Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Life as a Vampire

Each night, most of  us sleep unaware of the most interesting of things.  Vampires like me, those drawing blood regularly to check the blood glucose of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, often roam the house, zombie-like, seeking juice. I pour him a cold one (juice). He flings his arms, unaware and I'm doused with sticky liquid.  I set a timer, twenty minutes for his body, waiting for a better number.

Sometimes, I'll look at my Kindle, sometimes Facebook, looking to see who else is up.  I know the blue light might interfere with my ability to sleep, but that is a good thing.  Can't. Fall. Asleep.  So I sit on the rug waiting...reading...and learn that STINK BUGS are attracted to blue light.  One lands in my hair. Instinctively, I brush it off and use my favorite flashlight to look for it.  Mistake.  Attracted by that light, it dive bombs me.  There is something in his aggressive approach that repels me.  I don't know where he went.

At 3:00 a.m., still waiting, the electricity goes out.  Silence.  We had been warned this would happen for repairs, so I'm thinking it might be awhile before it restarts.  I marvel at the silence, at how very quiet - BOOM - everything rushes back on including my son's two fish tanks which now seem unbearably loud.

This event wakes our elderly dog, who decides this would be a great time to go out to the bathroom.  Ignoring this request has lead to nasty surprises in the past, so we head downstairs. All of the considerable number of animals are confused, and decide it must be time to get up and go outside. As for Daisy. does she run out, pee and come back?  No, she goes on a walkabout.  I cross my fingers because I can smell skunk in the air.  Fifteen minutes go by.

She returns with an air of total innocence

I observe things like the way my son sleeps, always on the side we've placed his continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor.  (If slept on a long time, it can produce a false low due to compression.)  His cat, who likes only him, comes by to see what I'm doing to her boy.  She never sleeps at night.  She licks his fingers of blood smears, and then begins to bite his legs.  I wonder to myself if I could train her to be a diabetic alert cat, but muse that cats are too unpredictable.  She would only work when she felt like it.  

"Don't mess with me" face

After living another whole day, while everyone sleeps, I return to my now cold bed, but find a cat in the middle and it is warm under him.  I move him over and take his spot.  Time to grab an hour or two for myself.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Certain Age

My husband wiggled his eyebrows at me while I changed into my "at home" clothes after Church.  "You're looking good," he smiled.  I looked heavenward and thanked God that aging means that eyesight begins to fail just about the time he might say, "I didn't need to see that."  That is an argument for intelligent design.

I still haven't figured the evolutionary or intelligent design principle in making a random hair begin to grow on one's jawline after a certain age.  Is it supposed to make one (it hasn't happened to me yet, of course) less attractive?  What would be the point?  A clear message from the powers that be that "those days" are over?  I pretended that I'd been cooking with orange juice and got sticky, and one of the dog hairs flying through the air attached to my chin.  Now, I have to get my glasses to look periodically, for my eyesight has also failed and as far as I could see, there was nothing there.

Part of me is motivated to see I can get those abs back I had when I was younger. Unfortunately, that part is in my brain and isn't connected to my legs which would have to move to accomplish this.  On a cold day, a cup of tea and a good book do not move me forward but do bring comfort.  Stay warm, y'all.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Sweet Truth

Having a son that is a Type 1 Diabetic means that one of my "jobs" is learning about nutrition.  Blissfully ignorant before his diagnosis, now I know the effect of foods on our bodies even if we who are not diabetic cannot immediately see a graph showing the minute by minute impact.  (My son wears a continuous glucose monitor.)  I thought I was a pretty savvy mom when it came to food.  We don't eat out a lot, we cook at home with fresh ingredients.  We always have a salad. We don't drink a lot of soda, and if we do, it is diet.  After his diagnosis, we paid much more attention to portion sizes.

The diet soda is a concession to eating pizza or spaghetti.  It's required.  It's written in the Constitution or the Magna Carta or somewhere that you must have Coke with spaghetti, pizza, oh, and Cincinnati Chili.  Must.  Don't consume artificial sweeteners?  Spare me the lecture.  With T1D, "all bets are off" I was once told.  You do what works.  So in our house, artificial sweeteners may mean you can have an apple and peanut butter with your pancake and (artificial) syrup.  You'd rather have the maple syrup?  Me, too.  But tell a growing boy who is still hungry after that one pancake.

