Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bleckity Blu

Sophia has the flu.


If you've not heard before, it's apparently really bad for diabetics to get the flu.  They're in the "high-risk" category who should always get their flu shots.  Well, we did.  Back in November, in fact.  We try to protect the whole family to lessen the likelihood of her possibly getting it.  I even found our allergy clinic offered them without thimerosol, which is the bad preservative with mercury in it that most flu shots do contain.  So diligent of me.  Or so I assumed.

When she woke up with a fever on Wednesday, I decided to take her in to the doc.  One, because she normally doesn't get a fever with a cold, and two, because though I would normally wait out  a fever for a few days with my kids, my doctor has convinced me that with diabetes she just needs to be seen, as secondary infections can be much worse for her.  I was shocked to hear that she had the flu after they ran the test.  How could this be?  We all had the flu shot.  She said most of the positive cases she was seeing were people who had gotten the shot.  


My heart sank a little.

Of course I'm wondering how many more of us will get this, and how bad will it be.  The worst common illness I've seen has been the flu.  About 12 years ago Joe got a bad case of it.  He had really high fevers and a wicked cough and was literally delirious for a  few days.  I wasn't a mom and didn't know about alternating tylenol and motrin.  Ever since then, I roll my eyes at people claiming they have "the flu" with every cold.  If you have the flu, you can't take a little cold medicine and show up at work.  It's a really nasty illness.

And it has proven to be one of the most challenging illnesses to battle with diabetes for my little gal.  I know I've stated before that every cold, sinus infection, growth spurt, allergic reaction, moment of stress, etc., causes her blood sugars to be high and difficult to manage.  High blood sugars cause organ damage, and can cause hospitalization if uncontrolled and her body becomes toxic.  

Well, I can change the rate she gets insulin on her pump. She's at 100% normally, and when she gets ill, I sometimes run a temporary rate of anywhere from 120%-140%.  This week, I've had her at 200%, and couldn't get her numbers below the 300's.  I couldn't rest knowing she was just stuck so high, no matter how often I gave her a correction dose, and it wouldn't let me go higher than 200%.  300s are bad.  Normal people run between 70-120 all of the time.  And apparently we all need more insulin when sick, but our bodies just do that.  Oh the things we take for granted that are just natural processes in our bodies.  I finally called the on-call doctor at our diabetes clinic the other night, because I couldn't figure out what to change.  She helped me make all kinds of changes on her pump, and she's getting a LOT of insulin now, but she's out of the scary range.  We're having to test more frequently and still make a lot of adjustments, but I believe she's on the mend and doing better at this point.

You know, the other thing that really weighed on me is all of the mindless comments people make, unaware of how it affects me being a parent of a diabetic.  To be fair, sometimes it's news stories as well, but often it's people who just say things like, "Well, there were [x-number] of deaths from the flu last year, but a lot of those were people like diabetics." Or, "Oh so-and-so died recently.  Sad because he still should have had some years in him, but you know he had diabetes. So, that's how it goes, I guess"   



I'm not sure how you say things like that to a mother of a diabetic...especially in ear shot of my diabetic sweetie. (I seriously can't count how many times that's happened). I know the risks, and yet, I don't need to have this constant reminder that my child has to work really hard her entire life to have health and avoid being  just another diabetic statistic.  Why those flu deaths don't really count because a large number were diabetics, is beyond me too.  They count.  They're people.  And in case anyone has forgotten, my daughter didn't cause Type 1 diabetes.  NO amount of dieting, exercise, etc. will cause it to go away.  It is a genetic disease.  It's something most people still don't understand: the difference between type 1 and type 2.  I can't tell you how often I feel judged when I tell a stranger that my daughter is a "type 1 diabetic."  I try to explain she didn't cause it and can't make it go away, but then get a response like I'm just trying to make excuses.  

(Sorry to vent.  I'm not saying you-the-reader feels this way, but I had to get it off my chest.)

So yes, my anxiety levels were up this week a bit because of these sorts of statements and statistics. 

But, I know I have more to stand on than accepted "statistics."  

Our doctor has said that as far as long-term statistics go, she has less than a 3% chance of having organ damage if her numbers are in good control.  THAT is something I can live with.  It means as parents, we can never grow weary of working hard to keep her in good control, but we were given her for a reason, and I think we can bear that burden with Joy.

We also stand on the fact that God has made her and designed her, and has a plan for her life.  He is our protector, our healer, our comforter and friend.  And in all these things we trust.

Joe and I were just discussing how she so rarely even gets ketones, which are the bad things that occur in blood/urine when numbers are high.  It's a bit miraculous as far as we know.  

Our prayer is that we can continually release our anxiety over these things knowing God has her in His palm.