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Break Glass in Case of Emergency

The low alarm goes off and my arm snakes out from underneath the covers in slow motion, a serpent in search of snacks.

The jar of glucose tabs sits on my bedside table, most often collecting dust but on this night, it’s an essential item.  I flip open the lid and count out four tabs, piling them on the side of the bed and chomping down one of them while I lean on one arm.

Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Seems like I’m peckish instead of panicked.  But the room is spinning a little and my peripheral vision comes and goes while the low blood sugar laps at the edge of my ability to reason.  What time is it?  Are the kids still asleep?  Siah is a fat lump at the end of the bed, one eye open and staring at me while I cram another tab into my mouth.  I’m confused about the day and time but I know exactly how to put the glucose tabs into a precisely stacked pile and slowly work my way through them, hoping they work quickly.  My husband is asleep, unaware that anything out of the ordinary is happening.

Chomp, chomp, chomp at 3 am after the blaring of my Dexcom alarm, the jar of tabs literal lifesavers on the bedside table.

Looking Back: If I Were Ever.

Preparing for my son’s first birthday party this weekend has me pretty busy, but looking back on this older poem made me smile.  And also makes me want to find an illustrator to finally make this a fun little book.

  *   *   *

If I were ever Gretel, finding home would be a snap
A trail of bloody test strips mark my way across a map.

If I were ever Batman and in need of a grappling hook,
The most-used lancet in my bag would do the trick to catch the crook.

If I were ever Superman, and lows my kryptonite,
A jar of cherry Glucolift would save me from my plight.

If I were ever Katniss, my District would go “Whoa,”
Because The Hunger Games have nothing on a meter reading “LOW.”

If I were ever Mario, I’d find all my 1 Ups
At the bottom of a juicebox or a kid’s juice sippy cup.

If I were ever Vader, I’d embrace the ol’ Dark Side
Because in robes like that it’s easy to make my Dexcom sensor hide.

If I were ever Walter White, I’d wear diabetic socks
So only my feet would have the ‘betes while I’d be the one who knocks.

If I were ever Pinkie Pie, there’d be lows and I’d be in it
Because that little tweaky pony can’t sit still for a hot minute.

If I were ever Legolas, and had a midnight hypo fright,
I’d wake up with food in my bed. “Crumbs have been spilled this night.”

If I were ever Aquaman, I’d still workout in ocean gyms
Because my insulin pump is waterproof, and still works while I swim.

If I were ever Dumbledore, I’d be at peace with D
Because it matters not my pancreas, but “what I grow to be.”

Pockets.

I’ve been wearing an insulin pump since 2004 and even though I take pump vacations or go untethered every now and again, I prefer pumping over injections because it’s just EASIER to avoid high blood sugars if I’m wearing a pump.

Yep.  That’s my jam.  It’s not the basal rate programming that I can do (although that’s a nice plus) and it’s not the carbohydrate calculations that my pump can whiz through (although that’s a nice plus, too) and it’s not even the fact that I can be super discreet when taking my insulin (a welcomed departure from going full Science Guy at the dinner table) … it’s the ease of correcting highs.

With injections, I cannot be bothered to draw up 0.3u of insulin to correct a 155 mg/dL back down to 100 mg/dL.  For some reason, that doesn’t seem “worth it.”  But on the pump, I’ll ding in those little doses to keep myself streamlined, and my A1C thanks me for it.

So diabetes reasons win when it comes to pumping. But sometimes getting dressed is a pain in the ass, making mashing up my wardrobe with my diabetes devices a  challenge.  Insulin pump squirreled away in my bra as a disco boob is not optimal all the time.  And dresses don’t present a lot of options outside of the bra …

Unless.  The dress.  HAS POCKETS.

I love dresses.  Love, love, love.  They are comfortable and not too sweaty gross and they are just lovely.  Love them.  And when the dress has a pocket, you can snip a little hole right in the top of the pocket, lace your pump tubing through the hole, and nest your pump safely and soundly into the pocket pouch.

Like these *:

  1. Women’s Lace Yoke Striped Knit Swing Dress
  2. Frondescent Fete A-Line Dress in Dusk Thicket
  3. Renewed Resplendence A-Line Dress in Ocean
  4. One-Shoulder Ponte Fit-and-Flare Dress
  5. Vila Shift Dress With Pockets
  6. Linen fit and flare dress
  7. Short-sleeved Jersey Dress
  8. Knee-length Dress
  9. Women’s Soybu Sleeveless Surplice Dress
  10. Pack Everywhere Dress

It’s kangarooing your pancreas, without going full marsupial.  And I am a fan.

