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Posts tagged ‘Birdy’

Put On Your Listening Ears.

Our backyard is big and lovely and fenced in on all sides so that when Birdy and I are playing outside, we’re both safe from cars and giant woodland creatures (except the ones that can shimmy underneath the fence … I’m looking at you, groundhog).  I don’t keep my eyes glued to her while she plays, and we can enjoy the sunshine and the garden without feeling paranoid about passing cars, wandering off, etc.

Which is exactly what sucks about the front yard, because that’s the part of the house that the road is closest to.  So while I still need to do things in the front yard (getting the mail, tending the front garden, drawing hopscotch in the driveway), I don’t do anything of those things without having Birdzone front and center in both my mind and my actual line of sight.

Yesterday evening, Birdy and I were working in the front yard garden (I was clearing out some weeds and she was making “houses” for worms we discovered underneath a rock), when my Dexcom started wailing from my pocket.  In retrospect, I felt a little “off,” but it wasn’t until I heard the low alarm blaring from the Dexcom receiver that the symptoms kicked in fully.

“Hey, your blood sugar is whoa, Mom,” Birdy said absently, placing another worm onto a pile of dirt.

“Yeah, we need to go inside and get some snacks, okay?  It’s important,” I replied, looking at the “UNDER 65 MG/DL” warning on the Dexcom screen.

Normally, she listens.  Especially when it’s about blood sugars, because Chris and I have talked with her a few times about how listening is important, particularly when I tell her my blood sugar is low.  But she wanted to stay outside.  She liked playing with the worms.  She liked being in the dirt and gardening.  She didn’t want to have to cut playtime short because Mommy needed a few glucose tabs that she should have brought outside with her in the first place.  [Insert Mom Guilt here.]

“Nooooo waaaaaaay!!!” she said, flouncing away from me and refusing to turn around.

Under normal circumstances, I would have laughed (because “No way!” is a great response), but I was starting to feel shaky and my brain cells connections felt loose, like thoughts weren’t coupling up the right way.  We were in the front yard and I knew I needed to gain control of all potentially dangerous situations in a hurry.

“We need.  To go.  INSIDE right now.  My blood sugar is low.  This is not a joke.” I said.

“No!  I don’t waaaaaaant to!!”

My blood sugar falls fast.  It always has.  I don’t get the long, lingering slides towards hypoglycemia but instead the quick, breathless plummets.  Knowing that I was dropping and watching yet another car drive by our house meant I needed to get control fast and without issue.

Before my body completely caved to the low blood sugar, I scooped up my flailing daughter and walked into the house.  She was freaking out and still forcefully asserting her right to “NOOOO!” but I needed sugar more than I needed her to like me.  A few seconds later, we were both safely contained in the kitchen.  I had a few glucose tabs and waited for my brain to acknowledge them.  Birdy pouted in the corner, staring at her hands and still mumbling, “No way.”

A few minutes later, I felt more human.  “Birdy, I’m sorry we had to come inside.  But my blood sugar was low and it could have become an emergency.  So that’s why you needed to put your listening ears on and come inside.  I wasn’t doing it to be mean; I was doing it to be safe.  Does that make sense?”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry we couldn’t stay outside.  But we can go back out now, okay?”

“Okay.  I’m sorry I didn’t listen.”

“It’s okay.”

She turned around and pressed her hand into mine.  Something wriggled.  She smiled.

“I brought a worm inside.”

No way.

 

Ironic Baking.

Earlier this week, Birdzone asked if we could bake some bread.  (We’ve been baking bread for her since she was very small, avoiding gluten for the first 15 months of her life and becoming gluten-free bakers, after a fashion, for a year or two.)  Now, thanks to a bread machine that makes baking bread easier, we whip up random recipes.  Birdy likes measuring the flour and whisking the eggs, and the bread machine makes it easy to dump in the prepared ingredients and watch the magic (slowly) happen.

Examining the basket of almost-overripe fruit on the kitchen table, we decided to make a play for apple-banana bread, per her request.  (“Mom, can we take those gross bananas and make banana bread?  And add an apple that’s not as gross?”)

The recipe we made was a version of this one at All Recipes (a site I frequently look at but infrequently follow through on), only we doctored it up a bit:

ingredients:

2 cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1 apple, diced

directions.

*  Since we baked this in a bread machine, we didn’t need to preheat the oven.  Instead, we just plugged in the bread machine and prepped it for the “gluten-free” setting.

*  In a big bowl, we combined the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together and mixed it up.  We didn’t mix it gently because Birdy was doing most of the stirring, so I also can’t guarantee that all of the ingredients stayed in the bowl.  The countertop was a bit dusty when she was done.

*  In a separate bowl, we whisked together the eggs and apple sauce (the original recipe called for butter, but we usually sub in applesauce instead), and then dumped the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ones.

