Monday, November 21, 2016

Lego League Jr.

Our Model
    I helped start William's FIRST Lego League Jr Team at his school. We started in September this year and it was quite the journey. Lego League Jr. is the beginning level for robotics for FIRST. This program is designed to be for student in kindergarten through third grade. They have a new theme every year and this year was "Creature Craze". In this challenge the students had to learn about bees and then select a creature that live int he same habitat as a bee. Our team selected the skunk. I am not sure what drove that idea but we moved ahead just the same. The challenge also required us to make at least one part of our model move.

    We were given a Lego kit that included a bee and the hive it lives in. We had to include them in our model. Everything else came from the imaginations of the students. It was hard to find all of the Lego's in the right color for the model. It was especially hard to find black and white for the skunk. We did manage to find enough to make a skunk. It was designed to be coming coming out of the ground. He did not want to get stung by the bee s he is waiting for the bee to go away. The model also had trees and flowers and water. We did a lot of research about skunks and learned many new facts. We got to share these ideas with the school where William attends. We had an after school expo and the next day had three more expos for different grade levels. It was really exciting for me as well as the students to see the level of engagement from the students at every level. 


The Display
Our Team
    We chose to be part of the local expo. Teams from all around our area came together to show off what they had done. It gave our students the chance to see other models and to talk to other students that were accomplishing the same task. We had to me a show me poster and display our model. Once the area was set up judges came around to talk to the students about what they had learned and what they had built. I was very proud of all of our students for how well they participated in this event. It was the first time that William has been part of a team for robotics. He was very excited. I was glad to see how well each student took to each area of the challenge. I was also very excited to see everyone of them program our model and enjoy it. I would say that this year was a huge success.

I look forward to William moving up to Lego League next year. 

I am proud of you,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Big Moment in William's Life

    There hasn't been much to talk about lately. Things have been churning on and things are going as expected. William's numbers are good and we are having no problems with the Celiac diet. I haven't been getting up too many times over night to have to correct something for William's blood sugar. I guess that makes life good. On the personal side of things we started making improvements on the house and they are going well. It is a slow process with a constant drain of money. It is nice to see how things look when they are complete.

    We did have a major milestone on Monday. William finally let me move his site that delivers insulin from his pump to his body to a new place on his body. William has always had his site placed on his butt since was three years old. He is a skinny kid so there is not a lot of fat places on his body to place the site. He has gotten used to it being placed on his butt. The endocrinologist has suggested the last few visits that we need to find a new area on William's body to place his sites to give his butt a rest. When you use a place too often it gets hard like a callus and eventually stops working effectively. It is sad to think that we poke him with a needle so often that his skin is getting hard. Monday I finally talked William into moving his site to his tummy. William was not happy about me putting his site on his tummy. He told me he was scared. I think most people would be if they were poked by a needle as much as him. I got everything ready and when as fast as I could so that he didn't have to think about it too long before it was done. I really didn't want him psyching himself out and freaking out. Change is not really for him when it comes to diabetic care. Everything went smoothly. He has been wearing the site on his tummy for the last few days. He is scheduled to change his site tomorrow so we will do it again then.

    I did notice when moving to this new area that I see more response from the insulin. His blood sugar numbers seem lower and I have had to get up the last few night to correct lows. I am not sure if this is because of the movement to a new area or a shift in numbers, with this disease you never know because it is always changing. I will keep a close eye on it for the rest of the week and make some adjustments before he heads back to his moms house.

    I am glad that we have moved to a new area for his site. Moving to his tummy also will allow for William to start putting on sites himself. I am glad to see him own diabetes but I do feel sad that he is growing up. It makes me feel old. I want to see him grow into a wonderful man. He has a heart of gold and I hope that he learns to let it shine more often. Life has already thrown him so many curve balls. I guess it will make him stronger when he gets older. I hope that he learns that just because something isn't fair that you can still flourish.

Here is to my brave little man,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lego League Jr

    Yesterday we started our journey in FIRST robotics. I say we because William is finally on the team. We are on a Lego League Jr team that is hosted at William's school. William is very excited about being part of this and I can't wait to see these students learning. There are three areas that this program focuses on. Research, speaking and building and idea. Each week the students will have to go home and do research. They will have to bring their research back the next week and talk about what they found. Then we will build and idea and make it come to life with robotics. 

    We had our first meeting yesterday. We unpacked the Lego kits and sorted all of the pieces. That was a lot of fun actually. We were able to see all of the potential for what our imagination can accomplish just sitting there in front of us waiting to be explored. What will our first project be? Will a future engineer or scientist come from our group? I would like to hope they do. There is an amazing journey that we are about to embark on and I am glad that I get to be a part of that.

Here is to exploring with you,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, September 9, 2016

Working on the House

    We started working on making a few changes around the house. The house is 21 years old and has seen the wear and tear of all of the people living in the house. It is time for changes around this place. We started with cleaning out the flower beds and getting rid of the old bushes. There was one really big bush that had died or was murdered, you be the judge. There where rabbits living in it when we got out dog Lucky a few years ago. Lucky did not take to kindly to having rabbits living in his yard. With this in mind, he started peeing on the bush to get rid of the rabbits. It was even better for him in the winter when the snow would fall and would pile up next to the bush. This allowed Lucky get on top of the bush and pee directly down on the rabbits. If he couldn't get into the bush to get them out he would pee them out. He was successful. He killed the bush in the process but the rabbits don't live there any more. I guess Lucky won. : ) So this week I had a landscaper come in and remove the old bush and add new flowers in the flower beds. There should be a lot of color later this year or spring of next year.

