Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't Upset the Momma Bear

So, it's been a LONG while since my last blog.  I love blogging, just don't have the time these days.  Today, I am making time.  Well, and both kiddos are asleep at the same time.

Woke up this morning to another beautiful day.  The birds were singing God's praises already at 6:30 AM.  The sun was peeking through the blinds promising a splendid day.  When I let the dog outside, it wasn't even the least bit chilly (which was great because I was in my robe with only undies and a nursing bra underneath because of the late night spit-up that covered my PJ's compliments of Ollie).  Even the breeze was warm.  Like I said, beautiful.

Each week we have been attending this playgroup on Monday's.  Today, it was decided we weren't going to go.  Even after all the excitement last nite about the farm theme group today, the sunshine trumped it the moment Rohen saw it.

"Momma, who is coming over today."  A common theme at our house.  I had no plans other than playgroup which was now nixed, and a possible exciting trip to Meijer's for lettuce (to help balance out the massive amounts of Costco cake I've been eating).  Rather than playing the guessing game, I just asked him who he wanted to play with.  He choose a friend to play with and thankfully they were available to go to the park on this perfect morning.  

We take our time getting ready, a nice change to the regular "Hurry up, hurry up!  We can brush your teeth tomorrow!".  As I was dry shaving my knees (I had no idea the hair there was THAT outta control!) I asked Rohen (3 1/2 yrs) to pick out a hat.  He has multiple sun hats, a few baseball hats and one fedora.  He chooses the fedora which proves to be quite the fashion statement when combined with his cut off sweat pants and 2nd hand (THANKS Courtney!!!) "Speed Demon" shirt.  Whatever, he loves the hat, so what if he has no fashion sense.  After slathering on some sunscreen (Rodan & Fields does NOT irritate his eczema- hooray!), we grab Ollie and head out the door.

In the car Rohen puts on his Lightning McQueen Pit Crew sunglasses which completes his ensemble if his goal was to look like he got dressed in the dark.  Quite the sight, but still adorable.

Now, I have to pause here.  Most of you know Rohen.  Literally, he is sunshine.  The sweetest, kindest 3 1/2 year old boy you will ever meet.  He won't watch "Rio" because it's too sad that they birds are taken from their home.  Sweet, kind, happy, loving.  These are what come to mind when I think of Rohen.  Looks, he is an average sized toddler boy.  Blonde hair, bright blue eyes.  At his 3 year appointment he was 50th percentile for height and weight.  He is extremely active and sports some pretty intense chicken legs.  He does have my cheeks aka a wide Dutch face.  They aren't anything remarkable mind you, you wouldn't look at them and think "look at those cheeks!!!"...average.

We meet our friends and play for awhile having lots of fun.  They head out for lunch and we decide to stay for awhile longer.  Rohen is running around like a maniac and Ollie (4 months) is watching him longingly.  I am trying to keep Ollie in the shade, but can still see Rohen and 99% of the time hear every word he is saying.   

After making several attempts, Rohen has joined in the fun of a group of boys there for a birthday party.  One of the boys who looks slightly older than Rohen...maybe 4 1/2 yrs...comes up to Rohen and starts to take off his sunglasses.  I am watching curiously, not sure what is going on, but wanting to make sure his glasses don't get lost or broken.  As he is taking them off, I hear him say "I want to see your face."  Rohen just stands there and I hear him say "Ok" in his cute little kid voice.  

This is where it happens.  This is where the little boy nearly meets his end.  This is where the little boy and his mother (Or was his father there?  No one would no because they were NO WHERE TO BE FOUND!) nearly got the smack down.  

The little boy gets Rohen's sunglasses off and looks at him in the eye and says....

"You are chubby.  I don't play with chubby kids."

Puts Rohen's glasses back, see's me giving him the death glare of a Momma Bear defending her cub while menacing toward him, and gets out of there like the cowardice bully he is.  

Rohen stays standing there, seemingly oblivious to what has happened.  The other kids of the birthday party he tried so hard to join, are still around him, although beginning to scatter in their play.  

"Momma, what does chubby mean?  That boy said I am chubby.  What does that mean?"  This isn't the question of a boy who knows he has been insulted.  This is the question of a naive little boy who doesn't even realize that the boy is not his friend.  And I don't know what breaks my heart more.  The fact that the little boy said such a thing about my sunshine, or the fact that my sunshine still loves that little boy and wants to play with him desperately.

"Well buddy, chubby means that you have Mommy's face.  We have nice Dutch faces that make our smiles extra big so they can make even more people happy than anyone else's smile can."  I give him a hug and we go to another area of the park.

Rohen continues to make friends with other girls and boys, all of which are sweet and kind.  They play pirate ship and everything else little kids like to do at big play structures.  Ollie and I are on the lookout for 'the boy' and can never seem to pinpoint who his guardian is.  I don't know why I was looking for them anyway.  I wasn't going to speak to the mother or father.  I guess I just wanted to see him/her.  

It's been a few hours, and Rohen has long since forgotten it all.  I am still a bit upset at 'the boy' and his lack of parent.  I feel sad for 'the boy'.  Sad that maybe he comes from a place that he hears this type of attitude often validated, and sad that no one was there to correct his behavior.  Sad that maybe he has insecurities himself.  But mostly sad for Rohen, and sad for 'the boy' who never got the chance to play with my sunshine.  Because that's what he is, sunshine personified.      

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Perfect Storm

I haven't blogged in way too long.  The list of excuses is so long I can't even remember the first excuse I had.  Finally, I have time.

