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Well that was an incredibly quick but somehow slow and full few days! Heavens.

E left for Wales this morning, wary of bringing too much with him and therefore seeming different. I squeezed apple juices, fruit pastilles and extra diabetes kit into every crevice. Upon arrival, at least two other boys had much more stuff. Phew! He’d given us all our hugs before leaving the house. At the school it was a wave and a ‘bye’ in his nearly-deep voice, up the minibus steps, and they’re off.

Sniff!

Another boy with T1 is going this week too: E and T have been getting to know each other — first by hearsay, then by proximity — over the last year or so. They are both music bods, and though they have very different diabetes regimes and needs, they get on. This week when E was feeling wobbly about it all, he kept reminding himself that T would be there. They could look out for each other. And more to the point, understand something about what the other may be going through, even if it’s only a version of what the other feels.

I confess to feeling relieved myself about this good fortune. To the point that as they pulled out, I saw that E and T were sitting next to each other. They’ll catch each other’s hypos, I thought.

A bit silly, I know.

***

It will not surprise anyone to know that it took me (and E) over four hours yesterday to pack him up, going through everything again and again, situating it so he’ll remember what’s where. This, and the hours I put into pre-ordering sets and reservoirs, extra insulin, lancets and strips… and getting him the normal stuff (somehow thought one pair of jeans wouldn’t do, duh!): trousers, fleece, walking socks, base layers… Fortunately, perhaps unlike some of the boys going, E is used to hiking. We have a picture of him sitting on top of the first mountain he climbed rather than was carried up, the Lakes below and behind him, at age four, smiling his head off.

For this trip, I really hope he takes a lot of pictures! 12 boys (including sixth formers). It will be a scream. Imagine the state of the air on the bus back…

***

It’s been a week of oddly used time too, whole patches of stretched out stuff mixed with manic hours.

Now that I know what happened I can tell you the following: on Friday I lost the kittens. Well, three of them. I had lowered the barrier in the sitting room, and out they flooded. We’ve been having a hard time with little poos in corners, and I figured maybe Cleo wanted to show them HER litter tray in the bathroom (which she did, immediately, to be fair). Anyway they were having such a good time, all of them racing around the house and Cleo very happy, that I went upstairs to do my emails.

Fifteen minutes later I came down, and could only see poor Artemis, wandering around the place meeping piteously.

Cleo wanted to go outside, unconcerned.

So, I looked for the others. And looked and looked. With a torch. Moved the washing machine. Emptied bags. Took the suitcases out from the under the spare room bed. Absolutely everywhere I could think of. For an hour and a half.

Cleo came in. Artemis cried. Cleo fed her and did not call the others.

She’s given up on them! She’s saving her only kitten!

I went outside and called and called. I could not imagine how they would have pressed themselves through the bricks to get there. But anything, at this point, seemed possible.

I phoned R. We decided it did not yet qualify as an emergency. He advised me to have a drink.

I went outside again, Cleo following. Oh lord, she thinks they’re out here too!

I went back in. And lo there was Archie, stretching his way around the sitting room. Toad, I thought.

The chocolate twins Athena and Eudora were no where to be found. But I figured if he was safe, they were too, probably still sleeping wherever. I went out to get E some trousers!

I had to be out until about 6.30pm, R under clear instructions to get home as soon as he could. At 5.30 I got a text: four fluffy kittens present and correct in the sitting room.

Argh!

***

So last night I heard a meeping in the sitting room. We were all there, sitting around. Looked under the sofa, where it seemed to be coming from.

Just in time to see a white kitten emerge from INSIDE the underneath of the sofa, just DROP DOWN and shake herself off.

Crumbs!

No wonder I couldn’t find them!

I could have wrung their necks. Except that they are so cute.

And a few minutes ago, I peeped under the sofa again. A grey tail hanging down.

Honestly.

***

Here is the vid as promised, now quite old. I’ve taken another one today of them playing with a wastebasket, which I’ll put up.

Time is not really on my side at the moment. But E just texted to say he’s 5.4mmols and all well. How grateful I am for modern communication… And for having a lovely young man for a son.

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Is it very bad if I take this one chance in two weeks to post – seeing as I’m sequestered in a Starbuck’s waiting for straggling students. Straggling and bedraggled as it turns out, in the light rain.

We are in town ‘doing’ some psychogeography – a walk following an algorithm. But it’s wet, alas.

So. News in brief:

1) E again running high in the mornings. Growth. Herewith ends our 2 week stretch of unbroken nights. We must get up and test to try to ascertain at what point he is rising…

2) but not react too aggressively because from Sunday he is away in Wales for a week, no running water, no electricity. Snowdon to climb. Heart attacks to give his parents. He will set running a little high (but not too or he will feel rough and be low energy) the whole time. Hence we go easy on the night levels. For now.

3) this trip should be fine. Should be great. Everyone is prepared. My motherly concern is that he not feel too alone in having to deal and make so many hour by hour by minute judgements in the no doubt changing and out of routine environment. We shall see. Gulp.

4) term has started for me. Hence the headless chicken thing. I think I will come up for air around early November. Alas again.

5) it’s raining. I said that, didn’t I?

