My hero


At 3am today, I waved off my husband and my 15 year old boy. He’s had a tough term with a broken arm, and a subsequent operation to fix it up but off he goes. He’s gone to Fiji on a rugby trip with the local team. My husband is his coach and there’s a doctor travelling with the team. 

He has been prodded and poked in the last few weeks and has undoubtedly been in a lot of pain a few times but he has never once whinged or complained. He has avoided the clown doctors in the children’s ward, answered numerous questions about his diabetes, surfed the waves of bumpy BGLs and has accepted the 3am blood tests without complaint.

He told me yesterday that he was very nervous. When I asked why, thinking it might be about managing his type 1 diabetes, he confessed he was worried about getting hurt by the opposition. He’s 185cm tall and skinny as a rake: not the ideal build for rugby union!

I was secretly really chuffed that he wasn’t stressing about his diabetes. We try never to make it a stress. Yes, it’s a pain in the proverbial but it never stops him doing anything, except maybe the English homework that he hates so much. I reserve the right to be dubious about that one!

He has double the amounts of everything he needs, divided into two beautifully packaged bags. Every eventuality has been imagined by me and gone through with my poor husband. This lovely man was gracious enough not to roll his eyes in front of me.

Whilst my son runs the show, in the last month, my husband took over the day to day management. I wanted him to be the second in command, after my son. This was a role I took on automatically when my son was diagnosed with diabetes. No one made me. I remember the Diabetes Educator telling me that there is normally one parent who has the dominant role in the management or their child’s diabetes. Checking levels were in range and contacting the Diabetes Educator to work out adjustments in insulin ratios became my husband’s job as I hovered in the back ground watching as he and my son discussed BGLs and carb counted meals. 

It has been liberating for me and I think my husband feels empowered. I’ve still helped out and I still know exactly what’s going on but I’ve not been the ‘go to gal’! Guess what? The world didn’t fall apart. My son probably didn’t notice the difference and now he’s gone off to Fiji.

He will pull on his boots, put on his helmet, chew on his mouth guard and have the time of his life. 

Advertisements

You can do anything (but please, one thing at a time)!

Today it’s Tuesday of Diabetes Blog Week. We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

‘You can do anything!‘ is the implicit message we give our son. When he says he wants to do something, for me, the trick is not to say much. He watches my reaction very carefully. I nod and say, ‘sure!’. The detail comes later but in the first instance my son needs to know that his diabetes is not an impediment to any activity. I hide my churning stomach and pack the worries away in a padded cell in my head which I will visit later.

How does my son deal with his diabetes? He lives life to the full. He doesn’t want to talk about it. He lives with it and that’s just fine. He is my Boy with the egg. At 15 years old, 185cm tall, and skinny as a rake, I watch him lope off to school, all elbow and knees, and imagine that little egg in his pocket. I cannot express how proud I am of him!

One thing at a time’, would be our unofficial motto!

My husband used to laugh at my love of planning. Now, not so much! I stopped trying to anticipate everything when I learned what a fickle beast diabetes is.

When my son was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, two and a half years ago, I’d worry about his long term future. How would he ever leave home? Who would do his night time blood checks? What do adults do? Do adults have these crazy fluctuations that my son has every couple of months? I’ve learned, after nearly driving myself crazy in the first few months, to slow down and try to focus on the next thing.

At the moment, that’s dealing with a fractured right arm that’s in plaster up to his underarm. Once we’ve navigated that, we’ll deal with the upcoming overseas rugby trip!

There is nothing that my son hasn’t done right from his diagnosis- school camps, overnight sporting trips with school, sleepovers, lots of camping on unpowered sites, an overseas trip, playing various sports both at school and through local clubs, working part-time in a fast food restaurant. These are the stuff of life and the things that worried me relentlessly in the early days. 

We are lucky to have an amazing guardian angel, our Diabetes Educator, who told us right from the beginning to make diabetes fit into our lives and not the other way round. If you’d told me when my boy was first diagnosed that all these things could be done, often with a heap of meticulous planning, but without any major disasters, I’d never have believed it! We get there, one thing at a time!

