Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sometimes, It's The Little Things

It was a long, tough weekend, our first Memorial Day holiday with our diabetic princess. We went out of town (to my Mom's) and the challenges were daunting at times, but we managed to get through it. I only had one major meltdown - it was pretty bad, but I won't go into detail. It's not worth it.

Today, however, back at home we're starting to re-align our summer plans. We're debating whether or not to go to Lake Okoboji after we go to South Dakota: I already have reservations for the 4th of July at Gull Point State Park, but if Boo's hospital bills are overwhelming, we'll have to skip that extra week out. I called the Parks and Recreation service about the girls' swim lessons, and they said that as long as the girls can administer Mary's blood sugar tests themselves, the teachers will make accomodations for them. So tonight Hannah got a lesson in how to give the test. But she gave the test to me because Mary didn't want Hannah to touch her. But here's the good part: Mary did her own blood test, poke and all!! It's the first time she's done the whole thing alone, with only Mommy supervision. We'll spend the rest of the week letting Mary do her own testing, with Hannah watching to make sure it's done right. Mary will be her own "primary" test giver, and Hannah is her "back up emergency" test giver. It will be Hannah's responsibility to write down Mary's glucose levels, and also to make sure Mary ingests the appropriate amount of carbs, but Mary will do her own tests. Hopefully, this can carry over to soccer camp as well. And it's needless to say that Mommy is very proud of her girls!

In planning the rest of the summer, we've already decided the garden is out. We never had time to work the ground up the way we'd have liked, and it just got too late to plant anything we really wanted. Also, the landscaping we wanted to do this year will have to wait a year, because we just can't afford it. My school money is already being eaten up, and I hope the scholarship I applied for is merciful.

But I do have a single, happy personal moment to share, unfortunately at the expense of my older-older brother Bob and his son-in-law, John. (Before I start this tale, let me emphasize that these are both great guys and wonderful gentlemen. It's too bad they became the targets of this joke. Sorry, guys!) Anyway, Monday morning we're at my Mom's, and a bunch of us wanted to make a Wal-Mart run. I'm going to take my SUV, so everyone can ride with me. But the guys thought I was being too slow getting going (I had to give Mary her glucose test) so they left in Bob's van a couple minutes before me. (The guys were in a hurry to get back to the house because a friend of Bob's was supposed to drop by.) My sister Kathy and her daughter-in-law Serena were riding with me, and I was a little put out (just a very little bit, Bob and John!) that they couldn't wait for us. So I decided to make them pay for it. I flew to Wal-Mart (having a 5.4L V-8 engine is worth the lousy gas mileage sometimes) and pulled into the parking lot right behind them. I parked next to them, and we women went on our way. We split up, but the guy's van was still there by the time we got back to my truck. The guys were nowhere around. Serena had seen them perusing the sunglasses kiosk, so I figured they'd be a while yet, and I just couldn't let the moment go. So I had Serena write the following on a piece of paper for me:

Women Power Shop!
Men Power Slop!
Women Rule!
See you back at the house, slow pokes!

I stuck the note under Bob's windshield, and we left. We were home and already had the truck unpacked by the time Bob and John arrived. They didn't seem too amused, but I was.

Like I said, sometimes it's the little things. :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Talking About My Education

Wow. It's been quite a ride the past 3 1/2 days. Learning about insulin, sliding scales, blood tests, carb units - it was almost completely overwhemling, but I'm starting to get a handle on it. It's nice, having my laptop here at the hospital, because I can get online to blog and shop (Mary chose three Medic Alert wristbands so that she's fashionable wherever she goes) and I can organize my thoughts into notes and charts. I already made a chart for tracking Mary's meals, glucose tests, carbs and shots, and the dietician approved. Actually, she was (I think and hope) impressed. I'm pretty sure a local print shop can make me a box full of charts, complete with three hole punch, so I can keep it all in a binder for the doctor's perusal. Carl and I have learned how to test Mary's blood sugar levels and also how to give her insulin. Carl stayed here last night, and when I came back this morning I brought in boxes and labels from some of Mary's favorite foods so I can start getting a grip on carb counting.

Mary, bless her 24 carat gold heart, is really taking this in stride. Of course, all the "pokies" scare her, and she doesn't like them, but she's getting used to the fact that she has to have them. This morning, while Carl was here, she even did her own finger poke before her blood test. I can't begin to praise this kid enough! I'm very proud of her. We hope to go home today, but it depends on how the first few blood tests go.

