Welcome?

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.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Everyday Is An Experiment

Life in general is an experiment. Many people believe we are all here to learn something. Throw diabetes in the mix and we are learning even more every day.

The learning curve in the beginning is steep. And even though as a caretaker, I have learned a lot, I do not know everything. I think I am just scratching the surface.

My son will turn eight this month. This is a critical age when needs to start learning more responsibility for his diabetes. Of course we do not completely cut the rope, but we have been trying to teach him more over the last year in very small steps so he can enjoy being productive, independent and healthy when he is older.

A few months ago, during a presentation a physician asked me what I would do when my son reaches adolescence or the teenage years and rebels against his diabetes. My quick answer was to seek the help of one of the psychologists that was presenting after me.

But the reality is that sometimes I will have to let him learn by doing - even if this means "failing" or trial and error. Yes, I am still the caretaker, but there is a lot to be said for learning by doing. I do not like this when I know there is an easy fix.

And while I am not a control freak by nature, diabetes has pushed me there and has given me Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies. It is sometimes necessary and just comes as part of the job role.

Last week my son was running high before morning snack at school. We now know he needed a pump insertion site change, but at the time it had to be confirmed, and managed to come down. PE, his favorite class was coming up soon and if it didn't go down would not be able to participate. (We follow the rule to not do sports or hard activity at 250 or above).

His nurse advised him to only have the no carb part of his snack and then enjoy the coconut chocolate milk I included at a later time when his blood sugar stabilized. (Of course it had to be that day. The day I provide chocolate milk - which might be like once a month or in a blue moon!) Much to our surprise, my son rebelled and had the milk anyway.  And so it begins.

He went back to the nurse before PE, and sure enough he was too high to go.

Punishment choices around a disease that is not your fault are very difficult. And I am using the term "punishment" very lightly here. How can I teach my child that his choices will effect his diabetes, which in turn will effect his life directly and indirectly? I am very cautious of not making him feel guilty or punish him, but I still have to creatively balance the lessons in some way that I hope will motivate him and not totally confuse and frustrate him.

As shocked as I was, it worked out well that his consequence was not being able to participate in something he really loves. That was enough to drive the message home last week. I was sorry for him because I know he loves it, but I also knew that this would be a better lesson than reason I could explain to him.

He's a smart kid. While he gets it, I know this won't be the last time, and it may be the first of many. I just secretly hope the stars are always aligned in this way where his lessons about healthy choices will have an impact in a safe context relevant to him at the age he is.

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