If this is your first time visiting, welcome. If you are returning again, welcome back. While this blog was originally not going to be about me or my life, it seems to be morphing to include more of myself and experiences. I will still strive to add a different perspective to the news and events around the world that impact everyone's life,however, I will focus more attention on issues that relate more tangibly to our personal lives. We all live in a world that is increasingly interconnected yet it seems a lot of people are turning inwards, shying away from human interaction. Lets step away from ourselves and see what we can do to make a difference. There are ads on this page and 65 cents of every dollar earned will be donated towards helping the homeless. If you like what you are reading, please share it with your friends.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Staying Positive with Diabetes

Receiving the news that our son has Type 1 diabetes was just the latest in a string of potentially depressing news so far this year.   Looking at my year so far, I can envision many people who would have a totally different outlook and feeling on how its gone so far.  Someone else in my situation might look at things differently and say, "Damn, my year has sucked so far."  But the events I've gone through so far have been mostly brief events, blips on a radar of an otherwise joy filled year.  I can dwell on the few depressing moments, the ones that take me deep inside, that force me to re-examine my outlook on life, and let them simmer and foment feelings of despair, anger, and depression, or I can instead deal with them, accept the feelings they bring, and use those to build a better base upon which to deal with future events.  Those events have past, I've moved on, and while they all touched me in a different way, they all had the cumulative effect of forcing me to re-commit myself to living in the present.  In a way, I feel, it is almost as if those events, strung together in a relatively short period of time, have been preparing me to deal with anything that comes my way now, including my son having diabetes.  There has been sadness this year, but there has also been incredible joy so far.  If I had dwelt on the depressing aspects of everything that has happened, I would have missed those moments of laughter and joy with my children.  I could not be present with them if I let my mind dwell and despair over events that are past.  Children have an excellent way of dragging you back to the present as for them, that's all there is.  Their main concern is with what's happening right now, not what has past or what will happen, but what is in front of them this moment.  The more I can let them help me be present, the more I can in turn help them realize the benefits of remaining in the present as they grow older and the past and the future make themselves felt.  

So what happened this year so far?  In terms of those potentially depressing moments (which some of them were), let me elaborate.  On the cusp of the new year, I attended a funeral with my wife of a beautiful woman who fought breast cancer, won the first fight, but then succumbed when cancer came raging back.  She had just recently retired.  When I was working for her, her outlook on life was amazing despite the pain and suffering she herself was going through.  Then, a few months later, our cat Spice died.  My wife had this little runt of a cat before she met me.  She was 15 years old when she passed, had a hell of a spirit for a cat, a dealt with two large dogs on a daily basis, constantly setting them in their place.  (Just a cat, but still sad).  Then within a week, my grandmother, Baba, passed away at the ripe old age of 96.  She was a feisty woman and despite the sadness of losing her, there was a lot that I learned through the whole process of grieving and letting someone go, that it all balanced out.  We can't keep our loved ones around forever, but we do have those memories of them to remind us of how wonderful life is.  A few weeks after that, a former colleague of my wife and mother of one of my friend's from high school passed away.  She as well beat breast cancer previously and had some form of cancer come raging back and take her life away.  Two days after that wake, we brought our son to the hospital where he was diagnosed with diabetes.   This will not pass as the funerals and wakes passed, but it will require the same outlook on life of dealing with it one day at a time and remaining in the present.  So with all this that has happened, it has still been a great year.  Could things always be better?  Of course they could be, but we don't know when or if or how that would happen, so our best bet is to deal with life as it comes.  

There is the very real potential with diabetes that our son's blood sugar will go too low, he could become unconscious or suffer a seizure, however, it remains just that, a potential event, not one cemented in reality yet.  If and when it happens, we will deal with it and obviously we will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening.  I could dwell on the potential downfalls of diabetes, but instead, I look at our son and love the renewed exuberance he has for life, the renewed conversations that he has with us, and his desire to go outside, play and be himself.  He isn't letting diabetes get to him, he is dealing with just as we are.  In fact, at the age of 5, he is getting to the point now where he wants to test his own blood sugar, prick his own finger, put his own test strip into the meter, and test himself.  It's become a part of his life.  He knows there are adjustments, but we don't dwell on those, we just deal with life as it comes.  All this leads me to question how other people deal with issues like this, not because I'm trying to compare our life to theirs and see who is dealing with it better, but more because over the past week, we have received numerous offers to talk to someone who is dealing with it or has had a family member deal with it.  The offer is made so that we have someone to talk to in case we need help dealing with it or have questions.  I appreciate those offers, but I don't know that I will take anyone up on them right now.  I see how it changes things, and so far our family is dealing quite well with those changes.  There is no anxiety on my part, no added stress, just a general concern for my son's well being.  But that is always there, I am just more attentive to his demeanor and activity level due to his diagnosis.  Suffice it to say that there is a lot that goes into remaining positive, and I will elaborate more in the coming days, but for now, I have the rest of today ahead of me and my body is currently craving more caffeine.  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pediatrics at Yale New Haven Hospital

