The Worst of Times?
I'm wondering if I'm simply enduring a streak of bad luck, or what.
The first major blow came early in June. I thought, I can handle this. It's going to be fine, or perhaps the change will bring good. The next life-changing event came in late July. I thought, it'll be fine, nothing lasts forever. I will survive this setback, find a new job, and perhaps even discover that it's a blessing. However, the third attack on the status quo is unchangeable and unrelenting. And it's not even my life that's been so utterly altered.
My Pal, my little girl. I couldn't come up with any positive spin this time. No blessings. Just mind-boggling, and awful.
On August 16, I tested my daughter's blood sugar. It was 341. I had been suspicious for a little while. She'd started drinking vast quantities of water, then she began eating constantly.
In May she had made a decision to be a vegetarian, so I played with the idea that perhaps it was a nutritional deficiency, and that was the reason she was hungry all the time. Even though, deep down, I knew better. But with the other unhappy circumstances we were suffering, I let it slide. Shame on me. She had an appointment for a physical, and I thought I'd ask to have her tested then. And that shows you how little I knew about the consequences of uncontrolled Type 1 Diabetes.
On August 15, I was on the phone with a friend who happens to have Type 1. I told her what was happening, and very casually it seemed, she said, "Oh, you don't have to wait. Go to the drugstore and buy ketone test strips and and a blood glucose meter. I hope you'll be wasting twenty bucks." And so I did. We spent that weekend in the hospital, learning. We came home reeling.
Talk about putting things in perspective. Last week I ranted and boohooed a bit when my transmission blew, but I just paid the bill and thought, it's fixed. I didn't end up stranded on the side or the road or worse, and I'll get over it. But I would really like to get a new car.
I finally told my mom, who is in a nursing home. She has dementia, so she asked a few times how her granddaughter got diabetes. I told her there is some speculation that a virus could kick it off, and Pal and I had both contracted some evil ailment last Thanksgiving. After the fourth time, I just said, "They really don't know, Ma."
I completely lost it when she asked me how old her granddaughter is, and then said, "Fourteen? She's just a baby!"
I agree, but I've learned that diabetes doesn't discriminate. I have friends who got Type 1 when they were one year old, eight years old, fourteen years old, and forty years old. That's why they don't call it juvenile diabetes anymore. Adults can get it, too. And boy, how I wish it were me and not her.
Everyone says its the "bad" diabetes, I suppose because there's no getting rid of it. Her pediatric endocrinologist said that's a misunderstanding because Type 2 diabetes is usually accompanied by a whole host of other health problems. Type 1 is just the short straw.
Insurance was another fight I had. Tricare. No referrals to out of network providers. Well, the only game in town (a 70 mile radius) is out of network. Apparently, there are not very many pediatric endocrinologists anywhere. Nearest group with Tricare approval (our doc has been trying to get re-approved - apparently he made the mistake of changing groups) is seventy miles away.
So I fought, and we got approved for one year. I'll take it, and pick up the fight again next year. Maybe someone in charge will have grown a spine or a heart by then.
Meanwhile, Pal's blood sugar (which we are texting to each other as "BS" - seems appropriate) has been all over the map.
People have no idea what diabetics endure just to eat. Pal takes 4-5 shots of insulin every day. One with breakfast and one with lunch, and then two with dinner, to get her cells to let in the carbs she eats. If her BS is high at night, another then. She is limited to 40 carbs at breakfast (check out your cereal and milk, and don't forget to look at portions) and 45 each at lunch and dinner. And yes, fruits and vegetables have carbs. She also has to check her blood sugar about seven times a day, and any time she feels "off" - and we are so lucky that she feels bad when her blood sugar is high or low. So she's not only poking herself with a needle multiple times a day, she's sticking her fingers all day long, too. No days off for good behavior, either.
And so ... still wondering when those first two debacles are going to come up roses, but for now, a BS meter reading between 80 and 160 is reason for a high five.