We do try to encourage her independence in small ways now:
- Ally checks her own blood sugar.
- At school, she logs her information herself, with the nurse looking over her shoulder and recording it on the master school document.
- A few times a week, Ally helps me write out the carb count for each item in her school lunch.
- As often as I think of it (not as often as I should!) I have Ally read nutrition labels to me...looking at serving size and carbohydrate count.
I am beginning to see Ally gaining independence.
The other day Ally went to a friend's house. The family knows enough about Type 1 Diabetes to know that she checks her blood sugar, she has to have insulin before eating or drinking almost everything and that they should call me if they notice Ally having any of the symptoms of high or low (especially) blood sugar. A very basic understanding, but a start none-the-less. (I have also printed out Playdate Cheat Sheets to give to the parents when Ally goes to their house for a playdate. I borrowed this idea from Reyna..check out that and other homemade documents for educating schools and friends at Beta Buddies.)
They were willing to have Ally over to play and so I agreed to a 2 hour playdate. We don't live far from them and I was a quick phone call away. The mother told me that they would be having a snack and I was able to count the carbs for some of it and I sent a substitute for the remainder. So, Ally had a little index card listing her snack and carb count. I told her she could call me when it was snack time so that I could walk her through it if she wanted to. No phone call. As it turns out, Ally checked her blood sugar and wrote it in her log book along with what her CGM was reading at the time (I didn't tell her to do this!). She also wrote down the time, how many carbs she was eating and the amount of her bolus. As soon as she got home, she pulled out the logbook and showed it to me. I was so proud of her! I know that she is capable of doing this, but she never does without the supervision of one of her parents, the school nurse or sometimes Grandma :)
Then, again this week, she proved that she is beginning to move in the direction of independence. Ally checks her BG at the end of every school day before getting on the bus...this particular day it was 127. Sounds good. Well, she felt "shaky" on the bus ride home from school. She looked at her CGM and it said "90-something" with double arrows down. So, she told the bus driver that she felt low and asked her if it was ok if she ate a glucose tablet. The bus driver alerted me that she might be low as she was getting off the bus, so we checked her right away....75. And this was after eating the glucose tablet. Thank goodness she had the sense to do that! Now, we did talk about the fact that if she feels low, it's ok to go ahead and eat two or three of those tablets! And I do keep a meter in her backpack despite being discouraged to do so last year...you know that BIG SCARY LANCET is a weapon after all! I just didn't ask this year. Guess she didn't think to use it...oh well, important thing was that she spoke up and treated herself. I am very proud of her!
Another small step....To Insulin and Beyond!
**Please share your ideas for creating this independence in our young type 1 children. You can post it here in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will compose all of the hints and post them here.