We are lucky to live 10-15 minutes from perhaps the best hospital in Connecticut and one of the better ones in our Northeast Region.  The knowledge that is contained within the walls of that hospital is immense and regardless of where we lived in Connecticut, I feel like we would have been sent to that hospital regardless.  After all, our room mate after leaving the PICU was a 7 yr old boy and his mom from New Canaan, 45 minutes away.  The staff at the hospital, especially the nurses, make you feel like you are important and that they are there to help you with whatever you need. They are especially patient with the children and accommodating to the needs of everyone within reason.  I'm sure that on some level they planned it so that when we did move down to the "floor" as they call it, we were placed with a room mate who was also recently diagnosed with diabetes.  There was the possibility of a bond to be built between the two young patients based on their condition and the parents who were caring for them.  And it did help, we would encourage each other when it came time to test blood sugar or administer insulin shots.  At the end of at least our mutual hospital stays, my wife and the other boy's mom exchanged numbers (both of them being health nuts to a certain extent) and have already been in contact about a few different things related to diabetes and managing it in young children.  The experience was a great one, even if I just got to spend nights there waking up every 3 hours to test blood sugar.  Yet, there is a part of me that wished I spent at least one day there, if only to see how lucky we are with a diagnoses of diabetes compared to some of the other patients in that ward. 

My wife was the one who spent the days with our son at the hospital, a lot of it in the large play room they have for all the children, regardless of age.  Having spend nights there, my exposure to the other patients was limited, although I did see some of them walking around periodically.  My wife got to see them even more and got to hear at least a few of their stories.  It is heart breaking, not only to see them there, some of them teenagers who don't know when they will be able to go home, and see the looks of dejection, hopelessness, and dismay at their condition.  One girl, a teenager, walked around with a mask on her face because she only had between 40 and 50 white blood cells total in her body.  She wasn't going to be able to leave until they somehow got her body to produce more and get the number up at least over a 100.  Her numbers had been up and down and she felt almost hopeless.  There was another young person in a wheel chair with patchy hair, probably a teenager but looked decades older who I'm guessing was dealing with cancer or some other serious disease.  There was another teenager, gaunt and hallow, who needed help walking anywhere.  And there was a patient I never saw, but got to see everyone who entered their room don masks, gloves, and gowns to keep whatever they were carrying away from them.  I couldn't even imagine being in their shoes, not knowing when I would get to leave, being a teenager stuck in a hospital ward when all my friends were going about their daily lives.  That is just the tip of the ice berg.  There is another section in pediatrics that we were not allowed to go into, either because it was the area where they deal with psychological issues or the serious cases reside that are either highly communicable or highly susceptible to infection.  So yes, I consider my son extremely lucky when put into context and my heart goes out to all those other children, ranging from babies to teenagers, who have no end in sight to their ailments.  

As for me, I got that one full night sleep this week.  Last night I woke up again at 230 to test our son's blood sugar.  I didn't technically need to, but with his blood sugar starting to drop and the insulin remaining the same, for my wife's peace of mind, I got up to test his blood sugar.  It's amazing how important continuous sleep is to the human body.  Without it, a distinct fog starts to creep in.  For me, its a perpetual fog right now, but that's ok, I only paint walls.  Back to life and reality now, more coffee, then breakfast, then another day of work.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Insulin Roulette

