I was already very tired. It was midnight. I had just endured a warm-up period for James’ CGM (continuous glucose monitor), and I was really ready to turn in. I made sure that James’ tech was all set up to monitor him over the night. As I did so, I noticed that his testing kit was low on strips. To “help” him, I thought I’d just grab another box of test strips and get it all set up. Wasn’t I a thoughtful mom? Little did I know it would be the start of a slightly annoying, somewhat humorous series of events.
So… the cupboard for my diabetes supplies is constantly changing and going from empty to full, full to empty. Right now it contains a number of products from various companies, and a mixture of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugstore aids that help us to care for James and support his use of insulin and technology. It’s not unusual to get a shipment of sensors, pump reservoirs, infusion sets, test strips, juice boxes, bandages, tapes, adhesives, and ointments to the point where my poor cupboard is bursting at the seams. Yet it also isn’t uncommon to use up all those same supplies and find that something necessary is missing. Managing supplies for James is one of those tasks that takes a lot of time, and it’s time that is difficult to plan for.
Surprisingly on this fine evening the cupboard wasn’t as full as it can be. But the test strips were in the back — and this becomes key. As I reached in and liberated a box of strips, my hand happened to knock an unfortunately situated glass bottle of liquid bandage. Why the liquid bandage was on the edge of a shelf that was several feet above a ceramic tile floor, I’ll never know. It was in the right cupboard but not the right place. As my hand knocked the bottle, it fell almost in slow motion to the ground, where it shattered into a puddle both prickly and gooey at the same time.
Remember, it was midnight. I was already tired. I had thought I was doing one more little thing and then I was going to turn in for the night. Now I was faced with a pretty gigantic mess. I made a quick grab for the large pieces of glass to throw carefully away and attempted to wipe up the spill with first a paper napkin and then a wet dishrag. It was evident that there remained both tiny pieces of shattered glass and quickly hardening liquid bandage on the floor surface — right there in the middle of the kitchen. My husband Craig used a quick web search to determine that we could use acetone to clean up the spill, which we did and got most of it cleaned up. It was not a fun spill, for sure. But it could have been worse. Right?
It turns out that I also managed to knock over one of James’ brand-new pieces of technology, still in the box that features a bar code that also happens to be necessary for a proper setup of said technology. This I determined the following day, when I had yet another incident with James’ CGM, requiring me to reset the system. I went to get the new equipment, and when I pulled it out to use I realized that it was impossible to read the bar code! It was doubtless some fun combo of liquid bandage and acetone — substances not friendly to printed cardboard. Thankfully the device itself was unscathed.
The kind tech team at the company that makes the device luckily had a workaround for acetone-and-liquid-bandage-related shenanigans, and we were able to get James properly set up after some effort. It wasn’t a disastrous event after all, that midnight mishap! But to me it did feel a bit representative of both my level of functioning late at night and the quantity of pieces that have to fit together just perfectly for modern diabetes care — all of which are capable of being dismantled with a careless wave of a hand.
Perhaps it is also a tribute to our ability to adapt and move forward regardless of what gets in our path? I will tell you that we’ve moved the liquid bandage to the back of a lower shelf! I doubt that we will have another liquid-bandage-related incident in this family. But there will always be something that catches us by surprise. It might not be so bad if we can only meet that event with the attitude that one day it will make a great story that might even make us laugh.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.