I am always mentioning Diabetes and I guess people it doesn’t affect are fed up with it – sorry! Some people I know don’t think it’s that big a deal. Ok then try living with it for a day, I hand the whole responsibility of it to you for one day, could you cope?

I have type 1 and know what I am doing, should do by now have had plenty of practice! What I am proposing is you for you to take care of my son for 24 hours.

Eddie was diagnosed when he was only 2 years of age. He has been injecting for 10 years 4 times a day. He has tested his blood 6 – 8 times a day, he has to, it is his life.

Would you actually know what to do if I REALLY needed help? Do you know what type 1 diabetes is? Do you know why MY son developed Diabetes? Why some children and not others? Do you know that insulin keeps my son alive? Lots of questions but I am hoping you all know!

I can never ever have a day off from Diabetes, it’s my job 24 hours a day, no days off for good behaviour. If I lapse, Eddie and I would become ill, leading to serious life threatening complications, we could ultimately die if I neglected my duties!

Guess what I am having a day off and I am handing over the responsibility to you.

It’s 5 pm and you are giving Eddie tuna pasta bake for tea. So what do you have to do first? I think you know that one, yes test his blood sugar.

Now you have to count the carbohydrate in the pasta. Easy if on the packet, but you don’t know how much pasta there is on his plate. You have to weigh it infact most of the food Eddie eats has to be weighed.

So you now know how much carbohydrate is in the pasta, now you have to find out how much there is in the sauce. There are often hidden sugars in sauces but with this you can look on the jar and roughly work out how much he had.

You have finally worked it out, I bet you are feeling pleased but do you know how much insulin to give Eddie? Even if you did know believe me it is not that straightforward – what a surprise!

If Eddie’s level is high, you will need to give a correction dose, we correct by giving 1 unit to bring him down 3, so if he was 12, his correction dose would be 2 units to bring him down to an acceptable blood glucose of 6. We have not finished now we have to work out his ratio – What? Every child is different, Eddie is 1:7. To make it easy for you: if a child has a ratio of 1:10 then you give 1 unit of insulin to 10 grams of carbohydrate. Are you still with me?

So eventually you establish his ratio, I would have had to tell you that fact! You are ready to inject – not ready yet. When did Eddie previously eat? Yes it is important as insulin lasts in the body for approximately 3 hours – absorbing 1/3rd of that insulin every hour. Eddie tells you he ate an hour ago and had insulin so he still has residue insulin in his system. Take that into consideration, lower the insulin and away we go.

STOP!

I forgot to tell you, Eddie has football this evening. Exercise lowers his blood glucose and he’s training and playing a match. This affects his ultimate dose, so you would knock a unit off – how do I know? I just do!

Of course if he had had a low blood glucose reading before tea it would be completely different again.

Now do you see what us Diabetic mums have to contend with day in day out and God forbid if our children are ill! Eddie may have a fever tomorrow resulting in high sugars, or he may have a sick bug making his levels low, then there is the fear of ketones or dehydration – NIGHTMARE!

I am at the hormone stage with Eddie, we have had to adapt to another regime, but for how long? We are on the merry go round of diabetes with the added attraction of the see-saw. As long as we keep our balance and don’t fall off, hopefully we will be fine.

After all this, COULD YOU COPE? I doubt it. I have had ten years of experience, devouring endless books, looking online and meeting up with mums in the same boat.

So, hey, when you get fed up hearing about our diabetes, want to swap places for the day?

Any offers!!!

 

Written when my son was 8 years old.