I am an insulin pen

I am no ordinary pen.
My story is written in the veins of those whom I save every day.
There is no ink in me.
I push insulin through my nib into the flesh of those who need me.
Hands grasp me, dial up the dose required and plunge me into their flesh,
Multiple times of every day of every week of every year.
My needle pierces the skin, bringing a sting of pain.
Some consider me inferior, as technology could easily replace me
Yet
I am loved by many for my lack of intrusiveness and for the comfort of knowing that I will never let them down.
I have hidden strength in my little vial and never forget this.
Treat me with disdain and I can take you down.
Love me, handle me with care and attention.
Because of me, people lead lives both ordinary and amazing.
This is the gift I give.
The rest is up to you.



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What I’d love to write to my son’s school

Hey

Yes it’s me again. The one whose eye you very carefully avoided when you saw me at school the other day. For your information, I didn’t even want to talk to you. I was there with another of my children. It was their moment. I respect that and so should you.

I know you saw me. I’m aware that you consider me to be a pain in the arse and quite frankly, I don’t give a flying duck!

Since my child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago, I’ve become an advocate for his rights. I have to because you don’t really look after his needs and I know for a fact that there are several other students at his school with Type 1 diabetes. I wonder if you treat them with the same disdain? 

I have never once been rude when I’ve approached you. I am direct as I’ve given up on the subtlety I previously favoured (see here)

Is it really that much to ask that the diabetes educator be allowed to come and talk to all the staff once a year? Can’t you schedule it in to one of the staff meetings? I find it incredibly rude that every single year I have to make multiple requests, with increasing forcefulness, before it is finally done. 

Last year, I ran out of energy and guess what? No visit from the educator! 

I have three children at your school and because of your lack of ability to deal with training, I have to be the one to send my child’s emergency care plan to teachers when there is an excursion. This doesn’t bother me but, as a consequence, I feel judged and I often don’t contact the school when there are issues with my other children, as I don’t want to be seen as ‘one of those parents’. That bothers me at times! 

I would not send them to this school if I didn’t believe it offered a good education and that most of the teachers really do care about the students, so come on! Step up and shoulder your responsibility in this!

In one of our conversations, you told me my child needed to speak up when he was in trouble with his diabetes. This phrase haunts me in rare dark moments and tells me you do not understand what happens to someone who, for whatever reason, and often through no fault of their own, has blood sugar levels which are very low or very high. I wonder what needs to happen before you realise? That is the question that rolls around my brain when I send off my child to your care.

It has, however, felt really wonderful to get this off my chest!

Yours,

Resting bitch face

Diabetes weather forecast for our region

Ok ladies and gentlemen!
On tonight’s show we are looking ahead at the diabetes weather forecast for the week.

It’s difficult to predict what lies ahead in the next few days.
Given the lull lately,
We predict a strong possibility of some highs 
Which will inevitably be followed by some unexplained lows through the night.
Be prepared for some sleepless nights as you batten down the hatches.

Those sporting fanatics amongst you will  no doubt be keen for predictions around your weekend games.
It’s finals weekend, adrenalin is pumping!
Make sure you avoid the post game lows by reducing those night time units.
Remember what happened the last time? 

Looking ahead to the weekend,
Not much activity is predicted 
The resulting change from the weekday routine may cause chaos in some households.
Don’t let that be yours!
Remember to count those carbs carefully and avoid random guesses 
You know you hate those three am wake up calls!

There we have it folks!
As you can see, forecasts are a fool’s game!
Nothing can be predicted with any certainty
So keep smiling and be prepared for any eventuality!

That boy and the egg is growing up.

The boy and the egg
Is growing up
He now carries his precious egg to a part time job.
He didn’t tell of his egg’s existence on his application as he doesn’t feel it is a disability.
Time has moved on.
He hasn’t felt brave enough to show anyone his egg.
I worry that he finds it a burden and is embarrassed by its presence.
I fear he may not find compassion and understanding when he is brave enough to show it to others.
What if he is rejected?
Not telling them about the egg is equally terrifying.
It’s real and it exists and if it cracks one day,
People need to know.
Yet and still,
It hasn’t cracked.
It isn’t broken.
He continues to live the length and breadth of his life.
And me?
I need him to be safe but
I want him to be his own man,
To find his own way.

