July 11, 2010
Once I began injecting insulin in 2004, I learned very quickly that staying on a schedule of monitoring my blood sugar level was in my best interest. Knowing my blood sugar number and then counting my carbs accurately, usually means I take the right dose of insulin and thus keep my blood sugar fairly stable throughout the day.
So for the last 5 years, I have tried to check my blood sugar at the ADA (American Diabetes Association) recommended times of before each meal, 2 hours after beginning to eat each meal and just before bed. That’s 7 times a day. Of course, there are days when I test more such as when I am sick, traveling, or eating foods that are not normally in my daily diet. And there are days when I test less for varied reasons such as leaving the meter at home, being so hungry or so involved in a conversation I just begin to eat without checking or I decide to skip it. But for most of the time, I test at the appointed 7 times during the day. It’s become a habit.
Well, that schedule seems to go out the window whenever I am with our grandson, who is 1 year old this month! Edward and his parents visited with us this weekend, and I doubt I did a finger stick more than twice each day. How can one adorable little boy create such havoc with my schedule? His parents were very active in his care so it wasn’t like I had sole responsibility for him.
Yet I didn’t want to miss any opportunity to interact with him. We only see him every 3 months since he lives about 3 hours away. So many new skills can be learned in a short time at this age, and this grandmother didn’t want to miss any of his “new tricks.” I can happily report he waves “Hi” and “Bye.” He wields a mean hammer on his workbench and loves to cruise around the coffee table. No electronic remote control is safe from him. How could I miss watching this on- the- move bundle of energy? Especially when he turns his heart- melting smile on me, inviting approval of what he is doing.
OK, so my focus was not on managing my diabetes. Missing a finger stick reading is one thing, but not taking your bolus! How could that happen? I just know that it did. I forgot at least one bolus each day! I was busy putting food on the table for all of us or getting us out the door on time or feeling exhausted or simply enjoying Edward. None of these is an excuse. I know that. And I am thankful that as PWD T2, the end result of not taking the bolus was not off the charts. While my blood sugar was not <180 as recommended by the ADA two hours after eating, it did not soar into the high 200 or 300mg/dls like it may for others with diabetes, especially those with type 1.
I now have greater respect, and empathy, for mothers with diabetes and with young children who demand so much time and energy. I applaud you for the herculean effort you put forth in taking care of YOURSELF and understand how things can fall a part in the midst of family demands and hectic schedules. Sometimes we moms think we need to take care of everyone else, and then if time is left, we will take care of ourselves. I saw very clearly this weekend how that line of thinking is counterproductive. I make better choices and generally feel better when I follow my “normal” routine of checking my blood sugar and taking my bolus.
Flight attendants tell us if we are traveling with a young child and the oxygen mask is deployed, we should put the mask on ourselves before putting it on the child. The first time I heard this, I thought, “Yeah, right. I’ll take care of my child first.” But in doing so, I may truly put my child at risk of not having me to care for him later on.
I will work on applying that knowledge to future times with Edward. I will respect that I need to care for myself so that I may continue to be healthy and can care for him and the rest of my family hopefully for years to come. Putting my diabetes management first is not selfish; it is in the best interest of my family for me to manage my diabetes well. I hope you put your diabetes management as a top priority too.