Before and After
    Jen and I have also started refinishing the cabinets in the house to give them a face lift. I have never really refinished furniture before. This particular method is simple and we are getting pretty good at it. The cabinets were the original cabinets that the builder installed. They were looking every bit of the 21 years old. We decided to give them a new java finish. It is dramatic change. Jen found the article on Instagram or some other social media outlet. It told us how to do this and it was very easy to do. We spend more time waiting than anything else. It takes about a week to finish one cabinet. Most of that time is waiting for the coats of stain and poly to dry. Total work time involved is about 3 hours per cabinet with a total cost of about $50 for each room, which includes the new knobs and toilet paper holder. I need to replace the light in this bath room and get rid of the 1990's brass fixture. A paint touch up new molding and new floor will make it nice. 
Laundry Room

    The refinishing project was so easy to do we decided to continue on into the laundry room. Where the change was just as dramatic. We spent the same amount of time and money on this cabinet. Things went a little smoother on this set and Jen and I were starting to get a rhythm. After we put this back together we have now moved on to the cabinet in William's bathroom. We are trying to perfect our method before we try and tackle the kitchen. That is a much larger project and will take more time. 

    Over the next few months, I am hoping to have the floors on the first floor of the house redone. I also want to get the base boards replaced. Having three boys that were young growing up in this house made me realize why there are baseboards on walls. This house was well "Loved". There is chipped paint and the walls could stand to be freshened up. Over the next few months I hope to remove the dirt and replace the warn and well used parts of the house. All of these changes should make this house feel young again. I will try and post some pictures as we go to show the improvements. William's bathroom should be done this weekend. I will try and get some new pictures out next week. If the flowers start to bloom before the end of the year I will try and get a picture of that as well. It just makes me want to rip every thing out and make it new again. In a few more months we will have this house looking great. 

 Making the old house feel new again,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We Started Third Grade

    We started third grade this week along with many others across the nation. There was not much that is new at this point. We get up and go to school for the first day. This year William was very excited to go to school. We were getting ready to go like we always do. I get him up. He gets dressed. We go downstairs for breakfast. He brushes his teeth and we get our shoes on and go.  This is the same routine we have been doing for the last four years. It works for us. This year William got up and went down stairs before I had finished getting a shower. He was waiting for me so we could hurry up and get done so we could go. He was ready a full 20 minutes ahead of time. He wanted to go right at that moment. I am glad to see him so excited about getting back to school.

    So how did diabetes do with the first day of school? I put a new continuous glucose monitor (CGM) on William earlier in the day before he went to bed. We calibrated as usual and things seemed to be going well. I checked him at 8:00pm for his normal snack. Then we went to bed and read. Around 10:00pm the Dexcom alarmed that he was a little low. I went up and gave him something to get his levels back to normal. At 11:00pm when I went to bed, I checked William and he was still low. I gave him more to correct his low. I stayed up for a while so I could keep an eye on his numbers. The Dexcom told me that his numbers were still dropping. after about 45 minutes I went back in a gave him even more to correct his nunbers. The numbers continued to fall. I must have fallen asleep for a few minutes because the Dexcom went off again at around 1:00am. It said he was very low now. I could not understand how this could be. I had given more correction than I ever had and it had no effect. This time I pulled out his meter and checked him. The meter said he was at 130 and steady. That made more since. I calibrated the meter again and went back to bed. At 3:30am William woke me up to tell me that he felt low. I looked at the Dexcom and it said he was at 108. That is a great number. Since I had seen the meter and the Dexcom so far off earlier I had him check his finger with his meter. He was at 58. WTH this thing is all over the place tonight. I gave him something to correct his number and back to bed again. 

    When we got up in the morning the Dexcom was reading around 170. When we checked with the meter he was actually around 120. This Dexcom was still off. I have never had a sensor that seemed so far off for so long. It was very disappointing. I wanted William to have a sensor on for the first day of school. I let it go and hoped for the best. When he got home from the first day of school the numbers were finally matching the meter. It has been good ever since. We had a really rough start to this first day of school for the Dexcom.

   Things where much better this morning. Everything went as planned and we enjoyed a relatively normal morning today, the second day of school. He was a little low last night. I had to get up to correct his low one time. Much better than the night before.  William is working to have a great week at school. Lego League Jr. starts next week for all of us. We are both excited. There will be a lot of that to come.

We make it through the long nights with no sleep,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summer Moves On

    We are two weeks away from starting third grade. Things have been quite around our house for the summer and as far as I am concerned quite is good. We have been working on the house and the landscaping, Lucky has continued to bark at the neighbors and we are having fun. William's numbers have been good over the summer and diabetes has kept it's ugly head down for the most part. I had the privilege of getting to spend time with my oldest son. We took a great trip to Key west to go SCUBA diving. What a great time to see him blossoming as a man. I know William would love to do something like that but I wonder if he will ever get the chance.

    William asked me last week to take him for a ride on the motorcycle again. I promised to do that this week when he gets back. There are a few things that I would love to try to get done with William before the summer is gone. We have been reading a new series this summer called DATA set. It is about three young children that use science to figure things out. We just started the second book and William is already asking how many books there are and can we get them. I guess he likes them. I am glad when he is looking forward to reading with me at night. He has become a very good reader and does not require much help figuring out the words any more. He does try to guess at the words at times and I really have to force him to go back and try figure out the correct word.

    William tells me that he just moved again with his mother. He cried about not being able to see his friends any more. I guess they moved into an apartment building. I tried to explain that there will be more kids there so he should make a lot of new friends. He does like having a pool to swim in and even asked if we could move to an apartment so we could have a pool at our house. Nothing seems to be constant at his mothers house except change. After leaving me for the other guy just a year later they are getting divorced. I guess she didn't get what she was looking for after all. It is just too bad that William has to keep paying for her bad choices. I wish I could protect him from that.

    Summer was hot and we had a good time. I am looking forward to the first football game coming up soon. I am not looking forward to snow and cold weather but seasons move on and so does time. I am glad to see William smile and have fun. We are starting FLL jr at his school and we are both excited. I am sure there will be more about that as time goes on.

