Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our Christmas Wish to You!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

When the Carer needs some care!

Yesterday started out well, better than well - it was great.

The kids have finished school for the year so no rushing around in the mornings. I get to take it easy.

Finally the weather was lovely, after a rather lacklustre start to Summer.

And, a few days before, I'd started to get myself fit - preparing for our trip to Canada and generally finally paying myself a little attention and concentrating on my own health.

So, my day started with a run with Heidi the Wonder Dog followed by a swim then a coffee while I lay in the sun by the pool.

Eventually I decided it was time to get some housework done - and it was time to get the kids out of the house and into the sunshine. I moved the sun-lounge out of the "splash-zone" because I knew that Issie would go in the pool as soon as she came outside, set up a little table next to the sun-lounge, put a book I've had for some time, but hadn't had time to read, on the table and went inside to make another cup of coffee. Once the coffee was made I was ready to go get the laundry basket from upstairs and put the first load of laundry on. My plan was to spend the day by the pool, reading my book, between loads of laundry.

All was going to plan, the coffee was made and I then headed through the dining room en route to get the laundry basket.

And that's when it all fell apart.

There wasn't a lot of room to walk through the dining area because I hadn't yet put away the extra chairs and tables that had been set up for a Christmas party last weekend. So, I didn't take as much care as I should have - and caught my right foot on the corner of a cupboard.

The rest of the day was spent at the hospital.

I had to drive myself of course, although over the last 2 years I've had a lot of practice driving with my left foot (another story) - so this wasn't too much of an issue.

Now, although a broken pinkie toe is not that much of an issue, yes, a bit painful, but otherwise generally manageable - the blow to my foot/toe had enough force to cause a very nasty laceration in a place that is impossible to stitch. So, my toe has been glued back together - which means I am not allowed to walk AT ALL for 4 days and then only limited walking (on my heel only) for at least another week.

Four days of enforced rest. Okay, sure, no problem.

Ummmm - just a little problem....

I'm a single Mum - of 2 kids with T1D.

Night time testing is hard enough at the best of times - crutches makes it sooooo much more fun!

We've reduced the stress a little by having Issie sleep with me for a few days - but I still have to get to Timmy's room.

And that's just night time testing - there's also preparing meals, housework. Oh - and that's right - our family Christmas Dinner in 2 days!

I taught Timmy how to make my cappuccino's - and it's looking like the kids are going to get their first lessons in making my famous Four Mushroom stuffing. Oh, just realised that I need to do the grocery shopping!

Oh well, we'll muddle through somehow - and I have all fingers and non-broken toes crossed that T1D will play nice over the next couple days so that we don't have any Christmas hospital visits!

That reminds me - about 5 minutes after I hurt my foot both kids informed me that their pump sites had come off! I had to do 2 site changes before I took myself to hospital - and Issie's didn't work properly - with a BGL of 26.9 (484) an hour after we arrived at the hospital! Of course, both kids were with me so we somehow managed until we got home and were able to do another site change.

So much for my fitness campaign!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Travel with Type 1 Diabetes.

Somehow we made it to the end of the school year!

I've just realised something about the end of the school year here in the Southern Hemisphere - and just realised why it is so much more insane!

Our school year essentially starts at the end of January or beginning of February - and goes through until early to mid December.

This, of course, means that the last term of school is also the lead up to Christmas. It is a crazy time of the year. Not only are we dealing with school functions, graduations, presentation ceremonies etc, but we're also dealing with Christmas parties, organising presents and getting ready for our family Christmas dinner or lunch!

Why have I never thought of that before? It would be sooooo much easier to finish the school year in the middle of the year!

Okay everyone - let's move north!

Well, I can dream!

But speaking of moving north (although not "moving" - just "heading") - the 2 kids and I are heading north, to Canada, early in the New Year and we CAN'T WAIT!

So this post is about Travel with T1D.

As with everything T1D related - travel means planning - and LOTS of it!

Here is a Checklist I have devised for use when planning a trip!

* DO NOT click on the "Submit" button - this check list is just to help you prepare for your trip.

One of the things we're really excited about is joining Sean and Mollie Busby and their fantastic organisation for a ski-snowboard camp!

So, lots to do!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Getting ready for school...

Okay - so maybe I'm getting ahead of myself just a teensy bit.

School holidays are about to start, not end! Why am I writing a post about getting ready for school?

Well, that's an easy one. I have two kids with Type 1 Diabetes!

Just when we finally get comfortable with how the school has been managing our kids, the year ends and we have to start all over again!

Planning for the new school year starts at the end of the last one!

For families with younger children with T1D, many parents have arrangements with their child's school to let them know who their child's teacher for the next school year will be. Of course this is so that parents can ensure that their child's new teacher is prepared for having a T1D kid in their classroom.

Then of course you have the joys of kids going from primary school (grade/elementary school) to high school - a whole new kettle of fish!

The start of school is soooooo incredibly stressful for T1D families.

Another thing that makes it a little more difficult here in Australia is that there is NO standard Management Plan for kids with T1D!

It's entirely up to the parents to devise a Management Plan for their kids.

There are standard Asthma Plans and posters that get put up all over the schools.

There are standard Anaphylaxis Plans.

There are plans for kids with learning difficulties.

