I spent the better part of a morning on the phone trying to get a hold of Jenna's endocrinologist and diabetic nurse clinician nearly two weeks ago; a desperate attempt to get some answers regarding some crazy high numbers Jenna had been having for a couple of days prior. Jenna's Endo is a wonderful woman who never once has made me feel like I'm inconveniencing her or asking something silly. This is unbelievably important to a parent who is feeling lost, alone and on the brink of panic. I feel incredibly lucky to have her in my corner. When I told her about Jenna's seemingly unexplainable spike in blood sugars she stated she had seen a similar scenario play out with several other young T1 patients of hers lately. She said it lasts about a week, requiring a temporary basal adjustment, then things calm down.
I adjust the basals as per her advice and cross every appendage possible hoping for the return of normalcy, or rather what has become our "normal" since diabetes became part of our lives.
We do the dance... checking way more than usual which is to say 10-11 times a day as opposed to our usual 6-8... causing Jenna's index fingers to become not only more calloused, but bruised and overtly sore looking. My heart hurts a little with every click of that damn lancing device. It's a necessary evil though. With the 20% increase in basal rates across the board I can't possibly rest easy. Every thing is up in the air again, as if the carpet has been unceremoniously yanked out from under us. She could dip too low in the night when I'm not watching. Or she could stay high leaving us wondering what the hell is going on. The latter is what occurred.
We spent several nights setting alarms every two hours and checking Jenna's blood sugars, bolusing each time. One night I was at my wits end when a third check was still in the mid teens and I knew something else had to be done. I would have to do a site change right away and give Jenna her third correction by injection; something we haven't had to do since her pump start up last September when we celebrated no more needles with our two and a half year old little girl.
I woke James to assist in the procedure. With both of us suffering from a lack of sleep unlike anything we'd ever experienced when caring for our infant girls, not to mention the prospect of doing an infusion set change at three in the morning on our sleepy hyperglycemic toddler and capping the whole process off with an injection of insulin, we found ourselves... well, let's just say~ a tad punchy.
While we were in the kitchen bickering over what needs to be done, Jenna wandered out of her room and stopped just outside her door looking as adorable and innocent as ever, disarming us both with her beautiful sleepy face. Quickly regaining our perspective once more, we got on with the necessary task at hand. James gathered up little Jenna in his arms in preparation for the insertion of the new infusion set. I say nothing to Jenna about the injection she has to receive.
After the new infusion set was inserted, the pump reattached and the old set removed, I picked up the needle I had pre-drawn before Jenna arrived on the scene. It was at this point I told Jenna that she had to have a needle. My years working as a nurse are what saw me through the next few moments. I quickly swooped in with the needle amid Jenna's pleas for me not to and, before she was able to fall to pieces, it was done. But she still had a little cry afterward anyway. I can't blame her. It must all be so confusing for her almost three year old mind to try to comprehend the reasons for all of the trials she must endure at the hands of her loving parents.
My heart broken, I followed as James carried Jenna back to her room. He settled her into bed once more and kissed her goodnight. I then leaned in to offer my affection but Jenna was angry with me and turned away. It may have been a combination of the shortage of sleep, the horrible instability of Jenna's blood sugars as of late, as well as being forced to inflict more pain upon my precious, undeserving little girl. Whatever the cause, her rejection was merely the straw that broke the camel's back and I wept. Right there in front of Jenna the tears began to flow. Her face changed and she too began to weep only this time it was out of compassion for me. I knew she felt bad for giving me the cold shoulder and now I was feeling even worse for making her feel bad. She deserved to be angry! I didn't blame her one bit. And if I was to be the target of that anger, so be it. But I needed to comfort her too. I may have been the one to administer the injection but I am also her mom; the person who usually "makes it all better." I think she was aware of this on some level and she reached out for me and hugged me. TIGHT.
We both cried and hugged each other for longer than your standard goodnight hug. I said I was sorry and I loved her. She said she loved me too. I went to bed with a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and hoping with every ounce of my being that the injection would work.
The next morning an 8 appeared on the screen of the glucometer. It was the most beautiful number 8 I've ever seen.