Rachel & Coco Go To Kindergarten

I was middle school dance nervous the night before visiting my son’s Kindergarten classroom. The plan was for me to read Go, Team Coco!, a book that helps educate young children about type 1 diabetes, to Henry’s class.

I wasn’t nervous about being in a room full of Kindergartners, but I was nervous that after reading a book about diabetes, that some kid would tell Henry what he could or couldn’t eat, would point at his medical devices, that later, in fourth grade, kids might make fun of him, not want to pick him for sports, not invite him to their houses or birthday parties, and hopefully much, much later, not want to date him, or marry him, or hire him, or…

On our walk to school, Henry was excited and asked if I could stay all day. His big sister wanted to know if I could read to her class about diabetes. Truthfully, I didn’t want to read about diabetes at all. I didn’t want to put any fuel on fears for the future, but I sat down at story time and told the class, “One day when Henry was three-years-old he got very sick, but then he got better. He wears a pump and CGM to help us keep him healthy,” and a strange movement caught my eye from the center of the rug, where the kids were seated.

I saw Henry reach into his pocket to get out his pump and show the class. His teacher suggested that he come and sit next to me. With a smile, he joined me in the front of the room. He showed them his pump, (and it’s a really cool pump, by the way, sometimes it turns into a pump laser or a really, really bad disco laser, so Henry says). I read some of the story, and Henry explained what it was like to feel low, when Coco was low. We finished the book and unprompted, the kids all chanted, “Go Team Coco” with me.

And then the hands shot up. I learned which kids have asthma, another kid described how his grandma checks her blood sugar, another kid’s sibling has type 1, another grandparent has diabetes, and another. For a strange moment, diabetes unified a room of Kindergartners, who talked so eagerly, wanting to be part of something by sharing their experience.

 

As Henry lives with diabetes, I know all his peers won’t accept him as easily as this room full of Kindergartners, but many will.

I tucked the book back in my bag for the short walk home, and it occurred to me that since diabetes takes so much from us there’s no need for me to build straw houses of fear that I’m afraid will burn at some future time. Sometimes, it’s me, and not diabetes that’s the gasoline. In this present moment, none of my fears mattered. My son was a few blocks away, in a room full of curious friends, wearing an awesome pump laser.

 

 

Back to School Night with Type 1 Diabetes

My son with type 1 diabetes starts Kindergarten day after tomorrow. He’s excited, and we’re excited. We anticipate a safe environment in which he’ll learn, grow, and be healthy. We’ve met and planned with the school, but just hours ago, on the walk home from back to school night, tiny cyclones of fear, worry, and jealously snaked inside me.

Back to school night with type 1 diabetes means a pile of glucose tabs, glucagon kits, test strips, extra insets, a ketone serum meter, airheads for the really low lows, spreadsheets of instructions, snacks with carbs, snacks without carbs, lancets, a back-up meter, and extra adhesive have been queued in your dinning room for a week.

Back to school night with type 1 diabetes means you walk your son to all the bathrooms closest to his classroom. You point out the water fountains along the way.

Back to school night with type 1 diabetes is taking four times as long to drop off materials as other families because you have so many more items. In fact, when you’re dropping off supplies and signing form after form in the nurse’s office, the courteous mother behind you tells the staff that she’ll be back tomorrow, meaning when they’re less busy. It’s realizing, in that moment, despite your two big bags of supplies, that you forgot the snacks with carbs, so you’ll be back tomorrow as well.

Back to school night with type 1 diabetes is walking the route between the nurse’s office and his classroom several times, just to make sure he doesn’t get lost. You realize it’s a trip he’ll make several times a day, and he’ll know it like the back of his hand in a week.

Back to school night with type 1 diabetes is rushing from work to the pharmacy so you can get the glucagon kits for school, and as you walk past the cashier to the pharmacy counter, you see a mother wave a purple glittery pencil box before she pays for it. You overhear her say to the cashier, “It’s back to school night tonight, and this is the last thing we need. We almost forgot about it.” A needle of jealousy pierces you, and you wish back to school night was just about pencil boxes and markers, a blithe almost forgetting of things. But then you remember to be kind, because everyone is fighting great invisible battles. Surely living with type 1 has taught you that.

Back to school night with type 1 diabetes means looking at all the other boys and girls that your son will most likely go to school with for the next thirteen years and hoping that they will be compassionate and understanding. But you’ve been a kid on a playground and in a lunchroom. You know kids aren’t empathetic and kind all the time.