Today was a pretty good day.  The toddler did considerably well at playgroup, although I suspect that toddler is "that kid".  You know, the one that if you didn't see what happened you just automatically blame for whatever went wrong.  There is evidence showing he is "that kid", or at least viewed as "that kid" by some.  Either way, I was proud of his behavior today.  Particularly the compassion he shows towards beings smaller than himself (or big animals on tv that look smaller than him because they are on tv).  There was some nature movie on tonight and every animal that came on the screen was followed by "Hello little hump back whale (or whatever), I want to swim with you and cuddle you."  Yeah, I know!  I cried.

But lets back track to before the crying.

Lets back track to last week.  I busted out a new box of Freestyle test strips last week.  And they didn't work.  Not because I am an idiot, but because they are the wrong stupid strips.  I kindly called the company who, of course, said they will send me new ones ASAP and I can send back the wrong ones.  Great.  I have no Freestyle strips left.  It's Friday afternoon, I can't get strips from the doctor.  Ugh.  So I grab the handy old One Touch Ultra Mini and some extra One Touch strips and carried around some extra luggage all weekend (Omnipod for bolusing and Mini for BGs).   I lived.  The strips came today.  They are different than the wrong ones I have, but they are still wrong.  Yes.  The WRONG strips again. 

I call the company again and they apologize, the new strips are on their way.  Great (there is no excitement there). 

In the lag time I decided it's CGM time.  Haven't worn it for a month, time to throw it back on.  I start it, which takes 3 hours.  Error message.  Annoying.  Restart it and pray the next 3 hours make a miracle.  They don't.  Last shot before I run over it with Souleste...

While I was waiting, I went for a run- I know.  We were suppose to swim but it got too late, so I ran.  Checked the BG before leaving- 103.  A little low for pre-run for me so I threw a 5-7g Easter Clearance Robin's Egg (I only have like 3.6 lbs left of them) in my mouth, grabbed the dog and her poop bag, turned on the iPod ("She's a Bad Mamma Jamma" started me out tonight) and took off. 

When I say took off, I should elaborate.  I have a pace and it works for me.  I am very proud of my pace normally.  If you run, and you are proud of your pace do yourself a favor and don't do what I did.  Don't take your dog.  Especially a small dog.  I have a Miniature Schnauzer- she has a small gait- and she still manages to walk while I run.  Not a great confidence booster.  As I pass the neighbors, I avoid eye contact for 2 reasons.  1. My iPod is thumping "Bad Mamma Jamma", I am not turning it down and I can't hear 'em.  2. My dog is walking faster than I am running!  Really???  There is no way I have the confidence to raise my head or gaze at this point.  As far as I am concerned, no one saw me.

Get back from my run and notice my Omnipod is about to expire so I just rip it off and discard it.  I will shower and then fix it.  My after run BG is 62 so I grab another Robin's egg.  Kinda defeats the whole calorie burning part of the run, but hey, it's the thought that counts.  Maybe I can think myself into a hot bod. 

Toddler wants to cuddle momma a bit and tells me how much he missed me while I was gone running for a whole 20 mins.  Precious.  Kiss him good night and go to shower.

Clean myself up and am feeling pretty good inspite of myself.  CGM is ready to be calibrated so I check the BG.  264.  WHAT??!?!  That can't be right.  Retest 259- Ohhhh that's much better.  NOT!  (I know, I just dated myself).  At least the CGM is working.  It's been like 30 mins since I took off my pod.  30 mins and a super hot shower.  And I started with a low BG.  Whatev.

Throw on a new pod and bolus to try and combat my syrup blood.

I noticed the last few days, since the new insulin vial was opened that they BG's haven't been great, hence the CGM.  I figured it was those Robin's eggs throwing on extra lbs so I uped the basal. 

I can't type what my next BG was an hour later.  I am embarrassed.  Lets just say it was more than 264 but less than "Call an ambulance, I'm going into sugar shock." 

Check the pod- insertion site is flawless.  It better be,  I changed it an hour ago.  Never had this happen before.  I don't know what to do.  What I do know is that the BG is ridiculous and this insulin is doing nothing.  OHHH!!!  The insulin!!!  That's it!  The insulin is bad!  (Give me a break, I am still new at this).

Take out my last vial of insulin and pray it's good.  Remove my perfectly good pod and discard it.  Fill a new pod with new insulin, throw it on and wait.

So, now I'm waiting.  All I want is a snack or to go to bed.  Neither is a good decision now.  A snack, unless it's a piece of meat, cheese or raw broccoli is not a good idea when my bgs are that high already. Going to bed is also not a good idea because I know that I will just ignore my bgs while I sleep.  I can't go for another run, they don't recommend exercise over 250.  Which I am still at.  At least it's progress. 

So, today is the perfect storm.  No compatible test strips, 2 CGM failures and bad insulin.  Just when I got into a groove.  And that, my friends, is why I always want 2 vials of extra insulin and at least 3 boxes of extra strips and 4 extra pods hanging around.  With diabetes, you can't prepare enough.  Trust me.  I tried. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The end of a legacy

Many of you have enjoyed a ride in "Bonnie" the 1995 green Bonneville.  How I love my Bonnie.  In 1996, Bonnie came home with my parents- a brand new car.  She was beautiful.  Her forest green color was all the rage, and coupled with my dad's pinstripe job, well, she was a beauty. 

In her younger years, Bonnie would smile at you when you approached her.  Or at least it seemed that way.  You would smile when you approached her and her smooth, glossy side panels would reflect your smile right back.  Her motto in life was "Luxary with Attitude" and she lived it that way everyday. 

