Wednesday, June 29, 2011


It's not been the most fortunate of weeks for us.

Sunday night as I was cutting up lettuce for dinner, I managed to get my hand under the knife and sliced right through my fingernail. (It doesn't hurt so much anymore except when I tap on anything -- like, say, my keyboard -- with the end of the fingernail. So I'm having to keep that nail trimmed really short.)

Yesterday afternoon, Penny developed an ear infection. (Or, more likely, it has been developing for a couple of days and finally peaked yesterday afternoon.) Matt took her to the Urgent Care center, where all the doctors and nurses who looked in her ear were amazed she was holding it together as well as she was, the poor kid.

While Matt and Penny were at the Urgent Care, I got dinner for Alex and me and made lunches for today and gave Alex his bath. I picked up Matt's lunchbox without fully closing the clips, and a soda fell out and landed on my toe, and while I was cursing and wondering if my toe was broken, it sprayed about two-thirds of its contents all over my kitchen. And I mean all. Over. So then I had to finish making dinner and packing lunches and take a sponge to every cabinet and countertop, not to mention the (hot) stove and the fridge. Then I got out the Swiffer to take care of the floor, and while I was digging out a new head for it, I managed to unbalance the large and heavy boxes of trash bags, which fell on my head pointy-bit first, naturally.

(Also? All while wearing 4" heels.)

Tried to do some writing last night. Knocked out a solid 1000 words on a new story, only to realize that my hook isn't strong enough and I'm going to have to toss it and start over.

The antibiotic the Urgent Care prescribed for Penny tastes disgusting, apparently, so I had to wade through her stalling and making an assortment of gaggy faces before I could get to my morning exercises this morning, which set me back a solid 20 minutes later than I usually get started. And then when I got the kids to school I had to explain to the teacher and kitchen staff about how she's not having breakfast with the other kids because she has to eat at home so she can have food along with the antibiotic, and so while I'm not technically late to work, the whole morning has felt very hurried and frantic.

So? Slightly grumpy right now, but clinging to some vague hope of turning it around at some point.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sum Up

Weird work situation, mostly good weekend, lots to do, so here's the summary:

I've been sucked into a proposal at work. I'd be stressing over it more except that it's only 30 pages long and we don't have a lot of time to burn on it anyway.

I'll stress a little more this week, though, since I've got two software deliveries in hand and two more on the horizon. The proposal has to be finished by Wednesday night, though, so there's a hard limit on how long I can wrestle with it.

The summer bash was awesome. The weather could've been a smidge cooler, and it would've been nice if all the kids from the other big group at the park hadn't decided to make free with our toys, but we did eventually get them all back, and only one was broken beyond repair (and that one was a water gun over 10 years old, so I have trouble blaming that solely on the kids' roughness). But I got to visit with people I don't get to see very often, and Penny got to make a new friend, and we all talked ourselves hoarse and ate tasty food (mmm, Matt's stuffed brownies...). I had a fantastic long chat with T Campbell about the vagaries of publishing, and we both enjoyed talking with JD about a book (or series, possibly) that he wants to write. I visited with Ashby and Karen and Jeff (and watched Jeff let the kids hack at him with nerf swords) and met a bunch of new people (and re-met some people I've only encountered once or twice before) and also hung out with friends that I see more often, like Elizabeth and Dave and KT and Kevin.

We got plenty of "grownup time", too, for a change, which was nice. The girls were obviously big enough to run around on their own, and once he arrived, Alex was confident enough to go over to the adjacent playgrounds without an accompanying parent for a good half an hour at a time -- it meant that Matt and I would look up every ten minutes or so to do a child count, but that's certainly less disruptive to conversation than having to stand on the playground watching the kids. Alex hauled us over to the playground a couple of times to push him on the swings, but other than that, he climbed and slid and jumped more or less on his own.

I took a mess of pictures, of course. I'm looking forward to seeing some others, too.

The only real low point for the weekend was that Penny didn't get a lot of sleep, so by Sunday she was downright surly. Combined with my back and feet hurting from all the standing I did Saturday, that dragged my mood down a bit, too. She slept in a little this morning, though, and her mood seems to have improved.

