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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blink. Tear. Drop.

Have you ever thought about the little things?

Take time, for example.  In one tiny second, so much can happen...

Childless to parenthood
Life to death
Rich to poor
Unemployed to employed
Single to married

When you REALLY think about it, all of life's major events come down to one single second. In the blink of an eye, so much can change.

Or what about tears?  Oh, those little drops can stir up so much emotion!!!!  The anguish you feel as a parent watching your child suffer.  They explain the emotions that you can't find words for.  Those little tears can tell a million stories.

Ya know, one eency weency drop of blood has the ability to make major decisions around here.  It decides if a site change is warranted, a juice box, or a bolus of insulin.  It can stop everything in it's tracks, alter plans, and change perception.  One drop can make the difference between staying or altering the course of life.

And then there's insulin.  Sugar's total daily dose is around 20 units.  Do you know what that looks like?

THAT'S IT!  When Sugar first began wearing her insulin pump, she was only getting about 6-7 units of insulin a day....roughly ONE-THIRD of that drop.

In one 24 hour period, about half of that tiny drop must be spread out to cover the glucose stores her body pumps into the blood stream.  Sugar's insulin pump administers a minuscule dose every 3 minutes.  EVERY THREE MINUTES -- around the clock....for 24 hours....FROM THAT LITTLE DROP!!!!!!!

The other half is used to cover the carbohydrates that she eats or drinks.  She can have a full meal PLUS a cupcake with a juice box, and it STILL hardly makes a dent in the drop.

If that entire drop was administered at once, it could kill her.  Withholding it could result in the same devastating outcome.

One little drop.

**MY** brain decides which hour of the day gets what portion of the drop.  I decide when to program the pump to give a smidgen more, when to back off, and when to keep things the same.  I decide at what times of day she'll need more of the drop to cover carbs and when she'll need less.  I decide how much of that drop will be used to correct a high blood sugar, decreased to accommodate physical activity, and increased to manage growth spurts and illnesses.

My brain knows she grows around 3 - 4 am.  The growth hormone is released during the pre-dawn hours and her insulin needs skyrocket.  For a few days, I'll be increasing the drop -- maybe even giving her plenty more than 20 units....and then, suddenly, it's too much.  I'll need to back down.  Way down.  Maybe even to a few units less.  After a few days of that, we'll gradually make it back to the NEW DROP.  After she grows, her insulin needs will increase permanently.  Perhaps by such a small amount, you can't even see it with the naked eye.

All the while, the pump is pumping every 3 minutes.

Yup.  Just one tiny drop.

Sometimes the little things in life make all the difference.
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  1. Beautiful post, Wendy! Those teeny tiny things are incredible, aren't they?

  2. Really cool post Wendy. It is amazing when you think about how much we talk about basal rates and carb ratios...its such a tiny thing we are changing. And to think that the tiniest changes can bring BIG outcomes! Thanks for this interesting post...made me think!

  3. This is by far one of my favorite posts from you. One second and one drop can make all the difference in the world! Fantastic post!!!

  4. Love this post! If only I could get The Superhero's teachers to understand this!

  5. True. Unbelievable how that small drop could kill you if given all at once or save you if spread out over a day. AMAZING. Good post on providing perspective. Thank you.

  6. Hi Wendy! Glad to meet another fellow Arizonan...and I'll bet you approved me to the WV group since I joined yesterday. :) I am overwhelmed with all of the support...thank you!

  7. What is amazing is when you share this post with a person who isn't a d parent and they say something like well than her daughter's not that sick, right? I get it all the time when people find out that Isaac only gets 5 units of insulin a day. I try my hardest to teach that it's not the amount of insulin that determines if you're a t1d or a t2d and that more insulin doesn't mean more sick.
    Anyhow, you're so right about how little things begin to be huge differences. I believe so much in that.

  8. Enjoyed the post! Thanks for the conversation today. I appreciated it.

  9. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.
    Have a nice day!

  10. Putting it all into perspective is just amazing. It is part of the madness of it little drop! There are no little decisions when it comes to D, everything makes a big difference.

    Great post!

  11. I took some perspective pictures a while ago but have yet to blog it. It is amazing how small the amount is they get every 3 small yet so powerful that I worry that raising his basal rate up .025u will send him low!!

  12. What a beautiful post. It really puts it all into perspective.

  13. This was so good. makes me want to see what my own drop looks like. It's powerful how such a small amount of insulin is what keeps us diabetics alive. unreal.

  14. I remember when Sugar needed a pump change at the lake. I could not stand her tears. My heart broke for about 15 minutes. I have given up asking why. I just try to be has brave as my sweet Sugar and go with the flow of T1D.

  15. Amazing. You always know how to say these things!! And awesome pics.

  16. This is a moving post! You have a great way of writting what I can't put in words! THANK YOU

  17. I live this life and your post still blew me away. Well done, Friend!! :)

  18. Love this post! I have taken photos of a drop of insulin too....seeing it as 20 units knowing that is how much she gets in one day (same pretty much for Nat) is really amazing!

  19. Fantastic post! It is a truly awe -some thing that something so small makes such a huge difference! I am so thankful for insulin!

  20. Amazing perspective. Thanks for an awesome post.


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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.