Well, I thought I was going to start getting more sleep.  And I did, for one night.  After calling in our son's blood sugar numbers yesterday for the previous day, we discovered that we will be playing a version of Russian Roulette, called instead by myself, insulin roulette.  The exciting news is that our son's blood sugar only went above 400 one time yesterday.  That means the hardened shell that the glucose in his blood had formed around his cells is starting to break down and allow the insulin to actually penetrate and start working more effectively.  On the other hand, they are hesitant to just start dropping the doses of insulin (which even they admit are really high) because they don't want to to deprive his body of the insulin if those doses are what he needs for a few more days.  With that said, they also cautioned us that his blood sugar could drop too quickly and he could experience a low.  So what to do?  Test his blood sugar extra times over night as we have been just to make sure he isn't going below a certain threshold, in our son's case, 100.  So we play this game of how much insulin our son actually needs during our process of returning his body back to a more normal state.  Nerve racking?  Umm, yes.  If our son does experience a low, which we were advised will probably happen within a few months, we need to be on top of it.  Side effects of a low are a possible seizure and unconsciousness.  In either case, we have the equivalent of an epi-pen, just super loaded with glucose instead to jump start his body.  I hope we never have to use it, but there is a distinct possibility we might.  We were told even last night to have supplies on hand should our son's blood sugar dip too low.  The emergency supplies we have consists not only of the epi-pen like device called glucagon, but also sugar tablets, juice boxes, and little packs of applesauce, all sources of carbs which can relatively quickly raise his blood sugar to a safe level if need be.  But, with all that said, his blood sugar stayed in the 200 range all last night and early this morning so for now, no lows for us.  And this afternoon's call with our son's blood sugar numbers will determine the amount of sleep I get tonight.  

Funny thing is, after a week of interrupted sleep, my body got used to the schedule rather quickly and I woke up more tired after a full night's sleep Monday night than I did this morning after a night of interrupted sleep.  Go figure.  However, all's well that ends well I suppose, its just a matter of getting through everything in between.  Outside of my lack of sleep and our little game of insulin roulette, I must say that with diabetes now diagnosed in our son and management of it taking effect, it is like we have a whole new child on our hands, which makes me wonder exactly how long he had been dealing with a lack of insulin in his body.  I wonder if it was a slow onset where the insulin slowly got shut down or it just took a while for his body to react to a lack of insulin.  The reason I say this is because our son now is much more cooperative around the house.  While he doens't listen all the time as no child does, he helps out more, is more cognizant of what he is doing in general, and can focus a little better than previously.  I don't know how this is all happening, but I will take a slightly more cooperative child and one that will actually talk to you when things happen between him and his sister and discuss the incident and the remedy that needs to take place.  Which brings me to his sister.  

She being two years younger has suffered no ill effects of our son being the complete center of attention for a week.  She did yearn to have her whole family home with her by the end of it all, but by now, that is all in the past and she is fully on board with diabetes and everything it entails.  The two of them run around the house with Rufus the diabetic teddy bear (he even has spots felt spots for injections and a fake needle for them to play with) testing his blood sugar and giving him doses of insulin.  She is luckily a resilient, head strong, stubborn, beautiful, and independent little girl who adapts quickly and gets along really well with her brother.  Watching the two of the play makes it seem as if last week never happened.  The routine we are slipping into with blood sugar testing and insulin injections is accepted by all the in the house and has proved to not be a deterrent for anything right now.  I think the biggest reason things returned so quickly to normal is that our son, once home, did not get extra special treatment.  He returned to being one of two children in the house with rules that needed following.  With his sister seeing this, I think it helped to ensure that neither felt slighted and that both felt like they were loved just as before.  To be honest, our son does receive slightly more attention only because we need to test his blood sugar and give him injections, but outside of that, the house rules remain as they were.  Well, I guess today will be another caffeine fueled day, the best discovery known to man in my mind, and I will play my own little game of sleep roulette; will my sleep be consistent or interrupted? 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Diabetes A Full Week In

