I am beginning to think that diabetes education with a teen is a half a step forward, seven steps backwards. The only thing that is changing is my reaction. I explode inside and am (so far) still being pretty matter of fact and eerily calm on the outside.
After going to school with no insulin and a week old site last week, my child told me that his pump battery needed to be changed. I asked if he had a new one and he said yes. I said to change it right away. NINE hours later he changed the battery. He told me that he wanted to see how long it would last after the first warning–A lot longer than my nerves!
This weekend was a long weekend. Like many others, we headed out for a weekend in the country. This time he brought TWO meters. He had spare strips. He had spare batteries. He brought extra insulin and had numerous infusion sets AND cartridges. He was happening! Well he at least had the supplies but did he use them was another matter entirely.
The weekend was filled with friends and family. We enjoyed barbecuing, conversation and watching the kids of all ages playing in the huge lawn area. My son wrestled, was chased by the younger kids and ate. He ate marshmallows. He ate hot dogs. He ate steak and salads. Food was plentiful and Mom provided a running carb tally along with the ever present–“Did you test?” to which I was always told “yes”.
On our last day, I decided to see how Diabetes was behaving. My son had been really active. Besides playing, there were long walks, chopping trees, hauling gravel for the driveway, gathering rocks and building a new fire pit. It was a very active weekend. I had expected to see a few lows but also knew that I had compensated by giving lower boluses for many meals.
As I scrolled through the meter I felt my blood pressure rise. There was a reading here and a reading there, with many missing readings in between. He had been active. He had been eating but he hadn’t been testing! Well he had tested–at one point during the day just not during most of the ten other times that I asked him!
A cool rage was building inside. What was it going to take to get this kid to get it?? When people were around, he just does not want to be different. It does not matter that they were very aware of his diabetes. It does not matter that Larry’s grandson had a test strip in his hair when he got up in the morning. Diabetes is a part of our lives but he was going to keep it hidden as much as he could. A site change was done in a separate room and testing could only be done, it would seem, when no one was around to see it happen.
I appreciate his desire to forget Diabetes. I would love to forget it as well. I understand that it must be tiresome to carry around that burden every day. He is great about bringing a kit with him. He takes glucose with him everywhere he goes. I just wish he would be a lot more comfortable with using it!
I didn’t scream or yell at him after seeing the lapses on the meter. I didn’t punish or take anything away. I decided to change gears this time around. This time around I am asking for proof of every test. Before supper, I ask to see the meter after he has tested. Before bed, I ask to see the meter. I will end up slacking on this. He will comply, I will become complacent but perhaps one day it will sink in and we can both be happy.
In the meantime, its a baby step forward and wait for the seven steps sliding back…or maybe, just maybe?