I love you buddy,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Forth of July

Basketball Bouncy Structure
Race to the top and then down again
    The forth of July was fun this year. First it was the day before Jen and my second anniversary. Funny they always seem to shoot off fireworks for our anniversary. It is so nice that everyone in the united states would be so happy for us. : ) I also had William for the forth this year for the first time in two years. We had a lot of fun. On Sunday we had our own fireworks display. We went to one of the local fireworks vendors and purchased a whole bunch of cool fireworks. We even bought some mortars this year. We had a lot of very loud bottle rockets and fun little spin and pop fireworks that were close to the ground. We progressed to some of the prepackaged firework displays that spray fire and sparks in the air but not that high. They are pretty and do a lot of fun stuff but they do not go very high in the air. We also purchased some bottle rockets that go up and explode into a smiley face. They were fun. We had five of them. Then we moved on to the mortars as the night moved on. They were beautiful. The mortars that we bought had three shells inside one mortar. That meant when the mortar went up there were three different explosions. They were also pretty. William was right there lighting the fireworks and running away with me. We had a really good time and a memory together.

William Coming Down
A Baseball Bouncy Building
    The next night July 4th (the second anniversary of our first date) we went to the local fireworks. They had a fun play area set up for the kids to play in. Many different bouncy structures for William to play in. The different structures were a blast. William quickly jumped in and started sliding down the structures. They had a basket ball structure. We learned here that William got my basketball skills, or better yet lack of basketball skills. I don't think we have to worry about him playing in the NBA unless something changes. The also had a baseball bouncy. William did pretty good at this one. The ball on the tee actually floats on the air coming out of the tee. It was kind of cool to watch. William stepped up and had many really good swings at the balls. There were the structures where the kids just climbed in and slid to the bottom. William really likes this kind too. There were two or three of these types for children to play in and William really had fun. I always worry about his blood sugar when he get into something like this. It usually doesn't take too long for us to see the rapid drop for his blood sugars. I was prepared and  had candy on hand. It wasn't bad and William never had to stop playing.

Down to the Bottom
    As I looked around the park there were food vendors all around. It was hard to see that William could not have most of it because of his celiac disease. It is hard to think that William will never get to eat an elephant ear (fired dough for those that are not familiar with American fair food). It kind of looks like and elephant ear when it is done cooking. Then you put some topping on it like cinnamon, apples, blueberries or what ever sugary sweetness they have available. I have not had many of these in my life, but I have had a few and I know the awesomeness of just how good these are. William will never get to know that. I guess that is probably a good thing and a sad thing all at the same time. Life is tough at times especially when diabetes and celiac disease are added to the picture. It makes it hard to be normal. I feel bad that we can not just walk up to a vendor and order what he wants. That we have to search all over and hope that what we eventually buy does not have gluten in it. That is tougher than diabetes at times. 

    We went back to our seats and listened to the music. They had bands playing and eventually the Army band came in and started to play. It is good to hear patriotic songs. I think it is good for the younger generation the see and hear this. We were waiting to see the fireworks. It seemed to take forever this year. I do not think they started the fireworks until 10:30 or later. William was getting bored and was happy to see the fireworks finally go. They were beautiful. The local city does a great job with our local fireworks. It was another very memorable day with the ones that I love.

I am happy that we get these moments together,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pictures on the Wall

When you left I thought my life would be so small,
I would be only the pictures on the wall.

I thought I would come home and see the kids play,
I would remember and not miss them so much each day.

I thought I would see the family that used to be,
I would remember the good times together for you and me.

I thought I would remember days on the lake,
I would remember the kids, grandpa and the fun he would make.

I thought I would remember a first birthday with cake, 
I would remember how much time he would take.

I thought I would remember a trip to the hospital to see,
I would remember how different his life would be.

I thought I would remember trips to the park,
I would remember as the kids made their mark.

I thought I would feel my life in 2D,
I would remember and feel sad for me.

Time has gone by and I have learned,
that life isn't so small even after being spurned.

There are new pictures to add to that moment in life,
new pictures that have come after the strife.

A new love that warms my heart,
and a new life that is just waiting to start.

I am smarter this day as I realize that even in strife,
my pictures will keep going for the rest of my life.

The pictures are just a moment in time,
and these are the memories that are all mine.

So I guess as I look up and feel small,
I am a result of the pictures on the wall.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our Government at it's Worst

    Today I was horrified when I saw a news report of a mother of a type 1 diabetic asking for help from her state government when the systems that they put in place where not working properly. The response that she got from here state representative was beyond rude and demeaning.  Here is the link to the article. 

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/06/30/state-lawmaker-tells-mississippi-mom-to-buy-her-own-diabetic-supplies-for-daughter.html?intcmp=hpbt4

I wrote an email to this horribly rude person and I would hope that you would too. It is his job to be our representative and fix things when they are broken. It is not his job to collect a paycheck and be an asshole to the people that elected him. If you would like to let him know what you think here is his email address:

Jguice@house.ms.gov

Here was my email to this jerk. I can only hope that he gets recalled before he can spread more ignorance to others.

Dear Mr Guice,

The sad and dismissive response that you gave this mother that was just trying to take care of her daughter with a chronic disease was horrifying. I am a single parent of a child with type 1 diabetes as well. Let me tell you without insurance to help cover the cost for these supplies I would be broke or my son would be dead because I couldn't afford them. I make good money and have worked as an engineer for over 20 years. I still spend a lot of money every month to keep my child healthy and alive.

It is sad that you spoke with such ignorance and with horrible rudeness. This lady was asking you to do your job and figure out why the system that the government made her use was not working properly.  She was not asking for a hand out. I re posted this on Facebook and I will be adding it to my blog. All I can hope is that you are recalled from office for your lack of concern for the people that you were elected to care for. It must be nice to have all of the tax payers money to pay for what you need without the need to actually work for that money.

