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Posts tagged ‘exhaustion’

Releasing the Kraken … Into Our Home.

… he’s definitely not the Kraken.  That nickname will never stick because so far, our littlest friend is mild mannered.  He’s more Clark Kent than Kraken.  (Mixing my superheroes and myths this morning; feel free to blame the sleep debt and my attempt to repay it with caffeine.)

But he’s home, and even though he’s a sweet boy, he’s still an infant and our house is ROCKED by his presence.  My body remains equally as rocked by his escape, and my diabetes management is so confused that my pancreas, were it to have a head, would be scratching it with confusion.

OUR HOUSE:  Remains in the middle of our street, only it’s bursting at the seams with burp cloths and tiny little articles of clothing that require origami skills in order to snap up.  The laundry this little man produces is astounding, as are the number of diapers he rips through … and the number of times he’d like to eat during the course of a day.  For someone so small, the baby came with a lot of stuff.

(But I’m so glad he’s here.  I’ve never been so happy to have my house turned inside out in my life.)

MY BODY:  Is slightly less than a wonderland.  I talked about the c-section and cannot stress enough how different it was from my first surgical birth experience.  When I examined myself after having Birdy, I had a sizable scar and serious gas pain, but didn’t feel as though I’d been put through the wringer.  Ringer?  (W)ringer.  This c-section was very different because it felt busy during (lots of pressure and they actually needed to use the vacuum to assist in removing my son from the womb, poor kid) and the aftermath was not pretty.  I had a lot of bleeding after this one, more than the first time.  I also didn’t get a good look at my scar, etc. while I was in the hospital (they are smart to keep full length mirrors OUT of the postpartum recovery rooms) so I saw the mess for the first time when we came home.

Holy shit, the bruising.  The three or four inches of skin real estate underneath my incision was entirely black and blue and it looked as though I was wearing blue underpants.  I (am embarrassed to say) that I cried when I saw it because it looked so frigging VIOLENT.  Thankfully, 15 days later, the bruising is entirely gone and all that remains is the incredible shrinking uterus and the healing incision, but for the first week or so, I had a hard time checking the incision because it looked so Frankenstein’s monsterish.

And aside from the obvious diabetes stuff, I’m currently taking a blood thinner (thank you, Factor V Leiden) for six weeks, and am also unable to drive for six weeks.  The blood thinner is a little painful but totally manageable (one injection every night – easy enough).  The not driving thing is MAKING ME GO BANANAS because my freedom is entirely MIA.  I’m relying on friends and family for trips to the pediatrician, picking up prescriptions, getting groceries … every little thing requires assistance from a volunteer chauffeur.  And since I don’t want to trouble anyone more than I already have to, I’m placing some screwball orders on Amazon … like for the dry erase board eraser required on my daughter’s back-to-school list.  Or the long sleeve, size 0-3 month onesies for my son.  Or coffee, damn it.  I’m really excited to be able to get back behind the wheel and reclaim some semblance of independence.

DIABETES HEY OOOOH:  I cannot complain about how diabetes did its thing during the 38 weeks of pregnancy.  I didn’t have any tragic lows, there weren’t unmanageable highs, and the lack of pre-eclampsia was an excellent change of pace for this round.  During delivery, even though I was terrified, my blood sugars stayed solid.  And throughout my stay at the hospital, my blood sugars were without issue.  It was kind of awesome, and surely will stay that way forever, right?

HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAA … now that my placenta has been kicked out of my womb and I’m breastfeeding a newborn, all kinds of diabetes hell has broken loose.  My blood sugars – once calm and dare I say predictable? – are now pinging and ponging all over the damn place.  My insulin:carb ratios are 1:20 (versus pre-pregnancy 1:11 and during pregnancy rates as low as 1:5) and my basal rate is 0.3u per hour (versus pre-pregnancy of .5u and during pregnancy rates as high as 1u per hour).  And absent the breastfeeding, these rates would probably hold tight for a few weeks until they started to require increasing, eventually bringing me back up to where I was pre-pregnancy … at least ish.

