When he came home from school, I was waiting to look at his meter. I had received a text from the school saying that he had a very high blood sugar level around lunchtime. I couldn’t think off the top of my head why that would have happened. The pump site was fine, his insulin was good, he didn’t have anything out of the ordinary in his lunch. His blood sugar was in range at 10:00 for recess, up to 21.4 by lunchtime (about 385mg/dL), and back down to normal range at 2:00 after his insulin and lunch. So, what had happened?
Today is day 3 of Diabetes Blog Week. I want you to read the topic that prompted this post so you can follow along easier.
“The Blame Game – Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another. And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault. Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgment from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger. Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had. Now, the game part. Let’s turn this around. If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself? Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!”
To be honest, I’ve never felt that someone has blamed me, or my son for his diabetes. Not our medical team, not friends or family, not complete strangers. I don’t have bad instances that come to mind for me.
But I have a confession: I think I’ve been that person to my son.
The Blame Game
I wasn’t trying to blame anyone. I was trying to figure out what had happened. Maybe his site needed to be changed, or carbs had been added up incorrectly. I use these as teaching opportunities. He was only 2 when he was diagnosed, too young to learn about managing diabetes. We’ve had to teach him as we come across different situations. It’s no one’s fault, but knowing why something happened can help avoid the same thing in the future… sometimes.
Maybe it was a false high? But, that couldn’t be right, or he would have crashed from the insulin.
I looked through his meter. Checking the “usual suspects”.
The blood sugar checks were done at the normal times, the carbs entered looked right, the insulin amounts were accurate. So, what happened?
What did YOU do?
“What did you do? Did you eat something extra at recess that you didn’t tell anyone about? Did someone share food with you? What happened?”
Even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I was in the wrong.
His broken words, “I didn’t do anything. I’m telling the truth.” as tears started swelling up in his big brown eyes confirmed it.
I was being a jerk. I was trying to find a reason for the high blood sugar.
And in this moment, it was at the expense of my son’s feelings.
Me. The full-time caregiver for a child with type 1 diabetes. I know diabetes is unpredictable. I know sometimes these things just happen.
Was it a lapse in judgment? Was I taking my T1D frustrations out on him? We’ve had previous issues with “sneaking food“, but blaming him for diabetes issues will very likely affect the way he self-manages as he gets older. It will definitely change the way he trusts me with his concerns.
Mom: The puppet
I’ll try to put myself in his shoes. How did he expect that encounter to go? All I can think is that he wasn’t expecting anything to happen at all.
After all, usually when he has a high or low number during the day, all I do is mention it, “So, you had a low today hey?” And that’s that.
To be honest, if I got to redo that day, I wouldn’t say anything to him about the random high. I would ask him how his day was and what was his favorite part fo the day (like I do every day). I would send him upstairs to play with his little siblings, and I would go through his meter, trying to figure out what had happened on my own.
If I couldn’t figure it out, I’d let it go as one of the random inconsistencies of T1D.
Empower, don’t blame
Even though people don’t understand, I have never felt that anyone was blaming me, or him. We haven’t had bad experiences with doctors, I haven’t had friends or family tell me that I should have done something differently.
Even strangers don’t say anything negative to us. Yet I jumped to blaming him that day. I should know better. I should do better.
After all, I’m his Mother.
I have to teach him about this disease that he has to live with for the rest of his life. I should ALWAYS be the first one to empower him. Always.