Today’s Prompt: Patients, what advice or tips do you have for caregivers out there – professional or otherwise!
Today’s prompt in my opinion is a huge fail for me. I don’t doubt the greatness of the post, but for me I struggle with giving advice to parents/caregivers of children with type 1 diabetes. Believe me I am full of tons of knowledge and wisdom on how different things can help my own diabetes. However, what works for me most likely will not work for other people. Most especially when it comes to treatment and care of a different person with type 1. I cannot give or offer what might most likely will not work for you.
Let me tell you a story. About 7/8 years ago maybe a little longer, one of my friends children was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This was a huge shock to the family to their child. The parents were all about doing everything necessary to keep their child safe and healthy. Yet the child could really care less about his treatment, about his numbers, about anything really. After about two years of issues with their child, the mother asked me if I could maybe talk to her child, come over for dinner, show the kid what a “normal life” could be like. I was more that willing to talk to the child, but in my heart I knew I wouldn’t really be able to help. When I was younger my issues were different. I ate food, I took my insulin, I didn’t test, I was scared of high numbers because of falling prey to all of the stupid stereotypes of what could happen when one has prolonged high glucose. How I made it through college with only one trip to the ER for hypoglycemia is beyond me. Yet my issues were not the issues of this child.
This individual was not testing, was not taking insulin, basically was in a bad way. Partly, I think the weight gain after getting on insulin upset this individual. So he knew that the easiest way to keep the weight off was to just not treat the diabetes. Mind you this took me some time to piece all of this together. But I truly think for this child it was more of a case of diabulimia than anything else. I really could not help in this case. I mean we spoke, but I could tell anything we talked about was just going in one ear and out the other.
It pained me to watch the parents going through this. The constant trips to the ER for high blood sugar. The mother tried everything to help her child. Looking for clinics or places that could help with diabulimia to no end. I can’t even begin to explain her heartache. Things got worse for her child. Constant high glucose readings coupled with lack of true treatment began to mess with his digestive processes and other things. My friend was lost. She came to me again to try to talk to her child while he was in the hospital. I went, we prayed, I gave him the sacrament of the sick, and we chatted. Yet I could see while he was a little more open to what I was saying there was not much I could do for him. He still wasn’t there.
I saw my friend a few months ago and asked how things were going. I got the same answer, periodic trips to the ER because of hyperglycemia related issues and still no change. It scares me. This child well young adult has to be out of college at this point or close to it and still an emotional/mental wreck and there is nothing I could do for my friend or her child.
This scares me on some levels. So what does this mean for my advice to parents. Well honestly, I try to be supportive, I might offer some small hints or tips, when it comes to certain issues. I might suggest a different set type, or talk about my equipment or what I like about this vs. that. Yet when it comes to the big things I hesitate.
My true advice to parents is to always be there for your children. They are going to go through periods of open or subtle rebellion. This is normal. It’s gonna happen. This is where you need to be there for them. Yet never, ever try to force your child to do something he or she doesn’t want to do. If they eat something they shouldn’t in the grand scheme of things it is not the end of the world, unless it has peanut butter and they are allergic to it. Than it could be. Children are going to rebel on some level. We need to be there to support them and talk them through the problems. Be there when it is necessary. Yet at the end of the day never scold or yell at them. Be there to pick up the pieces if needed, be the shoulder to cry on, be their advocate in school, etc. This is what we need to do. Watch over and protect them as best as you can. Yet be prepared for their growth and issues that they will encounter or lapses in judgement. This is all the advice I can offer.
Yeah that’s right, I am prepared for anything. What’s with the penguin? Well I said I am ready for anything, you mean you don’t have a penguin thumb drive? Now who isn’t prepared? Have a great Tuesday, the weather is awesome and I am out for a run. Peace.