Oh, and the "barrier" infusion set went well enough, though the needle freaked her out a little. We took it off this morning (made it the full three days this time, at least!) and I didn't see any of the swelling and redness that had come with the first set, but she swears the itching was making her crazy yet again. I don't know what to do about it, I really don't. I don't want to drop that much money on something and just hope that she'll "get used to it" with time. Argh.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Too much to do. Not enough to do. It's incredibly stupid that both of those things describe my life right now. Uncertainty makes me batshit insane; I really do not enjoy operating on a "just see what happens" basis. Every now and then, under controlled circumstances, I can do it, but it's not the way I prefer to operate. I like to know what's going to happen, and what's on my to-do list, and what options are available to me.

Alas. The gods have other ideas for me right now.

I have no work to do, but as soon as I started thinking about taking a half-day today, my boss scheduled an afternoon meeting. At least it's a telecon meeting, so I might still take that half-day and just call in for it. Maybe, except there's a document that has to be written (no money to write it, of course) and I don't know who's supposed to be doing that writing.

I'm helping out with a proposal at work, and those are -- as I've complained before -- a hot mess of shit deadline on my neck hurry hurry hurry and can't do anything without others' input wait wait wait all stirred into one delicious soup of stress.

Possibility of folks coming up to hang out this evening, but no idea if we're feeding them or we're all going out or if they're not arriving until after dinner. Or even if they're coming at all.

We're letting a friend crash at our house this weekend. I'm glad to open our house to him, but he's not sure if he'll arrive Friday night, or Saturday morning, or not until Saturday after the summer bash picnic.

Add that to diabetes difficulties (Penny's sugars are fantastic when she gets up at 6:30, and then two hours later at breakfast, without having eaten anything, they're 100 points higher. WTF?) and Alex being a bit moody because he's adjusting to the switch (finally!) to the 3-year-old class at daycare, and I'm a little ball of grumpiness and stress.

Maybe that's why I can't manage to stick to my diet for more than half a day at a time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eight Weeks

This weekend is the summer bash. I'm looking forward to hanging out with friends. Especially those friends I don't get to see very often.

Next weekend leads into the Fourth of July. (The 4th being actually on Monday, but it makes for a long weekend, huzzah!)

Then there's a weekend with no plans. (Yet.)

The weekend after that is my sister-in-law's birthday.

Then there are two weekends with no plans. (Yet.)

Then we'll be celebrating Braz and Adin's new house! (Also, that is the state's Tax Free School Supplies weekend, so I expect we'll be doing some school shopping that weekend.)

And the Friday after that, we'll have Penny's birthday, and the morning after that, she and I will get up ridiculously early and get on a plane to fly to Cancun.

Why yes, I am counting down.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hello Fadda

I hope everyone had a great Father's Day and appropriately honored the ol' Y-chromosomal parent!

We had a nice one -- got Matt up with breakfast in bed, and gave him his gifts (hand-drawn cards from Penny and Alex, and a couple of fun books from me).

Hung around doing the usual chores in the morning (though as a Father's Day treat, I took both kids with me to the grocery store so Matt could enjoy a half-hour or so of quiet) and then after Alex's nap, we went down to my parents' for hot dogs and hamburgers and corn on the cob and watermelon, yum! We all ate way too much and stayed way too late chatting, but it was a lovely evening.

This week will be busy -- Alex and I both have checkups with the ear doctor on Wednesday morning, and Penny's back to CHKD on Friday to try the alternate insulin set method that hopefully won't trigger an allergic reaction. Matt and I made plans to meet John and Sam for lunch on Thursday, in part so we can finally buy a painting from John that we'd asked for last year, and in part so the four of us can actually have a conversation free of kid-based interruptions. (Sam has lost 80 pounds since her gastric bypass in March, and she looks fantastic!)

And then this weekend is the annual Summer Bash. (Current forecast - hot with isolated thunderstorms; keep your fingers crossed for us!) Looking at the sort of sparse work schedule for this week, I may be taking a day or two off to meet up with people and hang out, depending on when everyone is arriving and stuff. We'll see how it works out.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Didn't sleep too well last night. Not really sure why, just had lots of vivid, unrestful dreams. Nothing bad, just action-packed, from what little I can still remember.

So I'm feeling groggy and nonfunctional this morning. It'll be the perfect day for tackling mindless paperwork and then hitting the gym, and then coming back to the office for more mindless paperwork. Envy me my glamorous life!


