Monday, May 23, 2005

Bloody Peach Vanilla Cake!

Joseph called today before snack. His sugar was 141. Awesome. But then I thought, this might not bode well for later. Usually he spikes around 200 at this time, then comes down nicely before lunch. Hmmm. To be safe, let’s bolus on the low side for the snack, without a correction for the BG. I get a call an hour later. He’s 64. Okay then. We treat with glucose tabs, peanut butter crackers... an hour after that, right before lunch, he’s 166 (a smidge on the high side, but not bad). Just as we’re confirming his lunch bolus, Joseph tells me that a classmate has brought in cake – for no apparent reason – and it will be served about half an hour after lunch.

It’s amazing what Joseph’s diagnosis has done to my attitude toward cake.

Once something I looked forward to with relish. A food I would delight in when served as a “surprise.” Certainly not ever something that evoked a feeling of dread.

What a difference diabetes (and the rather steep learning curve of the parents to a new pumper) can make. For you see, we have not yet cracked the bolus code for cake. We’ve experimented a bit with chocolate cake. So I did have something to go on.

“Joseph, is it chocolate cake?”

“No mom, it’s got vanilla frosting.”

“Okaaay,” I said.

“And peaches in the middle.”

“But honey, you don’t even like peaches.”

“Yeah mom, but everyone is having it. And I can pick the peaches out. That’s what some of the other kids are doing.” I could hear those other kids, already tucking into their treat. And here was my son, on the phone trying to negotiate his own piece.

“Joseph, I’m really not sure how we’ll bolus for this. I don’t know the portion size. And our calorie king doesn’t have carbs listed for that kind of cake.”

“But mom, all the other kids are having some,” he pleaded.

“Honey, we were planning on stopping at the bakery after school like we usually do on Mondays and... ”

“Fine!” he interrupted. And then he hung up.

My son hung up on me.

At first I was angry. After all, hanging up on your mother is just not acceptable. Then I got over myself, and thought about how shitty it was that he couldn’t have cake with the rest of them. Goddamnit! And I handled it all wrong. I could have just tried to guess-timate the carbs on the damned cake. But he'd had a pretty high night, and went into lunch slightly high... blah blah blah.

I should have made it work.

When I picked him up at the bus stop, Joseph seemed in fine spirits. After all, he knew he was going to get a “fabulous chocolate chip cookie” from our favorite bakery. Right away I apologized about the cake incident, but did tell him that that didn’t mean it was okay for him to hang up on his mother.

“It’s okay to be upset, and to let me know you’re upset. But hanging up on me, or anyone else for that matter, is not okay.”

He quickly apologized, then told me that one of his classmates -- Johnny -- didn’t have any cake either.

“Why was that?” I asked.

“He just didn’t feel like cake.”

I could have kissed Johnny. Right then and there.


Shannon said...

A little trick I know for this situation is if there's cake with frosting, I make sure Brendon gets an amount roughly the size of a cupcake and count it as 30 carbs because that is the general count for a typical cupcake.

Since you weren't there, he has to judge how big his piece is in comparison to a cupcake and count carbs accordingly.

Us moms aren't perfect and our kids will love us anyway :)

type1dad said...

I'm not sure about you guys but I could have easily passed on peach vanila cake. Who ruins perfectly good cake by putting peaches in it? At Olivia's school, the nurse would have fretted and called and estimated and probably even cut the cake herself to make sure it was the size of a cupcake. Good "rule of thumb" from Shannon. We are so lucky with the tacher and nurse at Olivia's school. They always call ahead of time if they can and if they can't, they probably wouldn't have the rest of the class eat either.

Shannon said...

Type1 Dad brought up a good point. Does the school nurse deal with Joseph's bolus's and keep track of what food he eats at school? Like Dad, the nurse Brendon will be dealing with in the Fall, is the same as the one they deal with at Olivia's school based on what he just posted.

Just curious to know how things work at Joseph's school.

Violet said...

Oh oh Sandra, you are so hard on yourself about this matter of the cake.

OK, close your eyes for a moment. Wait, now you can't read the post. Sigh. Stupid Internet. OK. Finish reading and THEN close your eyes.

Imagine that you are your own daughter. Not literally Evan, also not a child. But your own daughter. And so the messages you will deliver to yourself are the messages of a loving mother. We all deserve a loving mother, right?

See where this is going? Uh-huh.

Imagine that you are watching the day of the cake through the eyes of this mother figure who loves Sandra with the same love Sandra herself feels for Joseph and Evan. You're watching the myriad efforts large and small that Sandra makes every day to mother those kids. Among them you observe this matter of the cake.

And you look at Sandra with the love of a mother...and you do not, I think, say:

"Goddamnit! You handled it all wrong. You could have just tried to guess-timate the carbs on the damned cake...You should have made it work."

No, no. This is not what you would say. You might say something more like:

"Ah, see how hard you are working and how well you are doing and how you've raised your boy to cope, and he IS coping, and you are too, you extraordinary person, you're a hero. You deserve a lovely cup of tea right now. That conversation about the phone hangup, that was fantastic, yes? Yes, it was. How wise and mature you were and what a gift you gave him, to allow him to feel anger at you even though it hurts, and to guide him in what to do with that anger so that he isn't unkind. Wow. You deserve two cups of tea."

See, from where I sit, you're pulling off miracles by the hour, just like Shannon and T1Dad and the rest of you. I vote for you reveling in that fact on at least a daily basis.

Sandra Miller said...

Shannon, I'll have to remember the cupcake "rule of thumb" next time. Thanks.

As far as how things work with the nurse, Joseph calls from her office every day (before snack, lunch and before he gets on the bus) to give me his blood sugar and to confirm his bolus. They keep a log of his BGs and keep track of carbs he eats as school. Surprise snacks in the classroom are always a challenge, and we usually try to figure it out together. Though again, cake has been a tough one. We haven't yet found a bolus amount that covers it as well as we'd like... Anyhow, I do like the two nurses very much. They really watch out for Joseph. If he's low around lunch, Karen (the nurse assistant) will eat her lunch with him in her office. Joseph likes her, so that's not a hardship for him.

And Jeff, you know I had the same reaction when Joseph told me the cake had peaches in it. Who puts peaches in the middle of a cake? Especially one for a bunch of 8 and 9-yr olds. I imagined a dozen kids eating cake with sticky, peach-covered fingers-- from picking out the filling, of course :)

Sandra Miller said...

Violet, your posts truly come from a "fantastical" place... they always have the power to make me laugh or, as in this case, cry. Not in a bad way, mind you.

It's hard to break old habits I'm afraid. But, I think this morning, for the first time in quite a long time, I'll forego the usual rapid infusion of caffeine (a.k.a. my first, second, and third cups of coffee taken in quick succession) in favor of a nice lingering cup of tea-- once my beverage of choice, until recent months when it was relegated to fond-memory status.

Cheers :)

AmyT said...

Since you don't have trackbacks enabled, I'll just have to point you to my related post on Eating Diabetic:

In short, I hear you on the cake! and parties! barbeques! dinners out! Just sucks... but soon your boy will know just how to handle it all on his own. Really.

- Amy

Jay said...

Special events are tough. Actually any food that you are uncertain of what's in it is tough, even tougher that you can't see it to evaluate it. Weekly I mis-judge food and become either too high or too low sugar wise. I always try to keep in mind that I don't have to have a perfect bolus everytime. Otherwise I think I would go crazy. Amy is right, eventully he will be able to make thouse judgements on his own, and they won't always be right on, but as long as he is learning from the mistakes, and trying his best he'll be fine. Your doing a great job.