In 1999 I inheritated Bonnie from my parents.  She was a little upset to lose her place in the garage, her smile faded a bit, but she never complained.  Day in and day out she would pull in and out of the gravel pit to bring me to school.  The little rocks sticking between her tire treads.  Every once in awhile we'd go play on the highway.  She LOVED to show me what she was made of, purring as the accelerator hit the floor. 

Years went by.  Her air conditioning gave out, but her windows worked well.  Together we learned how to put on a spare.  She always stayed in good shape.  I took care of her and she took care of me.  She was never a gas guzzler- we made it from Houghton to Grand Rapids on only 1 tank of gas getting 28 mpg, well above what was expected from her.

Finally, after all her hard work, she got a garage again.  This garage wasn't heated like the last, but at least it was covered from the elements.  The swamp beneath her tires never bothered her, not even on cold winter nights.  Bonnie was just happy to be loved and appreciated.  I was always so proud of her reliability- others would comment about her.  "She will run forever, she has a great motor in her."  Everyone knows that the motor is the heart of a car, and hers was made of gold.

More time went on and she developed a few more quirks.  The passenger side door stubbornly refused to unlock unless done manually from the inside.  Rust over a wheel.  All things that happened to her, nothing that she did wrong.  Her beauty began to fade on the outside, but on the inside it grew.

She carried me through horrendous weather, to and from Holland while I was carrying baby boy.  Cars off the road everywhere, but not Bonnie.  No, Bonnie would never allow anything to happen to me or my precious cargo.  Holding the road tight, she carried on.

Baby arrived and Bonnie took the change gracefully into mommy mobile.  As baby boy grew he began to recognize Bonnie as Mommy's car.  He would happily point Bonnie out in a crowd of cars saying "Dat's mommy's car."  Sure, she wasn't the youngest car on the block and she had her quirks, but don't we all?  She remained reliable and practical, never asking for much more than an oil change here and some gas there.

Time went on and Bonnie continued to age.  Rust started on her roof, but it didn't matter...just a sign of how long she had served her family proudly.  Kind of like laugh lines, they are earned.

Then the gas in the garage incident occurred.  She just couldn't hold her bladder, the poor girl, I knew she felt disgraced.  For how little she cost us through the years, it was a small price to pay to have her fixed.  It was then that we got the news.  "She's really rusted under there.  We managed to fix her this time without anything else breaking, but there are no guarantees how long anything will last or what will happen with future repairs.  You really need a new car."

It was so hard to hear.  But she is my Bonnie.  Are you sure?  Can't we just keep fixing her?  She will be ok, she is always ok.  Then the realization.  She is 16 years old.  If the mechanic who stands to make a lot of money in repairs says the end is near, we cannot ignore it.

I brought her home alone that night.  We cried together, or rather I cried to her.  Her years of devoted service.  So reliable, never complaining.  The silent friend who is always there for you...never asking for anything in return.  Oh how I love my Bonnie.

Things changed after that night.  I was afraid to depend on Bonnie.  We no longer washed her under carriage for fear it would loosen the rust holding her together.  The snow plow piles at the end of the driveway that used to look like so much fun to plow through just looked like a possible resting ground for her.  Shoveling the swamp from the garage became a regular occurance...trying to keep it from doing poor Bonnie any more damage.  I constantly smelled the marshland beneath her in the garage praying it wasn't more gas.  Slushy roads were no longer a challenge but a reason to slow down until we were passed by minivans with mom's and newborns in them.  Her nickname became "the green bomb" because I was afraid she would blow at any moment.

Discussions began.  Discussions I hoped to never have.  What to do with poor Bonnie.  How long does she have left?  My heart aches just thinking of it.  We cannot do anything for her.  I hate that feeling.  What is next?  How did the years go by so quickly?  Why must things change?

One evening I felt it, it was time.  The next morning the toddler and I picked up Nonnie-bo-nonnie to test drive another.  The goal was to hate this new car.  Cute as that Kia Soul is, I must hate her.  She is different than Bonnie.  She is young, she has no devotion to us.

Loading the car seat into the Soul was remarkably easy, but still I held back.  The seats are so comfortable, she has a lot of room inspite of the fact that she is 1/2 the size of Bonnie.  Her sticker boasts amazing gas mileage.  But no, Bonnie has a full tank of gas and I don't drive far.  There is no need for a change.

Wow, she manuevers so easily.  And she is spunky despite her smaller engine.  I might like this new Soul.  The worry about rusting out parts leaves my mind.  I can drive her anywhere and it's ok.  Those railroad tracks aren't a problem.  The bumpy road is fine.  Toddler is calling it a race car.  Ha!  This Soul is good, she has a good soul.  But she is certainly too expensive.  Good thing I still have Bonnie.

"How did you like it?" asks the dealer.  "Not bad, some road noise."  I know how to play this game.  We enter his office.  I don't like to play games.  I want to know bottom price now.  I want to know top price for Bonnie now.

"We looked at your Bonneville here is what they will offer you if you trade."  I glance at the paper and notice there is an extra digit in it than I expected.  WOW!  Apparently they can see she has a heart of gold.  They appreciate her even in her old age and rust.  The dealer explains that his son is in the market for a car and he is hoping that if the deal works out, that he can buy this car for his son.  A likely story I think.  He knows the level of my attachement to her.  Certianly the price will be high on the Soul.

"Here is what I can offer the Soul to you for."  My eyes bulge a little, really?  That is close to what I had only dreamed of paying, I never thought we'd see that number. Maybe he has talked to AT&T recently and heard that I complain about even a 10 cent increase.  Or perhaps he glanced at my bank account and young son and felt pity on us.  Or maybe he noticed my $3 Target turtle neck for what it was even with my attempt to 'class it up' a bit. 

