So…your kid is not a newly diagnosed T1D, so why can’t you keep her out of the hospital???

Hi Friends-

If we’re friends,  family, neighbors, coworkers, or facebook friends, you know Haley was in the hospital this week due to complications with her Type 1 Diabetes. Those who live with us on a daily basis know the ‘WHY” to this question, but for many friends, they don’t know why and would like to understand.  So, here goes:

  1. Diabetes really sucks.  For real, it sucks.  T1’s have a pancreas but it does not produce insulin.  So that alone sucks, right?
  2. She’s 16.  I mean- when I was 16, I was a hot mess.  I had a job at the Winn Dixie, a boyfriend, school, a best friend, a social life.  If I had been diabetic at her age, I’d have screwed up quite a bit! Teenagers have trouble seeing anything more than just TODAY.  I’ve told Haley 45712452155122 times how not keeping up with her blood sugars will affect her health later.  Might as well talk to this computer monitor. I know she hears me.  She just doesn’t ever think bad stuff will happen to her.  Did you ever think, when you were 16, that you’d ever get old?  Hello…I am nearly 47.  In teenager terms, I am the crypt keeper!
  3. What we have here is a failure to communicate!  This part is kind of hard to explain, but I will try. Because Haley’s pancreas produces no insulin, she has to rely on insulin via an insulin pump.  or an insulin pen.  We are still relatively new to pumping, as we received her first pump last spring.  In her case, she has an Omnipod.  We chose that one because it has no tubing.  Unlike other pumps, it is not connected to her body with tubes.  Ominpods have small pods that we inject with insulin from a vial. The pod, once filled with insulin, gets stuck to her body with an adhesive and has a cannula that is injected just below the surface of the skin.  Then, she takes her PDM, that looks like a remote control, and “connects” her pod.  Kinda like the pairing feature in a car between the bluetooth and the phone.  From the remote, Haley can input how many carbs she ate, and it gives her a number of units of insulin to dispense  based on her current blood sugar levels.  I forgot to mention she uses the remote to check blood sugar, too.  She still has to do a finger prick, put a sample on a test strip while it’s in the PDM.  So it is kinda one stop shopping for miss T1D.  Much easier than the old pen way.  The pod also gives her a continuous drip of insulin throughout the day (basal rate) in addition to “bolus” insulin she does for meals.  If you would like to see what her PDM and pods look like, you can find that here: http://www.insulet.com/overview.php
  4. So.  You have the pod/pump thingy, so WTF? Here is where we failed to communicate.  If the cannula is not properly in her leg, arm, tummy, etc…the insulin she THINKS she is getting is NOT getting into her body.  Her blood sugar will rise rapidly.  And if she doesn’t check it as often as she should, she won’t know that it is getting way too high.  That is what happened in this case.  Hence the failure to communicate!   Being a teenager is tough.  Being a T1D teenager is tougher.  I am sure Haley would tell you she has 545454654 things to do besides checking her sugar.  Each finger prick is a burden to her.   She didn’t check it as often and she didn’t heed the warning her body gives her until she was in DKA.  DKA- Diabetic Ketoacidosis and if ignored, it can be fatal, or leave her with serious damage.  Thankfully, the 3 times she has been in DKA,it has been mild.  And after each episode, she usually feels like crap for a day or so.
  5. Is she ok now? YES.  It is as if nothing happened a few days ago.  That’s because she’s been on top of her sugars and is keeping it in check.  Normal blood sugar for typical people is between 70-100.  For Haley, ‘Normal” can be 80-180.  She’s been pretty active this weekend as has no physical complaints.  She missed 3 days of school last week, so she will spend this week making up any assignments she missed.

I guess that’s it!  Thanks to all for the prayers and kindess for my girl.  We really appreciate every single gesture!

Thanks for reading!

Dawn

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