After dinner last night, we put Alex in the wagon and walked over to Penny's school and let the kids run around on the playground for half an hour. I even hauled my camera along and took pictures of some flowers and the kids and stuff along the way, which was nice -- I haven't taken any pictures with the good camera for over a month, I think. I don't know if this is going to be a regular thing or what -- Matt was a bit dismayed at the amount of time Penny was spending dorking around on the computer during her long afternoon Tuesday, but once she starts daycare/camp next week, she won't even be getting home until almost 5:30, so that will put a big dent in her screen time.

Today is Penny's last day of school -- when I get home this evening, she'll officially be a third grader. The daycare gave me a form to fill out for her medical records, and naturally it has to be signed by her doctor as well, so I need to get on with that and fax it over to the doctor so they can send it back. She's been particularly surly the last few days, and this morning she told me she's been waking up at 5:30, so it's possible that's got something to do with her mood. Once school is out, Matt and I are going to let her stay up later to read at night, but I told her this morning that if she's continuing to be grouchy and surly all the time, we're going to put an end to that. So she has been warned. For whatever good that will do us.

Alex is doing really well with his potty training, and is getting fairly reliable about telling us when he needs to go. We hid his little potty Tuesday night and he coped with its disappearance pretty well (he'd been sitting on the regular toilet about half the time anyway, so we figured we'd nudge that along). The next step will be to get him a bed so he can get up and go on his own initiative at night and we can start trying to transition him out of night-time diapers as well. (I'll take "Things Parents Don't Miss When Their Babies Grow Up" for $400, Alex...)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It's almost the end of the school year for Penny. Today is her second-to-last day as a second grader; by 1:00 tomorrow she will officially be a third grader.

She's spending the afternoon with me; I'll be picking her up from school and bringing her back to the office. Matt will pick her up tomorrow. And then Friday, when she has no school at all, I'll have her with me in the morning, and Matt will take her in the afternoon.

I hope her mood is improved this afternoon; she was the Sultana of Surly this morning.

Slightly scattered this morning. Not in a particularly bad or down mood (aside from being eye-rolly about Penny's attitude) but my brain is refusing to fire on all cylinders. Or even half of them. Should make for an interesting day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I've been re-watching Leverage lately -- ripped our DVDs down to my iPad and am watching it while I'm at the gym. And also when I'm just sitting around with nothing else to do. I did all of the first season and am now about halfway through the second. It's quite the addictive little show. Now, I like crime caper shows anyway, but I started thinking about what it is that pulls me so hard about this one. And what, for that matter, pulls me in to any show I watch regularly.

Good storytelling is part of it, but I don't think that's the whole. I've started and then dropped shows that had good storytelling -- and stuck religiously to some shows with barely any storytelling at all.

The answer I keep coming back to is: how much I like the characters. And not just like, but identify with. The more main cast members I can identify with, the more the show will hold onto me.

Leverage has this in abundance. I mean, obviously I'm not a genius thief, but they've all got personality traits that I see in myself. And I think the show's success is that they've hit on a combination of personalities that appeal to almost all people. And, oddly, link more strongly to negative feelings than to positive ones.

Oh, certainly, there's competence and intelligence and strength and charisma, but those aren't the qualities that draw us in. It's the downer ones, really, that make us really identify. We all occasionally feel socially inept. We all feel like we're getting lost in the masks we create to hide behind. We all feel like we're undervalued and under-appreciated. We all get tired of being treated and judged as if we're one-dimensional. We all feel like we're scrambling for control that insists on remaining stubbornly out of our grasp.

And it works, because when a group of people who embody my own shortcomings triumph, it brings that sense of victory and joy straight home. It's not just their win; it becomes mine.

Almost all the shows I've loved and religiously watched did this to some degree. Babylon 5. Firefly. Sports Night. West Wing. Big Bang Theory. Buffy. And when I think about the shows that violate this rule, then I'm looking at a list of shows with some other quality that held me there -- I stayed with Dollhouse despite weak character identification, for example, because I trust Joss Whedon's storytelling and I knew the mindfuck would be glorious (and it was).

That's it. Nothing particularly deep. Just a random musing that fell out of my mental wanderings on the way home from the gym yesterday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

That Time

Mornings suck. They have that whole "I just woke up and don't really want to be out of bed and functioning" vibe to them.

