Twins Always Take Care of Each Other!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

When the Caregiver is Sick

My last post was about how early in the year it seems for all of "this illness" to be going around. Kids seem to be getting sick left and right! And guess what happens after the kids get sick? Yep! You guessed it! The parents get sick! 

So, that is what I have been doing for the past week. Surviving. 
Because being sick when you have kids is hard enough. 
Being sick when you have kids with a chronic illness like type 1 diabetes is an entirely different thing all together. 

When most people get sick they feel terrible, as we all do. Head pounding. Coughing. Fever. Aching. Can't move. 
The key difference is when you take that heavenly dose of NyQuil at night after a dreadful day of suffering and can't wait for your head to hit the pillow for some rest, you would expect to finally get some rest. But after hours of feeling terrible and you are about to drift off into some much needed sleep, the big D-MONSTER decides to creep in and pay you a visit! Head delightfully twirling and ready to drop off to sleep you hear the glucose monitor alarm! AAAHHHH!!!! 

I would have to say, I feel I am a pretty good sport about going sleepless almost any other time of the year. That being said, it is worth acknowledging here that most parents of T1Ds are sleepless either many or most nights. But sometimes, you just NEED to get some rest and do you know what? There is no break from type 1 diabetes. 

When that alarm goes off (indicating a high or low blood sugar), it must be dealt with properly if you don't want to see adverse and unsafe things happen. Feel well or not. Walk or crawl to the next room on all fours, that high or low blood sugar must be corrected. Now, this isn't to say I won't be more tolerant of a stubborn 200 at 3am than I would normally be because, well, we are talking about a sliding scale of my discomfort to her safety level here. Will things slide a little bit depending on my level of pain or discomfort? Sure. No matter how much I hate to admit it, I am not superhuman or invincible. I am not perfect. I can only accomplish what I am capable of accomplishing. And as long as I am keeping her safe and healthy and her physicians concur, than I can be pleased that I am doing a good job. 

So, I break out the trusty fail-safe cures and power-through...

 I hope everyone out there is staying healthy! This was a nasty cold/virus/whatever it was! I leave you all with germ-free wishes for upcoming weeks (and months!)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Seems a Bit Too Early

We always think of getting sick in the winter. You know, the middle of winter when it is cold out and "everyone" is sick. But here we are, only stretching into the middle of October and we are fighting some pretty severe illness already and from what we are seeing on social media and hearing from the doctor's office is that we are definitely not the only family seeing absences from school already!

Both of our daughters have missed school.
Unfortunately, our type 1 diabetic daughter has suffered the worst of it at this point. What started off as a cold has now progressed to pneumonia.

This is the second time since her diagnosis of T1D that she has had pneumonia.

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with T1D, you are barraged with a new education on the disease - in a very short amount of time. You learn how to give insulin shots, you learn how to count carbs (you learn what a carb is!), you learn what hyper- and hypoglycemia is and how to treat it and the list goes on and on. And also you learn about sick days. Sick days with type 1 diabetes becomes something completely different than what you are used to. Sometimes when a T1D becomes sick it doesn't necessarily change anything - blood sugar levels remain fairly normal and all is OK. Although, other times, all hell can break loose and you have to go into "damage control" mode. You live to get those numbers under control although it seems that no matter what you do you can't get those numbers under control. Getting sick for a T1D or the parent of a T1D can be a very scary time. There is certainly a heightened level of awareness of illness, and subsequently stress around cold and flu season.

This illness for us began about two weeks ago, which is why you haven't seen any posts from me (I apologize). I would have to say that normally we are pretty lucky (knock on wood). Normally when our D-girl is sick we don't see much of a fluctuation with her blood glucose numbers. But this time was different. Her numbers were all over the place from the start. We rode the BG roller coaster all day every day for about a week and a half. And no matter how much you try to tell yourself it isn't your fault, it still makes you feel bad that you can't control it better. She missed a few days of school but her lungs were clear. OK then, back to school. Few more days pass and her blood sugar levels actually start to moderate. BUT, the cough just will NOT go away. In fact, I just could not shake the feeling that it was getting worse. So, I took her back to the doctor, even though she did not have a fever (which is usually a sign of a pneumonia - which is the first question the nurse asked me when scheduling the appointment when I suggested it might be pneumonia). I firmly believe that parents must always trust their instincts. Sure enough, there it was - the pneumonia on her left side.

After learning she had Pneumonia we left the doctor's office and headed over to pick up a special present. A "hello kitty" that she had been eyeing up. Because, of course, during the x-ray we removed the continuous blood glucose sensor to avoid risk of damage from the radiation (just to be on the safe side). She dislikes having these put on so as if it wasn't bad enough that she has pneumonia, but now she has to have the CGM sensor reapplied!

And, of course, being home for a few more days, we needed to stop in and pick up the series of Harry Potter movies!

I will take this directly from my post on Berks T1D Connection's Facebook page from today:
For a variety of reasons, people with diabetes are thought to be at higher risk for getting infections. As we head into cold and flu season, this becomes a concern for those living with type 1 diabetes. This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight illnesses.

Vaccination is the Best Protection against Flu.
CDC recommends that people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who are 6 months and older, get a flu shot. (The nasal spray vaccine should not be given to people with diabetes.)

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing pneumonia from the flu.

Please, friends, protect yourselves and those around you by getting vaccinated! It could very well save a life!

CLICK HERE for more information!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Talking With Friends

I am a little surprised that we started out this year knowing a few people in our community that also lived with type 1 diabetes, but not that many.

I don't think I could have ever dreamed that in just a short time we would build such an amazing network of local families all now reaching out to one another for support.

I know that I have appreciated so much the support. Just knowing that others are out there that understand. Being a family living with T1D is 24/7/365. You have good days and you have bad days. Some days you feel in control. And sometimes you have days when you have no clue what is going on.

What I have learned is that what we feel is normal.
It is OK to be happy on good days.
It is OK to cry on bad days.
It is OK to lean on friends when you feel you have nothing left to give.
It is OK to ask for help.
It is OK to offer your support to others in need.
It is OK to not know.
It is OK to try and succeed - and celebrate those successes.
It is OK to try and fail - and try harder tomorrow.
It is OK to screw up sometimes.
It is OK to accept that you are doing your best.

We are not perfect, we do our best. But it helps to know we are not alone.