Last night I was sitting at the kitchen table with my youngest son. He was doing his math homework. As we worked through the page, I began to get frustrated. He seemed to truly understand what he had to do but when pen went to paper the answers were just plain wrong. I had left him to do a few questions on his own. When I came back, I saw that the answers were not correct and asked him how he came up with his responses. He told me how he needed to figure things out. The process was right but the results were a disaster.
We joked as we went along that he must be out of range. He was making foolish mistakes. I chalked it up to rushing through. As we progressed 14-7 equalled 5 and I knew that there was something seriously wrong! He looked a little pale and finally he took it upon himself to test. He was 19(345).
“That explains it! I think its time to take a small break. Show me some of the other homework that you have done while we wait for you to come down.” I told him.
He got his other homework and a new infusion set. It turned out that his site change was due the day before. I had woke him up early that morning to change the site because he had gone up a bit overnight and I assumed the site was bad but being my son…well he didn’t do it.
Each year I talk to parents and educators about children with diabetes in schools. Each year I mention this very thing–children who are hyperglycemic are cognitively impaired. I have seen it is effects in my son on occasions before. Each time it happens it both amazes and scares me.
You cannot see diabetes. You cannot “see” a high–well if you know him he might look a little off but still for the most part it is invisible to the naked eye. The average person would just assume my son was not overly intelligent. An uneducated teacher would assume he just was not getting the concept, had not paid attention or had not studied.
Each time this happens, I see the reality. My son cannot fix this. Yes he can change his site but highs will occur for other reasons that he cannot control. Diabetes does not play nice. It does not show itself to the outside world. There is no gaping hole in his stomach area to show that his pancreas has failed. It just quietly impacts his life. It silently attacks and as parents we must continue to work to train those around our loved ones what these attacks look like and how to handle them. Until there is a cure, we can only educate and pray for the best.
Last night I woke up later than I should to test my son. I cursed at myself as I stumbled in his room and was grateful to hear the soft sound of snoring coming from his bed. The test showed that he was high. Did he change his site like I asked him? I checked the history and yes he finally had. While I was up I checked his meter history. The meter I was using had my tests only. Hmmm…I found a second meter. It was still seriously lacking some readings but it appeared to be his meter of choice for the weekend.
I silently fumed. He had missed more tests than he had done. I had specifically told him at points during the day to test and nothing was done! I knew he ate a bowl of popcorn at around 10pm and no test before. I once again felt a kinship to those animals that ate their young. They had it right I was certain!
I headed back to bed trying to put my frustrations out of my mind so that I could fall back to sleep. It took a bit of work. This weekend we had been focusing on school not diabetes. I had believed my son when he told me he was studying. I trusted him when he swore he knew the concepts for the upcoming exams. I had allowed him to read his novel at his own pace not realizing that there was a book report that would soon be due.
Freedom was short lived as my son came home with low marks and a novel with three chapters read that was to be finished and have a book report completed on it in less than five days time. I was so not impressed but tried to appease myself with the fact that he hadn’t lied about the horrible marks. With a math test looming and a book report that had to be completed in short order, his weekend plans of Xbox and Beverley Hillbillies was derailed by his mother. It was time for him to be put back on a short leash. Homework first, play when Mom says its okay.
All of this now played on my mind. I had been harping about school work, now I would complain about diabetes care. Do I ever stop? I must be sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher by now. There is no way he will pay attention to anything I say. How will I get it to sink in? Yes, eating my children when they were young could have saved me these problems.
I finally wound down and went to sleep. The next morning I calmly discussed the issue of testing with my son. Will he change? Did he hear me? Will he pay more attention to testing? Will I harp on his a little less? Probably not to most or all of the above. I will try not to nag but will continue to remind him and provide consequences for his actions–or lack of them. Oh the joys of parenting!