It's been just over one full week since we found out our son has diabetes and what a whirlwind it has been.  It feels like we have had a month worth of activity crammed in to a quarter of the time.  Yesterday we went for our first follow up appointment since leaving the hospital.  We had one of the first appointments at 8 in the morning and I fully expected to be there for a while as with any doctor's office.  However, being one of the pediatric out-patient facilities for Yale, we were actually whisked in within about 5 minutes of arriving.  We had to go through all the routine vitals checks, and within a few minutes after that, we had the nurse and dietician come to talk to us.  When we first met them, I could feel a distinct uncertainty in their demeanor towards us, a hesitation as to what kind of parent and patient team we would be.  Would we be the one's freaking out that they would have to talk down off the ledge or would we be the one's who weren't taking it seriously and they would have to lecture us on the seriousness of the entire situation and the life changes that would have to be made.  To their surprise, which quickly became apparent, we were actually on top of everything.  I had taken pictures his chart of blood sugar readings and his carbohydrate loads through the recent days.  Everything was where it needed to be for just getting out of the hospital.  Even with the dietician, we were already well on our way to providing our son what he needed and rather than lectures or discourses, we had a good conversation about foods and how with our healthy eating we were already on track to providing our son the proper diet.  By the end, we had stopped talking about diabetes and the dietician and nurse were actually taking down the name of the farm that we get our cow and pig from because they like the idea of local, grass fed, humanely treated meat.  I almost laughed, but didn't.  By the time they were walking out, they were impressed with where our family was already at in terms of adjusting our lifestyle and said that if only the majority of other parents were more like us, their job would be a whole lot easier.  I guess we are doing something right!

Perhaps the best news of all came near the end.  I could stop testing our son's blood sugar overnight and could actually sleep through the night for the first time in over a week.  I was elated to say the least.  I am used to occasionally surviving on a only a few hours of sleep, but that is only one night at a time, not a whole week's worth of relatively sleepless nights.  After dealing with that little sleep for a week, it makes me realize that I could never be in the military and deal with even less sleep during training.  I would be that guy who would completely ignore authority, sneak out of formation, and go take a nap in dark corner some where.  Lucky for me, I knew those cards were never in my hand.  I thought that perhaps I would feel well rested after a full night's sleep last night, however, I underestimated the toll that sleeplessness took on me, and I think I woke up more tired than normal.  There is of course the fact that I caught a cold while in the hospital and my body was probably starting get used to the interrupted sleep rhythm.  My hope now is not to return to normal immediately, but maybe within a week I could start sleeping a little better and actually feel rested.  It also doesn't help that I am on my feet all day working, but alas, at least I don't have to deal with a lot of people like my wife does as a high school teacher.  

While the full night sleep on my part was the best news for me, there is good news on all fronts from yesterday.  Our son went back to school yesterday, a late start since we had the doctor's appointment, and despite the fact that he didn't want to, he made it through the whole day and actually let the school nurse take his blood sugar without having to talk to me.  The nurse did call to let me know he had done it all by himself and I couldn't be more proud of him.  He came a long way in just a week.  Less than 5 days ago, he would still fight the blood sugar testing on his finger whereas now whenever asked he walks over and hands us his finger for testing.  We are also making great strides with the insulin shots.  It took us using an ice pack to numb his arm, but with my wife in school last night, I was able to have our son sit on my lap, nervous but not struggling, and let me give him his two shots without a peep of complaint.  His arm was numb enough where he flinched before the needle went in and actually questioned whether I had given him the shot or not.  These are big strides we are making here and the stress it takes off my wife and I is immense.  The worst thing was holding him down to administer shots while he was literally kicking and screaming.  The three of us would have tear filled eyes and have to go sobbing our separate ways to recover.  Last good piece of news, his blood sugar is starting to normalize and last night we actually had two readings in a row that were between 140 and 150.  We are getting there, one day at a time.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Seeking Normalcy

Nothing will be normal as we were used to for the first 5 and a half years of our sons life.  While he will return to acting normal as he mostly has already, there is a new normalcy that we will all have to live now.  That new normal includes daily blood sugar testing and daily insulin doses.  The blood sugar testing, the activity we revisit most often on a daily basis, has become routine and hassle free. All we have to do is let him know its time and he comes over, offers up a finger of his choice, and we are done in less than 10 seconds.  The other part, twice daily insulin doses, has been a struggle.  Up until yesterday night, my wife and I have had to resort to holding our struggling, screaming son tight while we do our best to inject him as painlessly as possible.  I know our son can do this as there were a few times in the hospital where he didn't struggle and didn't complain about it at all.  However, at home, its been a 20 minute ordeal every time complete with delay tactics on his part and tears of pain and anguish on ours.  Pain and anguish from the fact that we actually have to restrain our son while he emits blood curdling screams in an attempt to not get the insulin.  There are no other alternatives yet.  If he doesn't get his insulin, he has to go back to the hospital.  Yet, last night, for the first time, we came up with a new trick that actually worked and prevented us from holding him as tight and for his part, was painless.  The trick?  It wasn't buzzy the bee, a little vibrating device that is held on his arm to distract him from the prick of the needle.  Rather, it was holding an ice pack on his arm to numb the spot where the needle would go in.  Much to his surprise, he felt nothing.  Before he knew it, we were done and he actually questioned whether or not we had injected him.  So for now, at least, we have a solution.  But that is merely the tip of the iceberg in what will have to change for him, but as have to constantly tell both ourselves and him, we have to take everything one day at a time.  