(* And none of these links are affiliate links.  They are just links to the dresses because POCKETS and PUMPS and those two things should be teammates for sure.  Ooh, and here are 33 [larry bird] more dresses that have pockets.)

One Year Old.

To my tomato,

A year ago today, I was driving up to Boston for another prenatal appointment to check on you.  At 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant, a slightly spikey blood pressure was enough for the medical team at Beth Israel to decide that August 23rd would be your birthday.

It was late in the afternoon when they prepped me for surgery.  The sun was bright and shining in through the windows of the operating room, and I couldn’t even tell you the name of the doctor who delivered you, as I was so nervous about your arrival.  Would you be healthy?  Would you be okay?

In a combination of perseverance, hard-earned good health, and a dash of excellent luck, you were born into the world a healthy,easy-going little guy who made my heart actually ache, it was so full.

Re-entering the land of snappy onesies, breastfeeding, and no sleep was a jarring change, as my mom brain was fully immersed in the land of independent kids, but we fell back into step with your little guy needs pretty quickly.  This second time around, your dad and I were better about packing lighter, not buying every baby thing that Parenting magazine deemed “essential,” and we busted out some hand-me-downs from your sister (crib, dresser, stroller, high chair, a bin full of Batman pajamas in varying sizes … we saved everything).

And once we had our footing a bit, you were thrown immediately into our family traditions, from big, messy birthday parties to trips to Orlando for conferences to visiting Bar Harbor.  Even though you’re only a year old, it feels like you’ve been occupying the room across from your sister’s room forever, as though your bookcase filled with favorite books has always been there, your banana toothbrush in the holder in the Batman bathroom always.

You have two teeth that popped out just in time for your birthday.  You have taken several steps but haven’t started full-on walking because you seem to become so amused by your own mobility that you collapse into a giggling heap after a couple steps.  Your hair is light brown and super curly, all unruly and lovely.  Your laugh is loud and boisterous.  You love when the neighborhood kids come by to high-five you, and swinging in the baby swings at any playground, and when the cat saunters by you drop everything to creepily whisper “… caaaaaaaat.”

Little Guy, you have the most mellow, sunny disposition and once someone earns your smile, it lights up the entire state of Rhode Island.

Your sister is my favorite because she is my first.  You are my favorite because you are my last.  Our family is complete because of you; you fill the fourth chair.  I love you and the crazy chaos you’ve brought into our lives.

Happy birthday, my littlest friend.

Love,
Mom

Diabetes on the North Coast Trail

Everyone involved with Connected in Motion impresses me; their sense of adventure coupled with their ability to jam diabetes into those adventures is something I draw inspiration from.  (Come on … go look at their social media feeds and tell me you don’t want to be part of something that explores this kind of landscape.)  Their community is centered around empowering people with diabetes to explore, take responsibility, and get outside.

This week, 13 members of the Type 1 community are coming together to take on an epic adventure – completing the North Coast Trail – a 60km trek on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.  They’ll travel by air, van, boat, and foot. On the trail they expect river crossings, beach trekking, miles of mud to their knees, ladders, and rope rappels (all while carrying 70L packs), bringing diabetes along on one of the most challenging backpacking treks.

Even though I’m not in a position to join an adventure team this year (adventures in parenting taking precedence at the moment), I am really excited to follow along with the crew as they travel this week.  I’ve been watching the social media feeds with interest, like this one, with careful packing all planned out:

“Since 2008, I’ve used my background in anthropology and journalism to promote the idea that peer support and experiential education play vital roles in sustainable health systems and I’m honored to have this opportunity to help tell this CIM Adventure story,” said Blair Ryan, official photog of the 2017 adventure team. (Those are the contents of her pack in that photo up there.)

I think about what I bring to leave the house, just for a few hours, with diabetes.  My purse always has glucose tabs, an insulin pen, snacks, a back up infusion set, and my glucose meter.  This is simply to walk out of the house.  Keeping those supplies close makes me feel safe.  Packing a backpack with necessary life supplies and wandering off into the woods taps into some of my biggest diabetes-related fears (namely not being adequately prepared for trouble), making me admire the Connected in Motion adventure team even more.  

They aren’t afraid of being caught off guard.  In fact, they plan on it and plan for it.

“We’ll be thinking about where the best place for each of us to put our pump and CGM sites are before hitting the trail. We’ll avoid places where our packs will consistently rub (certain areas on our stomachs), or places that might get snagged when loading up a heavy pack (certain areas on the arms),” said Jen Hanson.

Join the Support Crew and Cheering Squad Facebook group to send the adventure team your encouragement, and to see where they are in their journey.  You can also follow along with the adventure team on Instagram, twitter, Facebook, and through the Connected in Motion website.

Safe travels to all our fellow PWD!  <3

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