Tim Easterling
Concerned Parent of a Type 1 Diabetic Child

I hope that you never have to deal with something like this buddy but if you do I will be right there making sure that you don't deal with this alone.

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Started

Watching the Whitecaps
     Summer has kicked into to full swing. William successfully made it to third grade. We started our summer off with a trip to see the Whitecaps play baseball. William, Jen and I had fun watching the game. The sun was out and strong. Even though we used sunblock there was still a few burned spots.  The game went into extra innings and in the 11th inning our Whitecaps lost. It was still a fun day. William had some popcorn and later ice cream with hot fudge. I try to make our trips to the park fun and memorable. Diabetes was quiet for this trip and I really didn't have to think about it except when I gave William his treats. That is a nice day at the park. We did still have to worry about celiac disease. There are not a lot of options at the park for someone with celiac disease which is why we had popcorn and soft serve ice cream instead of hotdogs and hard ice cream. The crowd was pretty boring this day until the seventh inning stretch. I was surprised at how many people were singing when "Take me out to the Ballpark" started. 

What a great day
    We had a visit with my life long friend later on in the week. I have known this guy for most of my life now. He has been there for the good times and the terrible times in my life, and his. My oldest son loves him to death and now my youngest gets to meet him too. My friend travels a lot and moved away from our home state a while ago. We do not get to see him as much as we would like but he is still important in our lives. William really liked hanging out with him. We went to Red Robin for a gluten free chicken sandwich for William and burgers for us. Then we stopped for ice cream at a local hangout. When we finished with our ice cream he pulled out his phone and we took turns playing a game to see who could do the best. I think we all had a lot of fun. I just hope we get to see him again really soon. 

    William started a new daycare for the summer. It started off a little bumpy. I had scheduled a daycare for William and filled out all of the paperwork and even gave them the start date. Then the day he was supposed to start they told me they were not expecting him and he could not stay. I had to scramble to find a new daycare and fast. That can be challenging with William's type 1 diabetes. I did find a new daycare but William could not start for three days so I got an extra three days of vacation with my son. The new daycare seems to be going well so far. It turns out this was a little bit of a blessing in disguise. William's new teacher has type 1 diabetes so it takes a lot of the worry off of me for his care during the day.  I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best for the summer. Tomorrow is water day and I think William will really love that. 

The weather in Dallas
I do not travel for work very often. I have been working at the same place for almost 17 years now. That is hard to imagine all on it's own but I have only traveled maybe 4 times the whole time I have worked here. I was gone for almost a week while William was at his mothers house. It was a grueling trip and I put in a lot of hours. I had a connecting flight that went through Dallas with only a 15 minute layover and I barely made my connection. Who scheduled this and thought 15 minute layover no problem? It wasn't me. When I looked at my phone for the weather I was glad I was not staying. The trip went well and everything was going as planned. I printed off my return tickets for my return home on Thursday night when around 3:00pm I got a call from my boss that I needed to go to Detroit for Friday for a different issue. I had to scramble to get everything done and we got the tickets, hotel and rental car set up. When I got to the second job I was only there for ten minutes. It was a little sad and funny at the same time. Turns out there was nothing wrong with the machine. I did a little training and left. I do not mind getting out of the office once in a while but the unexpected Friday trip was a little bit of a nerve-wracking experience. I was glad to be home on Friday and I picked up William later that night.

I'm looking forward to more summer fun,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Last day of Second Grade

    We woke up this morning the same way that we usually do. I got a shower and went to wake up William. He was already down stairs this morning. He has been doing that a lot lately. I think he likes to beat me down stairs in the morning so that he gets time to watch some cartoons before I get downstairs. He knows when I get down stairs I am going to change the channel because he get so into the TV that he doesn't east breakfast. This morning was a little different though. William was up and he was down stairs watching cartoons but as soon as I got down stairs he asked if we could got to school as soon as he got done eating this morning. He never asked to leave early but today is special. Today is 2nd grad graduation. They have a half day and then he is done with 2nd grade. I could tell that he was really excited about the last day of school. He was kinda bouncing off of the walls this morning. I suspect that the teachers are expecting that today. I am sure they are feeling the same way themselves.

    This year started off a little rough. We had a few run-ins with the school. William was really pushing to get kicked out again this year. Around Christmas things started to get better. There where a few things that drove this better behavior. The second half of the year went much better and we only had one minor incident with William for the rest of the year. He managed not to get kicked out of school and made friends. So now we move on to third grade. I hope that we can keep up the momentum. I like seeing William being successful. This year was a really good move in that direction. 

Congratulations my third grader,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, June 3, 2016

Our FIrst Ride of the Year

Going for our first ride of the year.
    William has been bugging me to take him for a ride on the motorcycle for the last month. It has been a little cold and I was also waiting for him to earn it by doing well in school. He has been doing much better at school but we have been pushing him to do the best he can. Yesterday he finally earned a ride on the motorcycle. We ate dinner and then went for ice cream. William got a Ninja Turtle ice cream with really scary looking red eyes. By the time we were done William's tongue was black and so was most of his mouth. He did a better job not dripping the ice cream all over his clothes. 

Ninja Turtle Ice Cream
    It was just a few years ago where it was really hard for me to get William on the motorcycle. Now he loves it. It seems like just yesterday where I took him for his first ride. When we got out on the road he started yelling "whahoooo" and "faster daddy. make it into a race car". It was a short ride so we got back home again pretty quickly. When I pulled into the driveway I asked William if he wanted to get off. He told me no and said that he wanted to go again. Since that day it has never bee hard to get William to go for a ride. I have a special harness to hold him on the motorcycle. When he was little he would fall asleep while riding. The first time I took him for a longer ride he almost fell off. It really caught me off guard. William was sitting in front of me and I went to go around a corner. All of a sudden he fell right into my arm as I was holding on to the handle bars. William has type 1 diabetes so I wasn't sure what was going on. I wasn't sure if his blood sugar fell low or what was going on. It wasn't until I got him home and got him off of the motorcycle that I knew he had fallen asleep. That was when we got the harness to make sure he couldn't fall off while riding. William's grandmother once told us how she fell asleep while riding on the back of grandpa's bike so I guess it isn't unusual for someone to fall asleep.

