And the hits just keep on coming...
So, I am officially done (for the time being, I hope) feeling sad. That 23 blood sugar kicked me in the gut. It is hard to grasp the severity of diabetes until it kicks you in the gut. But, I have learned from my mistake and have talked myself into being more cautious and awake, versus obsessive and overprotective.
However, it is a constant battle reminding myself to be the first two. The last two are comforting to me, but are not good for Rocco. The last two will cause him to become fearful instead of independent in his adult life. So, I will do like so many mothers before me have done, chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. I hope...
Anyway, last weekend we decided to go on a little vacation. Going on vacation to us, a family who has a child with type 1 diabetes, always seems scary. So many things can go wrong and vacations add so many variables into what usually is a regimented and controlled lifestyle. Many parents of type 1 diabetic children just put vacations on the back burner for another day.
We were thrilled to hear that Michael's two brothers, with families in tow, and my in-laws had rented a house at a beautiful resort about five hours from our home. Five hours with no flights, we can handle. Finally a real vacation. Albeit close to home, but still a vacation!
We drove the five hours, checked in, changed into our bathing suits and went straight down to the lake. I was in charge of the kids because Michael had to park the car in an lot about a 15 minute walk away.
I placed our chairs on the beach and was trying to help the family get settled, not really paying attention to the kids who automatically ran into the lake and started swimming. After a few minutes Rocco ran up to me to ask if I had brought his Boogie board. I told him no and he ran back into the water. Thirty seconds later he ran up to me and asked for his goggles. Nope! Forgot those too. Really? I wonder why am I am still in charge of his stuff ? He starts to run off again and I see it! The bulge under his shirt that is his insulin pump around his waist that has now been in the water for about 6 minutes and is NOT waterproof!
"ROCCO!" I yell. "PUMP!" he looks down and starts to immediately take it off as fast as he can. I can see the wheels spinning in his head. He understands the severity of the situation.
He hands it me. "Is it ok Mom?" I look at the screen. I see a tiny drop of water behind the screen but I push the buttons and it works. Thank the Lord Almighty!
"Phew! Close one." he says.
I put it in our bag and start to talk with my sister-in-law while my head is still reeling with the drama.
But then I hear and feel it. "buzzzzzz, dodododododod, buzzzzz". Crap!
I pull the pump out of may bag and it reads Button Error. I had never seen the "Button Error" message before. I calmly grab my cell phone and google the number for the pump company-Medtronic. Fix this, I say to myself.
The Medtronic man on the other end of the line says the pump is broken and that we are going to need another one. I die a little inside. My world starts to spin. I feel like Dorothy in the middle of the tornado.
What now? Go home. We just got up here twenty minutes ago. Go home. But, wait. Why do I need to go home? There are cell phones, Google, the Internet based pump company, his doctor on call and I think I brought syringes. Ok, we stay. And fix this. Just calm down and fix this. These are all the thoughts spinning around in my head.
So, I do. I call Medtronic they tell me they will deliver a new loaner pump to the resort by noon the next day. Done. How can they possily get this done I wonder. I look at my watch it's 6:30 pm. Truly amazing! I am still worried about the fact that we broke the pump (because of the water damage) and new pumps cost $7000. But I know we are eligible for an upgrade and hopefully my insurance company will pick up most, if not all of the cost like they did the last time. Besides, I can't worry about that right now. We will have to work this out because it is Rocco's lifeline. Things will work out, Shari. Just keep going.
Next I have to figure out how to manage his diabetes manually,since there is no insulin pump telling me what to do. Call the doctor. Speak slowly. More importantly listen carefully. Block everything else out and just listen. This is a not an easy task since we are now packing everything up and heading back to our vacation house. But, I try to focus. The doctor tells me I will have to give Rocco insulin injections to cover each meal, and every three hours until the new pump arrives. Have you ever given a six year old a shot? Since he no longer has to do them, he is terrified. He remembers his immunizations and he has a terrible fear of shots. So, of course, I don't tell him yet. I just can't add anymore fuel to the fire that is burning in my head.
The doctor tells me to call the pump company to get his insulin settings and call him back for further instructions.
We head back to the house.
I call the Medtronic pump man, (who couldn't have been more kind and helpful!) He tells me the settings, assures me the pump is on it's way. I call the doctor back.