*  Then we mashed the eff out of those bananas and added in the diced apple bits.  (“Why didn’t we mash the apple, Mom?” she kept asking me, because she wanted to take a Sledge-O-Matic to it a la Gallagher.)

*  Once everything was combined, we shuttled the mix into the bread machine pan and let it stir-then-bake for the assigned time.  When it was done, it was very dense and moist (ew word, but appropriate) and tasted awesome.  The addition of the extra fruit made for about 38 grams of carb per slice (ish), but it was worth it because it tasted awesome.

I’m not much of a cook when it comes to making things that are healthy, but I can bake the hell out of anything, which is sadly ironic for this PWD.  Essentially, I can cook what I would do best not to eat on a regular basis.  And this bread was a winner on that front.

Friday Six: DBlog Week, Small, and BAMWD!

I love Diabetes Blog Week.  It’s inspiring and encouraging, and reignites the blogging ecosystem for readers and writers alike.  Are you participating?  Head over to Karen’s blog for details.

“This head-to-head-to-head comparative effectiveness study reveals the G4 Platinum as the most accurate and precise of the current generation of CGMs, followed closely by the Navigator, with both devices markedly more accurate and precise than the Enlite sensor with the Veo/530G algorithm.”  Here’s an in-depth look at today’s CGM accuracy.

It’s my mom’s birthday.  Birdy helped sign the card … after a fashion.

The Diabetes Hope Conference takes place – digitally! – on May 20th.  Have you signed up?  It’s free!

I want to offer those women some of the encouragement and support that I’ve enjoyed over the years.”  Melissa Lee wishes some BAMWD a Happy Mother’s Day.

You’ve got the whole A1C … in your hand.  You could – literally.

Sarah suggests these two-ingredient pancakes.  I bet I could make these … I think.

Way to go, George!!

“Free foods” was a phrase I grew up with, and I share Kelly’s pickle memories:)

Do you live in Southern California?  The JDRF Orange County branch is holding their free TypeOneNation event on May 18th, and I have the honor of presenting alongside my favorite NinjaCheck out the event page!

Isolation is like a poison for mental health.”  There’s a new, excellent video from the You Can Do This Project team, and it’s all about diabetes and mental health.

Mommy’s Little Pack Mule.

Running alone brings out the Spibelt, and I cram it full of my on-the-move necessities:  glucose tabs, Dexcom receiver, keys, and phone.  Even though it’s reasonably streamlined and doesn’t bother me too much to tote around all that stuff, it’s a bulkier system than, oh, I don’t know … making my own insulin.

But lo!  The child rides a bike!  And insisted on having a bicycle basket!  To which I said, “Yes!  Excellent idea and can you please carry all my shit, too?” only I did not cuss at the child!

The miles might be logged a little slower than when I’m by myself, but there’s nothing more convenient than making use of her bike basket to carry all my diabetes stuff, and I love sharing some outside play moments with my daughter.

And she likes being in charge of such important things, since she is a “big girl” and can “carry the glucose tabs because then if I want a very, very, very small bite of a glucose tabs, I can just reach in and have one, right, Mawm?”

“Sure.  But only if you make sure you slow down if I need a glucose tab, okay?”

Bartering with my happy little helper of a diabetes pack mule.

Warning: The One About UTIs.

The last time I had a urinary tract infection was about ten years ago.

I used to get them every once in a while, and while I’m sure it was horrible at the time, these infections weren’t frequent enough to make a mark on my memory.  I know that ‘feeling,’ of the twinge of pain after urinating when the muscles re-clench and how that was the hallmark sign that I needed to call my doctor and go in for a urinalysis ASAP, but overall, these infections were few and far between.

The one firm memory I have of these infections was how quickly they would come on for me – in a matter of hours, I would go from “fine” to “decidedly not fine.”  My OB/GYN at the time confirmed what my endocrinologist had always told me:  type 1 diabetes makes issues like yeast infections and urinary tract infections move quickly and aggressively.

The worse one I had was at my grandfather’s funeral, which took place in the midst of my parents’ divorce and during a time when diabetes was unattended to (<– massive understatement).  I was slow in recognizing and responding to symptoms, slow in contacting a doctor, and pretty much slow to anything that even came close to self-care.  These days, I’m better about self-care, but even still, things like a urinary tract infection can crop up in a matter of hours and make a mess of things.

Last Friday afternoon, Chris and I were preparing for Birdy’s birthday party and doing the whole clean things/bake things/set up things cycle that comes with party hosting.  At 4.40 pm, I headed to the store to grab a few last minute things, and I felt fine.  I came home around 5.30 pm and still felt completely fine.  At 6.10 pm, I went to use the bathroom and had that weird twinge of pain while urinating.  And by 6.45 pm, I was using the bathroom every three minutes (not an exaggeration) and in extreme pain, with a fever of 101 and a Dexcom graph that was doubly pointed north.  By 7.30 pm, I was peeing blood and hosting every other symptom of a UTI (lower abdomen pain, constant and painful urge to urinate, pain when urinating, cloudy urine, blood in urine, shooting pain after peeing, fever, chills, and oh yeah, instant blood sugar issues).