    School is almost done for the year. Things went much better this year. William did not get kicked out of school one time. That is a big improvement. I am proud to see him doing better in school. I am also glad to see him making friends in school and being more successful. We found a daycare for summer. I am hoping that things go well there and William has fun. We are planning to take a few trips to Michigan's Adventures to spend time with William's older sister. I am sure there are all kinds of things that we can do for fun. I can't wait for summer vacation to start.

Another school year down,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How many times do you get up at night?

    This is something that most parents of type 1 diabetics know, You will get up at night to take care of your child. This is a fact you accept right from the beginning of diagnosis, like it or not. When I was with William's mother I got up with him every night for the years that we were together.  There wasn't much help and it was exhausting and draining on my soul. I remember her asking how I could fall asleep so fast when I went to bed. I was so tired all of the time it was hard for me to stay awake. Maybe the right question should have been how do you stay awake? I used to wait until 11:00pm to check William. Then I would get up at 2:00am to check him again. That was if things were going as planned through the night. If he was really low or really high then I was not getting much sleep that night. 

    William now has a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). It is helpful at night and during the day. It allows me the comfort of knowing that I will get an alarm if his blood sugar is going in the wrong direction. William is good about telling you when he feels low. He is not so good about telling when his blood sugar is high. His old pump had alarms but they were only on his pump and not very loud. This was especially true if William was sleeping on his pump. I had many nights where I would hear phantom alarms and go in to check him. This time around I purchased a separate monitor that I can keep next to my bed. It wakes me up and allows me to sleep more soundly. The CGM is still integrated into his pump and will alarm, but having the one next to my bed is awesome. 

    This week I have had most of the week with late nights and many wake ups. We have noticed over the years that as you get closer to the last day before a site change the insulin becomes less effective. If you go past 3 days then all bets are off. We have also observed that when you change a site that the new insulin is more potent and you may see more low values the first day. So this week was a little of both. When I changed William's site this week the insulin had gotten less effective so his numbers where higher than normal. They were not terrible but it was frustrating that no matter how much insulin I gave him he was still floating around 200. I changed his site right after breakfast before school and then he was low at school the rest of the day. Tuesday night was great. William hung around 112 all night long. Then yesterday he was low again all day. I gave him food for free and it still had not effect on his blood sugar numbers. I spent last night correcting low blood sugars and keeping him above 80. Some nights this is a real fight and last night was one of them. 

    I would rather loose sleep than loose my son. I gladly give my sleep time to keep him healthy. It does get tiresome at times, but he is my son and he is worth it. There are many nights where I go in and check him or adjust him overnight where I am sure he doesn't even know that I was there. As he has gotten a little older I have noticed that it is a little harder to get him to wake up at night if I need him to eat something for a correction. This makes me worry about when he gets older and if he will wake up on his own to take care of himself. I have to admit it does scare me thinking about that. I know that William is not the only diabetic on the planet but he is my son and I will always worry about him. We are really looking forward to the days when we do not have to worry about diabetes ever again. I wish for this in his lifetime. 

Interrupted sleep is better than no sleep,

Your Loving Dad  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Field Trip to Meijer Gardens

Learning about Levers.
    A few weeks ago we went on another field trip with William's school. We went to the Meijer Gardens. There where a lot of cool things to see. I had William and one of his other friends from school that also has Type 1 diabetes. We went to Meijer gardens because the class was was learning about simple machines. We were there with a few other classes from William's school. They had a session there where they discussed the simple machines that William's class had been learning about. They had demonstrations of actual simple machines they had set up. We went into a farm house to learn about levers and incline planes. Then we went to the barn to learn about pulleys ,screws and wedges. The student got to learn how hard it is to pick up a box of rocks without pulleys but when you add a pulley system how much easier it gets. It was good to see all of the students so interested in learning and trying out the different activities they had set up.

This was my Favorite
Beautiful Butterflies
    We also got to see some pretty amazing things. We got to see the butterflies are blooming event that they had going on. It was pretty cool to see all of the butterflies flying around. There where so many different butterflies. William and his friend took the book that they gave out as you went into the exhibit and tried to identify the butterflies. It was amazing to see them open the book as we were looking at a butterfly and try to find the picture that matched the butterfly. They would call out what they thought it was and quickly move on to the next one.

This was a very cool Replica.
    We also got to tour the rest of the campus. They had a Japanese Zen garden. They had a sculpture garden, and a kids discovery zone. We got to see so many different things this day. By the end of the day my feet were tired and so were the two young men with me. Diabetes was kind to all of us this day. I only had to treat a low for William and his friend one time and their number were good the rest of the day. We learned a lot and got to see some beautiful things as well. I love being part of seeing William learn and grow. It was a long but fun day.

I hope we have many other fun adventures,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What is up with Hamburger Buns

    I would say that we have a pretty good handle on type 1 diabetes. If you are part of this community you know I say that with caution and expectation that highs and lows will come out of nowhere and for no real reason at all. We have been successful at maintaining William's A1C below his endocrinologist goal for many years now. It is not easy and it takes a lot of effort and lost sleep to get there. I also believe that my experience as an engineer also helps. I see trends and trouble shoot machines all day long. I am able to understand what is expected most of the time and make adjustment for that. The continuous glucose monitor is also a very effective tool to see if what I believe is going on is actually what is happening. If I have a basal rate set I do not expect to see his number change much during that period. I test this on weekends where I can let William's meal times slip a little. It is a continuous evaluation of data with all of the factors taken into account. It is relentless and can get overwhelming at times. That is our life.

