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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

That One Teacher (You Know Who I Mean)

My blood sugar has been hovering in the high 200s to low 300s range today, and nothing I do seems to be able to bring it down.  Add in my keytones and *boom!* I'm out of school for the day.  Now these things happen from time to time.  There are just those days when your blood sugar doesn't want to cooperate and you'd be better off at home rather than staring at the board all day, trying to pay attention but just letting your mind wonder.

Some of my teachers have yet to get this.

In elementary school, it's not as difficult.  But when you hit middle school, and every year after, you find them; it's inevitable.  Every year, there's that one teacher.  Maybe they start out nice, maybe they don't.  But one thing's for sure; when you start missing their class because you have problems with your blood sugar, you'd better believe there's some hell to pay.

I decide to write about this now as I'm currently dealing with this teacher.  He started out perfectly nice; pretty funny, laid back guy even.  And all was well until the beginning of the second semester, when my blood sugar started acting up on me.  And boy oh boy, did that attitude suddenly change.  The conversation I had went something like this;

Teacher: You missed my class twice last week, Reed.
Me: Yeah I know; I'm sorry.  I had some problems with my blood sugar, but it seems to be doing better now.
Teacher: Hmm...alright.  Well there's a test tomorrow, and I expect you take it.  Also, these homework assignments need to be made up by Friday or they're worth half credit.

...I'm sorry, what?

I find it extremely annoying when these teachers assume that when we're out of class for high blood sugar, we're just sitting in the nurses office lounging our day away.  I swear it seems like I have ADD when I'm high, because it's impossible to focus on one particular thing for an extended amount of time (Also I talk a lot).  We are not not having a fun time.  The way I describe a bad high blood sugar is that tingly feeling you get during a sugar rush.  The only difference is that it doesn't go away, and after a while that feeling starts getting really uncomfortable.

Another thing that I don't think he realizes is that when you're blood sugar finally levels out after being so high for so long, you are tired.  When the school sends you home, you aren't going to do homework.  You're going to take a nap and worry about it later, because it feels like you just ran a marathon.

I'm very thankful to be in a school with block classes, so that if something like this happens, I can always do my homework the next day.  Other kids aren't so lucky, and I've heard some interesting stories from some of my diabetic friends.  The important thing to remember is that if things aren't going well, you have a right to step back and take a breath.  Get a 504 plan to help you out if you're missing a lot of class (it's saved me on a few occasions).

I suppose my teacher and I are on better terms now, but he still doesn't like me missing lessons.  I heard from some friends he'll make jokes about me in class sometimes, saying that I need to lay off the sugar.  My response to that is this; here's a list of all the diabetic research organizations in the country.  Get out your phone, call them, and make a donation to help cure this.  Then I'll for sure stop missing your class, and every other teacher who's complaining about something they can't even begin to understand will lay off, too.

I'm still waiting for him to make that call, by the way.

Another thing these teachers don't seem to realize is that you need to watch those kinds of comments.  Because the only thing worse than getting a diabetic student mad at you, is getting a diabetic parent mad at you.  Take it from me; they will find you, they will not be happy, and you will regret any bad thought you ever had.  Am I right?

So to all those teachers who think their diabetic students are slackers, and that the parents need to tell them buck it up and just go to class...I would lock your windows from now on.  You know, just in case.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why Chocolate Bunnies Will Rule The World

So me being Greek, our Easter is one week later than American Easter.  My grandmother came over today for an early celebration and, as per the secret code of the grandmothers (I'm fairly certain it exists), brought my brother and I each a chocolate bunny to munch on.  Which, as all diabetic children know from the countless warnings from doctors and parents and school nurses, is not a good thing to eat all at once.  But it's pretty darn tempting.


I mean...look at that thing.  Sitting there all innocently on my counter when it clearly isn't.  I swear it's sending subliminal messages to my head!  'Eat me...eat me Reed.  Just one bite; it won't hurt.'

Ok, I'll admit it.  If you ask any diabetic under the age of 12 (and quite a few over) what the worst holiday of the year is, chances are it's probably Halloween, as the candy and amount of time with your friends is more plentiful.  But Easter is probably the second or third, depending on how many sweets are available for Thanksgiving.  And why is that, you may ask?  I direct you back to the picture of the bunny...just sitting there...mocking me.....