This is how we do it….

We put one foot in front of the other.
We pray to the universe and the God we no longer believe in
To keep our child safe
Until he returns home
When we will happily carry his load.
We do all that we can
Each and every day
To keep our child safe from invisible harm.

We take solace in the normal moments:
The issues with homework not being done well,
The squabbling amongst teenage siblings,
The overuse of mobile phones,
The constant need to stay in touch with 765 ‘friends’ on Facebook ,
The obsession with animal videos on YouTube.

We rejoice in the victories:
A run of days with normal blood glucose levels,
Playing sport at 100% effort and staying in range,
The days out with friends jumping in rivers and riding bikes,
The meals out in restaurants, ordering the biggest chicken shnitzel,
The laughs around the dinner table, hanging out together.

This is how we do it.

What not to do! The Opposite of Tricks and Tips- Diabetes Blog Week

Tips and Tricks – Friday 5/20 Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks.  

When I saw what we were to blog about today my heart sank! I make mistakes all the time so from my now quite considerable experience, I can certainly pass on some advice to mothers of children with diabetes: what not to do!

Night time blood testing: 

These have all been tried and tested on my poor child. Do not:

  1. Try to use your phone as a torch by holding it between your teeth whilst simultaneously doing a finger prick. The angle at which you have to hold your head in order to shine the torch on the sleeping child’s hand means that your head is so far back that the hand is no longer in your field of vision.
  2. Use a camping torch on your head. Yes, it certainly does free up your hands but the look of terror on your child’s face when they wake due to the intense light in their eyes, is one you will not forget in a hurry.
  3. Choose the wrong child when entering a dark tent in the middle of the night to do a blood glucose check. Nuff said there!
  4. Take offence if your sleepy child chooses their middle finger for their blood test and even if they stick it up in a way that in other circumstances would get them in trouble , let it go! They have to get their revenge sometimes!
  5. Forget to wear your glasses. Leave them next to your bed so that you put them on as soon as your alarm goes off. If you need to make corrections to high levels, 5% can look very like 10% when you are flying blind.

Accessories. You will not need :

  1. A small handbag! Even if it’s cute, in a sale and made from Italian leather , you will not be able to use it and it will mock you from the depths of your wardrobe.
  2. Jelly beans in your bag when you are premenstrual! You know they are for your child’s possible hypos but your desire to eat them will be so strong that you will not be able to resist. You will feel guilty for the rest of the day. Stick an extra popper in your bag instead!
  3. Cheap make up! Invest in some good quality makeup. You know you deserve it! It covers up the bags under your eyes from the night time checks and stops people asking if you’re feeling sick! I’ve had to tell my mother in law to stop asking me if I feel sick when she pops into the house on a Sunday morning. This is what I look like without makeup , do not try to rub away invisible stains under my eyes (true story, I swear!). This is what your son wakes up to every morning so deal with it woman! ( I do love her, just not when she licks her finger and attacks my face to remove stains that are just under eye shadows from lack of sleep!)

Cooking and food. You must never:

  1. Forget the maths you learnt at school. You forgotten it already? You poor sod! Relearn it pronto!
  2. Lose your calm whilst making calculations under extreme pressure- it reminds me of my brother’s paramedic training where he was forced to drive at high speed whilst answering complex medical questions. The more likely scenario for us will be a starving child and buffet type meal. You may develop a muscle twitch in your eye when computing the carbs. Be careful who you look at at this point as you may receive some unwanted advances from the strange little man at the end of the buffet who thinks you are winking at him! Read this poem about being a carb counting queen.
  3. Try to pretend a cauliflower sauce is carbonara. If you are going to tell lies about food, it must taste nice! Chocolate mousse made from avocado, maple syrup, cream and cacao is a rare exception!
  4. Give up! Trying to learn to count carbs when starting from scratch is bloody hard. Healthy, home made food is a great goal to have but dialling a pizza now and then makes life feel normal!

