Domestic enemies of the diabetic’s mom

Reading all the amazingly wonderful “Domestic Enemies” posts on RFML has totally inspired me to write one of my own. This is a working draft I think as Princess Punk was diagnosed only 3 years ago and it seems we meet new “Domestic Enemies” on a regular basis.

  • ·         “Well-informed” strangers. Mostly these are other moms, co-workers and strangers in the grocery store who have a friend, family member or are themselves Type 2 Diabetic. Type 2 Diabetes is also known as “insulin resistant” diabetes and is generally a result of poor eating and exercise habits and a shitty roll of the genetic dice. I have Type 2 diabetes which is currently in remission due to massive weight loss and careful (okay not really) eating habits. Mostly the weight loss. PP has Type 1 Diabetes, also known as insulin dependent diabetes or Juvenile diabetes. Type 1 is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THING. In Type 2 diabetes, your body gets tired of all the sugar and crap that you are pouring into your blood stream and stops using insulin the way it should. As a result, your pancreas produces more and more insulin which further reduces your cells’ ability to use it.  Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disorder. That means one day Princess Punk woke up and her body said “You know, that damn pancreas is getting all uppity, I think it’s time to square up and give it the business.” And her OWN BODY began producing cells to attack HER OWN PANCREAS. As a result, her pancreas is now non-functional in the insulin producing department and she has to take insulin from an external source all the while making sure she has the right balance of insulin and carbohydrates to maintain a blood sugar that will not A. Put her into a coma or B. Cause her to have seizures and permanent organ damage. So when you tell me that maybe my 12 year old who does at least 2 hours of soccer 5-6 days a week that “maybe she just needs to exercise” you may end up with a sugar-free latte upended in your lap. No, forget that, I’m not wasting my damn latte.
  • ·         Pot-Luck dinners.I used to LOVE going to pot-luck dinners. I am a pretty good cook and it happens to be something I really enjoy and amazingly enough is a huge stress reliever for me. So going to a pot luck dinner with the dish that everyone raves about was something that truly made me happy. Enter the “D” monster. Princess Punk has to count every carb she eats and compensate for it with insulin. She has to use ratios that change depending on the time of day, day of week and her activity level. She has an insulin pump now which does most of these calculations for her but we still need to know exactly HOW MANY carbs she will be eating to give the pump a starting point.

    Suck It Kool-Aid Man

    Try calculating carbs at a pot-luck. “Mrs. Jones’ casserole? Are those egg noodles in there? That looks like about a half cup right? And what the heck is that? What KIND of orange drink is that because Hi-C has 34g of carbs per cup but Kool-Aid has 42. You are SO having water. Crap. Just say 75 carbs for everything and we’ll adjust later if we need to.” Then later at bedtime her blood sugar is over 300 and we have to give her extra insulin before bed which then requires a happy 2:30am wake-up (for me since she will sleep through ANYTHING) to make sure her blood sugar doesn’t get too low overnight and you know, she doesn’t. Wake. Up.

  • ·         Birthday Parties. I am probably the only mom who who actually wishes for parties at Chuck E. Cheese (or Pizza Putt if you live in the boonies like me). Not that I enjoy the disgusting petri dish that those places are but chain restaurants are required to have nutritional information available for everything on the menu. This makes things SUPER easy when calculating carbs. Unfortunately, living in rural Vermont makes this kind of birthday party a rarity, even more so now that she’s getting older. So mostly she is going over so-and-so’s house where they made the most charming birthday cake for little so-and-so from scratch and god help me I have NO IDEA how to count homemade enchiladas. Seriously? They’re 12. Wouldn’t they rather have chicken nuggets from a bag? Please?
  • ·         Hormones. This is a new one for us but damn it’s a doozy. Apparently, hormones, in addition to turning my sweet child into a raving “B” also have the added effect of completely screwing up her blood sugar. Something about hormones interfering with how the insulin is being used, I think I need a PhD in chemistry to figure it out. As a result even if we are right on with her insulin to carb ratios and her activity levels and everything else, she will get numbers that are totally off the wall for no reason at all. And because we very rarely ARE right on with her insulin to carb ratios and her activity levels and everything else, the hormones make it really really difficult to adjust anything without some really major screw ups. Do you know what a blood sugar of 36 looks like? I do. Now. ~shudders~ My beautiful café con leche daughter turned grey. Literally her skin was the color of concrete. I didn’t think that was even possible. I was luckily able to get a juice box into her before she passed out entirely but it was one of the scariest moments in my life. Why was her sugar so low? NO FARKING IDEA. But she did go up a cup size in the subsequent 2 days.
  • ·         Childcare, summer camp and relatives. I work full-time so my mom watches Princess Punk after school and on the weekends.  My mom is either overly vigilant and does fingersticks to check blood sugar 20 times a day or completely blase’and brings PP to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. As a result, PP will go several days with “Whuck?” numbers. And of course I’m sitting there scratching my head because I don’t actually know what is going on since I’m not there (cue the Guilt). And of course regular childcare is out of the question, babysitters, after school programs  and summer camps are not generally equipped to handle a kid with diabetes who is not completely self-reliant.
  • ·         The diabetic herself.Princess Punk was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 9. She is my hero. She pricks her own fingers to check her blood sugar, upwards of 6 times a day. She changes her own pump site every other day and when she was doing shots, before she got the pump, she sat patiently while an adult gave her the shot (4-5 times a day) and even did it herself sometimes. There is NO WAY that I would have endured that at her age, she is AWESOME. But… She is also still a kid and while she takes on a lot of the responsibility for her disease she is also, well, a kid. So leaving the house requires a checklist to make sure she has her “kit” and that her kit is fully stocked should anything come up.

    Our Junk Drawer is full of THIS crap.

    She often “forgets” to check her blood sugar and will not always be forthcoming about what she is eating (sneaking a handful of gummy bears at a school concert, I made her spit them out. In front of her friends. Into my hand. Gross.) She’s bitchy about counting carbs and doesn’t understand why she is not allowed to go over some of her friends’ houses because their parents are idiots and I wouldn’t trust them with feeding my dog let alone monitoring correct insulin dosage or correctly handling an emergency.

  • ·         The FEAR. Try this. Google diabetic ketoacidosis. No? How about nephropathy. Still nothing? Try gastroparesis. Oh and my favorite, hypoglycemia. Terrified yet? I am. Every. Single. Day.


Seriously? EPIC FAIL.

So anyway. This is something we live with on a daily basis and something The Princess will have to live with for the rest of her life or until they find a cure. So if you see me at Burger King ordering a Diet Coke for my kid, don’t judge me for giving her aspartame and caffeine, judge BK for not having another beverage choice that won’t require her to use an entire pump full of insulin.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. filltheirbellies
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 11:48:49

    keep on keeping on…I too am a mom of a type 1 diabetic, he was diagnosed at the age of 3 and is now 7.


  2. Trackback: HOLY CRAP! « newlifeinvermont

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