I was seven when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and I remember the first Easter after it was (to put it bluntly) a bitch.  While my little brother and cousins ate chocolate bunnies and eggs galore, I was restricted to one small bunny and a few Tootsie Rolls since my parents were still fairly new to the diabetic game, and were convinced I would eat myself into another coma, only this one slightly more chocolate and marshmallow filled.  Even my twelve year old cousin, who was also diabetic and had been for two years then, seemed to be allowed more sweets than I was.

These kinds of holidays are bittersweet for us diabetics, both new and old alike.  As for the new ones, chances are what I described in the last paragraph sort of mirrors what your Easter was like.  Let me assure you it does get better as you learn to handle your diabetes, and your parental unit will get better with you.  But be warned; they will not completely leave you alone on the subject.  In fact, as I sit here and type this and stare longingly at that caramel-filled rabbit, my mother nonchalantly suggested that I only eat half and save the rest for tomorrow.

Sigh.  Mother, one does not simply eat half of a chocolate bunny. (I also feel the need to point out that every time I've tried to spell 'chololate' in this blog, I've gotten it wrong and had to auto-correct it.  Maybe I can get it right by the end of this).

Anyway, I suppose what I mean to say is that easter is not the end of the world.  In all honesty, if you bolus/do an injection ahead of time, and your blood sugar's good, why shouldn't you get a little indulgence.  It's a special occasion after all.  But if you just down a few pieces of chocolate with no insulin (which I will admit I've been guilty of in the past), you're almost guaranteeing some trouble.  And trust me, the feeling of high blood sugar with only sweets in your stomach is not worth it, no matter how good you think it'll be.

On that note, I think that pretty much wraps up this entry.  So I'm off to help with dinner, chill out with my family, and hopefully not get stuck with dishes.  And I feel better knowing my mind is powerful enough to withstand the temptations brought on by a little molded piece of chocolate (hey; I spelt it right!)...with caramel...and peanuts.....and my blood sugar is 157...

Maybe just a bite...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome to the Secret Life

So...I suppose I should start this out by stating the obvious; I'm not perfect (or pregnant.  This isn't ABC Family).

It's about 10 o'clock at night.  It's Friday, and more than likely a few of my hundered-something classmates are out partying, having some fun and doing whatever.  I'm sitting on my couch, listening to David Bowie.  Next to me, my brothers are watching WWE while yelling random phrases at the television ("You can tell the guy in green spandex is doing something wrong; the refs are yelling at him").  I suppose it seems pretty normal.  Almost.


I will admit, out of the last week, this is probably one of the lower sugars.  It's the first week back after spring back, after all; there are tons of tests (some of which I still need to make up because I was too high to take them at school), getting back in the swing of school and all that.  I've been in the three hundreds, and I hit 417 last night after my insulin pump had an error.  It's life I guess.

I'm going into my eighth year of being diabetic this July, and me being your average teenage girl, I like to think I've got this disease handled after having it for so long.  But the fact is, sometimes I feel like my sugars are the ones running the show; I'm just here for the ride.  In fact, I think every diabetic has felt like that at some point (and if you haven't, please, tell me how!).  We're in the middle of a balancing act, and the real trick isn't how much we can stack; it's that after so many bumps and twists, we haven't fallen yet.

I am not a doctor.  I'm not here to give you the miracle 'how-to' to make your blood sugars perfect.  I'm also not the go-to link for how to communicate with your own diabetic kids.  We're teenagers.  People have been looking for that manual for years; adding diabetes to the equation won't produce it.  I can't fly, shoot lasers, understand Shakespeare, or get my brothers to listen to me (though trust me, I've tried).

But what I can do, is to try and help.  I can (hopefully!) give you a place to turn to and go 'hey, that's happened to me too!  It does suck!'.  Or a place to meet other people with the same problems.  Because I think sometimes, us diabetic kids feel like no one in the world gets us; not our doctors, not our friends, and especially not our parents.

As for the parents, I really hope I can shine a different perspective on it for you.  You guys try so hard - trust us, we know! - and we do appreciate it, even if we don't show it every day.  I'm hoping this is a place where you will be able to read a post and go 'I remember when this happened with *insert kid's name here*...I never knew it felt like that.  I'll have to remember that'.

I'm not a manual.  But maybe I'll become the unofficial Sparknote version, full of helpful hints, advice, and stories that can make you laugh?

I hope so.