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Going Solo.

Seven weeks is a long time.

It’s a lot of garbage days (I hate, hate taking out the garbage, especially since we have a crew of vindictive raccoons who have made it their agenda to bust into the garbage cans of everyone on our street, spreading trash all over the place and laughing maniacally whilst wearing hats).  Seven weeks is a lot of grocery store visits and pharmacy trips.  It’s a ton of bills.  Seven weeks is so long that your brain turns to inoperable mush.

Chris came home yesterday, after being away for seven weeks on a film shoot.  I don’t discuss much about his job here because it’s his news to share, but for the last two months, it has been hard not to discuss his absence, since it was affecting everything about my life.  Normally, our respective business trips are short.  For me, being away for a full week is a tremendously long time, and that is an anomaly.  For Chris, his travel jaunts are less frequent but usually longer, sometimes dipping into the eight – ten day away range.  This is something we’ve learned to handle, as a family.

But seven weeks?  Eff that.

Seven weeks is a long time to spend thinking about single parents and to build up even more respect for them, as the experience redefined “challenging” for me.  And I only experienced simulated single-parenting, my husband away but with a timeline for return.  It was while he was gone that I revisited the post-pregnancy feeling of not knowing whose needs to tend to first:  mine, or my daughter’s?

Unless I was away for work, I went to sleep every night with Birdy sharing a bed with me.  (Which was fine, except for the nights when she had a nightmare and would wake us both up, hollering about “the lemons are watching me!!” or the mornings when I’d wake up with the help of her tiny hands prying open my eyelids.  “Good morning, Mawm!”)  Every morning kicked off with a Birdy focus, unlike regular mornings, where the first thing I do is test my blood sugar and then go retrieve the kid, knowing I have Chris as back-up.  Good diabetes habits that I have forced (and then enjoyed) for the last year or so went a bit pfffft as Birdy became the focus and I was flying solo.

“But your health needs to come first, so that you can best care for your daughter.”

Shut up;  I tried.  Everything was a circus.  For five of the weeks of Chris’s trip, I was finishing up final edits on a book I’m writing (submitted to the publisher two weeks ago – more on that later!), which meant that once Birdzone was in the sleepzone, I was up until all hours, combing through pages to tweak content.  And the last two weeks of Chris’s trip included two trips for work, leaving my daughter under the capable (and so appreciated) watch of my mother.  “A good night’s sleep” was a laughable goal.  “Exercise” became either chasing my daughter while she rode her bike at a breakneck speed or brief stints on the ellipmachine in the basement (because going to the gym/for a run while she was awake wasn’t an option, and most times I was so spent that I couldn’t eek out much in terms of exercise).  Emails went unanswered.  Deadlines were pushed.  Pigtails were installed at uneven angles.  Bananas ripened and rotted due to neglect.

(But we always had gluten-free banana bread baking, because that has become a favorite past-time of the Bird’s.  So there was that.)

Diabetes became like a second kid, only one I don’t want to snuggle with.  It needs to be walked.  Fed.  Checked on and monitored.  It’s a needy little sucker.  When it whined and needed tending to, I had to explain to my daughter why we needed to wait a few minutes.

“Do you have whoa bwoodsugar?  Your Dexcom is howering [hollering].” Birdy asked me when I was popping glucose tabs into my mouth, car keys in my hand.

The term “whoa bwoodsugar” took on a whole new meaning when I was solely responsible for my daughter.  Being a parenting soloist for seven weeks made diabetes management pretty freaking tricky.  I’m thankful Chris is home now, because for the duration of his absence, my target blood sugar went from 150 mg/dL instead of 100 mg/dL, in efforts to avoid hypoglycemia while I was the only adult in the house.  My meter average followed suit, which was a frustrating increase after so many months in a comfortable zone, but I knew it was a temporary fix.  My job was/remains to take good care of my kid, and that’s hard for me to accomplish when I’m low as all hell.  It was an enlightening (read:  WTF) experience, and one that, for all of its challenges, I’m glad I proved to myself that I could handle, thanks in large part to friends and family, and the blessings of a flexible job.

But, for a dozen different reasons, I’m so glad Chris is back.  Because, at the end of the day, he’s the one who gave those hats to the raccoons in the first place, so he should be the one doing battle with them.

 

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. (hands clapping) Serious kudos for making it through 7 weeks! You’re a rock star. I’m not even sure I could make it through 7 days without my husband. I have to say, though, I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful partner and teammate, and sounds like Chris is that for you as well. Many celebrations for his return!

