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It’s been a long time — perhaps never — since our children have stared out the window and groaned at MORE snow.

But so it was yesterday as this latest batch began its descent. 

I can understand this. The winds are howling, the cold is biting. Go back to Russia! says daughter.

So. Four more inches on the ground. Schools closed. Again. OH has dug his way out to meetings, joining the long trail of people crawling to work through thick and thin….

I’m supposed to be in work finishing paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. In order to be ‘sprung’ at the weekend. Hurray! Marking done!

Uh, no. Oh well.


The babysitting went without a hitch. Though 20 minutes before we left E registered a lovely 2.4 mmols hypo. Ack. The exercise of the day was continuing to catch up with him. We under-carbed dinner (eg entered a lower number of carbs into the pump than there actually were; this produces of course less insulin as a dose, thereby keeping blood sugar levels slightly higher), and when we got back he was 5.6 mmols. Okay, but too low for the night. SO we went to Plan A for exercise, which was a snack (milk and a biscuit), and a 95% temp basal (eg slightly lower rate of insulin) for the night. He woke on a lovely 7.5 mmols yesterday, with a 5.4 mmol in the middle of the night.

So far so good.

He is back however to having recurring hypos at 11am at school. The rate of insulin for this particular time of day has gone up and down like a yo-yo the last few weeks. But clearly it must come down. Again.

And now… he’s got another cold. He’s feeling pretty miserable, watching The Bourne Supremacy on the laptop in bed. He’s eaten though, which is a relief — there is always the possibility of developing ‘starvation ketones’ if the process of glucose in/insulin to cover it is not mechanically maintained, even for a day.

It’s ridiculous to think about: you either develop ketones from too much glucose/not enough insulin OR not enough glucose/not enough insulin. Sounds suspiciously like a rock and a hard place, doesn’t it?


Spent two days last week developing (in my head, you understand!) this blog in all kinds of directions: definitions, glossaries, lists of useful websites, yes yes YES!

And then by Saturday I was completely overwhelmed. Like this:


I’m going to take this step by step. I’m going to let this build organically. I’m just going to write like a writer like me. In my situation. In my family. The fact that I keep being driven to this is me telling myself something. Not to get too psychoanalytical about it.

Or actually, heck, to go ahead and get psychoanalytical about it. The way I make sense of the world is by writing. Full stop. So that’s what I’ll do, and we’ll see what happens.


It did snow, after all, last week, just a little late. Like so many things. You reach a state of giving up, and then here it comes. Over two days, 14 inches of soft silent snow landed. Everything was cancelled. We couldn’t get out of the driveway. We set up bird feeding stations. The cats stared longingly out of the windows…

As is de rigour with snow play it seems, E hypo-ed regularly, despite putting his pump on hours of low temp basals (eg reducing his insulin to try to avoid low blood sugar). Despite the shakes hypos give him, and the sense of being muddled and weak. Despite him having to just stop and sort himself: come in and test, drink some juice to bring his levels back up — he just seems to cope. Many hypos in a day are exhausting generally, and when this happens he sometimes has to sleep or rest — how flipping inconvenient! 

I don’t know how he does it, or how he keeps from just going mad with frustration. But interestingly, he does. A year in, and already — despite everything, everything which is so overwhelming and hard — it’s part of him.

Things shift so slowly and at such a depth that we hardly recognise that anything has happened. But one morning the whole landscape is changed.

1) We chased E’s blood sugar levels all last night (so little sleep), just to get them into vaguely acceptable range (why so high now? growing we think…) by morning

2) He could not get his insulin pump reconnected after his shower, so a mad dash for a set change (see video! a different make of pump but exactly the same process) in order to get the insulin going again, quick calculation of how much loss of insulin to make up for, a request that he give himself more ALL DAY to try to beat these high numbers… all as he’s trying to rush out the door, text his friends, catch the bus

3) My daughter M and I have waited in some anticipation for the longed-for covering of thick snow which is predicted — and it has not come

On the day when these small things cause a little bit of a low pressure system in our house, my dear photographer friend Nancy Wilson Fulton sends OH and I a huge great wonderful book of all the correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Oh yes. What a gift.

So I thought it only right and proper that I put Stevie Smith’s poem, from whence this blog twists its name, up on The Poem page. Enjoy!


An insulin pump infusion set change:

(p.s. AGAIN. Pages about diabetes basics and a glossary of terms are under construction. I realise some will know all about it, some will not. There’s a heck of a lot of jargon and messin’ with diabetes…I’m sorry if it’s still confusing. It won’t be for long!)

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


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