Having a Little fun at Robotics
    There are things in life that make people wonder every day. Since we are submerged in this type 1 diabetes life, we do not get much of a break so we think about it a lot. The things that make me wonder happen to be simple things. One thing I know is that if William eats pizza or a hamburger bun we will pay the price all night long with high numbers, most of the time (this is type 1 diabetes we are talking about here). I am amazed that I can give William anything on a bun and his numbers will be great for hours after eating. He even goes low at times but when he goes to sleep it is like someone is sitting on the side of his bed feeding him carbohydrates all night long. He had a hamburger last night for dinner. It was a very simple hamburger, ketchup, bun, cheddar cheese and a hamburger patty. I gave him the dose of insulin for his food. He was low for the rest of the day and for about an hour after going to bed. Then all of a sudden his numbers started to skyrocket. It had been about five hours since he ate the bun but here it was letting us know it was there. The rise in blood glucose was expected but I am still amazed every time. I do not let William eat buns or pizza often because it is bad for his health especially on a blood glucose level. I do not feel good about him sleeping all night with elevated blood glucose. It makes me feel like a failure to know that I could have done something about it. So last night, as I do with any night he has pizza or a bun, I was up most of the night adjusting his blood glucose to keep him from going through the roof.

    In this world where there are loose rules and you can go into the twilight zone at any moment, there are some things that stay the same. If you are willing to accept that these are vague rules and things change all of the time, you might not go insane. I lose sleep and watch William's numbers as closely as I can. I want to deliver him to the point where he is responsible for his own care in as good of health as I can, even if it takes away years of my life. It is a price I am gladly willing to pay to make his life as good as possible. I want him to feel as normal as any other person he passes and that includes eating pizza and hamburgers with buns or being a monkey at robotics.

It is like shooting at a moving target,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, April 25, 2016

Look Who Learned How to Swim

    We were on spring break this year. We were staying at a hotel with a pool. We usually try to get a hotel with a pool when we are away from home. After busy days of many adventures we would end up back at the hotel at the end of the night. We usually grabbed dinner and made sure William's blood sugar was a little high so we could go to the pool without worrying about he blood sugar dropping out while we were there. We went to the pool and were having fun when William decided he wanted to swim to the other end of the pool but he did not have his life jacket or swimmies. I told him that he was going to have to lean how to swim. I have been trying to get him to trust me and learn how to swim for a few years now. I guess today was finally the day to do it. I told him to try to do the doggy paddle. He lifted his feet off of the bottom of the pool and started moving his feet and hands. He was floating and moving through the water. I was so very proud. I worked with him to help him swim to the other end of the pool and back a few times. He got tired and panicked a few times but I always grabbed him and made him feel safe again.

    The second night when we got back to the hotel. We got changed into our swimsuits and went back down to the pool again. William saw that there where other kids in the pool so he jumped in and started swimming again. Today I wanted to make sure that he knew how to flip on his back and float we he got tired or panicked. We worked on it a few times with him. He kept telling me that he could not do it but finally trusted me and himself enough to try. After just a few seconds he was floating on his back. He got up and stood on the bottom of the pool and said "that is easy". He then decided to try and swim on his back. He did a great job and was able to swim from one end of the pool to the other multiple times without help. I was there keeping a very close eye on him but it was awesome to see him moving through the water on his own. It was a very proud dad moment indeed.

You keep making milestones and I am very proud of you every day,

You Loving Dad

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Break - The Science Center

Space Shuttle in the Space Section
William in the IMAX
    We had a great time for spring break this year. We went to Legoland and SeaLife Aquarium. We followed that up the next day with a trip to the Michigan Science Center. We got there as soon as the center opened in the morning. It had been a really long time since I had been there (like all the way back when I was William's age). We went in an got our tickets to the science center as well as the IMAX theater and the planetarium. We had our day pretty much planned out for us. We had about an hour before the IMAX movie, then about an hour in between and then the planetarium. We grabbed lunch in between the IMAX and the planetarium. Concession stands are really not very friendly to someone with a gluten allergy. 

    There where many different displays but most of the displays that were on the entry floor where about the automotive industry. I guess that makes since for a Michigan science center. They talked about robotics and steel manufacturing. They had displays that talked about street signs and traffic light controls. We walked around the upper section for a while then got in line for the IMAX movie. The IMAX was about the national parks in the United States. I thought it was interesting but William thought it was boring. There was so much to see. We got to see the solar car from the University of Michigan (Go Blue). There was a water powered rocket. You fill the rocket part way with water add air and push the launch button. It was cool. There was a table that had a spinning wheel in the middle. It had smaller plastic wheels. the idea was to roll the plastic wheels onto the spinning wheel and see if you could get your wheel to roll and balance. William loved this the most. We spent about 45 minutes in just this area.

Giant Etch-A-Sketch
Space Invaders
    After having lunch we went to the planetarium to watch the show about where we are in the universe. I was really cool to see. The presenter did a great job and the effect and lasers where cool. William really liked this part of the science center. We got out of the movie and went to a display that they had called Toytopia. We got up there and the first thing we saw was this giant Etch-A-Sketch. They also had vintage video games from when I grew up. I am not sure if I should feel old or if it should have felt warm and comfortable. It was a really good memory of growing up. It actually took quarters to play the games. They had Pole Position, Defender, Ms Pacman, Space Invaders, Dig Dug, and a few others. William got to play most of them. When he was done he told me that the games were really hard. Back in my day we only got to play as long as the quarter lasted and most of the time that wasn't long. We didn't get to play all day like they do today.  They also had an Atari 2600 console and a few of the handheld games from when I was a kid. It was a real throw back to the 70's and 80's.