So, thinking I'm smart, I make as a very special treat - Cinnamon Sweet Rolls - but...I use Splenda brown sugar.  Splenda = artificial sugar = lower carb.  Right?  WRONG!  After figuring up the carbs by calculating the amount in each ingredient, I tell my husband how these rolls will be healthier because I used Splenda, less carbs.  How much less, he asks? Good question.

I get out Calorie King app and look up brown sugar.  4 grams = 4 carbs.  I look at the Splenda label.  2 grams = 2 carbs.  BOTH have 1 gram per carb and the same number of sugars.  Only difference?  Per gram, Splenda has more, not less, calories.  I began doing what I should have done before lovingly spreading the weighed Splenda over the buttered dough and cinnamon.  The manufacturers want you to use half of the amount of Splenda as the amount you might have used for brown sugar.  Tricky.  The Splenda is sweeter, gram for gram, so they intend for you to use less.  But, that doesn't work in all recipes. Sweet rolls are made by spreading the sugar over the dough and when rolled, gives a particular appearance.  These rolls were no more healthier than had I used (less expensive) brown sugar.  

I was totally taken in.  

They were, however, by all reviews, delicious with black coffee.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I would say that sending a paper copy of our Christmas and New Year’s letter is “so last year”.  I would, that is, had that letter materialized.  Posting this one online, I can argue that I’m saving trees (paper) and printer ink.   Maybe, it will sit here on my old blog, lonely, or maybe, it will stare at me accusingly, daring me to write yet again.   So, with this letter, a beginning to a new year and perhaps a new habit.  We hope that you enjoyed the Christmas season in health, surrounded by family, and made wonderful memories to relish during the coming good year.

Many changes give stories to write this year. Our “farm” grows quieter, though we still boast a few too many domestic animals for my dear husband.  Moving to town is a draw for us, yet what would we do without the scream of the fox at night, or the sight of deer crossing the backyard in the evening?  Each night, I look up at the stars after feeding the remaining horses, and I think about life. 

William remains at home, pursuing more indoor activities such as building a computer gateway to his virtual world, earning his second degree red belt this year in Tae Kwon Do, and at nearly thirteen, setting a good pace to soon be taller than at least all the female family members.  

In the mountains of Colorado, lives musical newlyweds who love, laugh and forge a future.  After each earned their Bachelor of Music degree from Baldwin Wallace University this past spring, our daughter, Lauren, married her best friend, Jesse Hodgson in an intimate wedding in northern Ohio.  Settling in Denver, they work, teach music, and Lauren is studying to complete her certification in Dalcroze Eurythmics (a method of music education using movement).   We are joyful to be joined with the Hodgson family and so happy for Jesse and Lauren.

“Storylines” was the theme of Anna’s senior thesis show to complete the requirements for her Bachelor of Fine Arts.  Three beautiful paintings, each 5’ x 7’, were hung in the Grunwald Gallery of Art.  She will graduate this coming spring with minors in art history and French, planning to take a year to work before continuing to graduate studies. 

Mid-summer also brought career changes for K, as he joined Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions, a company contracted with YUM! Brands here in Louisville. He has already delved into interesting projects for the fast food industry.  His side “occupation” is as chief builder of floating frames and canvases for Anna’s paintings. 

As for me, I have spent this year as a pancreas.  Yes, you heard right.  Late in 2013, William was diagnosed out of the blue with Type 1 Diabetes.  I have spent a year studying endocrinology, nutrition, nursing, exercise physiology, and hacking medical devices to provide better control of a disease that never takes a day off.  We remain hopeful that the research to cure this disease is moving forward quickly, and in the meantime, we push for any advanced medical technology available, and some that aren't yet.  #WeAreNotWaiting

Being a pancreas is a full-time job, so I have retired from Lowe’s paint desk, having developed strong arm muscles and much knowledge about home improvement that I do not plan to use anytime soon. 

If you are still reading, know that we cherish every connection and friendship, and look forward to being part of this coming year with you.


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