You! Do not:

  1. Forget about yourself. In the six months following diagnosis, I did not go out for fun. What if something happened to my child when I wasn’t there? Nothing bad happened and I was there so, slowly but surely, I let go. I do go out now and I’ve learnt to trust my son and those around him. My son also needs to see that him having diabetes does not prevent me from living my life. If I want him to live life to the full, don’t I need to do the same? Put your fears in a padded cell in your brain and deal with them when you feel up to it!
  2. Drink four glasses of prosecco in quick succession then fall asleep in the corner thus missing out on the fun night you’d been looking forward to for weeks! 

    I had such fun putting this list together, reliving some crazy moments from the last two years. If I look at the lists, and not the ‘do nots’ that come before them, these are all things I have done. We have survived and even had a few laughs along the way! Does anyone else have a list like this?

     

    Message Monday- My dreams and hopes.

    Why the French title? Sometimes French words just sound better!

    My hopes and dreams for my son who has Type 1 diabetes are so important and keeping positive about every aspect of his future keeps me motivated. This is the same for all three of my sons but, in the face of so much negativity around diabetes, it becomes all the more pertinent when you want to keep the image of a bright, positive future alive for a teenager with Type 1 diabetes. 

    This time last year I stumbled across diabetes blog week. I found blogs by other parents and suddenly I didn’t feel as alone. From this grew the idea that perhaps I could write a blog too. I spend so much time thinking (but not talking) about my son’s diabetes, so why not write about it?

    One of the first posts was a poem I’d written. I am not a poet. I’m a mum of three boys, a wife and a full time high school teacher. Walking was my sanity in the early days after my son was diagnosed. I’d throw my self out of bed and into my walking gear and pound the streets. My head was trying to make sense of what was happening and I found myself constantly reliving the day of his diagnosis. 

    I’m pretty together in my working life and didn’t find myself often in a position of helplessness yet here I was,  feeling raw and exposed. I wrote this poem and it felt just right to share it with others who understood the feelings it expressed. The connections I’ve made through sharing this blog have given me the enthusiasm and desire to continue, albeit more sporadically. Making connections with other parents online helps so much when there is a absence of connections in my ‘real’ world.

    I love the diabetes online community the most when I feel connected or when it gives me messages of hope. I know the reality, the potential future complications for my son, but I try to help him deal with his reality with realism and, together, we face each challenge as it comes. I love to read about those who have lived their lives with diabetes and thrived in the process. I don’t necessarily mean by climbing mountains or swimming across vast oceans. Things like finding love in the midst of diabetes chaos, working at jobs which are fulfilling, travelling and experiencing the world would be the pinnacle of success in my book and those are the blogs which fuel my hopes and dreams.

    Now two and a half years after diagnosis, I know my son and our family have come a long way but I read this poem and I’m right back in that day. It must be around a year since I wrote my first blog post and it feels right to connect with these feelings again.

     I lost a layer of skin

    I lost a layer of skin
    As we entered the hospital on the day of the diagnosis.

    I didn’t feel it fall off. It certainly didn’t hurt.
    It gently slipped off with less than a whisper, unnoticed, like a soft, satin scarf.

    I wish I had noticed it leaving.
    I imagine it floating gently over the roofs of nearby houses,
    Carrying with it the half formed dreams I alone held for my child,
    leaving behind only rawness.
    Over days, weeks and months a strange new layer has grown in its place.
    It’s a bizarre contradiction – tough yet sensitive.

    Watching the drops of intense ruby blood makes it want to shred itself
    Glimpsing needles pierce the stomach where raspberries were once blown makes it ache.
    Seeing the somber eyes of a child learning to cope leaves a hollowness.
    Dragging a weary body through night times of wakefulness leaves it feeling prickly.

    It’s certainly more careworn than the layer it replaces but it’s strong and it needs to be.
    It bears the brave scars of battles: some internal and silent, others of epic proportions.

    Hiding the multitude of maternal fears which largely remain unshared have hardened the carapace.
    It has to be tough for the times when it’s all too much for a child who just wants the old normal.

    The old normal isn’t coming back.
    I like to imagine that I’ll find that layer of skin again someday and fashion a purpose for it in this new existence, for there is hope.