Back to school night with type 1 diabetes is hoping your non-T1D kid doesn’t feel minimalized as she waits for you to finish something diabetes related for the fourth or fifth time that day. She’d like to see her classroom too, and asks if there’s still time to visit her teacher.

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Back to school night with diabetes is forcing yourself to breathe as you walk behind this guy who is, and will, shoulder so much. You tell yourself you’re just sending your kid off to Kindergarten, that lucky parents whose kids were born after the discovery of insulin 95 years ago, and kids whose T1D is caught in enough time, get to do that— send their kids off to Kindergarten.

A Time Diabetes Bossed Us

Henry’s recent love of Angry Birds Star Wars on his iPod and the curvy roads back East let us know that he gets car sick. About 40 minutes into our 571 mile trip back from the beach, (which should take about 9 hours) he began to feel sick.

Car traveling jacks up Henry’s blood sugar, so to compensate, we increase his basal temporarily to deliver 80% above his normal basal rate, which usually keeps his blood sugar between 80 and 150. However, one look at his continuous glucose monitor (CGM) told me his BG was falling. I tested his blood for the glucose level and ketones. His blood sugar was 62 and he had moderate ketones. We’d entered the terrible T1D paradox of nausea. Insulin and fluids are what flush ketones out of the system, but with a low BG and a sick tummy, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to take in or keep down carbs so that insulin can be delivered.

I climbed to the back seat and canceled the temporary basal increase. I coaxed Henry to eat or drink any carb he wanted, but apple juice and Airheads made him gag. We pulled into a gas station, and after some really dramatic moments, he managed to swallow a Dramamine with some apple juice. We walked around, and I panicked purchased a number of candies that came in a gel form, a sleep pillow, and a roll of paper towels.

Within half an hour we were back on the road, two arrows up on the CGM, Henry drinking sugar free liquids, insulin delivered, and ketones gone. It took a while before he felt like eating, but when he did, we stopped at a place Henry named. When it came time to place his order, big tears welled up in his eyes, and he said he didn’t want to eat there. Normally, Henry loves mealtime, so this behavior threw us. Finally, he decided on a bowl of rice, black beans, chicken, and cheese, and we bolused for half of it.

Henry ate half, and saved the rest for later. Later arrived, and we bolused for the rest as Henry grazed in the late afternoon. I  watched his blood glucose rise to 200, then 265, then 310, then 381, then HIGH (on a CGM this means it’s above 400). All the while, I rage bolused more insuiln, .5, then .75, then 1.5. I poured on the fluids. With a high blood glucose and lots of fluid, we got to visit no less than 7 gas stations (and a bucolic roadside) before dinner, which we were holding off on until his blood glucose was below 300, so the kids had an 8 p.m. dinner.

Recently, we were at the Friends for Life Conference in Orlando, FL, where the closing keynote speaker challenged the audience to think of how diabetes had enriched our lives. When presented with this question, my first thoughts were sardonic. It’s easy to think of all the negative ways that diabetes has altered my life, and most significantly and importantly, my son’s life. However, the easy type of thinking is not very useful. Diabetes is difficult, and demands a complicated response. The way I see my son is beautifully difficult. I see a five-year-old with a generous spirit, a kid who has endured more medical procedures than me, even though I’ve been alive seven times longer than he has. I imagine the courageous person he is already becoming because he has to live with type 1. Diabetes has allowed me see me son, and yes, I mean, “I see you,” in James Cameron Avatar kind of way: a great empathy that is a heart always breaking open to need and contentment.

 

A few more gas station stops later, we were finally at our destination eleven and half hours after we started the trip. We’d blown right past bedtime, and when I tucked Henry in he said, “I don’t like diabetes.”

I said, “I don’t like it either. Why don’t you like it?”

“I don’t like diabetes because I have to wait to eat yummy candy like Airheads, and they taste delicious. It’s not fair”

Henry’s starting to realize that his diabetes makes him different. The times when he tells me that he doesn’t like diabetes are hard, and I know it’s imperative for me to be really present in these moments, but my thoughts spill out like paint splatter. Immediately, I think it was a poor decision to introduce candy as a treat for lows. I wonder how we could have been so shortsighted. I think about watching family members who are able to give their kids lemonade, crackers, juice, and candy without a second thought. I’m with Henry, it’s not fair.