And people have been incredibly, overwhelmingly nice. I had lots of wonderful comments from my blogit friends (THANKS, Y'ALL!!). My family is being very supportive, and our church has gone above and beyond to help - they've sent flowers, gifts, food, and someone even went all the way out to Atkins and mowed our lawn! I don't know who did it, but THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. It had to be someone who either knows our dog or is good with animals, because they got the backyard done with Moose Mutt back there. Mary's teacher came and brought her "get well" cards and a gift from her classmates, and also Boo's homework (which she has partially finished.) The hospital staff is just about the kindest bunch ever. Their bedside manner makes an impossible situation tolerable, and a local Girl Scout troop gave the nurses a stash of "gift bags" so Boo's had stuff to do the whole time she's here. Right now she's drawing, an amazing feat in and of itself because she still has her cast on, so all of her work is done left handed. What a kid!

And speaking of kids, Boo's big sister has been a comfort. She's been very sympathetic, and her happy spirit cheers us up when we're down. And she's not jealous of all the attention and presents that Boo's been getting because being jealous is not part of her "autistic routine". I've been trying to give Hannah lots of hugs, and the last time I told her what a good and helpful girl she's been, she gave me that "please, stop Mom" look that teenagers give you when they're annoyed. I have to admit, God has blessed us with great kids. I only wish that they weren't also "blessed" with chronic disases. My girls really didn't deserve them.

But I shouldn't whine, and I apologize for being whiny. I love my girls, and when they hurt I hurt. All you parents out there understand that, I know, and I thank you for your understanding as I've vented myself out on my blog. Hopefully the next time I blog, it will be something funny.

You know, like booger jokes.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Worst Case Scenario

Today a doctor told me that Mary, my baby, my angel, my precious little Boo-Boo has type 1 diabetes. It came as a complete shock. Right now I'm sitting in a darkened hospital room, with my laptop before me, typing words that I hardly believe. Type 1, "juvenile onset", insulin dependent diabetes. I'm still overwhelmed by the harsh reality that's all around me. Just when I thought things were getting better: Carl's fever is down and Boo's broken arm is on the mend, and pow. All of the sudden, diabetes.

At first I thought the symptoms were a urinary tract infection. Both Friday and Saturday nights Mary woke up in the middle of the night with wet undies. Last night (Sunday) she kept running back and forth to the bathroom, and she didn't fall asleep until midnight. And then she woke up at ten minutes of five this morning, wet again. So we called the doctor, and I took her in. They tested her urine sample and told me that while she didn't have any bacterial problems, the sugar level was elevated and they wanted to take a blood test for diabetes. Twenty minutes later they came in with the bombshell: her blood glucose was 523, and she had diabetes. Of course my first question was, "Are you sure? Could this be the result of having too much sugar at lunch?" No, not at levels that high. "Could this be a temporary problem caused by her broken arm?" No, her arm has nothing to do with it. Since the initial information, I've been cascaded with all kinds of data. Mostly I just nod and say, "Please tell me what to do next." They tell me and I do it.

So here I sit, typing in the dark. Mary is (I hope) asleep: Carl and Hannah came in after supper and I went home to take a shower and gather the necessary clothes and toiletries needed for an extended hospital stay. Carl, bless his heart, couldn't find Boo's pajama pants, and it's my fault he couldn't. If I'd gotten the laundry folded he'd have had no trouble. (Sorry, honey.) But I came back with a bag full of clothes, etc., and Carl and Hannah went home for the night. Carl will be back tomorrow, and we'll begin the process of learning how to handle Boo's diabetes. Poor Carl - he just got over his fever, and now he's going to miss more work. Fortunately his boss is an understanding, forgiving guy, and Carl's been able to telecommute a little.

But in closing I have to say this - I know there are people who have it worse than me, but doggone it, I have two daughters, and both of them have diseases that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Hannah has autism, and Mary has diabetes, and it just seems like nature is conspiring against me. I'm sad, overwhelmed, and I fear for my babies' futures. I don't know what to do, and I wish it would all just go away.

Dammit, it just isn't fair!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

OK, Alright...I'm "It"

Back in February, I got "tagged" by my niece, Shannon, and either yesterday or today I got "tagged" by my friend Peri. I never did the "tag" from Shannon because I wasn't sure how to do it, and I'm still not sure. So I'm going to guess at it by copying Shannon's "tag" list and editing it to fit me. After Shannon's "tag" I'll do Peri's "tag" which is easier because it came with more instructions.

Anyway, here goes: Shannon's "tag"

<>Brief overview of our life.
A) Carl is sick - he's had a fever and a headache since Saturday and the antibiotics the doctor gave him yesterday don't seem to be helping.
B) I'm fine, just really busy.
C) Hannah is fine, too.
D) Mary's arm is still broken, but healing nicely
E) The rest of my life you can follow by reading my old blog posts.
F) There is no "F".