Mondays suck. They have that whole "I just came back to work after the weekend and don't really want to be thinking and making decisions and doing responsible shit" thing going for (or rather, against) them.

This time of the month sucks. I'm seriously PMSing -- I spent the weekend eating everything that wasn't nailed down (and suffering the Wii Fit's disappointment for it this morning) and am now moving firmly into my anti-social phase where I totally overreact and want to kill people for their stupidity when they try to touch me or talk to me. (The more I live with this bizarre menstrual cycle, the more I find myself empathizing with KT's old Heroes villain, Face, an alien whose psychotic behavior was eventually blamed on adolescent hormones. Maybe if we'd slipped her a couple of Midol and the contents of a Hershey's factory early on in the campaign, she wouldn't have sold the population of China to some other hungry aliens.)

This time of year sucks. It's stupidly hot out, except on days I think we might have time to go swimming, when it turns breezy and cool and incoming-thunderstorm-ish. Every bug in the county is trying to get out of the heat, which I empathize with, but they need to understand that their designated hiding place is in the house's crawl space, not my bathtub. The really good summer produce (corn, tomatoes, and watermelon) isn't quite ready to go yet, but the best spring stuff (berries) is mostly tapped out. The school year is almost done, so Penny's lost all interest, but I can't ship her off to daycare/summer camp yet. Nothing much is happening on TV or at the movies (though we did take the kids to see Kung Fu Panda II over the weekend, and we all enjoyed it).

Also, this time of life kind of sucks. I'm too old to be bouncy and flirty and changing jobs every time I get bored. I'm too young to demand deferential treatment or console myself with the thought that retirement is just over the horizon.

I'm not saying there's nothing good about any of these things. I like morning's calm, cool weather. I like Mondays' relatively relaxed schedule. I like... Okay, I don't really like anything about PMSing, but at least I know it will end. I like the thunderstorms and sense of anticipation of early summer. And I like the emotional and financial security that comes with this point in my life.

I'm not having a bad time right now. It's just a slightly grouchy time.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Field Day

Alex is about 90% self-sufficient when it comes to getting himself dressed in the mornings. Matt gets him up and gets rid of the night-time diaper, and then he's pretty much on his own. He does sometimes insist that I help him with his socks (getting the toes lined up just right is tricky) and he has a couple of pairs of pants that he can't work the snap by himself and has to ask for help with. But aside from those things, he does the whole shebang by himself.

This morning, he was awake and singing little songs even before I went downstairs to do my little Wii Fit yoga. So as soon as I was done and had helped Penny with the rest of her breakfast (she's about 90% self-sufficient with her breakfast lately, except she needs someone to open her pill and vitamin bottles, and someone to double-check her insulin draw) I went upstairs to get Alex out of bed, since Matt was still shaving.

I got the diaper off and cleaned him up, then left him to his getting-dressed devices while I went to get dressed, myself. He picked out underwear and put it on, then traded his pajama top for a t-shirt, and then put on his socks and came into our bedroom to ask me to help him straighten them out. Then he went back to his room and shut the door.

"Putting on pants is very private," I told Matt, mock-serious. "Even though he just had his little wiener hanging out for all to see."

"Well, he's going to grow up to be a Congressman," Matt told me.

"Oh, no," I said. "I don't think I could stand the shame."


Penny's school has its annual Field Day today, assuming it doesn't rain. She was bouncy and excited in the car, and I hope she has a good time.

Trying to keep the mood happy, I told her that we'd been thinking about going to the movies this weekend, to see Kung Fu Panda 2. (No, we didn't see the original. But the trailers for this are cute and I'm pretty sure we can, y'know, pick up the critical plot points.) I braced for Penny to start begging for popcorn and soda.

Instead, she wilted. "I don't like Kung Fu Panda," she whined.

"Fine," I sighed. "Maybe we'll leave you with Adin and Braz and just Daddy and Alex and I will go to the movies." I'm sort of tired of making an effort to do fun things with them, only to have them pout and whine. She doesn't get to complain about being bored, though.

Of course, it occurs to me that Braz and Adin have Braz's girls this weekend in addition to Adin's kids, so dumping Penny on them for two or three hours is possibly unfair. Hrm. Well, we'll figure it out somehow.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Need Cheese

I need cheese... because mostly what I have this morning is whine.