Our new normal in terms of lifestyle will take a bit of getting used to, but it won't be that hard in a month or two.  He has actually been great with it and with it only being a week so far, we are well on our way to establishing a new routine.  The new normalcy we are still seeking in terms of our son, however, is a return to a stable, safe, blood sugar level.  Over the past week, there has only been two instances where his blood sugar dipped down below 200, edging closer to the range of 70-160 that he will eventually reside in, hopefully without incident, for the good remainder of his life.  Currently, we are excited when we can keep his blood sugar between 300-400.  For those of you with any knowledge of blood sugar, that is an extremely high number for almost anybody.  Yet, that is that average for our son at this point, a game of Russian roulette we are playing with the doctors and his insulin doses.  What is the magic potion that will get his blood sugar down and keep it down accompanied by a given amount of carbs dispersed throughout the day.  For now, it is up and down.  A few dips into the 200 range, multiple spikes into the 500 and 600 range.  And yet, there is no cause for concern yet.  They are slowly going lower, and hopefully within another week, we will not have to see spikes above 300 anymore.  For us the bigger issues is the ketones in his blood.  When he went into the emergency room last Monday, he not only had high blood sugar, but he was also dealing with ketone acidosis (or something like that) where his blood was actually turning acidic in its effort to rid his small body of all the extra blood sugar.  That is the main area where he could run into trouble right now.  The high blood sugars are not a big deal as we are giving him the insulin to help break them down.  Luckily, his ketone levels have been low throughout the past week and we have no major cause for concern.  Lets hope it stays that way.  We are seeking that new, low (but not too low) normal blood sugar level accompanied by an absence, or at least as close to an absence as we can possibly reach with his ketone levels.  Now to dispel some myths.

I could probably write a whole new post about this, but I figure I will just address it now.  My wife and I have both been the recipients of questions on how our son could be diabetic when we look so thin and healthy.  Well, our son has Type 1 diabetes, the one that about 4% of the population is born with, that relatively little is known about, and does not "turn on" based on diet or lifestyle.  In our son's case, they suspect it was the flu that he had about a month prior that actually kicked the diabetes into high gear.  They think that as his immune system was attacking the virus, it also began attacking what it saw as a discrepancy either in his pancreas or region close by that caused his body to stop making insulin.  It is not like Type II diabetes that is completely dependent on lifestyle and is preventable if a person has the will to do so.  With Type 1 diabetes, he actually needs to eat a certain amount of carbs to provide his body with the proper type of energy, it just can't be too much or too little.  That is where we need to be more cognizant.  However, over the past few days, we have figured out that what he has been eating on a daily basis for almost his whole life, gets him within the range he needs to be.  So our healthy eating will actually make things easier for all of us.  There isn't too much we have to cut out yet, we just have to make sure he doesn't get too many carbs throughout the day, which so far, is relatively easy.  So there is the myth dispelled.  There was no way of preventing this, and no way of knowing that he would actually get it.  We just have to live with it now.  Our exhaustion as parents will subside (maybe more for me than for my wife), but it will subside.  The biggest thing we will have to be on the lookout for is when his blood sugar dips too low.  Luckily, we don't have to worry about that right now as we are still trying to get his blood sugar down.  One day at a time.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Drained but Persisting