Disco Inferno (Otherwise known as a night out for parents of a child with T1 diabetes)

    

   

  
 
I wrote this after we had a great Christmas night out with all the people from my work. We still had a good time but I didn’t totally relax once that phone buzzed. My boy was only looking for some reassurance and I realised this the next day. 

I refound my mojo that night, even just for a brief while, and that was fun! It was all I needed to remind me that I love that man of mine too! He’s the Kel to my Kath! Best Christmas present ever!

Change

The hardest part of helping my son deal with his Type 1 diabetes is the constant change. I’ve been in touch with the educator in the last week as his BGL at bedtime has been getting steadily higher which means he’ll need more quick acting insulin at dinner. 

We will slowly increase this over the weekend to avoid big crashes in his levels. I dread telling him this. For the first time in a few weeks I feel that familiar sadness for him. I wonder how I will prepare him for this change and how he will react.

He’s a boy who thrives on routine. He likes to know how things are and that they will be the same each day. The nature of this beast is that it is constantly changing. Luckily for me my boy has a good maths brain. He quickly memorises the complex little algorithms we use to calculate the insulin dosage for each time he eats. Now he will have tiny little differences to learn:  a unit more here and there.

He gets the hang of a new set of numbers and BAM! something changes and it’s a new day with new numbers.

It’s the start of the holidays. Two weeks of freedom lie ahead of us and this disease will rob my son of that wonderful anticipation. That sucks! I am his parent. I fix things. I can’t make this better.

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.

Freedom!

A girls’ weekend away! Leaving straight from work on Friday and returning Sunday afternoon. How lucky is that? 

Only possible for me because my husband was generous and wonderful enough to take the slack for a full weekend. I cannot thank him enough. He encouraged me to go. These chances are to be grasped and enjoyed to the full. No guilt, just pure gratitude!

A whole weekend with a lovely bunch of women. From country to city, a crazy convoy of fourteen women. A hotel in the centre, no children, no partners and a new world outside our windows. We ate, drank an elegant sufficiency (we have reached an age where we know our limits) and shopped. 

Friday night, we ate new Australian cuisine in a restaurant with an industrial look. We have watched enough cooking and home improvement shows to know these things. Oohs and aahs were heard as we sampled the likes of pickled garlic, and edamame beans with miso sauce to name but two. We drank fancy wine and gave only a passing thought to the meat pies and rugby games we were missing. We feigned nonchalance as we paid what would normally cover the meal for our entire families but convinced ourselves that we were worth it.

Saturday morning, we breakfasted in a modern French inspired eatery with barely a mention of the football and netball games taking place without us. From there, we divided into groups:  some shopped whilst others headed for manicures, facials and pedicures. My chosen escape was in retail therapy. What bargains were discovered! 

Saving more than we spent was the aim as we supported the Australian economy to the best of our ability. The shopping gods bestowed their blessings on us. Sore feet and aching calves were ignored as we accumulated bags and marvelled at the wonders before us.

Saturday afternoon saw cocktails and tapas before we headed for a show. We giggled and laughed, living in the moment and taking pleasure in each other’s fun! 

Hotel room kettles were boiled for cups of tea and giggles were heard from all the rooms as we relived the highlights of the day, before falling into a delicious sleep.

Sunday dawned and we took pictures of carefully crafted delicacies as we had breakfast in a patisserie. Our ‘roadies’ were little cakes, individual art works,  to be eaten in the cars in the way home: a last moment of decadence before we rejoined our real lives, flicking the crumbs off, as we opened front doors.

I got home to the House of Testosterone and guess what? They survived without me! The house was tidy, washings had been done, noone had starved! My middle son has Type 1 diabetes and I often think of his diabetes as my fourth child. This fourth son had behaved, no tantrums or weird behaviour. His levels were good and noone had to get up during the night to check on him! My fourth child was an angel this weekend!