I am honest with him, as I was brought up to be.  "That is close to a number I think we would be comfortable with.  To be honest, I expected to have to argue with you to get close to that price.  I hate dickering.  I appreciate you being up front and not making me fight." 

"Will you buy this car?"  And that is where a wife ends her reign or independance.  I explain that my husband and I make monetary decisions together and that I was test driving hoping to hate this new Soul, but I am in need of a new car.  I promise that I want my husband to test drive it and the rest is up to him.

"Will you put down a deposit to hold it for the day until your husband can come drive it?"

This is a bold move on my part.  "Yes."  The move is voided a little in the fact that the check I write is for more that is in my account at the moment.

"Should I have it ready for you to take home tonight?  I will fill up the tank and wash it for you."

Gas is $3.45 a gallon now, that's worth like $150 in itself.  I know what he's asking though, how serious am I.  I am asking myself the same question.  "What if we don't take it?"  He says that's fine, but he will fill it up just in case.  He knows.  He has been doing this long enough to know that this Soul is perfect for my family and me.  It's a practical choice, and it is obvious I am a practical kind of person.

I e-mail hubby when I get home with the news.  Yes I love the Soul.  In fact, I love the Soul enough to let the Bonneville go.  They have a 2010 they want to move, no it's not Alien green like I hoped, but the light silver is more practical for resale and it won't show the dirt.  The price is amazing.  Please go and test drive it.  I will respect your decision.  You have never lead our family astray and I trust your judgement 100%.  I coyly add either way we have to go there to get the deposit back.

We take the Bonnie to hubby's test drive, stopping at the bank on the way there to pick up some cash to flash.  Good thing we get paid this week.

I introduce hubby to friendly dealer whom I trust.  The Soul is parked up front nice and clean, she is smiling at me.  No, it's just my reflection.  It reminds me of Bonnie when she was young and it makes me feel familar with this Soul, like an old friend.

Hubby likes the Soul, which is no surprise to me.  Everything is great for us.  It's like the stars lined up and sent her to us as a gift.    He says we should offer $1000 less.  I am half paying attention.  Whatever you want to do honey.  I trust you.  I know I am going home with this Soul tonight, which means that Bonnie will be left behind.

Hubby puts on his poker face.  Dealer smiles, he knows that hubby is doing his job and he appreciates it.  He knows that we are buying this Soul, but he won't take advantage of that knowledge.  Dealer shows hubby the figures and hubby kind of stops puzzled.  It is only $87 more than the price he said on the test drive with me.  My e-mail to him wasn't clear.  I can see his mind rethinking his offer.  He throws out a number and we split the difference.  The men shake on it and I have a new car.

Hubby moves everything from Bonnie to Souleste as I learn all the gadgets and gizmos.  He knows that even in my excited state that it is hard for me to say goodbye.  I can call you from my steering wheel!  How cool!  I play with a few things and then turn to Bonnie.  I take one last good look at her and a tear rolls down my cheek.  Love you Bonnie.  Thank-you Bonnie.  You have been a blessing to our family Bonnie, and you have left a legacy.

Dealer looks at me and says "I was serious about buying that car.  I am going to talk to the manager tomorrow.  That car has a great engine.  My son would love it."  I know she will be well cared for.  He has access to parts and services for prices we could otherwise never afford.  But it's still hard to say goodbye. 

I walk up to Souleste, my own little mid-life crisis, hopefully toddler's first car, our family's first brand new car, and the beginning of a new chapter.  She smiles at me, she saw Bonnie and has decided she is up for the challenge.

Why name her Souleste?  The stars all had to align to bring us together...and she's got soul.  And now we do too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pits and Giggles

A friend called yesterday and asked "How's it going?".

I know this is a question that people ask all the time.  I ask it all the time.  It's a conversation starter.  It's the 'my toddler is napping too and we haven't talked since the last time they napped at the same time so lets talk about the new important stuff first and quickly because who knows how long toddler wants to sleep today" question.  The trouble with that question is how to answer it.  I have such a hard time answering.  3 things run through my head.
1. How close are we?
2. Does she really want the truth?
3. How much time do we have to talk before toddler wakes up?

Since you are reading this I am assuming you are expecting toddler to nap for awhile and are ready for an ear full.

Let me tell you about yesterday.  After saving about 15 'free class' coupons for gymboree, the toddler and I signed up to go.  We were very excited for this experience.  The nearest gymboree is 26 minutes away according to the gps in my car.  With gas at $3.17 a gallon, well, this class is no longer free, but it will be fun.

We manage to get ready on time and are out the door by 9:45, the class starts at 10:30.  Make a Bigby (why can't it still be Beaners again?) run (responsible diabetic comes back from vacation tomorrow) with a gift card from one of hubby's students.  A side note, if your kid has a male teacher and you want to get him something nice but don't know what, get something for his wife.  Gift card for a place with curbside to go, coffee, whatever.  Happy wife = happy life.  Just saying.

Bigby run done and we are on our way.  Toddler is mimicking the gps's instructions for me.  He is very helpful.  Suddenly he says "Weady (ready) mommy?".  Oh no, he has a ball and knows how to use it.  We have been working on asking someone if they are ready to catch a ball.  I am driving down the highway, in traffic, sipping a skinny caffineted carmely drink, with an armed and 'weady' toddler in the back.  "No!!!  We don't throw balls in the car."  Please oh please listen this one time.   

He listened.  Crisis avoided.  Thank-you!!!  It's gonna be a good day.  Or not.

