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

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Entries in School (29)


MicroCell to the rescue


Lately the cell coverage has been spotty in Arden's classroom. The school does have WiFi and Arden's phone is connected to it but we still seem to be having interment signal issues. The other day Arden sent me a text that said...

"58 one arrow down", but none of my return texts made it back to her phone. I quickly called the office and they put me through to the room, but I don't want that to ever happen again so I called AT&T to inquire about the poor signal quality and find an answer to our problem.

The CSR thought (and I agreed) that a good fix would be to install a MicroCell in Arden's classroom. A MicroCell creates a cell signal with the a wired Internet connect, Arden's class has ethernet. We have one in our house and get good results so I thought it was worth a try. A few minutes later the CSR explained that he thought he could help with the price (It's $200) because of the medical need. Later that afternoon I went to my local AT&T store, purchased the MicroCell and by the time I dropped it off at Arden's school, AT&T had credited the purchase price back to my cell phone bill.

As I was saying goodbye to the gentleman on the , I expressed my gratitude one more time and he responded, "Think nothing of it, my dad has diabetes... I understand."

A huge thank you to the kind CSR and another to AT&T for hiring great people who take the time to listen.


The Blood Won't Come Out: Day of Diabetes Deeper Look

This post is an indepth look at a 20-30 minute window from our #DayOfDiabetes.

Last night Arden's DexCom transmitter sent a message that it needed to be replaced (That is expected as it is over a year old).

Today, during a moment that I thought would be calm, I called DexCom to order a new one. DexCom told me that I needed to call EdgePark Medical Supply.

I called Edgepark. Long explanation. Was transferred.

Arden texts that her CGM is ready for calibration - I tell her to test and put number in.

Someone picks up at Edgepark. Long explanation. Was transferred again.

Arden texts, "The blood won't come out, I did it like 12 times".

So now I'm talking to Edgepark and texting with Arden because for the first time in over seven years of having type I diabetes. She can't get a blood drop no matter how hard she tries.

Edgepark is explaining my insurance, the guy is nice and making small talk but I need him to shut up because I can sense that Arden is getting upset. 

"Still not working, not going to the nurse" - Arden's Text

I tell her to try different fingers, different sides, to squeeze her arm toward her hand and then her finger toward the tip. Nothing is working.

"221" - "I got it dad but I had to do the middle finger and it hurts" - Arden's Text

I tell her that I'm proud of her by text while confirming our address with the Edgepark CSR and while that is all happening, no shit, Arden's timer for lunch goes off.

Cell phone in my left hand, telephone in my right, credit card on the counter, lump in my throat because Arden is upset yet unwilling to quit and the alarm goes off. I laughed... "At least we don't have to test", I text...

That's a #DayOfDiabetes all packed into 20 minutes.


Expired Glucagon

I think that we can all agree that the best Glucagon is the one that you never open. I understand how uplifting it is to toss a Glucagon kit into the trash, nothing feels better than knowing that it was never opened - but what if I told you that there was something better? Something easy and awesome that you can do with your expired Glucagon?

Practice. Practice. Practice.

My best advice for what to do with your expired kits, practice. Parents, siblings, friends and relatives will all benefit from being able to learn how to help in a severe low blood glucose situation. I know that we all hope and want to believe that we will never have to use Glucagon in an emergency situation, but just in case, the first time you hold one shouldn't be during a seizure. 

This I know from experience.

Not long after Arden's diagnosis back in 2006 we tried to eat Chinese food for the first time since diabetes entered our lives and well, that didn't go very well. I injected too much insulin and about two hours later, Arden was having a seizure. We placed Arden on the floor, Cole called 911 and Kelly began to rub glucose gel into Arden's cheek while I was frozen and staring at the Glucagon. "I never thought I was going to need to know how to use it", I mumbled. Thankfully, the gel Kelly applied brought Arden out of the seizure but I'll never forget the sickening feeling of having the tools to help my daughter in my hands but not the knowledge of how to use them.

So practice with your expired Glucagon until it doesn't feel awkward. Then once everyone in your life is proficient -- donate them to your child's school nurse or a local school

Glucagon is the only thing in the world that I buy hoping that I will waste, but you don't have to throw it away. School nurses, Glucagon proxies and other school personnel will be grateful for the opportunity to get comfortable with the process. Speak with your school nurse and ask if an expired Glucagon kit is something that they'd be interested in having and you'll feel twice the pleasure the next time a kit expires.


Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence Part 1

So a while back the people who make the OmniPod asked me if I would like to contribute to their new blog called Suite D. I said yes, but I had one caveat that I honestly never thought that they would agree to - but they did!

