Off the Dial

Along for the Ride

We see Benny’s doctor this week for our regular diabetes check up.  We go every three months.  They check his A1c levels and adjust his insulin doses.

Benny’s been running high for the past week.  He’s fighting a cold and anytime he gets sick, his blood sugar levels go crazy.  Of course, he’s also grown quite a bit since the last time we adjusted his insulin.  My guess is he’s an inch taller and three pounds heavier since October.  The kid is an eating machine!

So we’ve been pretty frustrated with Benny’s numbers recently, but I got a great jolt back into perspective this week from a guest on my weekend health show.  Pat Queen is 60 years old and was diagnosed with Type I when she was 12 years old.  She came on the show, along with her doctor Adam Spitz, to talk about Ride for the Cure.

The Ride is a series of bike rides to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Dr. Spitz is the Medical Director of Diabetes Education at Presbyterian Hospital and heads up the local ride group.  We’re on the JDRF Board together as well.

Pat was great.  She’s not an athlete – she thought she’d only make it to the first rest stop on the ride this past fall.  But she shocked herself by going 32 miles, up and down the hills near Asheville, NC.  I hope you can hear the show (you can always check out the pod cast) to hear her tell the story of her inspiration for those last 15 miles.

For me, the best part of the interview was when I asked Pat about what she remembers of her diagnosis as a twelve year old in the 1950s.  I’m always curious to hear the child’s perspective.  After all, Benny is pretty articulate for a three year old, but he can’t yet really tell me what it’s like to have diabetes.  Pat said it didn’t seem like a big deal to her.  She does remember her mother standing outside her bedroom door, crying, and not really understanding why.  "After all," she told me, "I just ate a veggie, a protein and a starch at each meal and got a shot."  No big deal, she said.

I’ve heard a lot of Type I adults say that diabetes is harder on the parents than on the children, but I’m not sure I really buy that entirely.  After all, it’s not my body that’s at risk for complications.  It’s not my fingers that are pricked 8 times a day, not my blood that is measured.  Not my pump attached to my backside 24/7.  It is my job to make sure Benny’s as healthy as possible, while not letting diabetes take over his life (and ours!).

Pat urged me to continue to look at it that way.  She is adamant that parents like me not make diabetes the first and only thing we think about when we look at our kids.  To let them be kids, to fall down and get up back up on their own.  I try, I really do.

It helps me to remember that Benny won’t ever know any other way of doing things.  Diagnosed at 23 months old, food will always be balanced by insulin, his meter will go everywhere with him, he’ll check his blood sugar several times a day as a matter of course.  Eventually, I’ll just be along for the ride; always trying to balance letting go and hanging on for dear life!  Whoever said getting his numbers in balance was the hard part?

My Mom is Aces

One of the high points of my Florida vacation a few weeks ago was playing golf with my mom.  We rarely get to play together – maybe once or twice a year – and it’s always a great time. 

I’m so happy to report that Mom just got a hole in one!  It was on #17 at her course, a short and tricky par 3.  I think it played about 120 yards that day, with the wind. 

(I should also take this chance to recognize my Florida contingent of blog-readers.  I don’t know whether Mom was playing with Kathy, Elaine, Irene or Ilene, but hello, ladies, and thanks!)

My mom and I are probably about the same level of player.  I hit the ball longer but her short game will get you every time.  Al Gardner still talks about our round here at River Run where Mom sank what had to be a 100 foot putt.  I kid you not.  She was on the very edge of one of the biggest greens, gave it a smack and watched it meander its way right into the hole.  She’s lucky she had witnesses!

Not so for my dad once upon a time.  He got a hole in one while playing by himself.  Yeah, I don’t feel too bad for him either.  Especially since a few weeks later he did it again, this time with witnesses (whew!). 

I’ve been thisclose twice, but so far no luck.  Once was at The Quarry, a very cool golf course in Texas.  As the name implies, you play through an abandoned rock quarry.  It’s pretty wild.  Along with the possibility of falling rocks, you’re also warned to watch for rattlesnakes.  The other close one was at the Sea Pines Ocean Course in Hilton Head.  Very windy day, a very short par 3.  No snakes.  I hit the stick and landed next to the hole. 