10:29 we pull into the parking lot of the would be gymboree that is not there.  "You have arrived!" announces the gps in the annoying lady voice.  "Mommy get out" toddler yells pulling at the car seat straps.  Where is this place?

I call the number (which I thankfully wrote down) and am told they moved over a year ago, but since I always recycle the new phones books because I am too lazy to replace the old one and recycle the new one I missed the memo on this.  The SUPER nice lady gives me perfect directions and says class is running a few minutes late anyway, we can still make it.  YAY! 

Gymboree is a padded room full of super safe kid toys that toddler falls in love with.  I learn at the end of class, that gymboree is also pricey.  In my head I am hearing hubby "If you really think you want to sign up, but I don't think we need to spend the money on it."  I am also hearing my mom "You are too busy, your calendar is overbooked, you need time to relax with toddler".  Ok, so this adds something to the calendar, but it has been quite some time since toddler and I have had this much playing and imaginating.  I sign up.

Driving home I get to thinking.  Hubby's car needs new brakes and probably new rotars.  Why did I sign up?  This is not good timing.  Toddler loves it.  I love it.  Hubby will be mad. Have I made an impulse buy?  Was I overcome by the bubbles that don't pop and parachute games?  Maybe it was how she sang the itsy bitsy spider to toddler as he climbed the ropes.  Ack.  Well, too late now.  It's gonna be fun quality time. 

As I am driving I am smelling gas.  It must be the car in front of me.  You know, the nice SUV that's about 15 years newer than my car.  I change lanes, I don't want to blow up because THEIR car is leaking gas.  Funny, this car smells gasy too.  Could it be my car?  Just ignore it, it will go away.  Cause that works well with everything.

I work at a pet grooming salon, and I have to make a quick stop on the way home to check some messages, etc.  Toddler and I make a 'quick' (45 min) stop at work.  16 messages, a hair covered and shoeless toddler later, we are ready to go.  He enjoyed the visit though, he pretended to cut dog toe nails with a can opener.  Looks like he's going to take after me- loves animals and imaginative (aka not too bright).

So I pick up my now hairy wet dog smelling child and load him into the car.  Boy, this place smells like gas.  It must be that cheap car over there.  MY car is in perfect working order.  It couldn't be my car. 

Get the kid to nap and pay some bills.  Go to run out to the mail box and smell a LOT of gas.  And there is a puddle under my car.  Not that uncommon (our garage is a wetland remember), but the rest of the garage is dry.  Slowly the puzzle starts coming together.  That puddle is gas coming from MY car.  Huh.  HUH?!  Oh no, I have done gas tank repairs before and I know 2 things about them.  1. They usually costs you a tank of gas too.  I paid like $3.17 a gallon for that tank 2 days ago for 1/8 of it to coat our swampy garage floor.  2. They are EXPENSIVE.  But hubby needs brakes...and I just paid bills...and we had a blizzard so I didn't work much....and GYMBOREE!!!   

This is bad, this is very very bad.  For a moment I consider packing the kid and dog up and putting everything of value in the front yard and suddenly taking up smoking.  Nah, too obvious.  JUST KIDDING Justin (my insurance guy who sometimes reads this)!!!  My father's voice is running through my mind "You know honey, that car isn't going to run forever.  At some point you have to decide what you're going to do.  You really should get a NEW car, the NEW car prices are pretty good now."  To which the voice in my head replies "But you say to pay cash for everything dad.  They don't sell new cars for what I can sell my 16 yr old no air conditioning rusting now leaking gas car for."  Now what?

My mind is racing with what-if's and bad news.  People say bad news comes in 3's.  We are at like 67 in the last week.  And I try to be the silver lining person.  For every 'bad' thing I force myself to think of 2 blessings to thank God for.  No matter how you look at though, 67 is a lot. 

As I am processing all the bad things my thoughts turn to my blood sugar.  Bad things?  Diabetes is bad.  Speaking of which, better test the BG.  While I'm at it, lets call and see what those HemA1C results are.  Make a good ol' day outta it.  Maybe I can still get in for a pelvic too!  Oh no, I can't drive my soon out of gas car.  Drat!

You need to know something about my A1C.  An A1C is a percent that corresponds with your average blood sugar over the last 3 months.  Basically it's the way your body tattles on you to your doctor.  Anything under 7% for a T1 is 'acceptable'.  If one were to try to become pregnant, it might be recommended to stay under 6%.  I am a 'young' diabetic and I live, eat and breathe diabetes.  My highest A1C was 5.8% and that was when they had me diagnosed as a T2 diabetic on a long acting insulin when I was pregnant.  Since that time they have only gone down.  My previous A1C was actually in the 'non diabetic' range (though it was achieved with an insulin pump, so settle down mom, I do have diabetes.  She loves it when I talk about her. Ha!)  I was very excited about that number, but also a bit nervous about it.  I knew I shouldn't go any lower because I was getting a lot of hypos and it would be unsafe.  I actually told the doc it was a 'fake' A1C because I was having a LOT of hypos and going up and down all the time is worse than remaining steady at a higher BG. 

So, I call the office.  Whatever, I'm upset already, might as well just destroy the day altogether. 


WHAT?!?!  Are you sure?  That is amazing.  I haven't been having many hypos.  That is not a fake A1C.  That's for real.  I start giggling after I hang up the phone.  All that hard work 20 days out of the month (remember, I am a screw up when I have my period and am not ovulating).  I am geeked. 

At the same time I am a little sad.  It was always motivation to keep down my A1C, to keep getting better.  When I decided to lay off a bit it was hard to keep going.  I am burnt out, but I felt like I just didn't want to try anymore without the competition.