6) the KITTENS are spectacular. Like popcorn. Heads held quizzically. Napping in the most awkward positions (sliding down sofa arm, in someone’s crossed ankles). Photos. Will add vid when I get home.


They are now of course escape artists so are underfoot all over the house. And unbelievably lovely. What an experience. And mama Cleo has just been so happy, calling them, checking on them, grooming them. Even though they are weaning. So salutary really….

7) we went to Cornwall for a flying visit – very gorgeous. St Ives Tate, surf beach, and the Eden Project. (sorry, will imbed links at home!) Glorious weather and a special gift of a time, just before we go blinkered for three months…


— Posting on the move, tiny screen!

As is the way with life, business as usual has now taken hold: school and stationery preparations have occupied some considerable time, as has the trying on of shoes and uniform etc… The good news is that for daughter M’s final year at her school we won’t have to buy any more uniform! Yay. Everything more or less fits. Never mind that everything was a little baggy to begin with, and that her skirt — bought three inches above her ankle — now rides slightly above her knee. Never mind that the SAME P.E. kit has lasted E and M both in this school — that’s eight years, altogether. Good quality stuff, eh? Though by now quite, ahem, faded. And it was second hand when I got it! The truth is out.

The bad news is that E does not fit in one single item of his school clothes. In six weeks he has outgrown his shirts, his jumper, his blazer, his trousers and his shoes. Granted, he was looking a little ‘wristy’ as we say, in his shirts and blazer by the end of the school year in July, but now they are unwearable. Sigh. AND he only has two more years in his blazer before going into the top of the school where they all wear ‘home clothes’. Sigh again. And blazers are eye-wateringly expensive. Second hand shop, here we come!

Life with the kittens has settled into a very sweet pattern: Cleo scratches to get out between 6-7 am, eats and drinks, goes outside. Kittens snooze. Cleo returns in an hour expecting some fanfare, which she receives, then goes back upstairs, checks them, eats a bit more in the room, stretches out asking us to tell her how very clever she is and how much she is loved, then climbs in with them. We check on her over the day but although she sometimes climbs out and stretches (and oh yes, eats two more meals), she doesn’t want to leave the room. At about 5.30pm, she fancies a stroll and goes out, eats again, visits with everyone and goes back into her room. Last night for the first time she wanted out at 11pm, so muggins here had to stay awake long enough to let her into the room when she was ready. She also wanted ANOTHER meal, and was interested in traversing the top of the piano, which she miscalculated somewhat and tumbled down, waking the house with her dischord. Oops.

Schubert her brother has stopped being quite so cross with her, which is a relief. He now greets her at least. He has yet to meet the kittens; we’ll wait for 3-4 weeks for that. Meanwhile two out of four babies have opened their eyes completely and one in particular is very pleased with her ability to hold up her wobbly head and look out. The eyes of the other two, the darker ones, are half open. All can do a very endearing hiss when they smell or see something they don’t recognise. Completely soundless and expressionless, they pull back their mouths repeatedly. Then snuggle down with the others, job done. It’s pretty hilarious.

Eight days old!

We think we have two seal point Birmans, one of them the boy, and two chocolate point Birmans, though one of these looks a bit lighter in the ears… could be developmental, or we could have a blue point? Not expected, but hey. (Classic examples of Birman types here. Cleo is a lilac point and the kittens’ father is a seal point…)

***

Re E’s numbers, well. Generally pretty good, but some inexplicable highs. Since I last posted we’ve had two unbroken nights’ sleep: one was fine; another he woke up on 2.7mmols. Right. Then the last two nights at 3am he’s been high again, 13mmols. So we can’t yet find a way to get full nights’ sleep with any consistency. We do look for opportunities, but there have been reasons to get up every single night: he’s running high, he’s running low, he’s at the end of a pasta or rice dual wave, it’s the first night of a changed basal dose, we’ve had three different numbers the last three nights so we can’t risk it! Etc.

People weren’t kidding when they said adolescence plays havoc with blood sugar levels. There are many, many times when it’s just random, random, random.

And today he’s eaten like a horse. He’s always hungry again. For us, this usually corresponds to growth and fighting to control high numbers. Sigh for the third time. (Really, we are okay. It’s just when I look at it baldly I admit we’re tail chasing again…)

It’ll be fine. Some day. Just please lord let his new clothes fit him for a little while.

Setting sail

In November 2008 my 12 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The effect of this event on me -- and on our nuclear family -- was like being thrown overboard and watching the ship leave.

'Dealing with type 1' in the family has morphed into another sort of 'dealing' -- a wholesale resituating of parenting, of family dynamics...of life.

At my son's diagnosis I could not to locate a record of what living with a type 1 child in the family is like. I could not see myself or our family anywhere. I longed for a starting point, a resource and a sense of the future. Being a writer, my instinct is to write it. This space, I hope, is a start.

Blood Sugar Ranges (UK)

<4 mmols = low or hypo, life-threatening if untreated
4-8 mmols = within target range
8-13 mmols = high but not usually dangerous
14+ mmols = very high, or hyper, life-threatening if untreated

Bubbles

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Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional. Any view expressed here is my opinion, gleaned from experience, anecdote or available research.