Sunday, May 25, 2014


I drive her to Rehobeth Beach for an invited all-girls Memorial Day weekend at her friend's beach house. It's her and two other girls from school. She's been looking forward to it for weeks. She has a sleepover the night before, and the next day, I drive her two hours to get there. The girls she's with for the weekend meet her in the development on a golf cart, waiting for her in their bathing suits. I see her smile broaden when she sees them. She's just like me at her age, wanting freedom, with her friends. My eyes tear up as I drop her off. It's good though.

She's packed everything she needs, changed her Pod, and has extra everything. We throw in the ketone meter 'just in case' as she says. I don't know how lucky we will be that we have, until later.

She jumps out of the car when we arrive, leaving behind her D kit that has her extra supplies and snacks in it, and her coat. We retrieve them later and laugh about it. My girl, so anxious to get on with it all. She dumps her stuff and quickly enters the bathroom to change into her bathing suit. The pool is open in the development - the first day of it - and they are all eager to christen it. She enters back into the bedroom and I quickly follow, asking for a real BG - a testing one, not the Dex one. She tests and is 81. I talk about how that's a little low to go swimming with, and she should eat a granola bar she has. She scarfs one down, nodding.

I give her a kiss and a hug. The girls all drive the golf cart, with Dad on it now too, and lead me out to the road. I roll down the window and tell her to throw a decreased temp basal in there for swimming. She semi rolls her eyes, but then she smiles. She knows I cannot help it.

I check in with her after swimming, as they are headed to the rides at the beach. She send me a picture of going into the Haunted Mansion. She looks good, smiling and excited.

Later on that night and early morning, the shit hits the fan. Hard.

It's bedtime, about 11 PM. The following texts happen:

Text me night time BG. Tell me Dex.
I'm 312. That's WEIRD. I dosed 3.5u.
OK honey put in +40% for 1.5 hours. Tell me arrow on Dex.
Straight east.
Recheck in half hour. Text you then.

What's Dex say?
331. Dosed 1.00 Dex east 315.
OK. Try and get some sleep. Please get some water. Text or call if you need me.

She sleeps for about 4 hours. Then I get a text at 5:30 AM:

My stomach feels even worse than it did last night. I feel like I have to throw up.
Hi honey. What's your BG?
Hold on I'll test...... I'm 439 ugh I feel horrible. Should I dose 5.65u?

I need you to give yourself 2u via syringe. Get it out. Go to the bathroom.
Do you want to go somewhere and FaceTime me?

We FaceTime and Grace is in the bathroom, crying. Big, sloppy wet tears of pain. Her stomach is hurting her. She says it feels like torture. The others in the house are not up yet and it's just her, me and her Dad. I go downstairs to the living room as to not wake her sisters. I make her look at me in the FaceTime picture and I tell her what she has to do. She has to listen to me and do it now.

You are to get the needle out and find the two small lines on it and you give yourself 2 units, right now, do you hear me? You will feel better when you give your body insulin. After that, I want you to feel your pump. Does it feel like the cannula is in?

She gets the needle out. She measures 2u. She injects it, in her arm.

Mom, the cannula is out, I haven't been getting insulin. Look.

And I see the error. The cannula is not in. And I know the plan now.

You are to get that Pod off. Disable it and get it off, but not until we get a new Pod on you. So, get a new Pod out and start filling it and priming it. Where do you want it - on your tummy?

Mom, there's no SkinTac in the kit.

Crap. Just use the SkinPrep, you will be fine.

Grace primes the pump and I hear it click. She puts the SkinPrep on and plops the Pod into place. I always give it a 'love tap' for good luck. I do that through FaceTime, lifting my hand and patting the screen. It's the only time Grace smiles. She knows our routine. I won't give it up. The Pod thumps into place.

Now put in +70% for one hour temp basal. And dose yourself 5.00 units.

Grace doesn't hesitate, and through tears, puts the numbers in and presses 'confirm.'

What faith my child must have in me, to dose that amount over a FaceTime call, knowing it would be what she needs. I'm fearless and scared to death all at the same time, but all she sees is fearless.

Now we are gonna check ketones honey. Get your kit from your bag.

She does and puts the strip in and waits for the countdown. 1.6 ketones. I try not to look scared, but the highest ketones she has ever read in 5 years of having diabetes has been 1.1. She knows it too, because she starts to weep. She tells me again and again she thinks she will throw up and her stomach hurts like someone is stabbing her.

I 'shhhhhhh' and I smile and I tell her to lay down with me on the bathroom floor. I tell her to look at me, I have it all under control, I will get her down, it will all be OK, we have a plan and we are executing it. We know what to do.

And I think -  how fast can I drive to the beach? If I send an ambulance, where would they take her? Who should I call to help me? And I think too that I've got to help myself. We will wait for it to come down. We will stay on the line and look at each other and give it it's time to work. Work, damn it. Work. Now. Faster. Men on the moon in the 1960's and I have to wait 15-20-25 minutes for insulin to start working in the body? Damn it.

She moves to the living room and the couch and no one is up yet. I ask her to wake the Dad, but she says no. Even in pain, my independent soul of a daughter doesn't want to ask for help. That's a blessing and a curse.

We go through the next two hours on FaceTime, checking, rechecking, ketone-ing, drinking water, raiding the cabinets for crackers to make her tummy feel better. And we lay together and she cries. I do not. I don't think I can start and then stop, and then where would we be.

The BG starts to drop, but by 10-15 points at a time. I ask her what she would like to do - stay there or come home? She thinks about it and my earnest little girl, the one without a dishonest bone in her body, who tells me the truth about her life again and again, tells me she wants to come home. It's been two hours, almost three, of agony. She is hurting from head to toe. She knows what she is made of. And she knows when to call it a day.

In five minutes upon hearing it, my husband is dressed and out the door to go pick her up. I will stay at home on FaceTime with her until she feels it's OK to go, and then she will wait for him to come. We lay down and we talk, we start to smile, we hold our hands up to the screen together.

In five hours, she is back home. I hug her when she comes, saying how much I missed her, saying it was good to see her this morning on FaceTime. I ask about her tummy, her head, her BG. She looks up at me.

I'm glad I came home.

Me too, sweetie, me too.


Jules said...

Ah, Penny, that was bad luck for Grace and you all but how wonderful too that you got through it together and looked it all in the eye. Thanks you for sharing this. Hugs to you all from us here in England. xxx

Colleen said...

Smart daughter!

Joyfulness said...

I love how you kept in contact and kept her calm. I'm still working on that calm part!

shannon said...

this post had my heart in my throat! you both did such and amazing job, getting through such a challenging situation. well done both of you!!!

Anonymous said...

She did the sensible and mature thing by coming home. I'm sorry D ruined her outing; it's so unpredictable. Hope something special can be planned to make it up for her and she is not too disappointed. Great idea using Facetime to communicate; you were there with her, helping her the entire time. I feel sad that these kids have to be the grown up in this situation. I still would have wanted a parent woken up, even if Facetime was used. Just as a backup. Typical of these kids not to want to inconvenience others and minimize all they have to go through.