My new goal is to return to my previous 'non-diabetic' A1C without hypos.  That will give me incentive to not quit 10 days a month and to keep working hard.

Like I said, I hate that question "How's it going?"

After thinking about it a bit..."Pits and giggles."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What does Thomas the Train know about diabetes?

You know those books that are SUPER annoying that only grandparents buy?  The ones that have buttons to push to play music that correspond with each page. 

Well, toddler has a Thomas the Train book like this.  Each page has the words to the song that corresponds with it so whoever is reading it, me, can sing along.  Isn't that great?  I sing like a broken garbage disposal.  Regardless, it is one of toddler's favorite books.

Last night I am 'reading' this book to toddler before bed.  I have 'read' this book at least a thousand times, I know the words by heart.  If a button is pushed I can sing the tune without looking at the book.  I am a mother, it's what we do.

Lately I am feeling a little burnout with D-life.  Which is sad, since for my age I am a very young diabetic.  Most women my age have lived with this for 20yrs+.  This is, sadly, changing as more and more adults are being diagnosed as type 1.  At this point though, I feel a bit alone.  The novelty of the gadgets and gizmos has worn off.  The amazement at what techonology can do is no longer exciting, in fact, it's down right lame.  Usually, I am the silver lining person.  Not so much for the past few days...  Maybe it's because my Hem A1C is due and I know that it's going to be the highest I have ever had.  I know I haven't worked nearly as hard as I used to (10 days out of the month I am going lax).  For the first time I am truely dreading the results. 
So, 'reading' this Thomas the Train book and get to the 3rd to last song, "Surprises".  It goes like this...

Surprises, surprises,
they come all shapes and sizes.
You never know what's around the bend,
it might delight it might offend.
That's why there's surprises,
with all their highs and lows.
Do you come out top or come full stop?
Who knows, who knows, who knows?

Since when does Thomas have diabetes?  How does he know so much about this?  Needless to say, in my current state I am crying by the end of the song.  (Don't you dare suggest I am pregnant and that's why I am emotional.  I will rip your insensitive face off!)  And how does Thomas know about those 10 days each month that I drink regular coffee and when I get a 225 say "Oh well, too bad for my kidneys today."  (I know this is a bad attitude, please don't tell me about your complications because you used to have this attitude.  I know.)

The toddler is looking at me concerned.  I wipe up my tears and turn the page. 

HA!  Sorry to interrupt this story, but toddler just sat down next to me with Thomas book turned to that page.  Apparently he remembers that page.

So, I clean myself up and turn the page.  The next song, I actually used to motivate toddler when he was having a hard time with potty training.  He was VERY discouraged and confused.  At the time I took out the Thomas book and we 'read' this song.

Don't give up,
show determination.
Don't give up,
you'll be a big sensation.
Keep your wheels a turning,
your pistons pumping hard.
Keep your boilers burning,
don't idle round the yard.
Right on time you'll reach your destination.
Now's the time to show determination.

Basically, Thomas is telling me I am a major wimp and have let it slide too long.  That this is a test of my character, and even with how stubborn I am, I was not quite stubborn enough.  When the going gets tough in D-life, the tough has a breakfast pastry and cup of regular coffee with whip.  It's not that you can't eat these things as a diabetic, I mean they are not good for anyone.  It's just that I am too young of a diabetic to know exactly how my body will react to them- will the pastry break down slow or fast?  Am I going to chug this coffee?  How much extra should I bolus for the caffine?  At this point, these things are very bad for me because I don't know how to deal properly with them.  Which is why 'responsible diabetic' doesn't touch them with a 10 foot pole. 

Thomas provided me with the wake up call.  I just need the motivation now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Dat poor sweetheart with dat dumb sugar problem."

I come from a very Dutch family.  My grandparents immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands over 60 years ago, eventually settling here.  These people have lived through some incredible history.  My Oma actually had German soldiers living in her home and taking all the good livestock.  I still have to smile when she says that they put a sign on the house saying they had some terrible contagious disease so the soldiers would leave them alone.  These people have lived a life I can't even imagine.  They have seen advances in everything from healthcare to technology.  I always kind of laughed at how little they new about modern day conveniences.

No one, to my knowledge or the knowledge of my family, in my family has ever had diabetes.  This is a disease that no one really even knew about.  The only people who seemed to have any clue about diabetes were my Oma and Opa.  I was only 6 weeks pregnant when I was first (mis)diagnosed with diabetes (the doctor said "It must be type 2 because adults don't get type 1 and it's too early to be gestational").  The next time I saw my Oma she looked somber.  She asked "Sweetheart, you have dat sugar diabetes?"  When I responsed with a 'yes' her eyes glassed over and her jaw clenched tight.  I didn't understand this response.  Sure, diabetes isn't fun, but I didn't think it warranted that.  She looked at me like she would never see me again.

As time went on, I researched.  I have never in my life liked non-fiction.  I can't tell you how many non-fiction books I poured through.  One of which gave a great history of diabetes.  Do you know that people have known of diabetes for many many years?  Back in the day, the way they tested for diabetes was by tasting your urine.  Now that is a job you couldn't pay me enough for.  Mmmm, this is sweetened lemonaide.

I learned so much.  This brought into perspective how far diabetes healthcare has come.  In my Oma and Opa's lifetime, type 1 diabetes was a death sentence.  If you had the top care and followed instructions (eat nothing, drink nothing) you would be lucky to get 2 absolutely MISERABLE years.  So when I told my Oma who doesn't understand that a VHS can be replayed and you don't have to buy a new VHS everytime you want the watch The Sound of Music (they have like 8!!!), yes I have diabetes, she wasn't up on all the new 'stuff'.  She did look at me like she might never see me again because in her mind, she might never see me again.  When I made this discovery I called to explain that things have changed.  She still doesn't quite grasp this concept, so I will forever be "Dat poor sweetheart with dat dumb sugar problem."  Except when she writes sweet it is spelled sweat.

