Thursday, February 26, 2009


I went to the doctor yesterday because I'm fighting a very yukky virus, but I went there to confirm that it was, indeed, a virus and not the flu like Nora had the other week. When I arrived I had my insurance card in hand (because that is what they ask for before even raising their eyes to say hello). I was handed a clipboard with a sheet that I needed to read and sign, entitled "Patient responsibilities." This sheet told me that I was responsible to arrive on time, or I would be charged. If I had to cancel an appointment within a certain amount of time, I would be charged. Basically, the paper listed a new fee structure.

I signed it and handed it back to the receptionist, saying, "every time I get a sheet of paper like that, I want to write one up that says, "Doctor's office responsibilities." She giggled. But I was serious.

If you keep me waiting in the outer waiting room for more than 15 minutes, I will charge you $25. If you keep me waiting in the examination room for more than 10 minutes, I will charge you $25 more. If the doctor stops examining me to take a phone call, I will charge you something huge (yes, this has happened). If you misplace my lab tests and make me go to the lab again, I will sue you. If you make me see one doctor just so that he can tell me that it is okay to see another doctor (which I knew in the first place, but couldn't make an appointment with directly), I may lose my mind.

I could go on and on. When I think of how much we have to fight with medical insurance companies for every little thing... when I think of the money they make and how they turn doctor's offices into cattle pens, I get so upset. They have responsibilities, too.

My brain is fuzzy today, and I feel like I'm not expressing myself clearly. But I just wonder whom I could get to sign my little form. Once I write it.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Matt came home tonight with a box full of 3 blind moose and a smoking loon.

Temporary pets.

Happy weekend.

Doctor, doctor, give me the news...

I don't know why I should have to exercise from September to June. Life is just one big treadmill from the start of the school year to the end. I wish I could burn calories driving kids from one appointment to another! I guess I need to go get myself a self-propelled Flintstones car for that to work.

Daniel had his regular endocrinologist appointment yesterday, and his first ophthalmologist appointment today. My husband took Daniel to the endo for the first time. Wouldn't you know it -- because we hadn't been writing down his numbers, just uploading all the info -- their computer wouldn't download anything from Daniel's new glucometer that came with the pump. And then they couldn't access the web site where he had uploaded all his numbers the night before. We didn't print out any reports or charts, thinking that they could just access everything online. Ugh. Lesson learned. Next time we will be better prepared. So the doc couldn't really do much except check his A1c (phooey! 7.7, just like before!) and ask Daniel to email her all the information.

Since he started on the pump, his blood sugar levels have been so much better. I think we kind of got into a lull in the last month or so, and Daniel went for a few weeks without uploading his glucometer to the web site to check for trends. When I looked at his charts last night, I saw that his numbers were trending up again. Time to make some adjustments. It's hard to be vigilant ALL the time. Actually, not all the time. It's hard to remember to be vigilant once a week, to check the numbers, look at the trends. As I said, we're on the school schedule treadmill. Time is a slippery thief, and is almost impossible to catch. All I can think about is, "where are we going today? What's on the agenda? Meetings? Homework? Doctor appointment?" And then I forget other important, but less urgent stuff. Can I blame menopause?

I caught Nora, who is in middle school, a few weeks ago writing out a list for herself before going to bed at night. She was preparing for the next day when she knew she had a lot to take care of. I need to take a page from her book!

Today I took Daniel to the ophthalmologist. His retina, his nerves -- they are fine. But she couldn't get Daniel to see 20/20 in his left eye. We talked about the fact that his A1c was on the high side, and hopefully once we make adjustments to the insulin and we can get that number down, he will be able to bring that eye into better focus.

I'm sad about that eye. Of course, I'm sad about diabetes in general. I try to keep an emotional balance about it all, but that's very difficult. You see, after months and months of crying, I finally came to the realization that although I can support my child and do everything in my power to educate him about his conditions and give him the best medical care possible, I can't change what has happened to him. I can't cure him, and I can't control all his actions. I can't watch and count every carb that passes through his lips because he takes responsibility, as he should, for most of that. I have to take care of him, but at the same time, I have to encourage him to take care of himself.

And I am lucky... Daniel is such a great kid. He wants to take care of himself, to be compliant in his diabetes regimen, to educate himself about what he can and cannot eat because of his celiac.

This brings me back to something that I have to remember every day. Something that is always on my list, but that I don't always think about. It's pretty simple. It's just to be thankful. I send gratitude out to the universe for my wonderful children, with all their talents, abilities, compassion, and joy. Thanks for a supportive, wonderful husband and a strong marriage. Thanks for today. The sun came up, we got out of bed, and started running on our hamster wheel. It's better than the alternative.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Phooey Fluey I forgot

I was supposed to get a flu shot in fall; they were being given at my workplace for a nominal charge. I signed up for it, but the day came and I had a sick child and had to stay home. Then I forgot. How many times was I in CVS picking up prescriptions, where I could have plonked down my $20 and gotten a shot while waiting? Fuggetaboutit. I forgot.

Daniel did not get a flu shot this year, either. He should, as he is at higher risk for complications with his diabetes. I blame this one on lack of organization on my part. I was better able to keep track of all these things when I wasn't working full time. So I forgot.

This morning I took Nora in to the doctor's office, where we found out that she has the flu. Dominic was with us because we did a walk-in appointment on the way to dropping him off at school. The doctor said to Dominic, "Stay away from your sister!" I nodded, thinking about the scuffle they got into 20 minutes earlier as I was trying to get them to go into the car. Ugh. As we were leaving I thought, hmmm. I don't remember scheduling Dominic's physical back in January... So I checked with the nurse. It turns out that I forgot.

Luckily, I didn't forget to buy lysol the last time I was at the store. I've been spraying and wiping and praying and hoping that the flu stops with Nora.

Ginkgo, anyone?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tenth and a Half

Halfway through his tenth grade year, Daniel has started to receive mailings from colleges. The slick brochures and postcards started arriving this week. Ithaca, St. Mary's, Roanoke College, Missouri Institute of Science & Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Randolph Macon College. I opened up the brochure for Roanoke College, and the picture on the inside college is of two college guys standing near a body of water, both holding bottles of liquid. At a quick glance, it looks like they've been drinking heavily, straight from the bottle, by the river. When I read the text, it talked about an aquatic vertebrate project. The bottles are to collect specimens.

Look at all the shiny, happy college students! Smell the freshly printed ink on the slick brochures! I remember that smell. I remember opening up each new brochure as it arrived for me, wondering where I would go, and what the future would hold. Now that I'm on the parent end of things, I wonder what is the best choice for my child... how the hell will we pay for this... will there be gluten free foods available... where's the nearest hospital/endocrinologist... how the hell will we pay for this...

We still have a couple years to figure it all out. A couple of years for me to figure out how to let go.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've just signed up to take training through the JDRF to become a mentor to new families diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

"Families diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes." Doesn't that sound funny? There's only one person diagnosed. But a diabetes diagnoses truly affects the entire family, as we found out in 2007, and as we're still learning.

I know I haven't been dealing with this disease in my own family for a very long time compared to so many others. But I am looking forward to the mentoring training, and to helping anyone else in this situation in any way I can.