“Decidedly not fine.”

Of course this happens on a Friday evening, when doctor’s offices are closed.

Which is why I am so, so thankful to be a patient in a doctor’s office where there is an on-call doctor who was able to return my message within 15 minutes and order a UTI test and also provide a prescription for antibiotics to kick the infection to the curb.  Even though I had to stop en route to the pharmacy (six minutes away) to use the bathroom, I was diagnosed and medicated by 8.45 pm and feeling much more human by 11 pm.   And by birthday party time (the next afternoon), I was almost completely better.

Thank you, excellent medical team, for being almost as quick as the onset of this urinary tract infection.  You saved me from peeing in pain whilst serving birthday cake at my kid’s party, and I’m very grateful.

(Note:  the frosting is yellow due to food coloring.  After all this discussion about pee, I wanted to make sure that distinction was clear.)

 

 

Plastic Apples and Measuring Cups.

Her desk was anchored on either side by tall bookshelves crammed with pretend food.  Plastic fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, kiwis that looked like fuzzy dumplings – and the cardboard shell of cereal boxes.  Plastic slabs of steak with edging to make it look like it had a pat of butter melting on top, and the entire plastic carcass of a chicken, woefully untrue to size, making it the same size as one of the kiwi dumplings. Measuring cups and food scales, lists and charts, meal plans and index cards covered with suggested serving sizes.

It always felt embarrassing, seeing the nutritionist and the dieticians, especially when I was in my teens.  I struggled with my weight as a kid but didn’t ever dip into “overweight,” just more settled on the heavier end of the approved spectrum.  I hated meal plans and the emotional influence of food on my life.  Visiting the plastic food lady as part of the flow every few endocrinologist appointments felt shameful, and I wondered what my classmates would think if they knew I was lectured about eating and food every few months.  Would they know how complicated my relationship with food really was?  Dietician appointments felt like mini-fat camps, and even though I did feel better-informed leaving the appointments, I still felt stupid and ashamed that there were required in the first place.

Moving forward a few decades, diabetes is still very much in play.  I don’t see a dietician as often now as I did when I was growing up, but I do attend a lot of diabetes conferences where registered nurses, dieticians, and nurse educators present, giving me access to refresher courses on food, eating well, and the latest in food and diabetes research. The plastic food is still in play, only the plastics aren’t relegated to my CDE’s bookcases anymore.  Now, the plastics are invading my home.  My daughter’s room is awash with kitchen playthings and miniature versions of what my dietician used as visual aids back in the day.  We talk quite a bit about food and why we eat the things we do.  I try not to let my food-through-the-lens-of-diabetes mindset invade how she sees her plate, even though it’s hard, since we spend so much time together and she sees so much of my diabetes day-to-day management (attempts).

“We need to eat healthy foods so we can grow to be strong and smart and healthy,” I tell her.  “Yeah, and we always need to eat something green with our meals,” she adds, knowingly.  “And sometimes we have juice in the fridge, but it’s for your low blood sugars.”

I don’t want my daughter to think that there are so many food “rules.”  I want her to eat things that make her feel good and that taste good, without looking at her plate and thinking her value as a person rests there.

In her room, she ‘cooks’ up a storm, throwing random items into the plastic stock pot on her pretend stove.  “We need an eggplant, and a hard boiled eggie, and some ash … ash … ASHparagust, and Wonder Woman,” with all of the aforementioned tossed into the “boiling” water.

“What are you cooking, Birdzone?”

“I’m making soup. It will be so delicious. When I’m done, you can have a bowl.”

“What’s in it?”

“Don’t worry, Mommy.  There’s something green in there.  There’s ashparagust.”

March is National Nutrition Month (more about that on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website), and this year’s campaign encourages people to “Enjoy the taste of eating right.”  The phrasing of that message is so hopeful, and without residual shame:  enjoy.  Enjoy the taste of eating right, whatever “right” might be for you.Yes!  I’d like to!  I’ll do that!

My hope is to eventually shake the preposition off “eating with diabetes” and just focus on “eating.”

Close, but(t) not close enough.

“My mom?  She has brown hair and a red shirt,” said my daughter’s playgroup friend, climbing up the jungle gym.

“My mom is over there.  She has a pump in her butt,” my daughter pointed towards me and waved, causing me to quickly answer the look of surprise on the other parents’ faces with a brief, panicked explanation of the insulin pump connected to the top of my left hip.

 

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