My Kids Love Mornings Like This

As a family we have a certain way of navigating through each day of the week.  Obviously there are marked differences between what we refer to as “school days” (meaning an impressive coordination of school, kinder, day care and work), and weekends or holidays.

Both kids came into the bedroom this morning to find me still in bed between 6:30am and 7am.  So they jumped in for cuddles and we had a chat about what was on the cards for the rest of the day.  I handed them the iPad and told them to relax while I have a shower and get ready for work.  We hit the kitchen for breakfast around 8am and on the way there I told them today was going to be lovely so find something fun and summery to wear.  They both emerged from their bedrooms in attire that would get them through the day and meandered their way through breakfast while I brewed a pot of coffee.  Much to their delight, lunch boxes were simplified and canteen orders were written.  It was one of the menu days they love but don’t usually get to have because I prefer to prepare their food.  One of them looked at the clock and realised it was almost time to leave the house so they both quickened their pace, finished getting themselves ready and their bags packed.  Somewhere in between that moment and arriving at work the necessary tasks were completed. I managed to find a pair of sneakers that had been missing since last night.  The cat was set up with food and water for a warm day outside.  I packed a bag so I could go straight to a boxing class from work.  The day care drop off was seamless albeit late and I arrived at work in good time.

Normally I would have gotten myself ready for work, made breakfasts and lunches, and packed bags before the kids rolled out of their delightful slumbers.  There are things I like to get done in the morning so when we get home at the end of the day the ‘dinner – bath – homework – bed’ routine runs smoothly for the kids.  There is often a bit of chasing, random hugs, chaos, last minute requests, giggles, reminding, reminding, reminding… and all executed at an effective pace.

But not today.  And here’s why.

I found myself in my pyjamas at the kitchen table with the curtains closed, a light on and silence all around me.  There was a mug, a bottle of milk, a box of dried biscuits, a tub of butter, an empty zip lock sandwich bag and me.  I started making assumptions about how I got there.  Notions of sleep walking came and went but didn’t stick.  I had disjointed recollections of being pinned to the deck of an old wooden pirate ship and being drenched by waves rolling over me in a torrential storm.  I even toyed with the idea that I might be the butt of someone’s joke and I would find myself on YouTube!  But there was a distinct taste in my mouth that raised red flag number one.  I lent back in the chair and felt the back of my shirt was wet which raised red flag number two.  Red flag number three flew up when I looked over to the display on the microwave and it read 1:56am.

Suddenly I felt it was too much to process.  I quickly packed up the mess on the kitchen table, checked on the kids, switched the light off and headed for the bedroom.  I sat on the edge of the bed and scrolled through the history on my blood glucose metre to find this…

BGMeter14Oct15The screen illuminated the bed which appeared to be drenched in sweat.

I put the meter away and lied down; cold skin and a fuzzy head.

Overwhelming thoughts and feelings washed over me.  It was amazing that sometimes I have an autopilot mechanism which activates to treat a hypo in the middle of the night.

Next thing I knew the kids jumped on me for a cuddle and we started our day.

But simple, no frills and in survival mode.

And nothing that couldn’t be helped along by a hot shower, two codeine, a strong coffee and skipping breakfast.

My kids love mornings like this; out of routine, a bit special and relaxed.

And I have decided to keep it that way.


I haven’t quite finished that hypo yet

I’ve never written a blog at this time of night before, but I have to vent!  It’s definitely not the right time to sit down with the laptop and bang out a few ideas because I haven’t quite finished my usual chores for this evening.  I haven’t quite finished wiping down the stove top after cooking a messy stir fry for dinner… I haven’t quite picked up all the rice off the floor after said stir fry was devoured by a ravenous two-year-old… I haven’t quite put an exhausted 7-year-old to bed… and I haven’t quite recovered from the first, (of five) hypos that I had this morning somewhere between waking up and getting breakfast into me.  And it’s OzDOC night…

I have the worst case of hypo brain right now.  I can’t think straight.  There’s a dull headache knocking at my forehead.  All I want to do is curl up and go to sleep, but since treating this fifth hypo of the day with a mountain of glucose, I’m all jittery and alert.  My body has been through the mill and here’s why.

A few months ago I decided to make some changes to my eating habits and lifestyle.  There were a number of signs to suggest that the way I was living, albeit reasonably healthy for the average human being, was not conducive with my individual health.  I have seen vast improvements in recent times;  I am pleased, proud and motivated to continue improving my health.