On every single excursion, camp, activity and field trip permission form there are entire sections dedicated to Asthma and Anaphylaxis - however, in the vast majority of cases Type 1 Diabetes does not even rate a mention.

There is NO standard Management Plan for Type 1 Diabetes.

Interesting, when neither Asthma nor Anaphylaxis require constant monitoring, 24 hours a day, every single day!

I'm not discounting these serious medical conditions at all, both of my kids had terrible Asthma up until 6 or 7 years of age, I know how scary it is. I also know families of kids with Anaphylaxis - and yes, that's very scary too. Things can turn ugly very quickly with both of these conditions. However, they BOTH need a trigger.

Type 1 Diabetes does not need a trigger. It's there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

How many parents of kids with Asthma or Anaphylaxis get up every single night between 2am and 3am to check on their kids, whether they're unwell or not? Yes, it's scary and very dangerous when their kids are sick - and yes, life-threatening. But there's the difference. When they're well, when proper precautions are taken and there are no triggers, these conditions don't require constant attention and monitoring at least every 2 hours every single day.

No, I would never wish Asthma or Anaphylaxis on any child or parent. I am NOT saying that I'd rather my kids had those problems and not T1D. I'd rather my kids did not have ANY serious medical condition at all.

What I AM saying is that, in MY opinion (and this is JUST MY OPINION), I do not believe that the vast majority of schools here in Australia take Type 1 Diabetes seriously enough.

Okay, got a little sidetracked there, so better get down off my soapbox and get back to what this post is about - getting kids ready for the new school year!

My kids were both diagnosed when they were already at school - Issie was in grade 3 and Tim in grade 7.   In a way - it's a little easier when your child is already at school. You're already used to leaving them in the (hopefully) capable hands of school teachers; they already have their own circle of friends; they already know their way around the school ground.

Still difficult to deal with - but easier than if your child was diagnosed as an infant and toddler, and have been in your care for a few years before you then have to, somehow, hand them over to teachers to take care of for 6 hours a day!

I know of many, many families in this situation - and the parents are, understandably, terrified!

A few months ago I was asked to help with the development of a Toolkit aimed at helping parents deal with their child returning to school after diagnosis. This Toolkit, the "In Real Life: Back-to-school Toolkit" developed by Eli Lilly Diabetes Australia, has finally been published and is being rolled out to Diabetes Clinics across the country.

Finally, parents will have a resource they can use to help them plan for their child starting, or returning to school.

However, still no actual "Management Plan".

A few days ago I created a new page here on this Blog dedicated to managing T1D at school.

You'll find the link to the page under the Blog Title at the top of this page. You can also access the page by clicking on the picture above - which also appears as a permanent link at the right of every page on this Blog.

The "Diabetes Management At School" page contains links to various documents, suggested management plans, flow charts, information for Australian schools and many other resources to help make the start of school a little less daunting.

I will continue to add more links to that page as I come across more and more resources that may be helpful to parents and teachers/school staff.

If you come across a resource or link that is not included on the Diabetes Management At School page, and you think it should be there - feel free to send me link by leaving a "Comment" under this post - or send me an email!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

It's been a week since my last post...

Oh wow - flashback to my Catholic School days - I felt like I was in "Confession"!

I guess it's just that time of year. Things are crazy! So much to do, deadlines for everything.

And of course as well as all the usual end of year goings on, concerts, performance days, school presentation functions, class Christmas Parties, organising family get-togethers - I have to throw into the mix 2 Clinic Days in the last week of school! One on the Monday and one on the Thursday - and both are full-day events with appointments with every member of the kids' Diabetes Team - Endocrinologist, Diabetes Educator, Dietician and Psychologist!

Oh - and Tim's Clinic Day is also his first "annual" check up day - so we have his pathology appointment to have his annual bloods done!

During an exchange of text messages with my sister this morning trying to coordinate Christmas Presents for nieces and nephews (our family Christmas is this coming weekend) she wrote:

"Make sure you fit in some time just for you!"


She's kidding, right?

But that's okay - being busy is a good thing.

My kids and I love Christmas - and an entire day is dedicated to putting up the tree and decorating the house. We have Christmas music turned up loud (much to Tim's disgust) - and lots of really bad singing!

Even Heidi Puppy joins in on the fun!

This year we also added decorating a gingerbread house! Issie had bought a kit at school - so we did a special shopping trip just to get supplies for decorating the gingerbread house - and it looked great - for one night - before Issie started demolishing it.

Thank goodness for insulin pumps...

Issie taking a bite out of her gingerbread house!

Lots of parents of newly diagnosed kids get very nervous around the holidays, particularly because of the enormous focus on food.

This is now our 2nd Christmas as a T1D family and I know we'll get through it just fine.

The most important thing, as we were told by our Diabetes Educators, is to let our kids just be kids on special occasions and not let T1D interfere with their fun. Of course I try to make sure there are healthy options for the kids at all times, but if they're going to choose to eat candy and gingerbread or whatever else they want to eat at Christmas then that's fine with me. 

I'll just work a little harder, do a little extra monitoring overnight so that their BGL's don't get too far out of control and so that they don't end up feeling sick from eating the treats they enjoy so much. 

So, anyone wanna take a guess at the carb count for that gingerbread house!

I'll give you a clue - it's about one tenth of the amount of carbs in the jar of the left-over candy! 

Oh well - guess I won't be running out of hypo treatments anytime soon!