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Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad

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I remember the two saddest days of my life since Arden's diagnosis very vividly. They came at a very inopportune time. It was six months after Arden's diagnosis which was two months after I fooled myself into thinking that I had mastered type I diabetes. These days began strangely because Arden's blood sugar was eerily steady and a little on the low side. After breakfast her BG got significant low, almost as if she didn't need any insulin. She ate more to stop the BG fall. The food worked but there was no spike at all, which of course was strange. In the moments after I got her BG stabilized I thought, "maybe they were wrong and she doesn't have diabetes".

Having that thought, was the beginning of the longest, saddest two days that I've lived through since Arden's diagnosis. I knew enough about type I to be sure that I was wrong but everything that was happening said that the insulin wasn't necessary and it certainly seemed like she wasn't diabetic anymore. By the end of that day I wasn't giving injections for meals and I had to skip her pre-bedtime Levemir. I didn't sleep much that night, I was waiting up and testing. Waiting because I was sure that her BG was going to suddenly rise - but it never did. It just stayed between 90 and 107 all night.

This trend lasted through the next morning and then I did something that I knew I shouldn't, but had to do. I needed to tell someone that I thought Arden didn't have diabetes. I called my friend Adam who is also Arden's pediatrician. When Adam got on the phone I said something that I still remember to this day, "I'm about to say something that I know is wrong but I have to say it... I need you to set me straight and then I'll get off of the phone". Bewildered he asked me to proceed.

"Arden doesn't have diabetes. She hasn't needed insulin in over a day... is it possible that she was misdiagnosed?"

I knew that she was most likely experiencing a honeymoon period but I needed someone to tell me. With each moment that passed, I was convincing myself a little more that Arden didn't have diabetes. After a long pause Adam said, "no, she was not misdiagnosed, this is a honeymoon period... Arden has diabetes".

I thanked him, there was some awkward silence and then we said goodbye. I went into the bathroom and cried. The remainder of the day was emotionally excruciating, it felt like a cruel combination of every bad day that I had ever lived through.  Later that afternoon we ate dinner and Arden's blood glucose jumped to over 400. I actually felt better when it climbed so far, so fast. 

Today, after so many years of living with type I diabetes, I have seen countless anomalous days. Highs, lows, insulin resistance, sudden drops, more unexpected stuff then I could have ever imagined. I'll never know for sure what happened over those two days. What I can tell you for sure is that it's happened many times since then, including yesterday. Never again to the degree of those days (not needing any insulin) but there have been days when Arden only gets 15% of the insulin that she normally does and her BG never goes above 120.

Last night as we got ready for bed Arden's BG began to jump and then drop, I could see it on her DexCom and finger sticks confirmed what the CGM was saying. Arden's BG was 72 and then 125, then 93 and then 160. It was rolling up and down like a small boat on a very large ocean - this went on all night. The next morning things seemed to be back to normal but sometime around noon they went right back into that tiny boat. Lunch required much less insulin then we thought and then her BG hovered between 70 and 96 all afternoon. Never wanting to waste a day that Arden doesn't need insulin we went to dinner at the Hot Wok Cafe for Chinese. It was there as we looked over the menu that I did something that I've never done before...

I wrote this post to show how something that once seemed so terrible will one day feel very different. Today, we don't blink an eye when Arden doesn't need much insulin for a day or so. We refer to those days and their events with one word, "cured". Now when the cured days come I don't dream of a misdiagnosis or call Adam and I definitely don't go into a bathroom and cry. I just manage them as best that I can and get Arden a nice meal with a ton of carbs.

In my next blog post, I'll tell you how badly our meal at the Hot Wok Cafe went... I may call that post, 'Whisper Down the Lane' or perhaps 'Confusion at the Hot Wok Cafe'.

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Reader Comments (2)

that's happened to my son several times, once it even lasted for 2 weeks - that time he had sickness for the first 2 days and it turned out he wasn't "cured" he just spent nearly 2 weeks later not digesting his food. It was hard telling his grandmother who prays for healing that God hadn't healed him.

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela (Toucan Scraps)

Wondering like that for two weeks must have felt like an eternity.

Can you please help me understand better the part about not digesting food?


February 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

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