The Rainforest Cafe Entry
Our Table
    Diabetes played nice this day. William's numbers were great all day long until right before we left to go back to the hotel. On the way back the Dexcom let me know that William was starting to go a little low. We we got back to the hotel room and I gave him a few pieces of candy to hold him over until dinner. We were having dinner with my sister and my niece at the Rainforest Cafe. It was a cool place with fish tanks and automated animals. William really loved the atmosphere and the fish tanks. There are trees all over the restaurant and even a thunderstorm every once in a while. The animals start making a lot of noise right before the storm starts. It was good to spend the evening with my sister, niece and William. After dinner we went back to the hotel and back to the pool. I am not sure I could have planned a better spring break for the two of us. The only thing that would have made it better was to have Jen along, but she had to work.

What an amazing week,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Break - The Aquarium

Ready to go in
William in a Bubble Inside of a Tank.
    After we had our adventure at Legoland we moved on to the aquarium. It was located at the same place as Legoland. It was a fun experience. It started off with everyone moving into a room and watching a video telling us about what we were about to see. It talked about the efforts being made by SeaLife aquarium to same animals all over the world. The inside of the room kinda looked like a submarine. It had portholes and gauges to show what depth we were going to. After the video was done we started the tour for the aquarium. It was a very busy day. There where lots of people. We had to go a little slow but it gave us time to see everything. It did feel a little rush at times but it was still a very beautiful place to see.

Stingray
Stingray Inside the Tunnel.
      We walked through and saw fish from all of the world. There where areas where the kids could get inside the tank in a bubble and watch the fish swim around them. There was another section where we walked through a tunnel and could see sharks, stingrays and may other fish. There was also a section of open tanks where you could touch many different sea creatures. William touched the starfish and a poky crab. It had spins all over it and I really don't remember what it was really called. The had a few small crabs and other miscellaneous creatures. We got to one section where they had some smaller tanks. In one of the tanks was a crab that was bigger than William's head. I posed nicely for a picture.

    At the beginning of the tour they gave William a book. It had nine different pages. Throughout the tour there where stops where he could stamp his book. At the end of the tour if you had all of your stamps you got a medal. It was given to show that you had learned about the animals. I think William was more excited about getting the stamps them actually seeing all of the fish. We had a great time. After we got done we had dinner and went back to the hotel for the night. It was a long day and the pool was waiting.

I am happy to be a part of your life,

Your Loving Dad

Friday, April 15, 2016

Spring Break Part 2

Legoland
Renaissance Center Detroit
    We had a great time for spring break this year. After Marvel Universe Live we went to Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium. I did not tell William that we were going to Legoland. He had seen the commercials on TV and just the day before saw the commercial and said "I want to go there". It made me smile inside knowing that. William knew we were heading to a hotel and that had a pool but he didn't know anything else about the trip. It was fun to keep him guessing. We got in the car that morning and headed out. It is a three hour trip to get to Legoland. I had purchased combo tickets about a week before so that I could ensure that we got into the two attractions (Legoland and Sealife). You have to schedule your times when going to these places. The Legoland picture was the first thing he saw when we got there. He was so excited that I barely got him to stand still long enough for the picture.

Ford Field Detroit
William Playing Inside Exhibit
    Legoland was full of adventure. They start the whole thing off like a theme park. You enter the attraction buy getting into a line and waiting for the doors to open. They play a short video to introduce you to what you are about to experience and finally the doors open. The first thing we did was get on a ride that looks like a pirate ship. It has guns for each passenger. Along the ride you shoot at bad legos, spiders and bats. It keeps the score and it is displayed at each seat. William and I were really close when the ride was all over. It was fun. We moved on to the 4D Lego movie. It was 3D but had fog, lightning, rain and a few other surprises for the audience. We walked through the different lego landmarks from the Detroit area. There was Ford Field, Comerica Park, the Renaissance Center, Ambassador Bridge, The Detroit Metro Airport and even the Boblo Island boat. That brought back some real memories. 

Build and Test Area
The Play Area
    They had a section that was called build and test. In this area you have all sorts of Lego pieces to build a car. William jumped right in and built a car and sent it racing down the track. After a few runs he finally won when one of the other cars on the track ran into him and his wheels popped off and went across the finish line first. That was a little funny and we had a really good laugh about that. After we got done with the build and test area William went on the play area. His blood sugar looked great. It didn't take long before diabetes let us know it was still there. I gave William a few pieces of candy before he was even close to going low but I guess he was playing hard. He had to come and sit for a few minutes until the candy finally kicked in. I hate when he has to stop having fun so diabetes can have a turn. After a little more time I pulled William out of the play area and we moved on to the aquarium. We had a great time.

I will talk about aquarium in my next post.

I am glad we have these memories together,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Marvel Universe Live and the Beginning of Spring Break

Marvel Universe Live
    Spring break started on Friday April 1st this year. No school on Friday or the entire next week. Ten days off to do what ever we wanted to do. We spent a lot of time together this week and we did a lot of fun things. Our first adventure was to the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids to see Marvel Universe Live. I had kept it a secret until the day we went. William knew we were going to do something fun but didn't know what it was. When we got to the arena he could see the signs and got very excited about seeing the show. 

The Introduction of Loki
    The show started with Thor destroying the tesseract. The mystical cube that has limitless power.  As the show went on we got to meet the rest of the Marvel Universe characters: Ironman, Captain America, Spiderman, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow etc... We got to see the good guys take on the bad guys. Loki, the Green Goblin and many more bad guys where there and causing mayhem. There were fights, stunts, explosions, motorcycles, heroes and bad guys flying through the air and even someone set on fire. It was an exciting time and William seemed to really enjoy the time we spent there. The good guys end up winning the day and every one goes home happy.

Loki Causing Problems
Ironman Saves the Day
    This was the beginning of our spring break. The really fun stuff was yet to come. I am glad that I have the time to spend with William. I am glad that we are getting to makes these memories together. My life would not be the same without my sons making my life great. Our life adventures have just begun together. I am looking forward to many more great adventures together.