Work, blah blah underfunded blah blah burning through vacation time blah.

Penny's insulin pump saga blah blah delays allergies blah blah.

Sleep blah tired blah blah.

Diet backslide blah blah lack of willpower blah fat.

I will say I was pleased to figure out that I can use HandBrake to convert .avi files into .mp4 files (thereby making certain shows usable on my iPad that weren't before).

And also that Game of Thrones is totally kicking butt. I was slightly disappointed in the Sex-and-Exposition scene from the previous episode -- not the technique, which is a traditional way to fit in dialog while giving us some eye-candy (and HBO is generously fan-servicing the ladies along with the men -- they're not granting us a full half time, but it's a solid 25 or 30 percent, which is pretty good for a fantasy show that traditionally would market primarily to guys) -- but in Littlefinger's performance during it. I can grant that his show-no-emotion demeanor must be difficult for the actor to pull off, but he was talking about some heavy emotional stuff, and I thought we should have seen a little more.

But this episode was much better. Robb, who up until now has been something of a closed book, had some very nice scenes (in particular, there was an exchange of glances with Catelyn that I really appreciated) and made me warm up to him a lot.

I can't wait for HBO to release this on DVD so I can own it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I called the Diabetes Center to ask about Penny's reaction to the infusion set; the answer I got was that they have several kids on pumps who are allergic to the set adhesive. What they do is provide a barrier between the adhesive and the set, and then use a different kind of tape (that's hopefully less reactive) to hold it in place.

Which is just that much more random stuff that has to be purchased to do this, whee. Guess we'll be padding the insurance's flexible spending account next year to cover those supplies.

The counselor I talked to said we could go ahead and start the paperwork to order our pump if we wanted, and they'd teach us how to place the barrier and stuff in that first training session. We've got a month to return the pump after we receive it in the unlikely event the barrier thing doesn't work either, though our schedule becomes slimmer since the Diabetes Center people are only at the office near us about once every three weeks, so we have to either wait for that or take her down to Norfolk again.

I asked if we could do a trial run of a set with the barrier in place first, and they were amenable to that, though again -- they're not in the office near us very often. I went ahead and made an appointment to take her in to do that, and told them we'd call if we decided to either take her down to Norfolk for it or go ahead and order the pump.

So that's that. I'll let you all know when progress is made...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Child Updates

We went to the insulin pump class on Thursday  night, and we looked at all three of the pumps that Penny's doctor recommends, and listened to the information session, and learned quite a bit. Penny and I both got trial infusion sets put in our stomachs (with bright pink connectors for our tubing!) and we talked to the company reps and the nurse who ran the session and generally filled up on information. (Alex, by the way, was really fantastic. He was a little wiggly, but happy enough to play with "his" iPhone during the presentation so Matt and I could listen, and he was more enthusiastic about going to look at the pumps than Penny was, for whatever reason.)

Matt and I eliminated OmniPod as a candidate fairly quickly -- the technology was cool, but using it was going to result in wasting a lot of insulin (you have to put a minimum of 80 units in the pod when you activate it, a pod is only good for 3 days, and Penny usually uses less than 15 units a day. Even if you allow for us stretching it to 4 days, we'd still be throwing away more than a day's worth of insulin every time we changed it out). There are some other factors as well -- like having a fairly large plastic bump attached to your body. I could see a teenager or adult being able to disguise the pod reasonably, but the pod looked huge next to Penny.

So we were left with the Animas Ping and the Medtronic MiniMed as our candidates. Both of them had some great features (the Animas is waterproof and has a foolproof device for set insertion, while the MiniMed can be integrated with CGM sensors and makes hundreds of skins for customization). So Matt and I spent some time Thursday night and Friday reading brochures and hitting up Google for reviews and answers to questions, and I think we're about 90% settled on the MiniMed.

By Saturday morning, Penny was complaining about her infusion set itching, but it didn't last long. We went over to Adin's after Alex's nap to join them in the pool for a couple of hours, then had hot dogs for dinner.

Sunday morning, as I was adjusting my jeans, my thumb caught on the edge of my infusion set and pulled it right off, even though we were "supposed" to leave them on until that evening. I guessed the chlorine had affected the adhesive's ability to stick. When I told Penny, she showed me her set, and it was mostly pulled free, as well -- the cannula (the tubing that rests under the skin) had been pulled free, and the rest of the set was hanging by some of the adhesive.