The doctor gives me diabetes 101 training over the phone and wishes me good luck overnight. All I can think about is his recent to 23 blood sugar reading . I am still raw from that. Blood sugar levels rise and fall based on Rocco's mood, his stress level, his excitement level, the amount of exercise he gets, the type of exercise he does, the amount of food he eats and the type of food he eats. Working the numbers is only half the picture. You not only have to become his pancreas but also his brain. Dear God, please give me strength.
Michael is trying to fix the pump. He is working on it with his brother, while I am trying to calculate the amount of insulin he will get overnight. I see the two of them with a multi tool.
I hear Michael tell his brother that he doesn't want to break it (more) because then we really will have to pay for it. Ugh! In my head, I curse him for not listening to the doctor with me. I think to myself: The a Medtronic man said the pump was broken and there is a new one coming, so come over here help me figure out these damn numbers, so I don't kill our kid overnight and leave the pump alone! I look over at them and roll my eyes as they put the pump in a bag of brown rice. ??? Whatever...
I do the calculations, while my entire in-law family is now downstairs parenting my children, feeding them dinner and counting every carb. Thank God for them!
I realize on my second trip downstairs,that I am still in my bathing suit. The back story is this : the entire week before, I was obsessed about how I would look in my bathing suit. I spray tanned, worked out, lost five pounds and slathered my chubby legs with an entire bottle of cellulite reducing lotion. All this so I wouldn't look like the jolly green giant in front of my size 0 sister in-laws. They are nice and would never care, but I did this so I wouldn't feel like the fattest one in the room. As I bounded back upstairs, I realized I had let it all hang out, for all to judge for the last couple of hours! It made me chuckle as I felt my thighs jiggle. What once seemed so important was put aside with a change in perspective. My thighs were the last thing on anybody's mind as Rocco's care took center stage. To be honest, it was a little freeing for the rest of the weekend. They had seen me at my worst in the first twenty minutes of our trip so nothing after that was "judge-worthy". It made me relax, let my guard down and really enjoy myself.
Anyway, so now we have to give Rocco his shot for dinner. I take him upstairs away from everyone but he wants his friends (i.e. his brother Zeke and his cousin) to come and watch. He wanted to be brave in front of them. He is so cute. I listened to his request and I let them come up. Hey! It might just help. But as I start to give him his shot he turns, looks at it and panics. "I'm not ready" he whimpers. His whimpering breaks my heart because he takes all of this in stride everyday so I know whenever he does complain he is really scared. We wait for a couple of minutes and he says ok. But, as I give him his shot, the insulin starts to burn. He starts to cry and his shorts fall down. This inspires the two nervous onlookers to start giggling and makes Rocco cry even more! He is now yelling, "It burns! It burns!". I hold back tears as I grit my teeth and turn mama bear on the two onlookers (one of which is my other son).., I growl at them and tell them to "get out of here!". I felt terrible later but it just came out. A protective mother is nothing to mess with, I guess. Those poor little guys.
We finish with the shot, the tears and retrieve the shorts. I hug Rocco and he says "Mom, why were those guys laughing at me?" I say,"sometime people laugh when they are nervous. Sometimes people laugh at odd times. It's just a reaction that sometimes happens ." To which he replies, with a smirk "or was it because my pants fell down? I reply "Or because your pants fell down! " We both laugh and start to go downstairs. But before we leave the room, Michael grabs my hand and tells me to wait. He takes the pump out of the stupid bag of brown rice and says "let's see if it worked". Ok, McGyver. I say in my head. He carefully puts the pump back together and turns it on. The Main Menu screen pops up!
What??? He says "Let's have it give some insulin and see if it does that too." IT DID!! What?? Really? Yes!
I kiss him. I kiss the pump and I kiss him again. Omg! Now all my tense energy starts to melt. We hooked Rocco back up and it worked the rest of the weekend! And still is!
The next morning, the housekeeping department of the resort (apparently mail that is sent to the resort does not go to the main building, but rather to housekeeping!) called my cell phone and left a message that they had received a very URGENT package addressed to our last name, but since they couldn't find Rocco's name in the computer system they refused to accept delivery. So, she sent it back!!! After a few choice words, from me and my mother-in-law regarding this major flaw in their mail delivery system and her poor judgment,and after multiple calls to UPS, we tracked it down and had it re-delivered to the hotel. Phew! If it had been lost, we would have been charged $3000 for the loaner pump. Omg...
Finally, after a very tumultuous first five hours of our trip, I was able to relax and settle into a wonderful, well deserved and well appreciated vacation!