Category Archives: carb counting

The WAG King

“Did you bolus for that?”
 
“No its Christmas. I am not bolusing for Christmas. I decided that I need a vacation.”
 
“Funny…NOT. How much are you going to bolus for that? Do you even know how much you ate?”
 
“I am thinking that 60 sounds good. I like it. I think I will bolus 60.”
 
“Have you actually totaled what you ate to get to that number?”
 
“No. It just sounds good.”
 
At this point I mentally groan and begin to do the calculations….”You had potatoes, dressing, some carrot, a glass of milk, and then there was the pie.”
 
“Don’t count the pie. I just bolused the pie. The pie is covered.”
 
“Okay so your main meal.  That would be about 58g CHO.”
 
“See I told you 60!”
 
Darn, he still has it. He can still make a complete guess on a meal and manage to come within grams of what I would think the carb count for the meal would be.  The WAG King holds his throne for another day.
IMG_0090
No this wasn’t his 60 CHO meal honestly :)

Carb Counting King

Thank you to everyone who offered kind words and support after my post the other day.  The day proceeded to get a little worse but in a way that had nothing to do with diabetes and managed to bring things into perspective for both of us.  Each day will bring new challenges and as a parent, I have to work at letting go and saying just enough without making him feel as defeated as he did on Wednesday.
Not all days are that dark or frustrating however.  Over the past week we have had a new competition of sorts going on.  When my son and I eat together, he will usually wait for me to give him the carb count for his meal.  He is more than capable of doing this on his own and does a decent job when he is away from me, but when we eat together he enjoys the break…or so I thought! Now I think I am just a source of amusement for him.
I came to this realization the other day.  I analyzed his meal.  I totalled carbs, subtracted fiber, guesstimated weights, and after a number of minutes came up with a total.  He then said “I could have told you that without all of that work.”  I laughed at him and said “yeah right!” and so the battle lines were drawn.
He swore that while I added, subtracted and multiplied, he just “knew” what he needed to bolus.  As the competition began, I would no longer say the carb counts out loud (which I do both to help him learn and to bounce ideas off of him).  I quietly would get my total and then ask him for his.
The first time we did this I grinned as I asked him his total. It was a large meal and there was no way to just look and know.  He replied “129″.  My jaw dropped as that was the exact calculation that I had arrived at.  Darn, maybe he was onto something!
We did this a few more times–smoke rising from my ears as I did the math, and the calm coolness of Mr. “I just know”.  He was usually within 5g of carbohydrates.  I had taught him well or he eats the same on a regular basis but these meals were not his usual fair.  I was impressed.  His super carb counting skills came to a crash last night however.  I asked him his guess while knowing the answer.  He came up over 100 carbs too high!
I told him that he had just overdosed himself. Mom wins! He just shrugged in his usual manner and vowed to win the next round.  We may have our downs but strange diabetes games like this bring smiles to both of us and make me feel a whole lot better because I see that he really is learning.  crown

The Dog Did It!

“You were really high last night.  Did you forget to bolus something?”

“Mom, you know how I eat in my sleep?”

“Yes, I know that if I feed you, that you will chew without waking. What about it?”

“Well, I think that is why I was high last night! I am pretty sure that while I have been sleeping that Sweedums has been feeding me.  You know, she is getting me a sandwich and making me eat it. She has probably been force feeding my some of my Christmas chocolate too!”

Oh my! Where does he come up with this stuff? “Perhaps if she feels the need to feed you at night, you could remind her to bolus as well?”

It may be a new year but somethings never change!

The boy and his dog, Sweedums…she does have a guilty look!


Carb Counting with a Teen

With Christmas only a few days away,  I decided to do some serious Christmas baking today. You know, making double batches of things, making more than one recipe per day and actually having food leftover at the end of the day that my two young men have not devoured? 

I really didn’t go overboard–some sugar cookies (that I actually iced!) and a cake mix that became cupcakes but all in all it does make me look like a bit of a domestic goddess…in my mind at least!

As I was icing my cupcakes, I began to estimate carb counts.  Most likely the cupcakes would run around 25 grams a piece.  The cookies would depend on which shape he chose. I had used Splenda for part of the sugar.  That would change things a bit too. 

Now the “good” diabetes mom would make sure that my son weighed each cookie.  I would have the carb factor out (which is listed on my recipe) and we would know exactly how much each cookie would be.  I have given this advice to many parents.  Its much easier and more accurate that WAG’ing each piece of food. 

The “slacker” diabetes mom who lives with a teen boy who eats for more hours than I am awake knows that apart from standing over all pieces of food and shoving a scale in my son’s face, that WAG is going to cover way more carbs than an exact measurement.  The cookie that is eaten as I am making supper will have a proper carb count because I will see him and yell out “WEIGH THAT!”  before he has a chance to stuff it completely in his mouth.  The cupcakes that he has after supper will also have a correct count because I will again have cleared my throat as he sat down, asking him where the scale is. After that? All bets are off. With a small bit of luck he will use the accurate measures as his guide for guessing the next dozen cookies that he eats.  


If he is off, he will most likely be high.  This should freak out the “good” diabetes mom but she is busy banging her head against the wall of her bedroom. You see her son has already told her that being 16 mmol (288 mgdl) all day long is really no big deal and certainly not worth an injection or a new site.  

Bring on the eggnog to help me through!!

Merry Christmas and Good Blood Glucose Levels to all!

When a Sandwich is just a Sandwich

Yesterday my older son came home from school to have lunch. The college he is attending is only a few minutes away so he decided that a heated lunch here would be preferable.  