“You know what, Henry,” I said. “It’s not fair, but because you have diabetes, that means we take really good care of you, and you’re going to be healthy when you grow up.”

I think about telling him that candy is like medicine for him, but think better of it. I want to keep as much of his childhood diabetes free as I can. I want candy to be just candy.

 

Teacher, Caregiver, Nurse, Friend, and Advocate

Parents of young kids with T1D know that sweaty palm, nervous gut feeling of leaving their child with someone new, especially someone new to diabetes. Handing over the diabetes equipment means handing over trust of your child’s consciousness, and over time, his or her long term health. It’s never easy to do this, but for two years, we worked with two amazing preschool teachers who will share their experiences of learning about Type 1 and managing it in a preschool classroom. “Teacher, Caregiver, Nurse, Friend, and Advocate” is by Alexis Johansen.


Diabetes. A word you rarely hear when going through college as an education major. You discuss behavior and disability interventions, teaching strategies, classroom management, and anything else that will prepare you to become a successful classroom teacher.

However, I heard “diabetes” entering my second year of teaching. My co-teacher and I were told we were going to have a child who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in our classroom. I cannot speak for my co-teacher, but my stomach felt very uneasy. I was worried to take on such a huge role with something I knew very little about. Many thoughts ran through my head. How do I care for a child with diabetes? Will I know what I am doing? How are we supposed to keep him safe? And most of all, how do I give him 100% of my care when I have 19 other 4 and 5 year-olds who need the same?

Unlike many public primary and secondary schools, preschools are not usually staffed with nurses, so my co-teacher and I were going to take on the nurse roll. We were in charge of keeping our little friend safe, and really when it comes down to it, alive. His parents put their trust in us to care for their child, while they themselves were still learning about caring for Type 1 Diabetes.

Not only did we have to take on this “nurse” and care giver roll, but we also had to learn to balance diabetes and the rest of the class including Henry. We were still the teachers, we were still Henry’s teachers.

Fast forward two years later, as I near the end of my time with my sweet little Henry, and all the care is now routine. But that wasn’t always the case. I think back to the first couple weeks of school, when we were learning and reading about Type 1 Diabetes. For instance, a typical day for all involved includes the following (keep in mind there is no such thing as a typical day in the diabetes world🙂

  • Between 5-10 finger pricks a day
  • Delivering insulin every day and multiple times a day
  • Counting carbs for lunch, snack, or a special cooking activity
  • Doing a pre-bolus (insuin given before a meal) for lunch along with a combo bolus (insulin given over a duration for high carb and fat foods like pizza)
  • Giving rescue carbs (glucose tabs or juice box for a low at any given point)
  • Correcting a high with an EZBG (more insulin) multiple times during the day
  • Communication with parents via group text, emails, phone calls when needed
  • Countless checks on his monitor, our personal cell phones, or his iPod

I’d say after two years, we have this balancing act figured out pretty well. There are still times where I find myself explaining to another 5 year old what a glucose tab tastes like (a gigantic smartie) or why Henry gets to have a juice box or cheese stick at random times during the day. This is all part of the balancing act. As a class we all come together to accept diabetes as part of OUR norm. This is just part of our day. The kids see us do blood checks, give rescue carbs, and give more attention to Henry at some parts of the day. But do you know what? They don’t think twice about it. They may ask a question or two, but curiosity is what makes our children learn and grow.

As I sit here typing this post, constantly checking my phone to see what his numbers are during rest time, ready to text my staff at any point, it makes realize that I have come to many conclusions and have my own thoughts about diabetes.

First of all, I love FREE FOODS (a no carb food)! The best food there is when you don’t have count carbs, knowing Henry loves them as well. To this day, my heart will always skip a little beat when I see double arrows down on his CGM (continuos glucose monitor). Pizza day is a bittersweet because I know there will always be a high and then there will most likely be a low. Exit signs, pointing with their arrows, will always remind me of Henry and his CGM (a devise used to read his blood glucose with arrows showing which direction his blood sugar is headed). Lastly, I thought Type 1 Diabetes was going to diminish my ability to teach the class, but really it made me the best teacher, caregiver, nurse, friend, and advocate that I could possibly be.