    08/20/13; 11:23 am
  2. Dan #

    Hi Kerrti,
    You are doing a great job! Keep on keeping on.
    On a lighter note,
    This is a suggestion to deal with the raccoons. Get cheese cloth, place Para dichlorobenzene, old style month balls, in the cheese cloth, place in a plastic netting material, soak the cheese cloth with ammonia and tie onto the tight lid of the waste cans.
    Just check to see that the month balls are still present and the cheese cloth is damp with ammonia. The rain can wash the materials away and you need to re-supply.
    As always have a great day.
    Dan

    08/20/13; 11:25 am
  3. We need pictures of the hats.

    08/20/13; 11:43 am
    • Wendy #

      Agreed.

      08/20/13; 12:11 pm
  4. Book? Awesome! Congrats Kerri (and welcome back to your husband).

    08/20/13; 12:03 pm
  5. Barb #

    You’re writing a book? I can’t wait!

    08/20/13; 12:47 pm
  6. Raccoons wearing hats… In my head they’re all wearing pirate hats.

    I can’t imagine flying solo without my husband for seven weeks. We don’t have children so I know I can’t imagine being a solo parent. When Brad travels for business it usually tops out at a week.

    08/20/13; 1:34 pm
  7. Karen #

    Glad to hear others worry as much as me! My husband just left for afghanistan and im a mom of three girls under 5(almost 6, 4, and 2 to be exact) ive been t1 for 25 years. Being solo is so very scary! We set up safetys once school starts if my daughter doesnt show up for school(and if she hasnt been called out) the teacher is to call my emergency contacts…i recently got the dexcom g4 (my kids may sleep through the night but now that thing goes off at all hrs!) and that has really made me feel more comfortable….does anyone have any other tips for solo parenting with t1?! Thanks for the article!!

    08/20/13; 2:24 pm
    • michelle s. #

      Wow, I have kids the same age as you, except an extra two year old (they are twins) and I cannot imagine doing it alone. I recently started using the CGM too, because of the fear of overnight lows. It has really improved my awareness of hypoglycemia in general so I am going to keep using it! I feel much safer, since it is hard to keep everything stable when you are dealing with the many needs of busy young kids. I hope you have helpful friends and neighbours around. The occasional time my husband is away, I find neighbours will offer to take the older two for a playdate to help out. So hopefully you can draw on support from others! Good luck!

      08/21/13; 7:34 am
  8. Good job! I don’t have type 1, but I’m a single mom with a type 1 child. I have three kids, and we homeschool, so it can be very stressful. However, during the past two years since my son’s diagnosis, he has learned to manage it very independently, and I’m thankful he is doing so well. We’ve dodged some bullets, for sure. Things are pretty peaceful. His A1C was 7.2 today, so that’s reassuring. (He is 15.) I think it would be much harder if I had type 1, but of course if I could, I would take it from my son in a heartbeat.
    Here are a couple posts I wrote about it. Hope it’s OK to link them here? I’m just really grateful, because things could have been so much harder; so I like to share it.
    http://www.susannasapron.com/search/label/Type%201%20diabetes

    08/20/13; 11:03 pm
  9. michelle s. #

    Kerri, I can so relate. I really dislike the stress of feeling like I am choosing between attentive parenting or attentive D management. I hope you can get back to a better balance. 7 weeks is a long time! My husband used to travel a lot and it was really stressful just when it got to the 4 or 5 day mark. Enjoy being together as a family again!

    08/21/13; 7:38 am
  10. mereknight #

    You rock! Seven weeks is soooo long. I am so impressed! I turn into a pumpkin after like 3 days as solo parent, and I have grandparents to help me out. Increasing your BG target is an idea I might try next time. Lows while parenting just suck. Maybe it’s because I’m so distracted I don’t notice when they start. I hope you get to sleep in a little bit… and good luck with the book! Very exciting stuff.

    08/21/13; 11:59 am
  11. Melissa #

    7 weeks!!! Oh my gosh. I had to fly solo for a week when my gal was around 6 months. And it was EXHAUSTING!! I can’t imagine doing it for that long – sounds like you survived.

    08/22/13; 2:53 am
  12. Yeah seven weeks is long time alright, my three year old would surely make me crazy by then!

    08/22/13; 8:59 pm

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