"I'm sorry," she told me. "It just itched so much, and I scratched it..." When I pulled the set the rest of the way off, there was a large patch of bumpy red skin, exactly where the set had been attached. (In the picture, the little red dot is where the cannula had been, and then there's red bumpy rash above and below.)

Which means she's either allergic to the adhesive, or at least has a sensitivity to it. It shouldn't be too surprising; I've had bad reactions to long-term adhesives in the past (though I didn't have any issues with this infusion set).

Which is... a problem. We can hardly ask her to have an infusion set stuck to her skin all the time if it's going to give her a rash like this.

I'm not sure exactly what we do next. I'll call the endocrinologist's office today -- they have to have encountered this before. If I had to guess, I'd say they'll suggest trying a set on some other, less-sensitive locations, like the back of her arm or her thigh; or maybe there's a (probably more expensive) version of the set that we can try. At worst, I figure they'll tell us to put off the pump for a year or so and try again later. Which would be a disappointment, but... well, there's not much else we can do, is there?

The rest of her Sunday went well, though -- she went to a friend's birthday party in the afternoon, which was a swimming party at the YMCA pool, and she even managed to pass the required swimming test (swim one length without stopping, then tread water for one minute). As Matt said, if there had been a letter grade, it would have been a D-, but it was passing, nonetheless! So we'll encourage swimming trips this summer so she can get more practice before she and I go to Mexico and spend hours every day in the resort pool.


Alex has been really kicking butt with the whole potty training thing lately. I haven't mentioned it much, because it's one of those tedious journeys that's hard to define the end of, but just lately? Much butt kicked. He's figured out how to hoist himself up onto a "real" toilet seat, so we'll be able to get rid of the nasty little toddler potty altogether soon. Yesterday, he told me when he had to go to the bathroom two or three times without my having to prompt him, which is a huge development, from my perspective.

When he'd been down for his nap for about an hour and a half (just as Matt and Penny were leaving for the birthday party, in fact) he woke up and started calling for me. I heard "go potty" over the baby monitor, so I ran up the stairs to get him. Good thing, too, because Matt had put him down for his nap in his underwear instead of changing him into a pull-up. Astonishingly, he not only woke up and called me to take him to the potty, but willingly went back to his nap when he was done!

He did have one accident last night -- he said he had to go to the bathroom, then went in and apparently spent too long trying to get the light turned on and lost control before he could get his pants down. (At least it was in the bathroom, which is easy to clean up!) And it was right before bedtime, too, when his self-control is weakest. We didn't scold him for that one at all; his intentions had been good; he just hasn't learned to judge his timing yet. And up to that point, he had been a full two weeks with no accidents! (Not counting nighttime, when he's still in a diaper.)

We need to get the boy a proper bed soon, so he can get up and go to the bathroom on his own. I think he's just about there.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pump It

Well, we kick off tonight! Matt will leave work at his usual time and pick Alex up from daycare, and I'll leave work a bit before 3 to pick Penny up from school, and then we'll stuff the kids in the car with their afternoon snacks and drive down to Norfolk to the CHKD hospital, where they hold a monthly class on insulin pumps, including a presentation covering the history and general functionality available along with some of the pros and cons, and then we'll get a chance to talk to some company reps and put our hands on the devices and ask questions.

We'll figure out what kind of pump we're interested in getting for Penny, and a nurse will fit Penny with an infusion set (that's the bit that goes under the skin, but not the actual tubing and such) so she can wear it for a few days and get a feel for what it will feel like. In the meantime, the endocrinologist's office will help us get started with the paperwork to submit to the insurance company to get approval for the device. (I understand this is much easier than it was even a few years ago, as insulin pumps are rapidly becoming the favored insulin delivery method for type 1 diabetics -- and a lot of insulin-dependent type 2s, as well.)

It's not a short road. Approval from the insurance company can take as long as six weeks, and then we've got a series of learning sessions to attend with the doctor's office. We'll have a how-to class for the infusion sets, and then Penny will wear the pump with just saline in it for a week or so to get used to that, and then they'll start it on insulin and we'll have a whole series of checkups every couple of weeks so they can adjust the basal ("slow drip") rates.