Oma and Opa are very old now.  They do ok, but they need help that they are too stubborn to accept.  The stove has been left on ("You have never done dat?") and bones somehow break in bed while they're sleeping ("No, I didn't fall going to the bathroom.").  They really aren't cheap though- they have spent their lives working very hard and saving, leaving them fortunate, blessed and giving.  Truely, they are dear sweet people that I adore.  Which is what makes this story so frusterating (and in a few years funny for me, probably funny for you now because it didn't happen to you).

After years of traveling to Florida we have managed to convince them they should no longer go.  Actually, we didn't convince them.  They started the planning process and a nurse who was coming to their home (who obviously thought this trip to Florida would have been a terrible plan too) told them that their insurance wouldn't be accepted in Florida.  In fact, their insurance would only be accepted within about 20 miles of their home.  God bless this nurse!  No Florida trip for the old folks.

I feel sad for them being home.  They are bored.  It's cold and there is nothing for them to do.  The toddler and I have been trying to make an extra effort to keep them company this winter.  Who knows how much time they have left?  We generally go over there, but the roads are clear, so today they came here for a nice cup of coffee and some cookies.  How "gezillig". 

We are blessed to have a roof over our head and heat to keep us warm.  I am not complaining about this place we live in.  Let me just say though, about 50% of the time our garage is wetter than the Netherlands before the dikes were put in.  Today is one of those days.  Needless to say it is all sandy and salty from the car.  Not to mention our driveway, which is like every other driveway here, is covered in about 2 inches of ice and hard snow. 

10:00 AM rolls around this morning and here comes the massive Lincoln pulling tenatively in the driveway.  I can read Oma's lips as she is straining to verify that this is indeed my house.  "John (which sounds more like Yon), turn John, here" in her broken english.  Toddler is running around the house yelling "Oma and Opa!!!  Me want cookie!!!"  The dog is barking like a maniac to alert us of the extremely dangerous eldery couple slowly pulling into the driveway in their tank of a car.  They pop the trunk and begin to unload food, tulips (I AM NOT JOKING!), and old dutch books.  From what I understand, these are things that only the "sweetheart with dat dumb sugar" get.  Sorry cousins, guess you should have gotten a chronic illness if you wanted old dutch books.

I fight the losing battle of keeping the toddler and the dog away from the door while trying to carry in everything the old folks brought.  (BTW, they call themselves the old folks, I am not being a brat).  I now have a lifetime supply of fruit, coffee cake, cookies and dinner for 4 for a week.  The tulips, although stereotypical, are beautiful and the books would be much more interesting if I could read Dutch. 

They enter the house through the wetlands (aka the garage).  Oma proceeds through the kitchen to the dining room where I am assuming she will sit and remove her now soaking wet, snow caked, sand sprinkled shoes.  At the first sight of 'road apples' as my husband calls them, in the kitchen I run to get a towel.  Our house isn't new and perfect, but we try to keep it nice and clean.  I am now on my hands and knees moping up road apples off my kitchen floor.  At this point I notice that no matter how much I wipe up, I am not even making a dent in this mess.  It's like it keeps growing.  I realize she isn't sitting down, but rather pacing in circles around my house with the toddler.  And Opa is on his way to join her.

Remember I am the grandchild here.  I want to give the benefit of the doubt that this is an accident she hasn't noticed.  She would not be disrespectful of all my hard work cleaning and hubby's hard work to keep us in this house.  So I make a rather loud mention that there is dirty slush all over my freshly washed laminate flooring (that isn't suppose to get THAT wet).  Nothing.  I am literally wiping up after EVERY step she takes.  I can feel my blood boiling and my blood sugar dropping from all the scrubbing.  Fine, I will ask.

"Oma, why don't you sit down and take off your shoes.  They are all wet and dirty.  I can take them off for you and get you some nice slippers."  What I expected to hear was "Oh, yeah, sweetheart, dat would be soooo nice."  What I got was "No.  Dese shoes are sooo good.  I keep dem on."

Perhaps she didn't notice I am chasing her with a towel.  Maybe she didn't hear the part about being wet and slushy.  "But Oma, they are all wet and slushy from being outside.  See, I am scrubbing the floor after every step you take."  That outta do it.

"No sweetheart.  My shoes are clean.  I just wear dem at home and den into our garage to da car and den come in here."

Did you not see the flood in our garage and the swamp in my kitchen?  They are soaked and sandy, take them off.  "Our garage is very wet and messy though and I can see that your shoes got all messy from our garage.  Let me get you some slippers."

At this point Opa is struggling to keep his balance to begin removing his shoes.  I quickly help him get his balance and grab a chair for him so we can take off his shoes.

"Sweetheart, I like to keep my shoes on."  She says this while clenching her teeth and giving me that I am grandma and I scared off the soldiers look.

My blood sugar is dropping.  If I can feel it I know I am sitting at low 50's.  I need to eat.  Toddler and dog are under foot dragging this mess all through the house and she is not going to take off her stupid shoes.  Maybe I am just irritable that I am low, but I can feel my face turning bright red and I am ready to ask her to walk her shoes right out of my house.

"How are you feeling sweetheart?  Do you still have dat dumb sugar?"  Yes, yes, it's fine.  I am having a lot of ups and downs lately.  I explain that scrubbing the floor has attendency to make me low which makes me feel like I'm dying.