Both rounds of golf were more than 7 years ago.  Ouch.  That just means I need to play more.  Hopefully with my mom.

Fashion Meets Politics?

Each night, I try to watch at least part of all three network newscasts.  I find myself generally drawn mostly to NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  Maybe I’ve got politics on the brain, but I think I’ve spotted a new fashion trend there.  I sent NBC this email:
Dear Nightly News Folks,
Recently I’ve noticed that Brian Williams has been favoring purple ties.  I wonder if this is less a fashion choice and more a political one.  Don’t laugh yet!
Is the purple tie a subtle plea to viewers to put aside our red state – blue state divisions and come together throughout this presidential election year?  Or is it a message of neutrality by Mr. Williams and NBC Nightly News? I don’t tune into your newscast for the fashion, of course, but Mr. Williams does seem to have a distinct sartorial sensibility.
I am the co-host of Charlotte’s Morning News on NewsTalk 1110 WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I mentioned my theory during a recent interview with Dottie Lynch, political consultant for CBS News. 
She was amused, but unconvinced.  Okay, she laughed. 
I suppose I’m reading just a little too much into what simply may be a fashion forward decision by Mr. Williams. He does wear purple well.
Am I crazy?  Assuming Brian Wiliams’ producers even read this I can’t imagine they’ll respond.  But you never know.

All caught up (and a little naked)

Back to blogging after a break for the holidays.  Quick recap of recent stuff:

We visited my mom and dad in Florida over Christmas break.  Moved Benny into the "big boy" bed and out of the crib while we were there.  My mom has a crib, but she shares it with some other Grandmas down there and she wasn’t in the rotation this time.  Benny turned three at the end of December so it seemed like a good time to make the transition.  So far so good at home (except for one night when he got out of bed a million times).

While in Florida my sister and I snuck away for a spa trip.  We stayed at the Jupiter Beach Resort (nice) and ate dinner at the Food Shack (very nice!).  Really, it’s called the Food Shack and it’s in a Publix supermarket shopping center.  The food is amazing and there’s always a line out the door. 

The kids had a blast at the pool – we even got to the beach one day.  Lea decided she wants to be on our neighborhood swim team this summer.  I’m not sure she’ll have time.  Grandpa took her to the driving range and now she’s talking about golf camp.   It would be so much fun to hit the links with my daughter – I can’t even get my hopes up!

Back at home, it’s all politics at work.  Iowa, New Hampshire, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff mess and Mayor Pat McCrory likely running for Governor.  I wonder how many golf courses there are in Raleigh?

I will resist making political predictions or spending to much time of that here – we do more than enough on Charlotte’s Morning News.  I’ve got a bet with Al dating back to November of 2004 that Hillary will be the nominee and I did predict a Huckabee-Hillary match up back last Spring.  But so far all we’ve learned about this year’s presidential race is that nobody knows nothing.  And with so much at stake, having so many choices isn’t a bad thing at all.

As I said earlier, Benny turned 3 and we’re just charging ahead with his diabetes.  I think he’s doing great.  He’s been growing a lot lately (gained three pounds in two months!) so we’re looking at adjusting his insulin levels again.  He is very interested in the results when I check his blood sugar.  He’s always asking "low or high?" and wondering if he gets a juice box! 

I do think this is going to be a very big year for Benny in terms of understanding his diabetes and why he wears an insulin pump.  He’s already got the terminology down ("I need a bolus") and we’re talking more about exactly what the pump does. ("I’m telling your pump how many carbs you’re eating").   The best is when the insulin in the pump is a few hours from running out – it plays music.  Our plays Beethoven’s Fur Elise, which he knows from Disney’s Little Einstein cartoon.  Benny loves when that happens ("my pump is talking to me!").

Totally different subject, but you heard it here first – the best show of the year on television is.. How To Look Good Naked.  I talked about this during the Health Healdines segment last Friday, before the show aired, and watched it on DVR over the weekend.  I’m not normally a Lifetime Channel viewer and I can’t believe I’m endorsing a show that seems to be a spinoff of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but it’s just terrific.  This show is a must watch for every women and teenage girl.  Yes, it’s a little silly – and a bit racy – but it will also absolutely make you realize how much time we all waste beating ourselves up no matter our dress size.  Watch it once and I promise you’ll feel good about yourself.