrogations are held and accusations are bandied around. 

The fridge is full of home made goodies which lack the cool, street appeal of these snacks and, to be fair, I don’t know how they would survive being bounced about in lunch boxes. The line has been drawn. Home made means they are to be eaten at home. I’m okay with that. It’s all about balance.

I used to hide secret stashes of extra snacks on the top shelf but now that my eldest is taller than me, he has found all my hiding places. I’m thinking of storing extra snacks in the bottom of the laundry basket as that’s one place never seen by any of the boys!

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Scandal: If Olivia Pope had Type 1 Diabetes……..

 

 I’m currently obsessed with the American TV Series Scandal. Shonda Rhimes is a fantastic screen writer, director and producer. Her other shows like Private Practice and Greys Anantomy always had strong characters. A friend gave me the first three series of Scandal and it is so addictive. When sport is on the TV in the House of Testosterone, I actually don’t mind.

The central character in Scandal is Olivia Pope. She is a crisis manager and a fixer! She makes things happen. She is empowered and in control most of the time but has some weaknesses which make her all the more interesting. Her secondary love interest Jake Ballard is another reason for me to watch the show.

There are some amazing lines in Scandal. Olivia Pope is forthright and puts people in their place.  I couldn’t help but wonder how she would handle Type 1 Diabetes.

I found some quotes from the show. I imagine that these are the things that Olivia would say to her Type 1 diabetes. 

Olivia Pope talking to her Type 1 diabetes

Olivia Pope: It’s handled!

Olivia Pope:  I know this is a terrible time for you, and I understand how you feel about me. But if we’re going to work together, if I’m going to help you here, you follow my rules. It’s up to you—you know what’s at stake, you’ve seen what I can do.

Olivia Pope: I don’t know what you expect. I don’t want to be in this. This is—I am not this person. 

Olivia Pope: I wait for you. I watch for you. My whole life is you, I can’t breathe because I’m waiting for you, you OWN me, you control me, I belong to you.

Olivia Pope: You know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned that accusing you of things means nothing. It leads to power games and moves and……..   so instead of speaking my mind, instead of being the brave, outspoken girl my mother taught me to be, I’m chewing my food, fulfilling my contract. And when we’re done, I’ll go home and immediately try to forget this ever happened. Until next Sunday. When we do it all again.

Olivia Pope: Dive in. Own it. Mock your image. You start off strong. ……. Laugh at yourself. It’ll make it impossible for them to laugh at you. 

Olivia Pope: Everything is unrecognizable. You are unrecognizable to yourself. You find yourself doing things you never thought you would do in ways you never thought you would do them to save things you never thought you would want to save. That’s how you know you’re done. You are not done.

I’ve saved my favourite until last. When Olivia Pope has a bad hypo:  Be careful. I’m in shock. Put anything that close to my mouth I might bite it off.

I sip my cup of tea

  

I think that since my son’s diagnosis, I am a much stronger person. I’m a teacher. My job requires lots of energy and I deal with people all day, every day. I can fix things there.  Nothing phases me now. Solutions are found. I’m quicker at getting things done and better at connecting with people and understanding how to help them. Nothing at work is as hard as being the mum of a child with Type 1 diabetes.

I do not allow this to define me. I am so much more than this and yet…. when I sit with my colleagues for a cup of tea, I realise how different I am now.

I sip my cup of tea. I wonder how my son’s BGL is. I’m hoping that my boy will let me know if he goes above 15mmol on the way to school like he did the other day.  My friend talks about her toddler’s worrying cough.

I sip my cup of tea. I’m hoping the sport he has later in the morning doesn’t give him a hypo and that if it does, he’ll be brave enough to check his levels. Predictions can never be made as each day is so different from the last.  My friends discuss how untidy their children are.

I sip my cup of tea. I want to be like them.

I wash my cup and put it back in the cupboard ready for next time. I am a stronger person and the coughs and untidy rooms are part of the jigsaw of my world too but they are really small pieces in the puzzle of my life.