Four jobs I have had (in no order):
1. Detassler/machine driver for Pioneer Seeds
2. Soil Conservation Technician for the State of Iowa
3. Field interviewer for Iowa State University - Institute for Social and Behavioral Research
4. Concession worker for the Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball Club (one of my less fun jobs)
Four movies I can watch over and over
1. The Wizard of Oz
2. Singin' In The Rain
3. The Princess Bride
4. Home movies that Carl's put on DVD

Four places I have lived:
1. Bettendorf, Iowa
2. Maysville, Iowa
3. Cedar Rapids, Ames, and Williamsburg Iowa
4. Atkins, Iowa

Four TV shows I love:
1. CSI
2. CSI: Miami
3. Law and Order - all versions
4. Numbers

Four places I've vacationed:
1. South Dakota
2. Nashville, TN (high school)
3. Door County, Wisconsin
4. Tampa, FL (but I never got to ride the roller coaster, darn it)

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Anything my Mom cooks
2. Anything my sister Kathy cooks
3. German food at restaurants in Amana, Iowa
4. Hamburgers from Collins Pub, Atkins, Iowa

Four sites I visit daily:
1. http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/
2. http://www.drudgereport.com/
3. http://www.weather.gov/
4. many blogs

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. At my Mom's house
2. Any campground in the United States, provided it's in or near the woods (and has electric, water and sewer hookups)
3. My brother-in-law Loren's farm (aka the "home place")
4. On an Alaskan cruise

And now, for Peri's "tag"

Each player of this game starts with the “6 weird things/habits about you.” People who get tagged (or anyone else) can write a blog of their own 6 weird habits/things as well as state this rule clearly.

In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Remember to send them an e-mail that says “you are tagged” and send them to your blog (or not. Just do it yourself and let me know you did, okay? It’ll be fun, I promise.)

  1. I want to buy land somewhere in southeastern Benton County, Iowa. I want to build a house on part of this land, and restore the rest of it to native tallgrass prairie. I love tallgrass prairie, especially switchgrass and big bluestem. I'd toss in some partridge pea and coneflowers (both yellow and purple) just for fun. Oh, and if possible, I'd also like to have a pond on the property, with a weeping willow tree planted beside it.
  2. I wish I could play guitar, but I can't. I have a minor "learning disability" (aka a method processing "disability") that prevents me from being able to make guitar chords with my fingers. I also can't read multiple lines of music at once, so I'll never be able to play the piano, either. People used to think I could play the piano, but I would just slowly pick out the notes (one by one) until I had a piece memorized, then I'd play the piece.
  3. If Carl's not home, I can kill spiders that come into the house. When he's home, I go to pieces and beg him to gish the little bugger. I become a quivering, crying baby around spiders when Carl's home.
  4. I can't stand the taste of coffee, but I like caffeine, so I drink Diet Mountain Dew. Lots of it. And if I can't have Diet Mountain Dew, I'll drink regular caffeinated soda. Diet Mountain Dew is the only diet pop I can stand. Tea is OK, but it requires that I boil water, and...
  5. I hate to cook.
  6. I carry tools, but not makeup, in my purse. And all of the items in my purse are neatly organized into small plastic tackle boxes so I don't have to dig around when I want something. I just pull out the appropriate box and get what I want, whether it's pliers, band-aids, tylenol or nail clippers.
I have no clue as to whom I should tag. Everyone I know has already been tagged by someone else, and I don't want to be redundant. So I'll think about it, and maybe post a list of "taggees" later. Or, if you're reading this and you've never been tagged, leave me a comment and I'll tag you. It will be my pleasure.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

I Got Accepted!!!

Last year, at the end of Watermelon Days, the Community Club had a discussion about the 2005 T-shirt design. They weren't happy about it, and they were upset at how much they had to pay to get it. So I said, "I'll design a shirt for you, for free." Well, this is the design I made, and I just found out that the Community Club loved it, and it's accepted as this year's T-shirt design! My artwork is going to be displayed on T-shirts all over Benton County!! I'm really happy, but I'm trying not to get too proud of myself. Every time I get too proud, something bad happens. But I can't help but be happy. I finally did something right!!


You Can Take The Boy Off The Farm, But...

You can't take the farm out of the boy!

Carl finally got all the necessary parts for our tractor's roto-tiller attachment, and he got out in our garden and started working. The north end of the garden worked up pretty well (north is the end you can't see) but the south end was packed down pretty hard, so we'll need to find someone with stronger equipment to break up the clay pan so Carl can more easily till it with our machine.

This week I'll probably go out and get tomato and pepper plants, and some tomato cages. I already have bean seeds (leftover from last year) and I need to check my Extension references to see what else I can plant. May is already a week old, and some things (like onions) need to be planted in April. But oh well.

Oh, and one more thing. You will notice that both the tractor and the hat are the same (by which I mean correct) color. No red machines here.

Nothing runs like a Deere!