Let me be perfectly honest, life ain't easy. Yet, I don't feel like I should be complaining about it.  Every time I think I have a right to complain or bitch about something, I think of all the people out there who have it much worse than I do.  People who are struggling to put food on the table, people who don't have family to support them, people who are the victims of violence and hatred, people who are dealt setback after setback and still get up.  I just have different struggles right now, which at times seem enormous and insurmountable, but deep inside I know everything will be ok.  It's interesting how a lack of sleep and emotional fortitude can chip away at the foundation of who you are, seeking to undermine your very stability.  I feel that way at times right now.  Every time I fell sound asleep last night I was woken up by my alarm to go test my son's blood sugar.  I would have it no other way, but damn, this shit ain't easy.  That lack of sleep also has a tendency to erode confidence and persistence, the very thing I need right now.  However, I keep on going back to what we are telling our son in his struggle to understand his new condition and the life change it means for him.  At 5 years old, he is asking if this is forever, will he need his shots forever, he doesn't want them anymore, he doesn't want to go back to school.  There is also a flip side to him which is his return to his normal, jovial, comedic self which pulls up those around him.  In those hard times with the questions and looming shots of insulin, we tell him we are taking it one day at a time, one shot at a time and that the past and future don't matter.  The only thing that matters is the present and getting through the moment right now without worrying about the next time.  I think back to almost a month ago now when I buried my Baba with my family and the eulogy I gave which exhorted the idea of living in the present, not dwelling in the past or the future which does not exist except within our minds.  I have to keep on telling myself that right now because the moment I forget about the present, the demons of insecurity come flooding back.  And here I thought I was partially immune to that.  Guess not.  This is not just a curveball for our son, but for our family, and while I know we will get through it, it will take some time to get adjusted to the newness of it, the stark reality of counting every single carb that our son ingests, and ensuring that a strict schedule is kept so that he remains healthy.  And yet, not all is dismal and depressing, for depressed I am not, just tired and cranky.  I am grateful for so many things and for situations that allow me to be present for my family.  Luckily, I work for myself and can adjust my schedule as need be.  That alone isn't easy and if I worked for someone else or a large corporation I feel might bring even more stress upon me.  I do, however, feel bad for my customers who have to, in part, deal with my situation as I can't devote a full normal workday to their project.  That being said, my customers are generally understanding and flexible.  Me being me, I want to do what's right for everyone and find that there is less and less time to do all the things I need to do.  Balance will come, its just elusive right now.  I am also grateful for my family who has been supportive of us and been there to help as we need right now.  So for all the struggles there currently are, there are positives around every corner.  With a tired body and mind, those positives just aren't always perfectly clear and present, sometimes elusive and shadowy.  Life goes on, today is Saturday and this shall be my focus.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Exhaustion Ensues

It has only been four full days since we brought our son to the hospital where he was diagnosed with diabetes.  It's only been four full days since we were thrown a slow curve-ball and now have to reconfigure out hitting posture.  And yet, it feels like four full weeks already.  I think I speak for every parent who has a child recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, cancer, or some other life altering condition when I say that there is so much more that comes with the diagnosis than originally thought.  I will say again that I feel blessed it is only diabetes and not something more life threatening and debilitating.  Yet, this is the beginning of a new journey for my family and I, and so far, it has been exhausting.  I have had minimal time with my wife as she took the days to spend with our son in the hospital and I took nights.  Yet, every time we do actually get to talk, we make sure we utilize that time to its fullest and try and get at least a small amount of personal time with each other.  Those nights, though, I tell you, were hard, and now, are getting harder.  What started with 3 nights on a "not so luxurious" hospital couch/bed, has morphed into largely sleep deprived nights.  From the get go, our son wanted me to be the one to test his blood sugar through the night instead of a strange nurse.  So I obliged.  Every three hours; 9, 12, and 3 AM I have been up to test his blood sugar.  And for the foreseeable future until we figure out exactly what his little body needs, I will be getting up at those times and testing him.  So while I got to sleep in our comfortable bed last night, the sleep that I did get was constantly interrupted.  While I would like to have it another way, I would trade it with no one just to be able to help our son out.  If this is what he needs from me, then this is what I will do.  I may just be overly empty of energy and emotional capability right now, but that is exactly why God made coffee, for those parents on sleepless nights who need to be there for their child no matter what.

The interrupted sleep isn't the worst part right now, though.  It just makes the rest of the job harder.  The worst part, which I pray will get easier sooner rather than later are the insulin shots that our son needs to receive twice a day; before breakfast and before dinner.  He has fought every single one (unless he has been sleeping), and while he admits they barely hurt at all, every time has brought delay tactics on his part and except for a few times, a spirited fight to the point where we need to hold  him down in order to administer the shots.   The blood curdling scream that comes out of him cuts through every fiber of my body like nails through a helium balloon, deflating my spirit and making me wish I could take his place.  But I can't.  Every single time, after the shots are over, I hold him tight and make sure he knows I hate to do this.  So far, he has bounced right back after the shots and returns back to normal, but despite the calm I strive to bring over myself before each encounter with the needles, it hasn't yet helped.  Despite the long conversations we have with him about why we need to do this and why this is now a part of his life, his 5 year old brain can't quite grasp the seriousness of it.  Understanding and acceptance I know will come, but it sure isn't easy right now.  At least he is getting good at letting us test his blood sugar most of the time.  And the shots won't have to be forever we tell him as they now have insulin pumps that can be used instead of the needles.  But for now, and until we get this down and he becomes accepting of it and grows a bit older, the needles are the only way.  

