The Type 1 Teen and Siblings

Somehow in the last few years, I felt as if I could escape the crazy periods of type one diabetes.  My son is all over with his sugars and keeping up with correcting and not allowing himself to go low.  I know, I know, you’re thinking “boy are you in for a big surprise!  Teens can be hard to manage at times!”  I am waiting for the hammer to fall, but in the meantime I had planned to participate in blissful ignorance.  And then it hit me as I am leaving the house to run an errand the other day.  I realized my younger child needs to be taught how to help her brother (who has been a babysitter for me).  Now Quincy is excellent at knowing if his sugars are not spot on, but what happens if he becomes distracted, or decides not to take care of something?  I began to think of a time when I sat my 10-year-old down and discussed what to do with her.  I think I assume she knows what to do because our house lives and breathes diabetes, highs and lows, in sickness and  in health.  So I started my mental list of what she does know: she knows to call 911, she knows to tell him to eat if he needs to and she knows how to call me when he is being completely unfair.  But if he is having an insulin reaction, waiting for 911 may be too late.

This enticed me to make another list of what she needs to learn and how.  She needs to learn how to give a glucagon shot, to test his blood sugar, what order does she need to take care of him and what he is like when he is low but still can argue (which he can do at a blood sugar of 20).

These thoughts lead to how to teach her. S he is only 10-years old. So my mental plan became:

  1. Talk to her about the responsibility of being alone and at home with him
  2. Ask her multiple questions on what she knows.  (I didn’t think teaching her what she already knows would work.)
  3. Show her where we keep the babysitting book (I keep it because it has everything she needs and I think she can understand it)
  4. Show her where we keep glucagon.
  5. Find the old glucagon.
  6. Practice with the old glucagon with an orange.
  7. Repeat so I know she is comfortable.
  8. Do a monthly check in with her to determine if she retained the information.

In the above plan she still needs to know how to check his blood sugar and suspend his pump and be able to read his pump.  But those are another teaching moment because teaching her everything makes me overwhelmed and I think it would make her overwhelmed.  So then the plan will be to start with his book.  I am a strong proponent of understanding the disease before dealing with the if, ands and buts.  This is another reason our book works so well.  Most people see the book and think my kid is beyond needing this, but I say anyone: siblings, other parents, grandparent, and the babysitter can read and use this book and that can be an advantage to having it.

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Book Interest

When we started out writing our book as writers we knew how important a book about Type 1 diabetes and babysitting would be. We did  not plan for interest so fast.  Can you imagine our excitement when so many groups showed intersed quickly.

First, a few weeks ago I picked up a Colorado Springs Kids Magazine.  I started to look through it for things to do during October and there was an article about Type 1 Diabetes. And At the end of the article the physician mentioned our book. To be fair I work in the same large medical group with Dr. Garscadden, a pediatrician. What I did not know is he was going to mention our book in his article! And thank you Colorado Springs Health Partners and Dr. Garscadden for your support!Colorado_Springs_Kids_article Secondly,  JDRF reviews books twice a year for their online bookstore. They did contact us about a month ago to ask for a copy to review. So we sent on with fingers crossed! This week we found our book on their website! At JDRF’s bookstore you can find many helpful books for raising children with type 1 diabetes. Here is their website:  http://jdrf.org/life-with-tid/bookstore/


Grandparents and Type 1 Diabetic Grandkids

Off to grandma and grandpa’s house we go….what goes in the diabetic bag (besides everything)?

The first few times Quincy went to grandma and grandpa’s I was a mess. He was excited! He got to play with grandpa and his flight simulator. Help grandma cook and play board games. The normalcy of childhood. The blessing to be able to find it with family. However, this did not take away my fear.  I wasn’t a mess because I did not trust my in-laws. I did. But WHAT IF always lingered in my head. So we had the house type 1 child proofed. We hung carb counting cheat sheets and hypo cheat sheets in the kitchen cabinet. Quincy had his own supplies at their house, 4 ounce juices, easy to eat and will eat snacks, favorite foods, a glucometer, syringes. We even kept insulin there at times.  All this to go down the street and to keep him safe.

Of course he did fine. Me on the other hand slept with my cell phone (now to have a type 1 and no cell phone…scary thought!). He had fun! He had a “normal” time with grandparents that love him and would sacrifice everything for him. His time with grandma and grandpa gave him memories that will stay with him forever.  Funny how flying a plane on the computer and hanging out with some of your favorite people erases diabetic stresses for a child. I look back and the work was worth it. Yet, getting there could have been easier (at least hind sight).  Now he goes out and about as a teenager with out much thought in preparing.

Even so my three ringed binder was always in the bag or on the counter (and still is). Everything was there, Doctors numbers, my number (like family would forget that!), what to do with lows or highs, calculations when he was on shots, You name it or we got it from the doctor or educator, it was in the book! Seems a little overboard now. But then I had no other answers on the how to. How do I make it easier for my son (who did not understand it fully) and how to make it easier for my in laws? Hopefully our book makes it easier for grandparents and extended family everywhere to get through that special time with their type 1 grandchild.

What is your story about extended family. Who has taken classes and done the work to care for your type 1 kiddo? What memories did you make with that family member with your type 1 child recently or in the past? How is that loved ones house type 1 child proofed?


Sleepovers and Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetic children and sleepovers

What was your childs first sleep over  as a type 1 diabetic? How did it go with the other parents? How did you prepare for the sleepover?

My sons first sleepover was stressful for me as a parent and a professional. He was going over to a wonderful families house to stay the night just 4 blocks away. I had trained the mother and she said she felt very comfortable helping him give shots and counting carbohydrates. I felt comfortable leaving him. But only after we had talked and discussed it thoroughly! He had only had diabetes for 8 months or so. So my husband and I had some time to ourselves for a while. Then dinner time came. The mother had called me upset because she just couldn’t give him his shot. The idea of putting a needle in another person upset her so much. This was something she did not expect to feel.  I went over and gave him his shot and then went the next morning to give him his shot. He did his own blood sugar testing. I was lucky because it was just down the street.

Once he had a pump he had an easier time with sleepovers. I still was very strict on where he could go. If he had a friend with physician parents they had an easier time keeping him overnight. They did get easier each time and as he became older.

I am curious about how this has worked for others. How did you teach families and parents? What materials did you use to teach these parents?

But mostly what is your story about the first sleepover and your type1 diabetic child?