Taking Care of Her While Taking Care of Me
The little device that keeps track when I can't keep up with diabetes blood sugar testing
April 2014 — "I got it in the bowl, Mom! Right in the bowl! I didn't miss!!"
The pride of my four year old daughter in her ability to aim her vomit was kind of heart-warming were it not for the fact that previously in the day, she'd thrown up all over me. (Thanks, Birdy.)
My kid has been lucky over the last four years in avoiding illness. She's only had the stomach bug twice and her share of colds and sniffles seem far outnumbered by those of her peers. I like to think that she inherited her father's immune system of steel.
Which is why it's such a shock when she does get sick because we, as a family, aren't as used to it. The cycle of laundry — cleaning up puddles of gross laundry — again is a pretty rare occurrence, and once it kicks in, it feels endless. Last weekend, my daughter had a 36-hour stomach virus that made her need lots of fluids, lots of baths, and lots of snuggling, leaving everything else on my "to-do" list undone.
Including all the diabetes stuff.
When my little Bird is sick, diabetes blood sugar testing takes a way-back seat to her needs. During the most aggressive hours of her illness, I did not test my blood sugar, I'm fairly certain I didn't eat anything, and I'm absolutely sure I didn't get any exercise (aside from running back-and-forth to the bathroom with her). As routine as diabetes blood sugar testing has become over the years, that routine is broken into bits when my kid is sick, because her needs supersede mine. However, taking care of her still means I need to take care of myself, because I'm no good to her if my blood sugar is tanking into the 40's or if I'm lethargic due to a high blood sugar. Moments that require hyper-attentive parenting make me so grateful for the invention and utilization of my continuous glucose monitor.
Pre-CGM use, if I went several hours without diabetes blood sugar testing, I'd have no clue what transpired over that timeframe. For all I know, I could have spent hours over 250 mg/dL, or experienced a mild hypoglycemic episode. But the CGM is a game-changer in that I can peek at the graph and see where I've been and where I might be going.
Having constant access to my blood sugar numbers makes caring for my family easier because it makes caring for myself easier.
"Wow – well at least I can confirm that my basal rates are spot on in the morning, because look at that graph – steady and in-range!" I said to my husband as we recapped the events of the day.
"That's a plus. And we're also positive that the washing machine works really well. And can run for 24 hours straight!" he replied.
A day later, my daughter was feeling much better and I was able to resume my regularly scheduled diabetes blood sugar testing and management. My CGM isn't something I depend on, but it's really nice to lean on when I need a data crutch here and there.
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dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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