But breastfeeding is its own circus.  The act of breastfeeding does not make me hypoglycemic, but the act of producing milk does, so I’m going low mostly while my milk supply is filling up.  If this was a predictable cycle, I could plan snacks/meals around my son’s appetite and my anticipated refilling, but the cycle isn’t one I can map.  I can’t even guess.  Some times, I go low 15 minutes after feeding him.  Other times it takes up to an hour and a half for the low to hit.  I’m not sure when I should eat, causing my CGM graph to look all Ms and Ws.  If my experience with Birdy helps inform this round, I should have a more predictable blood sugar response around the time that my son is a month old.  Which means that I have two more week of letting my body ebb and flow and get all confused before it aligns to some kind of schedule.

The madness of a newborn added to the mix of an already all-over-the-place family is exactly what we had anticipated.  We’re exhausted.  (While driving home from a pediatrician appointment, Chris turned to me at a stop light and asked, “This is really happening, right?  Like this isn’t a dream?  We’re actually driving right now?”  The lack of sleep is like we’re on the tumble dry setting in the dryer, all jumbled and confusing and warm and is this real life?)  We’re adjusting.  (Birdy is doing her best to make sense of the new little creature in our house.  She loves him.  But I’m on the watch for sibling angst as well.)  We’re grateful.  (Issues like a messy house? Exhaustion? Sore body?  Bring those issues on, because I’m happy as hell to have these as my problems.)  And we’re in love with this little guy, who despite being only 15 days old, feels like he’s been part of the party forever.

 

Slackertown Jones.

In just over a week’s time, I let everything go to shit.

Meter average is up 40 points.  (Note:  Do you call the mg/dL units “points,” too?)  I haven’t exercised since before the IDF Congress.  For much of the last two weeks, I’ve spent way too much time in the car, on a plane, on a train, or sitting in meetings.  I had a pump-meets-dress conundrum that resulted in a frustration-induced pump vacation.  I haven’t achieved nearly the amount of sleep I need to remain human.  Food choices/offerings have been crap, as a result of traveling and laziness and poor planning.

And is there a tutorial on the web for Star Wars snowflakes or am I having uncomfortably specific dreams again?  (Answer:  oh MY.)

The cumulative effect of this lack of attention to my health is that I feel like I’m rolled in Play-Doh.  Just a few days without exercise and decent food or sleep has taken me down several pegs in my health-o-meter, and I’m itching with anticipation to de-slothify.  For me, so many aspects of my health are tied together, which means when one goes, they all go.  Like in Backdraft.  (“You go … we go.”  Such a good scene.)

Which means that I have to make a conscious and immediate effort to rein things in before it escalates.  I have zero desire to take steps backwards in my healthcare.  It’s been less than two weeks of slacking off, and that’s not long enough for a habit to form.  Now that I’m home for several weeks, it’s time to get things back to form.

… yes, this is the pep talk I’ve been giving myself on the train ride home from New Jersey this afternoon.   But now I’ve written it down, which means I will hold myself accountable.  Damn it.

Up and Running.

Being on the blood sugar wagon is good, and easy to stay on once I’m settled in and wheeling along, whistling Dixie or maybe not because I can’t whistle so perhaps instead humming the theme song to The Facts of Life.  But holy moly, falling off the wagon hurts, because it’s usually a face-first plummet into mud, or some unmentionable.  Like full-sugar pudding.  Or a pile of cacti.  Or perhaps shit.

For over a year, diabetes was painted into the corner by being diligent about testing, correcting mild high blood sugars (bringing those 150’s back to 100’s, with less fear of hypoglycemia), and faithfully wearing/reacting to/being proactive about readings on the CGM graph.  Once I was in a good grove of those activities, things were solid, and I had the meter averages and A1C results that (finally) reflected the work I was putting in.

Unfortunately, when my husband was away for two months and I was both solo-parenting and finishing writing my book, I didn’t do very well staying on the wagon.  “Shut up; I tried” became a crappy mantra I hung on to while trying to keep things afloat until Chris came home.   And it became clear how quickly good habits can pull loose at the seams and unravel into some sloppy diabetes management.  (Yes, I’m on wagons and painting things into corners and working on some stitching, it seems.  Metaphors for breakfast!)