I will not look back and remember the scary lows or the difficult math (not my strong point) when it comes to figuring out carbs in a given meal or treat. I will not look back on the extra time it took to try and fully understand Type 1 Diabetes. I WILL look back and remember that little boy who took every finger prick like a champ, who made lows not so scary, who gave me the giggles when I was stressed out, who was so excited to see his blood glucose numbers (when sometimes I was dreading it), who, in all reality, gave me a whole new outlook on life. No, I will not remember Henry as the child we had with Type 1 Diabetes. I will simply just remember him as my sweet little Henry. A strong little boy who didn’t let diabetes define who he is.

exit signAlexis Johansen teaches in the 4 and 5 year old room at the University of Northern Iowa Child Development Center with her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. She recently just finished up her third year teaching. Alexis lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with her newly married husband and her adorable dog that loves to cuddle! When she isn’t at school with her kiddos, she enjoys reading, running, and being crafty at home.

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Lexie and Henry 

“I Can Spell to 100”

I didn’t have time to be nostalgic about my youngest kid participating in Kindergarten Round Up, (a preview of elementary school for preschoolers entering Kindergarten next fall). Instead, there was a flurry of emails to the school administration, nurse, and staff. There were meetings, apps were downloaded, and then the morning of Kindergarten Round Up rolled around.

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It’s hard to bolus for emotions.

Just a quick glance at Henry’s face shows how excited he was, and a quick look at his blood glucose on his Dexcom CGM (continuos glucose monitor) shows how anxious he was to attend the same school as his big sister.

Adrenaline is a hormone that’s secreted during stress, and it raises the blood sugar. We’re learning that many things raise or lower blood glucose: a growth spurt, illness, puberty, exercise, emotions, a unicorn jumping over a blue moon after a black cat crosses its path, and just because.

Days before we walked through the school doors, I knew it would be another vacillating moment of living with diabetes: a challenge to preserve the typical experience, while ensuring safety and health. And it was. Henry’s first introduction to school was meeting with administration and the nurse, listening to us talk about his blood sugar. But he’s heard us talk about his blood sugar so much that it’s old news, no news. But Kindergarten, that’s new news. He was bouncing, happily telling everyone, “I can spell to 100.”

And he can spell (and count) to 100. If a blood glucose of 300 is any indication, this kid is excited to go to Kindergarten.

Preschool Graduation: All the Feels

The preschool our son attends is wonderful. His primary teachers have Dexcom Share on their phones, and we usually text several times a day about carbs or insulin dosing. Here’s a text we got a few days ago.

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Yes, his teacher picked out a dried blueberry, raisin, cherry, craisin, and part of an apricot, weighed them, took a picture, sent a text, waited for an answer, and delivered insulin to our kid. In a preschool classroom. This is to say nothing of the Bakery Unit they had last month, which was also handled with care and attention.

This morning, Henry graduated from preschool. I have all the normal parent feelings of time passing too quickly, pride, and fear as my child grows bigger into a much bigger world. But, I also have caregiver-parent feelings, which are messier, more full of fear and dread. I try not to let those caregiver-parent feelings invade these happy milestone moments, like leaving preschool and starting kindergarten. However, milestone moments are inherently reflective. So, the thoughts of my son’s short, but complicated history, coupled with a future inextricably linked to a chronic disease, sometimes share space with joy. If I’m not saying this clearly, Pixar did: think of Sadness and Joy from Inside Out.

He’s five and has lived a life of more medical intervention than me, and most other people my age. His medical history (not all related to diabetes) is a long list of specialists: pediatric neurologist, neonatologist, ENT, immunologist, pediatric endocrinologist, infectious disease specialist, E.R. physicians, multiple anesthesiologists, and several primary care physicians. I stood beside his isolette in the NICU for weeks after his birth and climbed into five separate hospital beds with him over the past five years, and I know I’ll need to be prepared to climb in again. 

I’ve seen my son, and he’s seen me, in really scary basins and valleys, so we’ve learned the value of looking at something else: a tenacious mountain goat climbing a rock face, a cool cat handing a diploma to a kid who is going to rock kindergarten.

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Henry with his preschool teachers, a preschool diploma, and TC!

I Wish People Knew That Diabetes…

Kelly Kunik, who blogs at Diabetesaliciousness, created the hashtag  #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes, and the idea is that on April 20th of every year people share what they’d like others to know about living with diabetes so that no one feels alone on the T1D journey and that others are educated about a life with type 1.

It’s very similar to the project #IWishMyTeacherKnew, and last year over 17 millionTwitter impressions were created with #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes. Sharing fears, hopes, and struggles as they relate to a life with type 1 is certainly raw, but also cathartic. It’s been two years since type one entered our home, and the longer it’s around, I realize that T1D will touch almost every aspect of our lives, but the real challenge is to learn that it will touch every aspect of our lives, and to move on despite it.

