Friday, July 19, 2013

'chronic': adj, syn 'ongoing'

"It's life, Jim, but not as we know it."

Since Avery was diagnosed, we've had some frightening days. She had a four-day sustained high, for example, when we could barely get her blood sugar below 17.5 no matter what we did. The pediatrician told us to throw out the insulin cartridge and start using a new one. It worked: somehow, the third vial out of a 5-vial blister-strip pack, was ineffective. I had only changed it less than a week before, so it wasn't old...??

Anyway. Who knows?

Then, Avery had a low one night at eleven o'clock. I treated the low (liquid sugar followed by a carb-protein snack) but ten minutes afterwards, she threw up, and went low again. I was out of juice, and out of pop. She drank a few tablespoons of maple syrup, and then threw up. I mixed up some powdered iced tea, and she drank it, and then threw up.

After two hours and seven low treatments, enough of the sugar had absorbed despite the vomiting, to bring her her blood sugar up high enough that I let her go to sleep.

Today Avery's pediatrician began the process of getting her an insulin pump. There is a certain amount of learning that must take place before a family 'qualifies' -- they want to be sure you are not under the impression that the pump will make your life easy. You have to understand the effects of food, exercise, sleep, insulin; all things that affect blood glucose. Once you can manage it 'old school', you can ask for the luxury of a short-cut.

I'm pleased that the BC government is so selective about which patients are 'candidates' for pump therapy. This is a $7000 device, and the disposable infusion sets, changed every 2 to 3 days, are $20 each. I'm a taxpayer too, and I like knowing that, as far as possible, families are assessed as to their ability to use it responsibly.

It's hard to manage this disease. It's all a question of damage control - you are always a few steps behind, playing catch-up. My hope is that the insulin pump frees her up a little bit. It would be great if she could eat without a conspicuous injection, or if she could skip a meal that she really doesn't want.

It looks like she'll get her pump in September. First we have to decide on a model (I think our decision is nearly made), and then the pediatrician will order it and we'll begin training. Normally it wouldn't take that long, but it's summer and, between his holidays and ours, September is not far away.

I want to thank everybody for chiming in, in the comments. I really appreciate your words, and your positive thoughts, good vibrations, and prayers...all have come in useful in the past few months.

Next time I won't be away so long. I'm beginning to see that we're all going to be okay, and that someday there may even be time to do some housework, write a letter, sew a dress, bake a cake, read a novel, and decorate for Christmas. After all, you can't just stop everything, can you? 

You gotta bash on regardless.


Carolyn said...

It's barely 6 AM and I've learned my new thing for the day. You north-of-the-border types measure blood sugar differently than us south-of-the-border types! Normal, here, is 70-100 mg/dl. 17.5 is Very Bad News on the low side - not the high side.

Good news about the pump! Keep hanging in there, one step at a time. It'll always be something - but normalcy will creep in around the corners and in unexpected places.

freedomnan said...

So good to see you back! So good you have time to think about a blog post!

Valerie said...

Hi Shan, Hope things stabilize for Avery soon!

I've been listening to Sonya Sotomayer's memior, My Beloved World. (She's a US Supreme Court Justice of Puerto Rican descent who has had diabetes since she was 7 years old.) Early in the book she talks about being diagnosed back in the early 1960's.

You might be interested in reading it at some point because of the positive outcomes for her and her upbeat approach to dealing with challenges.

Valerie said...

oops...mispelled memoir.

Cindy said...

So glad to see you back again. Yes, like most things in life, this panic shall too pass and you will both get a handle on what to do when what you did, didn't work. A lot more Plan Bs in your future.

Anonymous said...

Off camping for a week, but we need to connect when I'm back.

(Nadine has a pump, lots of interesting info I've learned about it since she got it, I think, three years ago.)

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh Canada!! We hear so many horror stories from friends in the States about medical insurance. I'm thankful regularly for our medical coverage up here. Manuela had a pump, she loved the freedom it gave her.