She changes the subject to the food she brought and how much work it was to bring (which I asked her not to bring because it is a lot of work and I am capable).  I know this is a guilt factor.  I know how she works.  She is thinking "I had to work to make this food and bring it here, you can scrub your floors again."  But I live in bare feet most of the time and the toddler has (now wet and dirty) socks on.  I am not re-cleaning my entire house because she is having a love affair with her shoes.

"Oma, your shoes are still wet and dirty and making a big mess.  I really appreciate all the work you did on the food even though I told you we didn't need anything.  Please take off your shoes."

She totally ignores me and walks into the living room (on our 'nice' rug) and sits on the couch next to the now shoeless Opa.  I finish moping up the the kitchen and prepare their coffee each to their liking without asking because I know.  I am boiling angry and taking extra time in the kitchen trying to decide my next move.  I am still low, but that will have to wait.  I can talk and I can see well enough. 

That is when it hits me.  I am not getting these shoes off this woman.  She is an old stubborn Dutch woman, I will lose.  But I grew up with a stubborn Dutch dad (so I know how to work the system) and am also a stubborn Dutch woman (so I MUST have my way out of stubborn-ness).  What I care about isn't the removing of the shoes, what I care about is the mess it is making.  How can I prevent the mess?

I bring the coffee into the living room with 2 plastic bags- Meijer of all places.  Not the luxe D&W.  I put down the coffees for each of them and look to Oma.

"I know you want to keep your nice comfy shoes on and I respect that.  I am sure you don't want to make a lot of extra work for me, because I know I would never want to make a lot of extra work for you.  So, I am going to put these bags over your shoes so they don't drip all over the house anymore.  I think it's a nice compromise."


I walk back into the kitchen to get the cookies.  I hear a bunch of Dutch which I know well enough to pick up on how ridiculous I am being about a little dirt.  I stuff a cookie in my mouth, partially to treat the low and partially to keep my mouth shut. 

I have to laugh a little when I walk back into the living room to see Oma in her nice plastic bags.  When she dies someday (hopefully in a long long time) I am burying her in those stupid shoes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Expensive SUV driving 40-something professional male in the grocery store parking lot

Dear Expensive SUV driving 40-something professional male in the grocery store parking lot,

First off, lets be clear.  When I leisurely pulled into the parking lot, I never intended to steal 'your' spot.  I did not even notice 'your' spot that was 10 feet from the door until you nearly rammed me into it with your turn signal on (I was going straight, you were turning left.  I had the right of way).  I never showed any intention of turning into it, so calm your big bad self in your expensive SUV that is worth more than our 2 vehicles combined...times 5.  Generally, I do not even look for close spots, the exercise is good for everyone and I don't want anyone to give my 1995 sedan any door dings (they rust). 

The only reason I was trying to find a decent spot today is because it is snot freezing cold out and I have a sick toddler with an ear infection whose mittens I forgot.  Don't judge me for going to the grocery store, sir.  We needed to pick up his prescription and something he will eat.

I understand you are a professional and must be in a major hurry to pick up a few items.  At least I thought so until I managed to park about a mile out, get a cart, load it up with popcans, put a screaming squirming toddler in it, and walk past your SUV while you are still sitting in it talking on your cell phone.  I'm sure it was an important call.  By the time I get inside the toddler is screaming that his hands hurt (and they should hurt, they are FROZEN).  I return my popcans and get ready to get our items when I realize I left my glasses in the freezing cold car.  I cannot see without my glasses, so we must venture out.

We RUN past your SUV (which is still running and polluting the air we all breathe) towards my car in the tundra.  I do not have a keyless entry like you (a luxary that gave out a few months back), I am fumbling with frozen hands on my keys (that are metal and so cold my skin threatens to adhere to them) with my frozen toddler in the cart screaming and crying (his tears are freezing!!) about his now stiff hands (my fault for forgetting the mittens) trying to get the creaky rusted door open (please don't fall off, please don't fall off).  I find my glasses (to which the toddler replies "Hooray!") and we run the mile back through the frozen tundra past your still running frozen car while you sit on your cell phone in the spot that you almost ran me off the road for that I didn't even try and take. 

Get the prescription (love that it was free!).  We get our shopping done relatively quickly- about 35 mins.  Toddlers hands unfreeze about 1/2 way through and cost me a guilt toy Tow Mater ($3.50).  Somehow (it is a miracle from God) we manage to stay within our means by $1.29 and still get all we need.  Toddler rides the horse, worth the 52 cents a year it costs to keep him happy for shopping.  We bundle up again to face the arctic.  As I run the mile back to my car I notice you are still sitting in your spot, on your cell phone with your engine running.  You have not even left your vehicle.  I could have had that spot, got my shopping done, and left and then you could have had it.  Instead you insist on hogging a decent spot on a cold day so you can pollute and talk on the phone.  Honestly.  You are a middle aged professional man with no children with you and a nice warm wool jacket with matching leather gloves, could you think beyond yourself for 2 seconds?  I saw seniors pushing carts (much too heavy for them) through the freezing cold (they have thin skin!!!) on the ice (hello broken hip) while you sat and chatted.  I did not want 'your' spot, but someone else out there needed it much more than you did.

Thankfully after running 4 miles in the frozen tundra I didn't have a low, which I have you to thank.  You managed to frusterate and anger me enough that it raised my BG to compensate for the otherwise inevitable low. 

So, I must say thank-you.

The woman with the stiffly frozen sickly ear infected toddler carrying the Tow Mater in the old car that you tried to plow over monster truck style