It was strange to be standing side by side again as we cooked our meal of grilled cheese sandwiches.  We have lived apart for the past two years so I cherish every moment when he is around. 

We soon sat down and began to eat.  As he was eating I found myself counting his carbs.  I wanted to tell him to bolus 77 when I stopped myself.  This is my non-D child.  He doesn’t  have to bolus.  He just eats. 

I watched him finish his meal and text his friends.  He was unaware of the fact that I had been watching him. I was enjoying his presence but I was also saying a quiet thank you that so far, he still remained without diabetes and therefore carefree in his eating and other parts of his life. 

Slurpee Adventures

My brother and sister have been addicted to Slurpees for longer than either would like to admit.  It wasn’t overly surprising then, when my sister pulled into a 7-11 store on our way to her house and proclaimed that she needed a Slurpee. 

I am not the fan that my siblings are. I haven’t had one in years. I knew however that my youngest son would probably love the try to cool treat. I also had heard from people who lived near 7-11 stores, that they now had low carb Slurpees.  We were set!

I found the calorie reduced Crush Slurpee and filled a large glass. I then began to look around. “I don’t suppose that they have a carb count listed anywhere around here do they?”  I asked.  I searched for cup sizes and any other details I could find.  There were none. 

My sister was certain that we could find something on the Internet and promised to help me dig around when we got home.  

I hopped into her truck, grabbed my phone and began a search.  I found the Slurpee in question but the carb count was for 355mL beverage.  How big was the cup I had? I continued to search while we drove back to my sister’s house.  

When we arrived my son tested and began his frozen treat.  He was not as enamoured as my siblings but he was not giving it up either. I was still working on the carb count.  I finally found the serving size for a “large” cup.  My sister piped up to cross multiply and divide to get the carbs in my son’s Slurpee! 

Sadly, I was too familiar with this process and got out the calculator.  Soon we had a carb count of approximately 76g CHO and my son was good to go. 

The entire process took at least a half an hour.  It struck me that in “normal” circumstances a parent goes to the store, brings home a treat, the child eats the treat.  The end.  For those that think that diabetes is no big deal, they ought to try buying something as simple as a low calorie Slurpee for their loved one and see what sort of a deal it really is. 

Uncharted Territory

I was recently going through my son’s pump and stopped in shock.  I was struck by how much things have changed since he first began pumping. 


When my son first got a pump, we needed to have the ability to use very small basal rates. Despite having a 300 unit cartridge, we would only fill it to 200 units and still have to throw some out after one week. 


His carb to insulin ratios were of course much different and his basal rates were never close to 1 unit per hour.  


Over the years, I have gotten used to some of those changes. I learned that sweeping changes would no longer kill him. Puberty was turning his insulin to water and my brain was on overload. 


The one thing I never expected however was the importance of the midnight carb to insulin ratio.  My son didn’t eat that late.  On a really special night of roasted marshmallows he might eat at 10pm but we didn’t need to worry about anything after that.  The ratio set after midnight was just to satisfy the pump.  It had no real significance…until now.


Now that carb to insulin rate is just as important and used as often (or more) than breakfast! He often finds himself creeping the halls late at night searching to see what goodies are hidden in the fridge.  


It took me a bit to realize this. At first I thought, oh he needs his overnight basal rates tweaked. I began to look much more closely at my son’s eating habits. There were boluses at midnight and one in the morning! This time now mattered.  I had to make changes and pay close attention.  What had happened?

Oh yeah…I have a teen son! What was I thinking?

The Death of a Calculator

Its been in the making for awhile but today it was official.  Tragedy has once again struck our house.

Our beloved calculator, given to us by our great friend Stacey and used daily for probably five or more years has died.  I was crushed.  This calculator sat by our scale in the kitchen.  It had been calculating carbs for us for years. 

Suddenly I remembered that we had another one just like it!I rushed downstairs and into my office to check the second calculator.  You can understand why the tears began to fall when I pressed the button to turn this one on and once again…it was gone too!

Yes, I can go out and buy another calculator. Yes, because diabetes lives in our house I will have to go and buy another calculator or start using the one on my phone more but that is not the point. These calculators were cool!

If you look closely they have a life preserver and a little floating glucagon kit inside. Where can you get something as cool as that? Only from a friend of a child with diabetes.

The sun still shines.  The calculator on my phone was able to figure out my son’s breakfast carbs but meals will never be the same any more.  The great “fun” factor of our cool little calculator is gone.  Carb counting will now be a little more routine but I guess that is just part of the circle of electronics life.

RIP my calculator pals and thanks Stacey for the years of fun with them while they lasted!

How much is it?

Friday night I had to run out and on my way home I stopped into Dairy Queen.  We don’t often have ice-cream in the house and despite living near many fast food places, don’t often frequent them. Friday night we deserved a treat! 

I ordered three blizzards and headed home. I knew that I would be met by two happy young men.  I was right. I had chose the right flavors for each child.  The next thing was to figure out the carbs for my son. 

I asked him “How much do you think that is?” 

His friend instantly replied, “They cost a lot!”

I laughed to myself.  We were looking at the carb count and that was the furthest thing from this boy’s young mind. That was great!  

I smiled at my son and pulled out my phone to search for the carbs.  We established it was around 64 grams.  The other boy had now realized what we were talking about and was shocked to know that his ice-cream was so high in energy.  I know it didn’t diminish the flavor for any of us!

We all enjoyed our treat and it was refreshing to see a “diabetes free” perspective on a question my son and I ask each other numerous times each day.