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. At this point I started thinking to myself if I should consider private tutoring for him, a friend of mine had done that for his troubled kid and it worked wonders, it was very much on my mind.
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.