“BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP!”
“Mom, your Dexcom is making noise,” my daughter says casually, as we’re kicking the soccer ball around in the basement (because we’ll never, ever go outside again because snow).
“It is. Hang on a second,” I told her. A click shows that my blood sugar is over my high threshold, with a few yellow dots taking up residence on my graph. I’m not totally worried, though, because a check of my pump reveals some insulin still on board. I decide to let things play out and see where I land a bit later.
“I’m fine, kiddo. Let’s keep playing.”
The Dexcom has been part of my daughter’s life for as long as she can remember. When she was very small and figuring out her letters for the first time, I remember her running a tiny fingertip along the bottom of my receiver – “D-E-X-C-O-M spells … whaasat spell, Mama?”
“Dexcom. That’s the name of the machine.”
(Unlike most kids, my daughter’s list of first words included “pump,” “Dexcom,” and “diabeedles.” Maybe she’ll grow up to be a doctor? At the very least, this knowledge base has given her a leg-up on winning a few topic-specific spelling bees.)
As Birdy grew older, she started to understand some of the information that different diabetes devices provided. We’ve talked a little bit about how three digit numbers on my glucose meter that begin with “2” most often require me to take some insulin from my pump (same goes for the ones that begin with “3,” only those also come with some curse words), and how when the Dexcom makes an alarm sound, I need to check it and take some action.
“But that alarm – the BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP! one – is one we can ignore, right Mom?”
“Yeah. When it goes BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP, you don’t always look at it. But when it goes like this,” she raises her hands up in front of herself, like she’s sneaking up on something, “BeepBeepBeep really fast, then you look right away and get some glucose tabs.”
Funny how much she notices, how much of my diabetes self-care ritual has become a natural part of our time together.
“Kind of. The long beeps mean my blood sugar might be higher, but it’s not an emergency. The short beeps mean I have low blood sugar, and I need to get something to eat so it doesn’t become a big deal. Does that make sense?”
The sounds of the low and high alarms ringing out from my Dexcom receiver have become familiar, like a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) soundtrack for my diabetes life, but I didn’t realize until recently that they are also sounds that remind my daughter of her mother.
The other morning, I heard Birdy walking into the bathroom to brush her teeth, and she was humming a little tune to herself, one that I recognized.
“Hey you. Are you singing a song?”
“Yeah. It’s the Dexcom beep song. It’s a good tune.” She grinned at me, toothbrush hanging out of her mouth.