Chris has been home for two weeks, and the blood sugar part of climbing back on the wagon has improved.  Checking my blood sugar first thing in the morning, before doing anything else, is part of the routine again.  (I mentally picture my meter as a handcuff, holding me to the bed, and I can’t get out of bed until I test.  Which works, in theory, until the mental image starts to feel inappropriate, at which point I start to feel like a pervert.)  Reacting to blood sugar numbers is becoming easier again because the responsibility of house and child is shared again, freeing up some room in my brain for diabetes math.

What I’m having trouble with is the forcing of exercise.  Over the course of Chris being away, I wasn’t able to run much due to Bird-watching, and getting to the gym with regularity was tough due to the same issue.  Despite having an ellipmachine in the basement, I wasn’t feeling it by the time Birdy was asleep.  Most nights, I was asleep early, too, or up until embarrassing hours, working.  In the course of two months, stress and exhaustion ripped the fun out of working out, and my stamina and fitness and weight and general feeling of “healthy” went out the window.  Now that I’m trying to get back into the rhythm, it’s challenging to find that fun again because I feel like I’m jumping out from a sloth-ish starting point.  It’s the time, though.  Finding time for this stuff sounds so easy, in theory, but in practice, it’s tougher to pull off.

When I have time, I like going for a run.  (Shockingly enough, I actually enjoy running now, versus a year ago when running a mile made my lungs feel like they were going to fall out of my body and flop against the sidewalk like dying fish.)  My music mostly lives on Spotify, and making playlists for longer runs brings me weird joy.  I always feel accomplished when I finish, even though I usually hate everything about everything when I start.

As with everything else related to diabetes, once I climb back onto the wagon, it’s smooth sailing.  Making the effort for exercise is worth it, because even though it seems like a drop in the bucket, practice makes perfect.  I need to be the early bird, making hay while the sun shines and keeping my nose to the grindstone.  Rain or shine, I can do this until I’m blue in the face.

Sleep, Perchance to … Sleep.

Do the “check my blood sugar” routine before bed, to see that my blood sugar is rising.  Perform conservative correction.  Listen to the Dexcom wail for a few hours as my blood sugar falls back into range.  Wake up at 3 am to test again, to make sure I haven’t over-corrected.  Looks okay at 3 am.  Wake up at 4 am to the fast “beep, beep, beep” of the Dexcom, alerting a low.  Treat the low, curse my bad math (and busted pancreas), and go back to sleep.  Wake up at 6 am to the sound of the Birdzone, announcing that she’s “ready to have a day!”

It’s like having a newborn all over again.

Only it’s diabetes.

The last three nights have been horrible, sleep-wise, due to diabetes.  Or mostly due to diabetes.  It’s been hard to fall asleep the last few nights due to other things, as well, like when I make the mistake of looking at my email on my phone before bed (shuttling myself right down the work-related rabbit hole), or when my thoughts are on spin cycle.  Or when Birdy has a nightmare and yells out in her sleep.  Or now, when Loopy decides that there are unsupervised socks underneath the bed that need corralling, and she brings them to us with vigor throughout the night.

Sleep is not happening.

I used to think I could pay off a sleep debt by logging extra hours in bed on the weekends.  Weeknights until 2 am, up for work for 8.30 am was fine, so long as I slept until 10 or 11 am on weekends.  But now, I’m ancient and moldy and I need some more sleep, damn it.  Not clocking at least six hours every night makes me miserable, and I want to nap during the day (only my kid gave up naps a billion years ago, making her both a determined toddler and also potentially a dinosaur, if that thing about nap a billion years ago is true).  Sleep debts remain unpaid, and interest is accruing.

Not sleeping makes a mess of my blood sugars, my work, my ability to keep up with the house (which is saying quite a bit, since the house doesn’t move), and my mindset.  I’m not able to make sharp diabetes decisions because I’m in the fog of exhaustion and as a result, my response time for everything other than hypos is delayed.   The last few days, I’ve been trolling around my house going through the motions of the day, not entirely tuned in.

I need sleep to make things click again.  And by “things,” I mean like blinking, and remembering to chew.

Loopy is also pissed off that she can’t sleep.

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