Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Father Helps Out

I was a college sophomore, 17 years old, and semi independent when I was diagnosed with diabetes. For those reasons, my parents have not been very involved in my care. My father in particular has taken a very back seat position in my care. He injected me four or five times, the last time in December or January, when he got so scared that his hands shook and tore a scratch looking line in my skin. When I ask him to help me out with a pinch for a shot, he closes his eyes so he won't have to see the needle. Because my mother is an M.D., my father has generally referred us to my mother for anything medical. I'm not the doctor in the family, he'd say. And that was fine, as long as medical needs were not a large part of my life. Now it's not so fine. I want to know that my father can keep me safe, and he can't do that if he can't face my diabetes.

Today my blood sugar went to 38. I knew that I had a fair amount of insulin still on board, and that I was going to need my blood sugar checked in about twenty minutes, and I decided that I wanted my father to learn and to help me out. After treating the hypo, I washed my hands, got my meter, test strips, and pricker. I went into the living room, laid on the floor, and told my father that in a while I was gonna ask him to check my blood sugar. And that's what I did. At 3:51, my father tried, for the first time, to check my blood sugar. It was a comedy of errors.
First he needed to turn on the meter. Now, with my meter there's a lag of about two seconds between pushing the power button, so if you keep pressing the button when you don't see the screen turn on, it goes on off on off on off and you never see the screen go on. Anyways, my father eventually got the meter on.
Then he wanted to know if he was getting a low battery signal; that was a flashing test strip.
Then, luckily before pricking my finger, my mother (who was watching) informed us that my father had the test strip in backwards and upside down!
My father got the pricker cocked no problem. Then I told him to press the button up against my finger. What button? says my father. We spend a minute on locating the button.
Alright, without further ado, a finger prick! On the wrong part of my finger. And is there any blood? I squeeze and get some blood, my father tries to apply it to the top of the test strip.
I prick my own finger, my mother gets the test strip to accept the blood. 58.
That's a questionable hypo, says my father, looking at the meter. The accu-chek always puts a question mark after the word hypo. I treated again, was at 48 an hour later, didn't involve my parents with that.

All those hypos wore me out, and I lay down and fell asleep. Three and a half hours later I woke up to my father trying to check my blood sugar. I was thrilled: I had thought he would be discouraged by his earlier attempt. My bloodsugar at that time was 101. Near perfect, says my father.

1 comment:

Major Bedhead said...

That's very cool. I'm really glad that your dad was willing to keep at it, even when he was unsure of what he was doing.

You were pretty coherent for being at 38!