Among the list of improvements, my average total daily dose of insulin has dropped by about 40% and my HbA1c is on a steady decline.  Generally speaking, this is all good, great and wonderful on “paper”, but in real life it really does bite the big one at times.  Times like today when I just feel like I can’t get enough glucose on board for my brain to function.

Low Predicted

I’m pretty tough and I can handle feeling like rubbish; it’s amazing what choices you can make about your mindset.  What bothers me so much that my heart aches is that I find myself very short of patience with my kids.  Both Aspen and Jarrah are exceptional children, complete with manners, hearts of gold and the very best of intentions.  It is clear to see that all they want is to earn my love and Paul’s admiration.  But when I have a hypo nipping at my heels constantly for over 12 hours I get frustrated at the slightest ‘inconvenience’ and I lose sight of their amazing attributes…. and those ‘inconveniences’ are usually just my beautiful kids being beautiful.

Jarrah was trying to do the right thing and put his mug of unfinished milk back in the fridge, but he misjudged the distance to the shelf and spilt it.  Enter crazy MummaKim violently waving a wad of paper towel.

Aspen was practicing her cheer leading routine in the bathroom in preparation for a State Competition in a few weeks.  I found myself scolding her for doing it in a such a dangerous space with a hard floor.  All she wanted was a good mirror to correct her technique.

I am so very fortunate that my kids are made of the tough stuff.  They are resilient, loving, adorable and supportive of me at my weakest, (or lowest) moments each in their own individual ways.  I can only hope that they will recover as well as I do from my hypos.

DBlog Week #4 – Accomplishments Big and Small

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I love technology.  I absolutely love it when it applies to my life and makes things a little easier.  For example, the invention of iCloud has helped my family calendar run so much more smoothly.  Or should I say, has helped my husband to not double-book us or overlook an important date… When it comes […]

DBlog Week #1 – Share and Don’t Share

DBlog Week 2013 Banner

My diabetes health professional team consists mostly of one person, and one amazing person at that. So this one goes out to my beloved Endocrinologist who I will call Dr A, (short for Dr Amazing obviously!)

Dr A, I want you to know how much I honour you and your expertise. I have studied and worked in several different fields and I don’t think I could call myself an expert in any one of those. However you seem to know everything I need to know about my diabetes. And just when I think you couldn’t possibly bring anything else to the table after nearly 27 years of living with type 1 diabetes, you do. During my most recent appointment you suggested I adjust the BGL target range on my insulin pump. So I did, thinking that it really wouldn’t make much of a difference because I have learnt not to hold out hope for things like this… just in case they don’t work. (No expectations = no disappointment!) But is has, and there has been a very fruitful and positive flow-on effect to my overall control.

The focus of our bi-annual consult, (which fortunately lasts about 45 minutes each time) goes something like this:
– the general “how have you been” chat
– shoes off to get weighed
– up on the bed to check blood pressure, pulse, infusion sites, eyes and feet
– back at the desk to go through pathology results and break down the data from my pump and CGMS download

It’s during this last phase of the consult which, in my mind, is like an untouched page from a children’s colouring book. I simply don’t have time to let you know the “why’s” behind some dodgy looking temporary basal rates on some days, or slightly high post-breakfast BGL’s on others. So let me colour-in the picture for you with a few strategies I have developed to live my life as Kim; a woman, a wife, a mother of two, a passionate community volunteer, a part-time worker and a full-time lover of life. Because my diabetes doesn’t dictate the way I live my life. I do.

During week two of some months I require a certain temporary basal rate, and during week two of other months I require a different temporary basal rate. All I know is that I need an increased temporary basal rate, usually at the same time I get a little grumpy and headachey… funny, that! It’s not the same amount each month for so many different reasons including what sort of exercise I am managing to do at the time, what the weather is doing at the time, what sort of food we are eating as a family, (which is often directly related to the weather) and the list goes on. I wish I could program another basal pattern into my pump for that week each month, but my insulin requirements vary so much that it just doesn’t work. So I use the temporary basal rate function, and often have a temporary brain fade and forget to re-set it every 24 hours. Yes, I know it beeps every hour that the temporary rate is active, but if I’m wearing heavier clothes or sporting a gorgeous scarf, by pump could be shouting out like a gospel choir and I wouldn’t have a clue. So my BGL’s can be a little out of range because of this.

