We had lots planned for the 4th of July 2012, Cole's baseball game was at 10am, Arden didn't want to miss a 1 pm parade that we go to every year in the next state over and we were joining our family for a picnic and swimming at my in laws. Since the parade is about 35 minutes from our house (and in the same town Kelly's parents reside) Kelly and Arden left the baseball field as soon as Cole's game ended (they won) and I stayed behind with Cole so that he could hang out with his team for a while and then get changed before we left for the picnic.
Cole and I arrived at my in laws' home long enough after the parade had ended that everyone was swimming when we arrived. We walked into the house and made our way to the sliding glass door that leads to the pool. I paused for a moment to speak with someone, during our very brief conversation a gust of wind lifted one of the tall tables next to the pool. The gust, which came literally out of the clear blue, filled the orange umbrella of the table closest to where I stood, lifting it off of the ground. Without hesitation the table and it's contents clumsily tumbled into the pool. I was shocked by the site but not overly concerned as I saw that no one was in it's path either on the sidewalk or in the pool as it fell. At first glance this all seemed like no more then an annoying situation that would need to be cleaned up. Watching all of this through the glass door gave me the sensation of watching television with the sound muted. In an instant Kelly came from stage left entering my field of vision in a full sprint, she didn't slow down as she approached the pool and jumped in with an urgency that caused me to think that someone was pushed in by the heavy glass table. I began to move outside to help when Kelly held up her right hand over her head, she was clutching Arden's D-supply bag. The bag that we keep her OmniPod PDM in. My stomach turned. When I approached the scene, Kelly was handing Arden's PDM to my sister in law, followed by her DexCom CGM, Kelly's Backberry from work and her personal iPhone.
I immediately asked Kelly when Arden's last bolus happened and what her BG was at the time. We were managing Arden's BG completely blind now and without the ability to test, bolus, or suspend basal. Our conversation indicated that Arden's BG was in a good place so instead of ripping her from the picnic to make the trip back to our house, I left to bring new supplies to her. An hour and perhaps twenty or so broken traffic laws later I was back. I switched Arden to a new pod that I'd have to link to an old OmniPod PDM (b&w screen), tested and began monitoring her diabetes 'old school' without the assistance of her DexCom CGM. It was back to timers and worrying between insulin and food. Not good but we'll be fine, the reason I tell you this story isn't because of the drama or shocking nature of loosing so much important and expensive equipment. I tell it because of the book that was on my back seat as I made the desperate drive to and from my house.
During the mad dash to retrieve all of our backup supplies I couldn't help but to think about the book on my back seat. I had a copy of David Foster Wallace's 2005 commencement speech with me because I was going to give it as a gift to a recent graduate later in the day. 'This is Water' is a book that I give to every graduate in my life. It's not really a book actually, but the text of the speech in gift book form. I try to reread the text at least once a year because it's message about choosing how to think about reality is so close to how I try to think about my own life. Wallace makes a compelling argument that every situation can be reacted to in the direction of your choosing. He uses the example of a speeding car and asks you to imagine that the driver may be speeding because their child's life is in the balance. He admits that in most cases the offending driver is probably not in a dire situation but then asks, what if "the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick...".
As I sped to my house I had two thoughts. One, the idea that Arden's bolus might drag her BG too low while I was gone and two that I was living a part of Wallace's commencement speech and playing both roles. I was the father driving like a nut and I was the man who choose not to judge him...
Watching two thousand dollars worth of electronics being pulled from a pool was nauseating and it was truly going to cause my family a financial hardship but I never thought about the money. I did my best to keep Arden's health and safety as my only thought or concern. As I took the steps necessary to make that happen I found myself doing what Wallace suggests is possible. I looked at the world, at this situation, in the way that let's me be happy. I remained aware "of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: this is water... this is water". I hope that you take the time to find Wallace's words, they are available in book form, online and the audio of his speech is on YouTube, I've included it below.
Diabetes gives us all plenty of opportunities to see the bad in life and in all fairness and devoid of any new age bullshit, a lot of it really does suck. I just hope that you can trust me when I say that you can choose to not think of it that way, it's difficult but really worth the effort. I've witnessed people like myself who from time to time struggle greatly with the difficult moments that diabetes can present. These moments offer us the very real and easy opportunity to not just see the bad but to lay down in it and make ourselves at home. It's easy for me to say that you should resist that urge but because I know from my own life that choosing to be happy is not the simple task that just saying the phrase suggests... Consider checking out 'This is Water', it helped me to find the right path and I hope it helps you as well.
July fourth 2012 started out in fine form and then quickly deteriorated into a day we'd rather forget. I originally thought that this story was going to end with the image of our gadgets in a bag of rice but diabetes had more in store for us then I imagined. Too much for one blog post, so I'm going to have to wait until my next writing to tell the story of July 5th.