When our son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I knew that we didn’t do anything to cause it, that he would need to use insulin for the rest of his life, and lows and highs were dangerous. Now, I know more about diabetes, and in the spirit of advocacy, I’m sharing, in no particular order, ten things I wish people knew that diabetes…

  1. I wish people knew that diabetes makes me sad/upset/frustrated/exasperated when I’m at the grocery store.
  2.  I wish people knew that diabetes is often why I’m looking at my phone. I’m checking my son’s blood sugar remotely so that I can check back in on the task at hand.
  3. I wish people knew that diabetes occupies about an hour and half of my time per day, about $200 a month, and we’re lucky to have time and good insurance.
  4. I wish people knew that diabetes means I fear that one day my son will attempt to take his own life by purposefully administering too much insluin.
  5. I wish people knew that diabetes makes me monitor my other child’s water intake, weight, bathroom habits, and moods because I’m afraid that she too will develop type one diabetes.
  6. I wish people knew that diabetes forces me to sometimes trust people I don’t know very well with my son’s literal life, then after he learns to care for his own diabetes, I will have to trust a teenager to make mostly good and responsible life and death decisions multiple times a day, more or less consistently.
  7. I wish people knew that diabetes makes me afraid I might outlive my son.
  8. I wish people knew that diabetes is why I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in more than two years.
  9. I wish people knew that diabetes means almost every week I read about someone who died because they had the same disease as my son.
  10. I wish people knew that diabetes means I have to choose to believe that living with a chronic disease makes people stronger and not weaker, because that’s the way forward.

Please consider sharing your thoughts using the hashtag  #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes on social media on April 20th.

Sleep, Snow, & April

Earlier this week, Beyond Type 1 posted an article, “I Can’t Sleep,” by Sara Jensen. In the article, Jensen describes the lack of sleep, stress, and ceaseless work that create Caregiver Anxiety. I’ve had every experience that Jensen describes, from a doctor admonishing me that my health is being negatively impacted due to stress to worrying that if I sleep through an alarm my child could die.

She writes, “I lay back down and I breathe in, I breathe out, my mind tells me I won’t be able to fall back asleep, and when I do, the alarm goes off again. It feels like I never closed my eyes at all,” which perfectly describes the mixture of sleepless exhaustion and stress parents of kids with T1D often experience.

At our house, some nights blur by in a flurry of insulin, alarms, juiceboxes, and more alarms.

Recently, I traveled for work, and during that week, Henry was being cared for by his father, and my mom, a nurse. This wasn’t my first time away from him after diagnosis, nor was I afraid. I knew he was in good hands. Yet, 1,806 miles away I woke about every two hours, suddenly, as though a giant animal had jumped on my chest, forcing out all my breath. But instead of an alarm or lights blaring, there was just the night. It was quiet. I looked at Henry’s BG on my phone, it was usually in range, and I’d go back to sleep.

After about the fourth night of waking up in a state of emergency when there was no emergency, I realized how profoundly T1D care impacts the most basic aspects of life: sleep, not sleep, food, and how I think about my son. But profoundly realizing something doesn’t change it. I woke up the same way the fifth, sixth, and seventh nights because I’d been waking up this way for two years– the same animal feeling, but I wasn’t afforded quiet to think about it– there was an obligation or almost emergency to contend with, asleep down the hall, in need of insulin or juice.

When Henry was diagnosed with T1D, what I didn’t know about type 1 could fill the stratosphere. For example, I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be able to sleep through the night for the next two years. Now I wonder if I ever will sleep through the night.

Before I left for work this morning it was blustery, while a few wild snowflakes dashed down. I checked my phone before the workday began, and I laughed when this image from FB popped up from three years ago.

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I laughed because when I looked up from the screen, through the kitchen window I watched it snow on daffodils, but there was a time that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Three years ago not a snowflake was in sight: eleven more months to live without T1D, to sleep through the night, to eat food without weighing it, without weighing so many vital daily decisions that have become necessarily mundane.

The thing about winter in the midwest is that snow turns to mud, turns to flower. It’s just a waiting game, like waiting for a blood sugar to rise or fall.

 

A New Haircut

I was that mom who waited way too long to cut her son’s curly locks. In fact, this photo, taken when Henry was 18 months old, was what shamed me into getting his fist haircut.

