Tuesday, January 17, 2006

An Unexpected Treat

Yes, for a very long time I dreaded these.

And sadly -- for an equally long time -- Joseph came to expect my trepidation. Bracing himself, I'm sure, for the myriad questions that had to be asked before he could tuck in.

Yeah, those treats, especially the ones presented to my son when I wasn't there to actually see them. You know, to gauge the carbs based on size, thickness of the icing . . . those always threw me into a state of internal panic.

Well, what a difference almost a year and a half living with this disease can make.

Last Friday, Joseph called at the usual time to tell me his pre-lunch bg, and to confirm his post-meal bolus.

He was 158.

And his lunch carbs were 65 grams. School lunch that day was corn puppies, mixed vegetables, and fruit snacks.

Fruit snacks?

"Did you eat the fruit snacks?"

"Well, yeah mom, of course. Who wouldn't?"

"Okay bud, let's get that bolus on board."

As I was about to hang up, Joseph stopped me.

"Mom, wait! Sergio's dad brought in cake and ice cream for his birthday. We're gonna have it after lunch, at like one o'clock."


"All right. Just look it over, and give me a call from the classroom."

No negotiating. No wondering if I should come up with an alternative.

30 minutes later . . .

"Okay mom, here's the deal. The cake slices aren't real big-- it's chocolate with chocolate frosting -- so I'm guessin' maybe 38 grams for the cake, cuz it's probably like a small cupcake. The ice cream is 16 grams a half cup. So that means we're up to 54 grams . . . mom, this is so great!"

"I'm sure it is, bud," I said, smiling. Only slightly anxious about what this treat will do to him.

Because as he's talking, factors are being accounted for in my head:

It's early yet. And, it's a beautiful day, so he'll have a longer afternoon recess; he's going to run some of this off.

That'll be good. Very good.

Though he's also just had a sizable lunch bolus, so we've got to watch the stacking that always seems to smack us when he boluses for carbs eaten on the heels of an earlier food bolus . . .

But my God, this is just wonderful for him.

"So, my bolus is 2.55. Should I go?"

Man, that's a lot of insulin on top of 3.1 units for lunch.

"Yes honey, go. But if you're feeling at all low, make sure you tell someone."

"Mom," he said, with a laugh, "I always do."

I could just see him shaking his head.

"Oh, hey mom, we're also having gummy worms."

Without hesitation, I look them up in the Calorie King, and give him carbs for the worms; he decides to devour three of them.

"This is a great day, mom!"

And just like that, he's back to the party.

You'd have thought it was his birthday.

Sounds like a wonderful story, right?

Well, I didn't have to wait long to see how we did . . .

At 2:15, the phone rings.

"Mom, I'm 49," Joseph says, in a clearly disappointed tone.

"Honey, it's okay. That was a pretty big bolus right after your lunch insulin. I'm not too surprised you're low. Just take 4 glucose tabs and we'll check again in 15 minutes. Do you feel all right?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. Just kinda mad."


But then, 15 minutes later, Joseph was 88. And feeling much, much happier.

Of course there was a rebound later (into the 200s), but by dinner time, he was back on track.

And going to bed, he was 138.

Looking back at his afternoon sugars, this would not be one of his better days.

Not at all.

But if you asked Joseph about this day, he'd say it was perfect. Not simply because he got all those treats, but because he didn't have to be different.

As a longtime perfectionist, I would never have viewed that kind of day as anywhere near perfect.

But things change.

And because they do, my definition of a "good day" for my son has come to include those in which his bgs may not always be where we want them-- but he's happy, nonetheless.


Penny said...

Sandra, I can't wait to get to that day when I'm not always stressing over Riley's sugars. At least, I hope that day comes for me. I can already tell a change in my stress level over sugars in the 3 months that he's had D.

I'm glad he got to enjoy his treat and get to join in the fun that everyone else was having.

Nicole P said...


What an excellent post. I can tell, in your heart -- even being a perfectionist -- you realize that in the end it was a "perfect" day.

Thanks for making me smile today.


Jamie said...

Thank you for pointing out that it was still a great day, despite the crazy numbers. Its so easy for me to get so obsessed with the numbers - like that is all that matters.

I am glad Joseph got to join in on the fun - when you're a kid - that's all that matters :)

Tekakwitha said...

Ah, those days you can just enjoy the treats even though your blood sugar really isn't, are great.

I had cold stone ice cream on Sunday afternoon after a crazy breakfast. My blood sugar bounced a little, but it was worth it... I'm glad Joseph gets to enjoy those days too!


Allison said...

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

I'm glad Joseph had a great day.

Ellen said...

This was a great day for QUALITY OF LIFE. The bolus guesses will always be just that - guesses. We just learn to correct later. You both did a fabulous job. Celebrate.

Kerri. said...

And when it's all said and done, he'll know that he's truly Lived.

My mom has the right idea. So do you. And so does your strong and wonderfully capable son.

Thank you for the uplifting, real life read, Sandra.

JustLinda said...

Awww.... great post, a little tear welled up.

We all just want our kids to be healthy and happy. The problems arise when there is a conflict between the two. But I'm glad you are managing to it... quality of life is important.

I hear my husband's stories from growing up. His mother was very, very STRICT and he just always felt different, singled out. It's nice just to feel ordinary.

Caro said...

Hi Sandra,

I love your blog, though I've never commented before. So many of the things you write really strike a chord, although I am the person with diabetes, rather than the parent. I'm learning from you what my own parents must have gone through 15-20 years ago to make everything seem normal for me. I look back on my childhood, and diabetes isn't the prominent thing. Sure, it's there, but so are plenty of memories of the normal stuff. I'm sure Joseph will thank you for making it like that for him too.

I'm so glad he had a great day today!


Vivian said...

What a great day for you and Joseph. I am glad you are getting to that place and what a great kid with his care.

christy214 said...

We all need days like these. To just let go and celebrate.I'm glad Joseph got to enjoy himself.

Andrea said...

I'm so glad that Joseph was able to enjoy the "party" with the rest of his classmates... Every kid, whether diabetic or not, should be able to have some fun and eat cake now and then. He should have days to just be a kid :).

I know you were concerned, you wouldn't be a Mom if you weren't, but I think he did very, VERY well considering. He really sounds like he knows what he is doing and I think that it's because he has such a wonderful family there for him & supporting him.

Alicia said...

Just leaving a comment to let you know I really like your blog. My daughter was diagnosed a little over the week, and since then I've been scouring the web for any and all information about Type 1 Diabetes. I found your site this past weekend and it was such a comfort to read your stories of you and your family and how you all are dealing with this crazy, unpredictable disease. It really made me feel a lot better.

Glad to hear your son had a good day. :-)

Alicia said...

Sorry, meant to say "my daughter was diagnosed a little over a week ago..." My brain is still not functioning properly. You'd think *I* was the one whose sugar is out of whack! (the doc did check me, just to be sure, but I'm fine, LOL)

Kelsey said...

I've had this disease for over 12 years and just endulged in some cake at my office for the January Birthdays (including mine)!

I was at 50 a half hour before cake time, so I had a granola bar. I then had a medium sized slice of chocolate cake with frosting and decided to give myself 2 units. An hour later I was 50 again! That stacking can really get you!

We diabetics have to enjoy sweets sometimes, or we'll go crazy! Especially as a kid!

Jen said...

Great post! I still enjoy reading parents view points on having a child with diabetes. But remember, Joseph will remember the day that he had fruit snacks, and cake and ice cream and gummy worms all in one afternoon! Not that he went a low later. It's it great to be pumping so that we can have that freedom?