|From Chasing Numbers|
I wish I could just send Maddison off on summer "play dates" without a second thought. Do you still call it a "play date" at the age of 12? Almost 12 I should say, in August Maddison will be 12!!! Im having some issues accepting that. Really, I am. It isnt her age so much as it is the Diabetes independance....its the not knowing for sure whether or not she is taking care of herself the way she SHOULD be when she is on her own. Is she just "winging it" as she tries to "fit in" with the other kids and keep Diabetes efforts to a minimum? I often worry of low blood sugars striking her down before she can help herself, because I know at this age kids want to pretend Diabetes isn't there, even if it means putting off treating a low blood sugar until you have to. This growing age of independance means Im often overwhelmed with just how much "work" Diabetes is for our children.....
Normal "play dates" aren't the concern, Maddison manages those all the time. The concern is SUMMER playdates. Summer in AZ means swimming. Swimming and Diabetes is a TON of work with an insulin pump!! Unfortunetly our insulin pumps are not "water proof" like some other insulin pumps are, but even if they were "waterproof" I dont think we would choose to swim with it attached. Hello, can't we be pump free to bathe AND swim? Who wants a big 'ole insulin pump hanging from your swim suit for everyone to stare at anyway? And what about the insulin going bad poolside when the temps in AZ are always over 100? Ya...no thanks.
The problem with swimming and Diabetes/pumping is that #1 when you take your insulin pump off you aren't getting ANY insulin into your body. You need insulin for "energy" (and LIFE) so we must reattach the pump every hour or so to give a quick dose of the missed "basal" insulin to keep Maddison's body using the glucose it needs to function. If you dont reattached the pump for insulin you will get very sick, VERY fast and have some very high blood sugars as your body is starved of the energy it needs. Insulin is not just taken for food, it is needed to keep your body and organs alive!! Now of course just reattaching the pump every hour during swimming isnt a big deal and isnt difficult to do...what makes Diabetes and swimming tricky is that you also need glucose going INTO the body (carbs) for energy. We cant exactly just jump in the pool without a plan!
Maddison keeps gatorade by her side for swimming, this way she can drink a bit here and there without taking an insulin bolus for a snack. We have learned the hard way that active insulin from a meal or snack during swimming means insulin is TURBO CHARGED working extremely fast and erratically to bring blood sugars down, which is extremely dangerous especially in the water! (Working muscles suck up the glucose QUICKLY!!) Even if we give just a small fraction of insulin for what is eaten during swimming it seems we end up fighting off some serious lows. Its such a balance....a balance that sometimes doesn't make any sense! This might be summer vacation, but there is never a vacation from managing your Diabetes. Summer for us, just might be the WORST time of year with Diabetes needing SO much extra attention!
So, Im stressed. Its one thing for me to be observing Maddison while she swims so I know just how much or how little swimming she is actually doing....but what about when she is away with friends? Last year Maddison managed a few VERY short (1-2hr) swim dates at her friends house without me spying.....but what about this year when she spends the enitre day? I cant exactly follow her around anymore at this age, and I dont want to either. She knows the importance of reattaching the pump each hour. She knows to triple treat any lows while swimming. She can add and dose for carb counts on packages.....she knows these things...she is capable, mostly responsible....but.....its just not that easy!
Snacks and meals poolside? Not such a problem when I myself have observed every little detail and can make an educated guess, but Jeezus! We have been transitioning Maddison to her own Diabetes management for years. Knowledge doesnt just come over night and it SURELY doesnt come easily. This disease isnt a science and it doesnt follow any rules. This is all trial and error based around past experiences and outcomes in which I have logged into my Mother Pancreas Brain for YEARS. I dont want my kid to end up sick (or worse) from a low or high blood sugar just because she trying to be a kid. Maddison can text me her activity level, food, expected length of time swimming, last dose of insulin.....but there is ALOT of information I need to know to guide her through. She NEEDS me (the mother pancreas) to direct her in what she should be doing during swim time to stay SAFE, not just "in range" so she cant just be tossing insulin into her system without me instructing her. I HAVE TO KNOW that she is reattaching her pump to dose the missed basal insulin or she is at risk of DKA.....This is all alot to be concerned about!!! ALOT!! It just aint that easy to send off your D kid on a swimming adventure!!
Soon enough I know I will get the call........
"Can I sleep over Mom?" WTF? After all that swimming? Lord help me! Im not even sure that would be safe!! A night check after swimming is ALWAYS needed. ALWAYS!!! Not even a snack or basal decrease before bed is a promise to ward off the post activity lows....what if her site falls off in the middle of the night from all that time in the water? I REALLY dont want to ask a parent to check my Diabetic child at night, and, Im not so sure I would even trust them to do so after a day of crazy swimming. Its just not that easy! Its just not that easy, but somehow we HAVE TO make this independance work.
I was a much better Pancreas Mom when I could keep Maddison by my side. This independance is freaking me out. Stressing me out. Seriously, making me cry. It is so much for ANYONE to manage, especially a newly gaining independance child at the age of 12. Mistakes will be made. There will be lows, and there will be highs...alot of them...but swimming and Diabetes needs to be SAFE.
I think I would like a giant bubble right about now. Or, maybe we should run off to the secluded mountains? Maybe I can scare away all Maddison's friends? Maybe I can just say NO to every invite?
Ya, right. I can pretend cant I?
It just isnt that easy. I wish people understood. Im NOT a crazy overprotective Mom. My child really DOES need all this extra supervision right now, and NO it isnt because she has never been taught to manage her disease....It just isnt that easy.