To my child

This poem could have been written for anyone with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s been inspirational for me to read the blogs of adults with Type 1 Diabetes. Their journey may have been longer. Fitting in managing Type 1 around a jobs, family and fun takes great skill. They truly are amazing!

I wrote this poem recently after I took my son who has Type 1 diabetes away with me to visit my family. I love getting one to one time with my boys. I’ve now done these trips with my eldest two and the memories we have from our travels together are so special. Now I need to start saving to take my third boy away! 

Sleep time 

I’m sure all parents of kids with Type 1 diabetes have weird sleep patterns. When did you last have a night of pure, deep, dreamless sleep? Do you remember nights before diabetes entered your life? My memories are fading fast.

Like most parents of kids with Type 1 diabetes, we were doing regular middle of the night blood glocose checks, at least twice a night, for the first few weeks after diagnosis. Thankfully for us this period coincided with the Christmas holidays and we stumbled though the celebrations, glassy eyed and sleep deprived like the parents of a new born: except we were middle aged and totally knackered.

We then cut back to 3am checks and now we check at 3am once a week unless BGLs are below 6 at bedtime or we have changed insulin doses.

This should, in theory, simplify life but my sleep patterns are pretty crappy now. My head hits the pillow and just as I’m about to enter the deeper part of my sleep, something totally crazy happens. I’m asleep but my body jerks awake, I often sit bolt upright and I start an internal interrogation. ‘Have I done everything?’, ‘Is there something wrong?’, ‘Is it me?’ and then I come fully awake and go through a quick checklist. ‘Was Levemir done?’, ‘Was the level under 6?’, ‘Have I set my alarm if I needed to?’ Once I’ve gone through this list, I’m supposed to be at one with the world and drift off…… NO BLOODY CHANCE!

It’s the same with the 3am checks! I’m not good at it! My son would happily tell you! My husband is much better at doing the tests than me. I’m lucky as he does more than his share of night time tests. I don’t know how to get it right. I’ve tried so many different ways. Which light source should I use to find his finger and do the blood test? I bought a head torch, congratulating myself on this idea. The look on my poor son’s face as I sat on the edge of his bed reminded me of my favourite BBC drama show, when they bring in the prime suspect for interrogation. That great idea was quickly abandonned.

I then moved on to using the torch on my phone. But how do you hold it whilst getting a hand out from under the pillow and using the finger pricker? I can tell you that holding it in your mouth is not the solution. You end up with your head tilted back at a 45 degree angle which then makes it impossible to see what you are doing? Try sticking your bottom jaw out further than the top one whilst keeping the phone clamped between your teeth. This works for about 15 seconds before a strong cramp will set in causing you to yelp in pain, thus dropping the phone on the floor and waking your sleeping child.

‘Sleeping child’ conjures up a beautiful image of a little cherub, neatly tucked into bed, curled up in a little ball, smelling of shampoo and that lovely baby smell! My sleeping child is a sprawling teenager, tangled in sheets and blankets, ready to do battle with anyone who dares awake his wrath!

I’ve now got a bendable study light on the bedside table. I put it on, angling it away from the bed but leaving just enough light to see what I’m doing. This works well enough if I’m able to jab the side of the finger and not accidently poke it into the soft middle part which fails to produce the juicy little red bead and means we have to start over.

All done? Sure, now back to bed. Sleep? You are joking! I’m fully awake and ready to go. 

Then there are the nights when you wake up at 3am and you don’t need to test. I read about someone who would wake instinctively when their child was having a hypo in the middle of the night. I lie awake worrying that maybe I should get up, that I too share this deep maternal instinct that knows when something is wrong. I lie there and do nothing. I don’t get up. I don’t want the burden of a ‘gift’ like that and I hope I’m wrong.

I wake up in the morning. I stand at his bedroom door and watch, waiting to see the rise and fall of his chest.