Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear big ole' healthcare organization

Dear big ole' healthcare organization,

How long have we known each other; thirty-eight, maybe thirty-nine years? In that time I've been faithful. I've kept myself healthy and haven't required too much of your resources. I memorized my healthcare number when I was six. When I needed antibiotics, I took the whole lot as you instructed. When I was pregnant, I cut out caffeine and ate healthy foods. I drank my milk and ate my cheerios and broccoli. I had drive through babies, leaving you at the earliest possible moment - saving you money. I brought my kids for all of their baby appointments, and made sure they got their shots. I introduced vegetables early and often. I didn't complain when one of your doctors left part of a placenta behind and I nearly bled to death in a church bathroom.

I listened to you. I did what you said. I was a good girl. But now I'm just pissed off, because now you're messing with my baby.

Sarah requires a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) because she is 11 years old and has a minimum of 90 years of type 1 diabetes ahead of her (unless/until they find a cure). Sarah is, right now, developing habits that will last for the rest of her life. Studies have shown that a personal CGM, in a real-world setting, improves glucose control and reduces the rate of severe hypoglycemic episodes.

A CGM provides us with the ability to see Sarah's bloodsugars in real time; thereby acting much more swiftly to catch and deal with impending high or low bloodsugars. The CGM assists Sarah in making good food choices, as she learns that some foods lead to this:

While other choices lead to this:

Extreme high or low bloodsugars, as you well know, can lead to all sorts of bad things, including seizures, coma, diabetic ketoacidosis in the short term - and frequent high bloodsugars lead to complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and limb amputation in the long-term.

I fully expect that Sarah will absolutely, positively, without a doubt NOT experience these complications. And do you know why? Because we are teaching her now to take care of herself and manage her bloodsugar. The CGM is a HUGE part of that process. The CGM provides a safety-net to ensure that Sarah's bloodsugars are in range as much as possible. The CGM helps her to avoid extreme lows, and catch extreme highs before they become dangerous. The CGM gives her confidence to be active, exercise, play with friends, have overnighters, and be A NORMAL KID. I'll also mention that the CGM allows her mom to get much more consistent sleep - something I've been deprived of since her diagnosis.

The result of the CGM is that Sarah is healthier and more confident. She doesn't have to wonder and worry if a debilitating low is around the corner. When Sarah goes low, she often doesn't feel it until it's severe, and she's in the 50's or even 40's (for reference, a normal, fasting bloodsugar is around 80).

At her worst low ever, she was perfectly fine one moment, began wailing that her stomach hurt the next moment, and was unconscious about ten seconds later. Yeah, that was really scary, in case you're wondering.

So as a mom, I want every tool available to keep my daughter healthy. And lets face it, the healthier she is, the less she's going to cost YOU in the long-term! So far, in fifteen months of diabetes, we've never missed an appointment, and Sarah has never had to be hospitalized since her diagnosis. She hasn't yet had a bloodsugar above 400. Do you know why? This is because we are vigilant. I know that an illness could change this run of luck in a heartbeat, but by having the CGM, I will have warning if she begins to skyrocket, and I won't wake up in the morning to a 400, 500, or 600 bloodsugar and ketones. With the CGM, the worst of diabetes cannot sneak up on us.

We have a common goal; keeping Sarah as healthy as possible. Yes, the CGM sensors cost about $200 per month - but if she's hospitalized, how much is that going to cost you? If she develops complications and needs dialysis, or heart monitoring, or expensive drugs - how much is that going to cost you? Ya know, I'm kind of on your side here too. I'm trying to save you money, because studies have also shown that better control of bloodsugar leads to less complications.

So let's stop fighting. Let's kiss and make up. Let's agree that we have a mutual goal and that we both want Sarah to stay happy and healthy.

Come on - what's the downside?


Sarah's mom

p.s. I don't want to fight, but I'm not afraid of you either. And you know what happens when you anger a mama bear, right???

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