And then there is is boisterous sister.  The dynamics of having all of us back in the house yesterday after 3 days of mayhem were a struggle.  Our daughter has no concept of why this is all happening right now and merely wants the attention of her mommy and daddy.  I have no problem splitting my attention between the two of them, but at least right now, their desire to be the only recipient of our attention is a struggle.  This to, will get better, especially now that we are all home and inching back to a more normal life.  However, things will inevitably be different.  How can they not?  It is just now a matter of paying even closer attention to the needs of both of them and ensuring that our daughter feels she is not being pushed aside.  So far so good, and we plan on making it stay that way.  I think I have used up my limited amount of brain power this morning as words and thoughts are beginning to elude me, to sink back to the nether reaches of my consciousness.  A gentle fog is inching its way in, pushing me back towards sleep, but at this point, coffee is what will get me through.  It may not get rid of the fog today, but at least it can eat away at the edges and perhaps create the illusion in my mind of being fully awake and functioning.  We shall see, we shall see. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Heading into Day 4

This week has felt like one of the longest weeks ever. The sun is just rising on a crisp, clear, Thursday morning and it feels more like next Thursday already. It's been a whirlwind of a week and sanity is beginning to elude me.  For three nights in a row, sleep has been either elusive or intermittently interrupted to take blood sugars readings from my son, the occasional overnight insulin injection, or simply not being able to sleep due to a wildly thrown off schedule and largely inadequate sleep arrangements.  But, as I have held in front of me all week and continue to hold onto as a bastion of hope is that things could always be worse.  I could be here with my dying son instead of my son who we now need to work with to ensure a vibrant, mostly normal life.  I could also be in this situation with my son at a younger age, unable to understand the full ramifications of all that is going on around him and in him.  And yet, even at 5 years old, the complete understanding has not yet taken hold and I'm sure it will take a while for it to fully sink in.  But I start as the week is almost at an end and we are the verge of going home today and beginning the process of learning from home.  

It started over a week ago with the symptoms that my son exhibited.  There was a slow decrease in energy, an excessive intake of water to the tune of 20 ounces an hour accompanied by frequent trips to use the bathroom, and leg pain.  It all came to a head a week ago when my wife called the doctor and asked what we should do.  Upon hearing the symptoms, our doctor said we needed to get blood work done first thing Friday morning.  Our doctor didn't get the results back until early Monday morning at which point she called my wife at work and told her she needed to pull our son from school and get him the ER immediately.  As it would turn out over the course of that Monday, 4 days which feels more like 4 weeks at this point, our son has Type I diabetes.  Believe it or not, it was a relief to hear that.  It is a manageable condition, albeit a lifelong one, but much better than the alternative outcomes of the symptoms he was exhibiting.  Those much more disastrous alternatives ranged from bone cancer to leukemia to anemia.  I will take Type 1 Diabetes over any of those, any day.   That is the primary reason I have been able to hold such a positive outlook through all of this.  This is merely a gently, slow curve ball that life has thrown our way.  Even better is the fact that our currently lifestyle already consists of healthy eating, very little sugar, and a desire to do what's best for our family.  

Yet, for the foreseeable future, I will be sleep deprived.  Our son's blood sugar, while getting more normal is still all over the place and I will need to be up every three hours over night for the next week and a half to figure out his system and what we will need to do.  Luckily for me, I can fall asleep within minutes most of the time and functioning at work necessitates only holding a brush and taping knife, and not much interaction with people.  So luckily, I can let my brain merely cope with getting me through the day and not focus on having high level conversations with people.  I'm sure I will have more to write, and there is plenty more that I want to say, but my son just woke up in his hospital bed and its on to another day.  We are all well, though, breathing and getting back to normal, and are looking forward to heading home today.