Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our Trip to the West Coast ... and Looney Tunes

I finally feel like I can breathe.  I have spent the last week with a very heavy heart.  I felt as if I leaned too far forward the weight in my chest might just topple me forward and I would land on the floor flat on my face, and there I would stay.

But like I already stated, I can finally breathe again, and now I can tell our story.

It all started two weeks ago.  Our family packed our bags and headed to Boston Logan airport to fly out to California.  This would be our third trip to the west coast and across three times zones over the past year.  During our two previous trips we struggled to keep Ben's glucose numbers in a normal (and safe) range.  Our theory on these high numbers has always been that the time change wrecks havoc on Ben’s system.  I assume all our bodies go through the same process and we feel it as jet lag.

This time Jeff and I made a plan.  We would check Ben's numbers frequently and we would not be shy about giving him aggressive correction boluses.  We hoped if we stayed on top Ben's numbers we could prevent too many extended highs.  So as soon as we start seeing high glucose readings we would start “bolusing in anger”.  This is a term I stole from other diabetes blogs, which describes giving insulin, often more than you usually do, to bring down a particularly frustrating high glucose number.  (Please, please no one should take this as medical advice!)  But this was our plan.

When we arrived in Los Angeles last week we slowly watched Ben’s glucose numbers climb.  We quickly decided it was time to start blousing in anger … and more anger … by the end of the day we were really enraged … but when Ben went to bed he was still high.

Our second day in California was the day of the wedding.  Yeah!  Ben’s godmother was the bride and she invited him to be part of the wedding party.  He was thrilled to be able to wear a tux.  But the morning of the wedding Ben woke up still high.  Jeff and I decided it was time for drastic measures; it was time to “basal in anger.”  (Again, please do not take this as medical advice.)

I will take a quick break from this story to explain the difference between bolus and basal insulin.  I am stealing this definition from  “A normal pancreas delivers 2 basic forms of insulin: a 24 hour-a-day, low level supply known as basal insulin, and bolus insulin, the large doses it releases in response to meals.”  (I hope that cleared everything up.)

Because Ben wears a pump, we can easily increase his basal rate.  So we increased his basal rate by 20%, and we crossed our fingers.  Right before Ben was about to walk down the aisle we gave him a quick check.  He was in the 200s, so far so good!  Now I could enjoy the wedding ceremony without constantly watching Ben for any extra bead of sweat or any other sign of a high or a low.  We checked Ben again at the reception before dinner was served, and miraculously his reading started with a 1!  Jeff and I gave each other high-fives and joked about rage bolusing and rage basaling. (A joke only Jeff and I found amusing.)  After dinner, Ben and his brothers danced the night away!  After hours of rocking the dance floor, Jeff and I thought it was time to bring Ben’s basal back down to normal.  That might have been a very big mistake because that was the last time we saw a glucose reading in the 100s.

The following morning Ben woke up with a reasonable number, a number that did not scare me.  So we decided we didn’t need to basal in anger and left his pump alone.  We spent the day visiting with family and visiting the Santa Monica Pier.  During the day we checked Ben several times and watched his numbers slowly, slowly move up.  We continued to bolus in anger, hoping that the next reading would bring good news.  We also tried moving Ben’s pump insertion site, we changed Ben’s insulin bottle and we continued to rage bolus, but Ben’s numbers remained way too high.

Our last day in LA we went on a Warner Bros Studio tour.  We arrived thirty minutes early so we waited in the gift shop.  We had already discussed with the boys that we were not going to buy anything, but they were welcome to look around.  We laughed at all the cool Looney Tunes memorabilia.  Then Cole and Ben headed off to the Harry Potter section and inspected all the wands.  Right next to the Harry Potter section is an Italian gelato stand.  The lady behind the counter let the boys sample the flavors, and they quickly talked Jeff and I into buying them all one.  Ben chose a lemon flavored gelato which he described as “the best thing he has ever tasted.”  So everyone made their choice and we sat down to enjoy the gelato.  Before Ben could eat we checked his blood sugar.  We were hoping for a number in the 200s but instead Ben was in the 400s.  Oh God!  After a quiet but heated “discussion”, Jeff and I decided Ben just couldn’t eat the gelato.  Everyone dumped what remained in their cups.  Ben’s eye welled up and he sobbed. 

Now my heart felt like it might explode.  It felt as if Wile E. Coyote had just dropped his anvil and again missed the Road Runner but hit me instead!  Jeff knew how I felt.  He gave me the “eye”.  He was worried I was going to give into Ben’s tears.  But I could not bear the weight and I whispered to Ben and Cole that they could go find something in the gift shop.  They quickly ran off.  And soon I was buying overly priced magic wands.

Eventually, the tour started.  Beyond making the Looney Tune cartoons, the studio has created several hit TV shows.  We saw the sets of  “The Big Bang Theory,” “Gilmour Girls,” and “Conan O’Brien”.  We got to sit on Central Perk’s sofa from the set of “Friends”.  We did end up really enjoying the tour.   I definitely would recommend it.  (Plus I hear the gelato in the gift shop is delicious.)

The following morning it was time to fly home.  Ben woke up again with a super high blood sugar.  I had tossed and turned all night worrying about this very thing.  I was scared (almost petrified) to get on the plane and fly for 5 hours with Ben’s numbers dangerously high.  I questioned whether we should get on the plane.  Maybe we should be heading to the nearest ER instead.  But, Jeff insisted.  He insisted we just needed to get home!

And now we are home.  We have been home for a few days now.  And Ben’s numbers have slowly come back down into a safe range.  The boys have spent the week at summer camp and Jeff has been chatting with the camp nurse about Ben’s diabetes.  I have been a little out of the loop.  So today while at the office I texted Jeff, “How were Ben’s numbers today?”  Jeff responded, “Good! 125, 290, 122, 118, 102.”  I gasped.  All that extra weight was finally being released.  I no longer felt like the victim of Wiley E Coyote.  Finally, I felt like the Road Runner!  We had survived.

I suppose in the end we still have not managed to successfully travel through time zones.  But, we haven’t given up.  We will try again!  But for now I think we might limit our next trip to just flying north and south.

No comments:

Post a Comment