I love you my son,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stuffy Nose and Continuous Glucose Monitoring

    When I got William back this week he had a stuffy nose and was later running a bit of a fever. I try not to give him medicine unless I have no other choice. He was fine all day but when he went to bed his nose started to stuff up and it was hard for him to breathe. I did not want to give him medicine because you never know how it is going to react with diabetes. I waited as long as I could but William was very uncomfortable and started crying because he could not breathe. Giving medicine is much harder now that they have taken directions off of medication for children under 12 years old. Now you have to guess at how much medicine to give your child if they are under 12 years old. That is another discussion for a different day. I gave him some medicine for a stuffy head. It was the only medicine that specifically stated it was for stuffy head. I gave it to William and he went back to bed. He went to sleep after just a short time and I kept monitoring him all night. 

    One new thing that I learned through this adventure is that you have to be careful about what you give your children not because of dosing but because it might interfere with the continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM). I noticed after about four hours of giving William medicine that his CGM started to pop up with ??? in the display. The ??? mean the the sensor can not measure the blood sugar properly according to the manufacturer. I only gave him one dose of the decongestant but it was enough to interfere with his CGM for about two days. This went on through the next day and the CGM seemed to display ??? more than it was working.  I have seen the ??? in the past. Sometimes it goes away but sometimes it does not. When it does not I usually have to change his sensor. So after a day and a half of ??? I changed his sensor. The new sensor worked correctly for about three hours before having the same problem. I called the CGM manufacturer and discussed with them what I was seeing. They did replace the sensors but come to find out some decongestants can interfere with CGM operation. One more fun thing to deal with in the fight against diabetes. It makes me wonder if the other times I saw the ??? was because of something that he ate. Luckily it started to work just in time for our trip for spring break. We did a lot of fun things. I will be updating those a little later in the week.

We are powering through,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter

Looking Through the Easter Basket
    I had William this year for Easter. I wanted him to have fun with Easter this year and with the help of my wonderful fiancee, it was a lot of fun. She had the idea to have William follow clues to find his Easter basket. The night before we hid the eggs where they were supposed to be and waited for the morning. Each egg had a clue to find the next one. The last egg gave the location for the basket. Jen got to my house early. We were going to have breakfast and then have the Easter egg hunt. I was going to trigger the hunt by telling William to feed Lucky our dog. This would have started the chain to find the basket. William found the first egg early. I am not sure what prompted him to look in the dog food container but he found the first egg right before breakfast. We made him wait until after breakfast. He was so excited he couldn't wait. Needless to say I didn't have to tell him where the first egg was at. I am glad that he found that one first.

William with one of the toys
    The first egg clue came out and William read the clue. He didn't have to be told what to do he immediately thought about it and went to where the next egg was hidden. We had nine eggs hidden all over the house. He found every egg and was able to find them without help. I guess next time we will have to make them a little more challenging. William blazed through the clues and when he got to the last one that told him where the Easter basket was, he got stumped. I was a little surprised by this. He went to the correct room and looked around. He never got the idea to look inside the closet in his play room. He looked in toy boxes and under bags but never thought to look inside the closet. We finally had to give him some hits to get him to look inside the closet. He was very excited to see his basket and all of the toys and candy inside. It was exciting and fun for all of us. I spent some time with William making a small little Lego "X" wing fighter from Star Wars collection before helping with making dinner for Easter and Jen's mothers house. Dinner was great and William had two helpings of Jello with whipped cream on top. Jen's mom is great about buying gluten free food for William so he is not left out. For Desert she even bought him cupcakes from a local bakery. I am lucky to be part of such a thoughtful and loving family.

Happy Easter my son, I hope you had a great time,

Your Loving Dad

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Field Trip

    It was time for William's second grade class to take a field trip. It is times like these that bring diabetes front and center. If a parent does not go then William and the other student with diabetes would not get go because none of the teachers have been trained to take care of them. William is in a state that does not require the school to have a school nurse or to train the teachers to take care of him. It really makes me wonder what would happen to my son if the school went into lock down and it lasted for a long time. I guess that is a blog that I have already written but it makes me wonder every time I have to take time off from work to go with the class on a field trip.

Isaac Cappon House
    The field trip was to the Cappon house and an early settler house in Holland. This house was build by the first Mayer of Holland, Isaac Cappon, after the great Holland fire in 1871. This fire burned most of Holland to the ground including Mr. Cappons house and his factory The Cappon and Bertsch Leather Company. This was the largest tannery operation in Michigan at the time. Mr. Cappon built this beautiful house to motive people to stay in Holland and rebuild. The inside of the house had all of the original furniture from when the house was constructed over one hundred years ago. Mr Cappon squeezed 16 children into this home. It is a big house but that would have still be tight. The granddaughter of  Mr. Cappon, Barbara Archer, lived there until the late 1970's. She donated the house to the city of Holland to keep as a museum. It was a real step back in time. The wood work and details were breath taking to see.

Here are some of the examples of what we saw:
Beautiful Wood Work
Wood Panels Going Up Stairs
Stair Case Banisters
Settler's House

    We also saw an early settlers house. This house was built in the 1840's. This was one of the few houses that survived the Holland fire. The family that lived here had five children. There are only two bedrooms. The upstairs bed room was very small and had no heat. I can not imagine having five children living in a house this small. It had no running water or electricity. The bed had ropes that the mattress was placed over. If you ever wondered where the saying "sleep tight" came from. This bed was the reason. The ropes were tightened often to keep the mattress supported. The kitchen was a single pot belly stove big enough for about two pots on top and was the second source of heating for the house. It makes me wonder what people will say in a hundred years from now about how we lived.

    William seemed to have a good time and asked a lot of really good questions. I was proud to see him jump in and be comfortable asking questions. Diabetes was quiet for this trip and we all had fun.

Here is to learning about the past,

Your Loving Dad 

A Story by William

William's letter about Lucky     William sat down yesterday an wrote a letter about Lucky our dog. He wanted me to publish it. So ...