If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Helicopter Parent - Oops, I mean the Type 1 Caretaker

According to Google, a "helicopter parent" is a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.

As a Type 1 caretaker, I helicopter. It is what we caretakers do. It is what we have to do. Our child's life depends on it. I believe that most of us wish we didn't have to have the helicopter-like tendencies for the reasons we do.

If a child is diagnosed at an older age, they will take on some of that responsibility sooner, but someone will still have to helicopter to help them navigate this thing. In our case, my son was 20-months old. He is almost eight, so I have been helicoptering for a while now.

And as of late, the most recent popular article quotes a university professor saying that today's behavior, or lack of success in students, is the result of helicopter parenting. Young people lack resilience. I am sure they did not mean helicopter parenting for chronic diseases, but I would still like to have a chat with that person to discuss.

I am lucky my son is at a school where there are competent nurses that can helicopter a bit on my behalf. It does put me at ease for a few hours five days a week. The rest of the time, I am whirling.

I work very hard to ensure my son has a normal lifestyle - as normal as possible. I am not sure how much time I put into coordinating coverage to make sure he is healthy at school, during activities and at home 24 hours a day, but I am pretty sure if we didn't have diabetes in our life it would feel really strange. We do not let it slow us down, but we can't deny we take it with us wherever we go and the prep is thorough.

Last weekend, I was a helicopter once again. I HATE having to helicopter, but I am happy to do whatever it takes to help my son grow up "normally".  

My son took a two day sailing class. At the time of registration we were informed that parents cannot wait on the premises. We are instructed to drop-and-go. 

This is always where I raise my hand to ask questions. And I don't really ask anymore. I politely explain the situation and that I will have to wait and be on call, check blood sugars and administer insulin when needed. I also have to educate them on the signs and what to look out for. 

Most people are usually understanding. It is frustrating when they are not and I have to go into deep details and advocate harder to ensure my child's health is not at risk.  Although most people do not understand diabetes, they are usually understanding and this case was no different.

So last weekend I "camped" out at the sailing club all weekend to check blood sugars and bolus at breaks. We do spend a lot of time together on the weekends, but my typical free time includes catching up on errands, work or cleaning out my guest room that always turns into a holding area for all the items cleaned out of all other rooms earlier in the year. Instead, I brought a book with me and enjoyed sitting by the sea as I read. Something I rarely do.

Not a typical helicopter parenting situation by any means. Although the scenery was beautiful, this is never glamorous. I honestly didn't get too far in the book because I often looked out to sea wondering about my son's blood sugar. 

Blood sugar is not easy to manage in a child in this situation. Distance and water make it challenging. Especially the first time. One never knows what a pancreas should do in a new activity.  And I believe the movement of a boat can make it more difficult for a child to feel a low or high blood sugar.

At least the view made it all a little more bearable, and hopefully learning how to sail and do things like pull up a capsized boat taught my son some resiliency along the way. 

Maybe he will surprise that professor someday...

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