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The Dex and the Prince (guest post)

The Dex has inspired songs, letters, visual metaphors, videos – quite the outpouring for such a retro-looking device. It inspired our nanny, Anna, to write about her misadventures with Luke’s Dex. I was amused to find out that 1) she thought we were insanely obsessed with “the Dex” when she first met us, and 2) she is now just as insanely obsessed. 🙂

Hi. I’m Anna.  I have been Luke’s nanny for a little over 7 months now and couldn’t be happier.  He exudes happiness and smiles wherever he goes, and I absolutely adore him and his parents. I think it’s safe to say that Luke and I are in a committed relationship filled with unconditional love, laughter and fun. Our time together is filled with romantic dates to the children’s museum, story time, music classes, swimming and other toddler-friendly activities. I must admit that it feels as though I have found my frog prince! Yay!

…Unfortunately, with every fairy tale comes a villain.

Dex.

Dex, of whom I am in dysfunctional, subservient, love/hate relationship with.  When I first began nannying for Lukas, I watched as his parents constantly checked the Dexcom receiver, calibrated the numbers, checked the receiver, and rechecked, and checked again, thinking “oh my god.”  I figured it was parental nervousness, and therefore intensified caution and worry. I was wrong.

I tried to ignore the lure of Dex and let Luke’s blood sugar be unknown for a few minutes as the arrow showed him level at a safe number. I tried to look away from the pretty green “OK” button, which could potentially give insight into the exact path Luke’s blood sugar was taking. I tried to just leave Dex in Luke’s pocket, thinking Dex’s seducing, taunting ways would lessen with physical distance. As if I was Frodo from the Lord of The Rings, fighting the power Dex holds. I tried, and failed.

I am now, just as I once looked upon Luke’s parents, a slave to Dex.

Granted, Dex is not ALL villain. Dex shows excellent precision and accuracy enough to save “him” from being throw him out of my car window over Lake Washington, or simply smashed with a bat.  When Dex is being good, “he” is really good and very helpful. Dex has alerted me to dropping and rising blood sugar levels which in busy, distracted moments I am extremely thankful for. Without Dex, I will now admit that taking care of Lukas would be much more nerve-racking and scary. For example, the few occasions that Dex shows Luke around 120 with an arrow straight down and I catch him at 80 instead of something lower.

With the exemption of these few glorious moments however, Dex has made for some climactic, partly disastrous moments in my nanny career.

 Act 1 – At the Pool

Like I mentioned before, Luke and I are constantly running around town doing various things together, one being swimming.  I enrolled him in a “mommy and me” swim class that we went to once a week back in March.  Well, me Lukas and Dex.  Surely you did not think “he” would miss out on the fun! Dex had a waterproof bag and kept me privy to Luke’s BG numbers all swim class long…One day, after a small internal debate Luke’s mom decided to change out the Dex after we got home from swimming.  We both felt that the tagaderm bandage covering the transmitter on Luke’s arm would come off easier right after being in the warm pool water, so after swimming I sneakily took it off, threw it away, and drove home.

I had sat next to Luke a dozen times while the Dex was being switched out, I clearly just never paid enough attention to the fact that the transmitter is popped out each time and simply recycled into the new site. Whoops!

We got home and everything was prepared for changing the Dex; our little routine of colorful chocolate, TV and other distractions for Luke to focus on.  With a big smile Kristin asked Lukas and me how swimming was, we chatted and then she asked me for the transmitter.  I casually said, “Oh I just threw it away at the pool!” Thinking,  “I’m so helpful!”…
Her face sort of melted out of the smile and slowly turned into a red questionable expression, as I’m sure mine followed in response.  She took a deep breath and with an impressively calm voice told me the transmitter is reused and that it’s around $1000 to replace, AND that they only get one every year.  Without hesitating I called the pool and told them it was imperative that no garbage be emptied or moved or touched.  I had Luke stuff his face with lunch and we went back to the pool on a mission!  1 trash can, baby diapers, tissues, wet paper towels, lady diapers, and some food later, I found it.  My heart rate immediately settled and I once again breathed a quiet breath. Nanny disaster day 1, conquered!

Act 2- On the Freeway

Dex’s second act took place on the freeway. Luke had some sort of illness this day, either stomach bug or a cold and all of the insulin carb ratios were messed up.  I was told that it was possible he would go low after breakfast so to just be aware of his numbers. About 20 minutes later when we were on the freeway heading the Children’s Museum, the Dex beeped its low alarm.  55 double arrows down. PANIC.  I had just given him a few free carbs to make sure we made the drive safely, so despite my hidden panic I reminded myself of that and how we were almost to a safe spot to pull over and test his blood sugar.  In those few seconds of thought the Dex alarm goes off again, 35 double arrows straight down.  “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” I very loudly yelled to myself.  I was glancing in my rear view mirror every other look to make sure Luke was still sitting up with his eyes open, and asking if he felt okay to which he kept repsonding with “Yes Anna, do you?” About 2 minutes later when I was able to stop the car and test Luke, ready and prepared for glucogon intervention, the meter read around 150 with no extra insulin on board. Awesome…

Act 3 – In the Mall

Dex’s 3rd and final act that I will share is, like the pool incident, not entirely Dex’s own fault, and as you will see, I must and do take responsibility for.

I had taken Luke to the mall because I was craving a Red Mango frozen yogurt.  I figured I’d treat myself to a nice afternoon snack.  After feeding Luke lunch I put the Dex in his jacket pocket and started the walk over to Red Mango.  I usually just keep Dex in my pocket to be safe, or in Luke’s pockets when they have a zipper or Velcro.  However, the rubber case on Luke’s Dex is pretty sticky and the pockets in his jacket that day were pretty small, so I figured it would be okay and safe.  I also wanted it close to him because he was super hyper after lunch and insisted on running everywhere. All in all, I felt like I was making a good choice. Whoops again!

After a long walk around the mall, feeling very hungry and tired, I reached for the Dex.  Turns out my logical thinking wasn’t logical enough, and the Dex was gone.  For about 45 minutes, we very briskly re-walked our path through the mall, checking every planter, under every bench, every store we walked by and went into, and every garbage can, as well as giving Lukas 31 extra carbs as his blood sugar decided, in that moment, to plummet into nothing.  The mall information desk refused to take my name and number despite my tear-filled eyes, sweaty forehead and the fact that I had been back at least 6 times to ask if anything had been turned in.  When sweat started to fill Luke’s hairline and I was out of juice, I decided to give up.  Knowing that I would call the mall every hour until it closed, and do the same again the next day, my first phone call was to Luke’s mom.  This was now the second time I had misplaced a very expensive piece of diabetes equipment, and I felt terrible.  Knowing that she would be completely understanding despite everything I dialed the phone.  2 days and a new Dex later everything went back to normal.

In the end, despite how misleading the Dex can be, how many times I can loose something, or anything else that goes astray in the diabetes world, all that matters is the smile on Lukes face.  Because the only important things to a 2 and half year old is to have fun and feel loved by the people in their life.  Every smile, tear and question comes from the most genuine core of Luke’s little body, and if I can help be the reason for his laughter and fun, amidst all the pokes, set changes, Dex changes and anything else I can say I’m very lucky.  There’s no feeling like the one of the love from a toddler, and while Dex may try to interfere, the good always prevails.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a great Nanny AND a great writer!

    May 11, 2011
  2. Courtney #

    That was a great read!! Funny and heartwarming. We were denied the CGM, but I know we will get one and this post sure helps with the reality of if all. Way to go Anna, I wish I had someone like you for Zachary.

    May 11, 2011
  3. We are very grateful!

    May 14, 2011

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