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Henry, in need of his first haircut, two years and two days before his T1D diagnosis.

You see it right? That not-so-cute blonde Bozo the Clown hairstyle.

So we got his hair cut. No big drama. He ate a sucker while the stylist cut his hair. She put a few curls in an envelope for me to keep. About every eight weeks we’d repeat the same steps: sucker, haircut, not much drama. Then Henry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Immediately after his T1D diagnosis it dawned on me that some things, like eating in a restaurant, are possible, but more difficult. But other times, suddenly, we’d be in a situation where I didn’t think T1D would be an issue (like getting a haircut), and it was.

At Henry’s first haircut after diagnosis, he wanted a sucker before climbing in the chair. I scrambled for a piece of sugar-free gum to give Henry while gesturing to the stylist not to give Henry a sucker. But Henry was insistent, he wanted a sucker. I said not now, maybe later. The stylist told me that the sucker was just “a little one” and he could “pick his flavor.” I told her Henry has type 1 diabetes and he probably shouldn’t have a sucker right now, but we’d take it for later.

The short of it is that Henry left with two balloons, several stickers, and a rapidly rising blood sugar well over 200. I left with a lot of guilt. This would be the first of many times I’d have to refuse or accept a sweet treat offered at the bank or post office. There’s no easy way to casually disclose to a well-meaning stranger that your child has a chronic condition, so the sugar treat is not a good idea in the moment. And then there’s the kid, the one with the chronic condition, listening to everything that’s said.

Now, I run those errands before I pick Henry up at preschool so I don’t have to explain anything to anyone.

These days, I let Henry’s hair get a little longer than it should (but not Bozo style) before we get it cut. Last week, I took Henry for a haircut. After the haircut, the stylist asked Henry if he’d like a sucker. I didn’t say anything. He picked out a mystery flavor for himself, and then asked if he could pick one for his sister.

As we were walking out, he handed me both suckers and said, “Give this blue one to Ava, and save mine for me when I’m low.”

Crossing a parking lot with my five-year-old, who’d just given up his treat for a future medical emergency, I felt pride and a familiar sadness. All the sudden, I realized not only will T1D always be with him, but it is shaping who he is.

T1D, Tummy Bugs, & Time

About this time last year, Henry was taking a bath when he threw up. Matt began checking for ketones and calculating how much insulin he could or couldn’t give to a kid with a tummy bug, while I ran out to the grocery to purchase lots of soda, popsicles, and jell-o with sugar.

Tummy bugs are tricky with T1D. Ketones develop with sickness and when there’s not enough insulin to break down the glucose. In someone with T1D, what clears ketones is insulin and massive hydration, but when someone with T1D is vomiting, the person can’t keep the fluids down so that insulin can be administered safely. As ketones and dehydration increase, probably coupled with a low blood sugar, the likelihood of DKA
(diabetic ketoacidosis) increases. Usually, tummy bugs send Henry to the hospital. Sometimes we ride it out in the ER with an IV and sugar drip, and sometimes he’s admitted to the pediatric unit.

A year ago I was standing in line, anxious and worried, about to purchase a bunch of sugar. As the cashier was ringing my items she asked, “Are you planning a party?”

Hurried and harried, I replied, “Yeah, something like that.”

She then asked me if I’d like to donate a dollar to the JDRF and pointed toward a stack of papers in the shape of sneaker. Our local grocery store participates in the JDRF sell a sneaker campaign, where a person can add $1 to his or her total and the money goes to the JDRF. The total irony of that insane d-moment sunk in, and I inhaled to stop any feeling from overwhelming me.

I said yes, and signed Henry’s mom dx’d 3/6/14 then ran to my car, hoping to get all this sugar home in time to help. A few hours later found us in the ER, and Henry recovered quickly.

There are significant dates, diaversaries (diagnosis + anniversaries), and yearly campaigns, that mark the emotional passage of time that comes from living with a chronic condition. Last week I was standing in the grocery store, purchasing food for dinner, Henry was healthy, playing in the snow at his preschool, a young boy had just passed away from complications resulting from T1D, DKA, and a tummy bug. The clerk asked if I’d like to donate a dollar to the JDRF.

I said yes, and signed Henry’s mom dx’d 3/6/14 then walked to my car, thinking about Andrew’s family, about Henry a year ago, about the relentlessness of time across a chronic condition.