Lets talk about my focus, or my lack of focus.
When I was a teen and young adult, I was on top of everything. I was never that kid who "forgot" an assignment, or to clean my room, or my work schedule. I never wrote anything down. I got As in almost every class... except Spanish... eh. I gave presentations with out ever practicing them even though my teachers always advised to "practice, practice, practice" and I always aced them. I could formulate my flow of thoughts quickly and could convey them smoothly to others. I kept track of countless concepts, tasks, and ideas.
At 21 I was head assistant at a single subject private school that offered high school math classes and tutoring from basic math through calculus. I had 25 some odd tutors that I managed from their schedules to their performance. I loved it, it was easy and natural for me. I later learned that I wasn't a good manager as far as relationships with the staff went, eh... but for my first time... at least things ran smoothly.
I moved to Texas, and in 9 months was married to John... no pregnancy or anything, it was just "right." I was an executive assistant to a very well off and successful entrepreneur. He was wonderful to work for, but demanded the best. Because I could deliver and meet his expectations he was very good to me. He taught me so much about business. Both my parents are entrepreneurs, but who listens to their parents? Working with him validated much of what my parents always drilled into me about life and how to conduct myself. The 2 years I spent there I accomplished more than I ever thought a 25 year old college drop out could. It was stressful and demanding, and scary, but I loved it. I could organize and keep track of dozens of projects and give input on each at a moments notice. My focus at that job was superb.
With my new confidence in my ability to achieve goals and meet deadlines I opened up my first business that had a physical location, instead of the online ideas I tried in the past. It was a huge task, and I did it alone mostly. A year later I have a thriving little business with 5 full time staff including my husband, and I was pregnant.
Why does mother nature find it funny to kill all focus when you are pregnant? I couldn't keep anything straight. I forgot deadlines, paid bills late, messed up work, things that I had never done before. I didn't have a "system" for many things because I just did them before. I didn't need systems. I spent some time while pregnant creating systems for work that could be followed by anyone; when I felt they were in place I stopped working at the location, and stayed home.
Now as a mother of a 2.9 year old, my focus was starting to return. It wasn't anything like the focus of the woman who started my business but I wasn't the total mess that I was just after Johnny was born. I could actually function, I figured out systems for my home life and while they are not perfect... they work. I added a 2nd business and even though I didn't have the focus like I did with the first one; I was able to grow the business's annual sales, and cash flow in just the first year from a distance. So that gets a little credit.
Now that Johnny has T1D. I am back to almost ZERO focus. Well that isn't totally true. I am focused on carbs, insulin ratios, BG readings, injection sites, symptoms of high and low blood sugar, and meal schedules. Other than a food log and BG/Insulin log the rest is internal and no one sees all the wheels that are constantly turning. I can't even remember what I used to think about. I spend time on a few T1D support boards, and the stories I read educate me and scare me at the same time. Mostly the stories about how fast and unexpectedly blood sugars have fallen to dangerous levels with their kids. All of this is always in the back of my mind, but it creeps its way to the front often.
This week I took Johnny to a play date and lunch with some of my favorite mamas. We all have kids Johnny's age and some of them have a 2nd little one. This was the first outing we had other than the pharmacy or grocery store since we got home from the hospital. I was prepared, but nervous. I had Johnny's goodie bag of lancets, meter, test strips, insulin pen, extra tips, alcohol wipes, skittles and juice for a quick fix to a low, his emergency injection if he has a seizure, fast acting glucose gel, in addition to the normal supplies or pull ups, change of clothes, snack, and sippy. (God help me try to leave the house when we have a newborn to pack up for too.) We arrive and while it isn't a normal time to test his BG, I do anyways for peace of mind when he starts running wild. I want to know where his BG starts at so it doesn't get low. 447... so I'm pretty sure we wont have a problem going below 80, but now my brain is thinking about how high 447 is and how annoying it is that it is never in the range the doctors told me to look for. But we go inside anyways and meet our friends. We are at an indoor warehouse that is full of enormous bounce houses, slides and obstacle courses... perfect to turn my 3 year old loose in. We have typical 3 year old problems on top of the T1D still. Immediately after we walk in I kneel down to take off his shoes and Johnny wets his pants and it runs down his leg, into his socks, and all over the carpet. I take him to the restroom and clean him up, change his clothes, and take a deep breath. We go back and find our friends. The kids are playing and us moms are talking. They are all so sweet to me and supportive. We are talking but those thoughts about low blood sugar start working their way to the front of my brain again... As Johnny plays I start to worry about some of the bounce houses. Some have areas I can't see as a parent, I wonder how long I should let him out of my sight before I worry that his blood sugar has dropped and he is unable to get out on his own. Then I realize I missed part of the conversation... I try to catch up but I am unaware of exactly what is being talked about or what I agreed to or ignored while my brain was somewhere else. I do this often in the 60 minutes we are there. Worrying about different things, unable to focus on conversation. I am not able to think of new things to drive the conversation either, I just keep thinking about symptoms of low BG and how I could get to Johnny if needed. After the hour of play we decide to go to lunch. I take Johnny back to the car and check his BG again, 300ish... okay good to know. He played really really hard and it is still high, but safe. I get a voicemail about a business matter, its important to my pre T1D but now I just am annoyed and don't care. I force myself to return the call and then when I hang up drive to lunch. As I stand in line I only focus on the children's menu and panic that they do not have chicken nuggets, I know Johnny would eat those and how to count the carbs. Before I know it the lady at the counter is calling "next" and the guy behind me tells me TWICE that is is my turn to order... geesh. I panic and order Johnny the pizza (I know he will eat it but carbs can be a huge range) and chocolate milk. She asks if I would like anything else and I realize I didn't get myself anything. I literally order the first thing I see on the menu. I take our number card, my drink and go sit with our friends. Conversation at the lunch table was much like the play date... we are talking but I am thinking about checking blood, recording it, counting carbs (thank you calorie king), how much did he eat, did he drop any, oh no he finished his milk before the pizza came, do I have juice, I hope he lets me give him his insulin here. I want to chat, I NEED that outlet, but I have nothing much other than T1D to talk about. I try to listen about other topics, and I am interested in them... but I just can't focus on what is being said. One of the ladies has lost a TON of weight this past year and was telling me about her goal weight and... for the life of me I can't remember what she said. So now I wonder did she ever finish her story? Did she tell me and I had no reaction? Did she stop mid story and I didn't notice? I just feel like such a bad friend. How many other conversations went like that and I just don't remember. Johnny finishes his meal, we do the injection... its easier than I expected. I relax a little and eat my sandwich. Soon we go home and I am pleased that we did it. I don't really notice that I wasn't present until later when I try to recall what we talked about... its hit and miss. I can't remember.
Same for texts, emails, and voice mails. I forget to respond, or I think of the response in my head and assume I sent it. I just can't focus.
A friend stopped by with her kiddo yesterday. I know she was trying to be there for me and let me vent if needed. But I was so distracted by Johnny's behavior that I couldn't even hold a conversation in my own home. I have no clue how much she noticed. At one point I wanted to just cry and tell her that I am so out of it I can't even tell anyone that I am out of it... but I couldn't and soon I was distracted anyways.
The thing is, I only notice this when I am around others and am expected to act like I used to. I just can't right now. Trust me I want to... but I don't know how to just yet. I am sure I will, its only been a week. Like bringing home a newborn, this is an adjustment period and I can't focus on much of anything else, even though I want to. I just have to tell myself that like a newborn there will be a point when it becomes my normal and I will be able to hold a conversation that doesn't revolve around Johnny's T1D. Until then, if I space out... I am sorry, pinch me and bring me back!