Saturday, October 25, 2008

Life's Little Pleasures/Lessons

I'm getting good at managing Jenna's diabetes with the pump~ REALLY good! Certain carb factors are now committed to memory so I'm not having to flip through pages of a book to look them up, pre-meal blood sugar checks are almost never forgotten these days and measuring all carbohydrate containing foods before they are placed on Jenna's plate is just becoming part of our daily routine.

I'm also finding that I have gotten to know Jenna's diabetes quite well. I know how certain foods are going to behave after she has eaten them and I can often predict what her blood sugar is going to be before we test her.

All of this sounds like good news, and it is! I'm enjoying feeling more confident about managing Jenna's diabetes. I find I have a bit more free time and my mind isn't constantly being taxed, racing around trying to keep three steps ahead of things.

I do, however, find myself plunging into episodes of sadness again, similar to when Jenna was just diagnosed. I think this is because I have become so fluent with the insulin pump and with the over all management of things, I have more time to think! And when I think, I still find myself in a state of disbelief that this has happened to my little baby girl! She's just brand new, for crying out loud! Shouldn't this kind of shit only happen to old people when the passage of time and a life-time of wear and tear, overindulgence and under-activity causes organs and systems to malfunction and fail?!

Being a registered nurse, I know a lot about this disease from a clinical perspective. I spent a great deal of time studying diabetes while I was in training and certainly had plenty of insulin dependent diabetic patients in my practice (most of them were geriatric patients and type 2.) But in this situation I am the Mom. The nurse in me must take a back seat because my heart is way too involved to be able to maintain the kind of perspective my nursing training might otherwise afford me. And like all Moms I want to know why. Why MY child? How did this happen?

Adding insult to injury is how guilty I feel when I do allow myself to get upset and angry at the cards my Jenna's been dealt. I know how lucky we are. There are mothers and fathers out there dealing with far more heart-breaking scenarios with their precious little ones. This is a manageable disease! Odds are Jenna is going to live a long, healthy, fulfilling life if she is diligent about her care and I'm determined to educate her to the very best of my ability on how to do just that.

But I keep thinking about life before the diagnosis; before the carb counting, food measuring, blood sugar monitoring and infusion site changes and I get so sad knowing that those days are gone for good.

I was out running some errands today and decided to stop and pick up a couple movies to enjoy with my family tonight. While I waited in line to pay, another mom was waiting behind me with her three year old daughter. From their conversation it was apparent they had a fun little night of movie watching planned just the two of them. The little girl picked up a giant bag of M&M's and looked at her mom with a hopeful, pleading expression on her face.

"Sure. We can share those while we watch the movie," was the response her mother gave her without even a moment's hesitation.

Admittedly, I felt feelings of envy at that moment with maybe just a hint of jealousy. I certainly can't sit down with my girls and a giant bag of M&M's while we mindlessly and repeatedly plunge our hands in and indulge. Not that I would have done that anyway. But I have been known, prior to the big "D", to sit down with my girls and a giant bowl of cherries while we all gorge ourselves silly. To diabetes, the source of the carb doesn't really matter a whole lot, be it candy or fruit or starch. A carb is a carb is a carb and each carb needs to be matched with the appropriate amount of insulin. It doesn't discriminate.

Gone are the days of eating with complete disregard to quantity. Everything must be measured and weighed. There can be no more eating from one big communal bowl like most families are inclined to do with things like chips or popcorn. This is a little family ritual that, I must admit, I took completely for granted before the arrival of diabetes made it necessary to closely monitor Jenna's carb consumption. We have to measure out quantities for Jenna and give her her own little portioned out bowl. And to prevent her from feeling like the "odd-man-out" we all get our own little portioned out bowl now as well.

I confess, I kind of miss all of us eating from the same popcorn bowl.

Maybe it was the sight of this Mom and her little girl planning a fun-filled evening with chocolate being part of the festivities or maybe it was my own craving for chocolate which I seldom allow myself to indulge and just couldn't ignore any longer. But later, at the grocery store I found myself looking in the candy section for some little extra indulgence I could bring home and share with my girls while we watched a movie together.

I discovered these neat little "thin" chocolate bars designed, I think, for weight-conscious chocolate lovers who don't want the massive carbohydrate hit of a standard sized chocolate bar. They are only 12 carbs each; perfect for an extra special treat for my family movie night. My girls were just giddy with delight when I presented them with these little goodies and I admit that the choc-aholic in me was pretty chuffed too.

The movies and the snacks were a big hit and as I sat with Jenna snuggled up on my lap and Jazmine nestled in my arms, the three of us enjoying a post chocolate buzz and watching a movie together, I felt so incredibly thankful for my blessings.

...and even though Jenna's sugars have done a delayed climb, as I anticipated they would, and just now, at 11:30pm, I had to do a correction bolus for a blood sugar of 17mmol/l, I have to say that it was worth it, just this once, to enjoy one of life's little pleasures with my girls. These moments won't come very often, but when they do I'll be damned if I'll allow them to be punctuated with guilt and regret~ life's too short.

...and maybe next time I'll employ a combo-bolus to take care of the chocolate carbs.

1 comment:

Angie said...

I couldn't agree more -- sometimes the night time high BGs are worth it!

Thanks for this post today. It was just what I needed to remind me to let go of some of my guilt. Life really is too short! :)