Some days I don’t bolus for breakfast until after I have completely finished eating. And even then, sometimes I forget until I get a little thirsty… You see, some mornings in my home can flow like an elegantly played piano concerto and I have time to make a coffee and eat food whilst helping to get my two kiddies ready for the day. Other days it could be one colossal disaster after another ranging from a nappy explosion for one, to a schoolies-tantrum over a lost library book for the other. That’s what can lead to those not-so-in-range post parandial BGL’s. However by doing this, by delaying my meal bolus at the beginning of the day, I can guarantee I won’t hypo while driving my precious cargo to the daycare centre and school because I didn’t get to finish my breakfast. I can guarantee that I won’t lose focus and get us involved in an accident which could harm our lives, or the lives of those unfortunate enough to be on the road at the same time as us.

I know our consult doesn’t allow for this sort of detail, and I don’t think I could be bothered telling you all of those little “why” stories that explain odd-looking things in my data download. And I also know that you don’t need to know. I know that you know I am doing the best I can. I know you trust me with what ever strategies I engage in to live my life. We both know it is my body, my health and my life. We both know I treasure every day that I am lucky enough to live through, so why would I go and mess that up.

Thanks, Dr A… you really are amazing… and I think I am too!

For more information on Diabetes Blog Week 2013, this topic or how to get involved, click here!

Sometimes lists aren’t always helpful, but daughters sure are!

I have decided to approach blogging from a different angle.  I was almost horrified to see that my last post was on 6 December, 2012.  A very wise person advised me to not start blogging right before Christmas just in case I was already burnt out from a very long and challenging year.  This wasn’t the case.  Yes, 2012 had been challenging.  But no more challenging than the three years prior.  And I certainly wasn’t feeling burnt out about writing.  If anything, I had discovered just how cathartic writing is for me.  However I started a very bad habit, which at first I thought was a very good habit.  I began a list of diabetes-related thoughts and feelings I was planning to write about.  This list now contains 24 solid ideas.  But that’s where it stopped.  Once the topic entered “the list”, I forgot about it!  It was as if once I physically wrote about the idea, my ‘idea expression’ had been achieved and I moved on.  And my blog followers missed out.  So I’m not going to keep that list going.  Instead, I am going to log on to my blog and write a post when a thought or feeling hits me, (and of course when I’m near a device and I have some time).  This means that my future posts will most likely be shorter and sweeter than my previous posts… just like me, really!

So this morning was interupted by diabetes in a very annoying way.  This doesn’t normally happen.  I have formulated a way to maintain a safe and steady BGL while getting ready for the day, which usually includes getting three and half people ready & out the door.  (The ‘half’ being BobCat who often refuses to hit the pavement when he knows we’ll be away from the house for most of the day.)

I woke up with high BGL of 15.4 mmol/L.  (That may, or may not be directly related to the leftover Christmas chocolates I ate on my way to bed after the #OzDOC TweetChat.)  Normally I would have only given myself 50% of the pump-recommended correction bolus, because somewhere between getting out of bed and getting out of the shower I become very insulin sensitive. For whatever reason this morning I didn’t.  I gave myself the full correction bolus and it all went downhill from there into a very yucky hypo

Ordinarily I would have sat down for 5 – 10 minutes to treat this hypo.  However this morning I didn’t have any symptoms.  I quickly became irritated by small and insignificant happenings.  (Irritation is becoming a common hypo symptom for me, but is usually only recognised by other people who know me quite well.)  My cheeky 21-month-old-teething Jarrah didn’t want to eat his breakfast; not a new thing but I got angry as if he’d been sitting there for days with a sloppy bowl of Weetbix & milk in front of him.  My brilliant 7-year-old-wise-beyond-her-years Aspen had hidden the tv remote from Jarrah.  When I studpidly decided that ABC For Kids might distract Jarrah into eating breakfast, I got angy at Aspen for doing that, when I really should have gotten angry at myself for even wanting to turn the television on; a big no-no in our house in the mornings.  Then I nearly threw BobCat out the window when he jumped on my bed, dripping wet from being out in the rain.  He’s an animal; what does he know about clean sheets and a freshly made bed?

I’m pretty sure there were several more scenarios like that.  Popping up randomly like those wicked bombs in Fruit Ninja.  And it wasn’t until Aspen asked, “Mummy, do you need to eat some jelly beans this morning?” that those ‘bombs’ stopped going off.  I stopped.  I ate.  I recovered.

I thank my lucky stars that Aspen truely is wise-beyond-her-years and knows when to step up and help me treat a hypo like that one.  Even if it was just because she was sick of being yelled at!