This is where I hope the pump will shine -- right now, her slow-release insulin delivers a more or less equal dose over a 24-hour period, but the thing is that she actually needs a bigger hit in the mornings than in the evenings, so once she's on the pump and we stop with the Lantus, we can adjust how much fast-acting insulin she gets depending on the time of day. And on a day-to-day basis, we can adjust it for special activities. Going swimming at summer camp? Slightly less insulin, please! Caught a cold that's making those blood sugars soar? Boost the insulin!

(This part is a little frightening, I admit. It took almost a year before Matt and I really started to feel comfortable adjusting her mealtime shots based on intangibles like "she's been running high for no apparent reason lately" and a good two years before we even wanted to consider messing with her long-acting insulin dosage without talking to the doctor first. So now we'll have another learning curve for adjusting her basal rates. But hopefully this one will be a little faster, since the principles are the same and we're just learning the technology.)

The pump will also make it easier on her for things like parties and family meals, where there tends to be a big space between dinner and dessert. Right now, we either dose her for dinner and dessert separately (two shots instead of one) or we try to guess at how much dessert she'll eat and then often have to give her a second shot anyway because we guessed wrong. Now we'll be able to input a dose when she puts something on her plate. Initial dose before dinner with what we expect she'll eat. And then if she ends up wanting a second piece of bread, or another cookie, or an extra scoop of ice cream, it's not a big deal -- just tell the pump to give her a little more insulin. We go to a picnic and she wants to graze across several hours instead of eating a single discreet meal -- not a big deal, just dose for what she eats as she eats it. (Well, it's not a big deal diabetes-wise. We'll still have to draw lines for weight control, obviously. But it means that when we feel okay relaxing the rules, we can relax a lot more than before.)

And it'll make it easier for her to go over to her friends' houses, especially for sleepovers. Once she's learned how to operate her pump, we can ask parents to measure and carb-count, and then she can call us to confirm her insulin dose before she tells the pump to deliver it. It's a little extra work -- but we won't have to ask anyone to consider giving her a shot, and that's the big stumbling block for people who've not done it before. And again, it makes grazing (as tends to happen at sleepovers) much less of a hassle.

As far as Penny's concerned, the big advantage is when school starts up again next year. She desperately wants to be able to eat the school lunches (...yeah, I know...) but they're insanely carby. Often more than twice as many carbs as in the lunch we pack her. (All-white bread, french fries, and syrup-packed fruits. Yay for nutrition, eh?) So I had promised her that when she went on the pump, we would try school lunches again and see if that helps keep her sugars from rocketing up into the stratosphere. I honestly don't expect it to work. A gajillion carbs is still a gajillion carbs, no matter how she's getting the insulin dose. But I did promise her we could give it a try. Maybe if she can dial in an initial insulin dose a full half-hour or 45 minutes before lunch, it won't hit her as hard -- we'll have to see how understanding and accommodating her 3rd-grade teacher is willing to be.

Depending on how fast Matt's insurance comes through with approval, we may or may not be on the pump in time for our trip to Cancun. I'm almost hoping not -- as mentioned, there's going to be a moderately steep learning curve on the technology, and I'm not sure I want to be climbing it while we're on vacation, completely disrupting our usual routines (especially in Mexico, where their nutrition labels are so different from ours). So unless the insurance okays Penny's pump more or less immediately and we can get over the first learning hump by the end of July, I may talk to the doctor about shuffling the schedule so that she's still on shots for Mexico.

Anyway, the journey begins tonight, and Penny is excited, and so am I.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oh Yes I Did

Alex was playing with a toy Spider-Man cell phone in the car this morning.

"Mommy smile I take a picture with the phone!"

"Okay, I'm smiling!"

"I took your picture! With the phone! Sometimes you can take a picture with a phone. With that button there. You have two cameras, Mommy. One of them is big. And one of them is shaped like a door. We close the door when I have a nap! Mommy, Spider-Man needs our help!"

"Oh, yeah? Are you gonna go help him?"

"No, all of us!"

"Oh. We're going to help Spider-Man on the way to school, are we?"

"Yeah... Mommy, Spider-Man doesn't talk."

"Um, I'm pretty sure he does talk sometimes, actually."

"Yeah, sometimes he talks. And sometimes, he's quiet."

"And that's what makes him different from you."