by Richmond mom Sue Ayers, freelance writer and training designer.
We were fortunate when Emily was released from the hospital. So many people brought us meals (low-carb of course!) and offered to help in so many ways. But then we had to get back into gear and learn a new routine. As a single mom, my old routine was pretty hit-or-miss, but now we had to plan meals without relying on the drive-through. Of course we had to plan injections and medications and the doctors emphasized that Emily needed to get exercise every single day. I was still sort of stumbling through my day thanks to waking up five times a night to check on my girl. Some people thought that was overkill. Really? I doubt those folks ever had to worry about sugar dropping so low that your child won’t wake up. That was on my mind constantly (and still is). How do you ever stop worrying about that?
My day began a little before 6:00 a.m. (and still does!) I would shower and then go downstairs to make Emily scrambled eggs. Eggs have very few carbs, by the way. Emily needed between 60-75 carbs per meal. But I wanted to make sure she got sufficient protein with her meal; thus – the eggs. I would set out her two bottles of insulin – one on one side of the counter and one on the other. Why? Because, if I mixed them up, it would likely be back to the hospital for us. If I accidentally gave Emily 15 units of Novolog as opposed to Lantis, we’d be in trouble. Since the vials look similar, the easiest way to avoid screwing up was to keep them far apart!
Did I mention I turned on the coffee before I started the eggs?
After setting out Emily’s glucose meter, lancets and strips, syringes, band aids, alcohol pads and cotton, I would go upstairs to give her a thyroid pill (she has another autoimmune disorder: an underactive thyroid as well). She has to take this 30 minutes prior to eating. Then she’d go back to sleep and I’d finish getting ready. I woke her and her sister up close to 7:00 a.m. Em would test her sugar and we’d give her the injections.
Emily would eat her eggs, a banana, two pieces of toast and milk to make up her 60 carbs. She was having awful stomach pains. This could have been stress or the diabetes. It was not celiac disease thankfully! But we had to avoid anything spicy. I’d drive her to school on my way to work because I wanted to avoid any possibility of a low on the bus ride.
Emily’s school nurse administered the insulin at lunch (which we always pack – never buy). She had to test her sugar mid-morning, right before lunch and before she got on the bus. If she was low, they would have to give her sugar and test her again. That’s a lot of finger pricks before 2:00! If she exercised, we’d test. If she looked peaked, sleepy, irritable or anxious – yep, you guessed it! We’d test.
Dinner was more of the same – 60 carbs and a prick and a shot. More testing before bed, too. For about a week or so after Emily’s release, I would have to wake her up at 2:00 a.m., test her and give her insulin. Once her blood sugar began to regulate, we were able to eliminate that testing. (But here’s a secret – if she is low before bed, I test her in the night. So does every other mom of a Type 1 kid that I know.)
Last month; however, we were able to get Emily on a sliding scale which means we give her insulin based on how much she eats instead of her having to eat a regulated amount. She also has learned to give herself injections too. Things are a little easier…a little.