See, Insulet wanted me to write a series of posts about how we use text messaging to manage Arden's type I and I wanted to tell that story here on Arden's Day. My caveat? I get to repost my writing here after it has run on their blog. This is not something that many websites would agree to because they understandably want their content to be fresh and exclusive -- I want to give major kudos to Insulet for agreeing. You may be wondering what I said to get them to allow me to do this... Well, it was simple really. I couldn't write for them and give them my full effort if I felt like my writing was taking something from Arden's Day and taking something from you. I was honored to be asked and I wanted to take the freelance work, but not at the expense of my readers here. So we struck a simple, and I think, very reasonable deal. I get to repost after the piece has been live on their site for at least thirty days. A BIG "way to go!" from me to Insulet for being so cool and blogger friendly! Here's part 1 of my 6 part series on gaining independence through technology.

Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence Part 1

I recall being handed syringes in the hospital and thinking that they seemed so very lightweight. I guess that I had never held one before that day and didn’t know what to expect. They felt flimsy in my hand and I struggled to understand just how these bits of plastic and metal were going to keep my daughter healthy.

That was my perspective only a few days removed from our two-year-old daughter’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis in August of 2006. Today, I realize that if Arden had been diagnosed fifty years earlier those little needles would have likely looked and felt like something from a science fiction movie.

Gaining Independence through an Insulin Pump

The technologies that help to improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes are nothing short of amazing – and the ways that we use that technology are ever expanding and evolving. I love the idea of utilizing what we have available today to the fullest, but I always keep an eye on the future and wonder where it will take us.

The first time I saw the table full of insulin pump samples at our endocrinologist’s office, the OmniPod insulin pump jumped right out at me. I was first struck of course by the tubeless nature of the device, but quickly, my mind raced with the possibilities of how the manufacturer could continue to adapt and blend advancements, because of its self-contained design. I told my wife, “I like that one. When they improve it we won’t have to wait to benefit.” That’s what I liked most about the OmniPod – it felt like the future and I couldn’t see a limit to the possibilities of where it may go.

Here we are many, many years later and I find myself about to talk to you about technology and how it has improved my daughter’s life – really my family’s life – and given her more independence. But now I’m going to talk about another piece of technology that we all have in our pockets, something that when used correctly will take you to the future and free you from restraint. Let me explain…

Giving Our Children More Freedom with Diabetes

Our children go. They go to school, to their friend’s house, to a movie – they are constantly going. Parents of children with type 1 diabetes are conditioned to fear the feeling of their child’s natural desire to just go. We want our children to have that leisurely feeling of course – that carefree, run-out-the-back-door feeling that we enjoyed as children. I don’t want to think about what could go wrong on a school bus ride. I hate telling my daughter she can’t visit a friend’s house because their parents don’t have a working understanding of diabetes and I am willing to bet that you feel the same.

Freedom and independence for our children with diabetes – but how?

How Technology Can Provide More Independence

Arden was missing class each time she visited the nurse’s office at her school. Before recess, before gym, before lunch, after exercise and every other time diabetes came to call, Arden missed class time. It was only five minutes here and three minutes there, but by the end of the day those minutes added up. After a week, they were hours and by the end of the year, they were days. Days of learning, days of socialization and days of her life – gone.

If only I could just be there, stand in the corner so I could invisibly wander to her desk and oversee her insulin dosing decisions. I just needed to be able to whisper in her ear that she didn’t need all fifteen carbs to correct that low blood glucose. I only needed to be there for a second, just like when she is home with me. Then it hit me… I can be.

Arden was in her bedroom one Saturday afternoon when I needed to know what her blood glucose (BG) was. Instead of walking upstairs I sent her a text message that said, “Test your BG please.” A few moments later I received a return message: “134.” I was with her, but I wasn’t. We were managing her blood glucose with only a momentary pause to her activity; this was the minimal interruption that I dreamed of. If only she could have her phone with her at school…

I’ll be back soon to tell you how I explained to the school what I was planning for her diabetes management, their surprising reply and all the goodness that’s come since.

The next two parts can be found on Insulet's blog, Suite D here. I've just completed parts 4 and 5, they will be going live on Suite D sometime soon. I hope that you have a great weekend... We are going to watch our kids play softball and baseball this weekend until our butts are numb from the bleachers. Best, Scott


Dear Teacher: The DX

The DX: The Diabetes Experience asked me to write a letter to the teacher of a student who has type I diabetes. They editor didn't give me any more direction then, "We'd like a Dear Teacher' piece". Well, I wrote a letter in the tone of the real life conversations that I have with Arden's teachers and I posted a link to it this morning on Facebook and now I'm posting it here. 

I'm very touched by the warm responses you have been leaving on Facebook, you guys rock!

"I wish I could like this more than once!!" - "I loved it!" - "Great piece!"

If you get a chance, pop over to The DX and check it out.


In a perfect world, the parents of children living with type 1 diabetes wouldn’t have to leave their kids for a third of every day with people who don’t understand the intricacies of diabetes the way that we do. I guess, though, that if the world were perfect, we wouldn’t be talking about this at all. <read the rest on The DX>


Disclosure. I was compensated for my writing on The DX (A blog from Sanofi Diabetes) but I was not asked to change or have any opinions regarding Sanofi or their products, of which Apidra (Arden's insulin) is one. Trust me, if that Apidra goes haywire... I'll be the first one to speak up.