Monday, October 10, 2011

The ugly and inevitable truth.

My husband and I don't trust our kids as far as we can throw them. Sure, we give them a sense of comfort. We reassure them that we have full faith in their choices. We lift them up with words of adoration and respect.

But in reality, we are just waiting. We know they are going to do something crazy stupid sometime. We were kids once. We were teenagers once. We know all the tricks in the book.

Anyway, when it comes to diabetes...same rules apply. We kinda' figure they are lying until they prove it. J, more than any of our boys, gets the jest of the game. I'll ask him what his blood sugar was at school when I pick him up and he'll always rattle off a number. Sometimes I'll look him deep in his eyes...down to his see if I can see any hint of a lie in his answer. He is really good at giving me his stare of complete confidence back. He knows my tricks too. So most of the time I make him show me on his meter, and he hurriedly takes it out of his backpack to show me what a donkey butt I am for questioning his honesty.

I do this because I've caught him before. Not that he is a bad kid. On the contrary...he is as wonderful as they come. But EVERY kid tries to get away with something. For J, at the end of last year it was not checking his sugar at school for almost a month. I found this out at Open House when all his teachers told me that J was eating out of his low boxes for the first time all year...and they needed a restock of supplies. This happened only when I got comfortable. I questioned him and tested his honesty almost every day his entire 7th grade year. I stopped questioning him after his endo appt in March of that year because his A1C was AMAZING, and the endo praised him up and down for what she saw on his pump print out. I questioned my questioning him all the time. Was I too harsh? He is so responsible, and amazing at taking care of I backed off for a couple months.

And that resulted in opening a window for him. Would I have taken advantage of that freedom when I was 13? You bet your Aqua Net hairspray and Jimmy Z T-shirt I would have.

So we are back to the game, and he is back to being uber responsible and testing again.

But my son is super smart. And he'll find more open windows. In fact, just last week I felt a draft, and sure enough I saw it...out of the corner of my eye as I walked by J filling his reservoir for his pump.

He had the sucker filled to capacity. He only needs it 3/4 filled at most. I knew in that split second that he was filling it up so that he could extend his set change another day or even two.

Genius. I honestly had to give him props.

But I didn't say anything. I waited for the right time. Lucky for me, I didn't have to wait long.

It was about 4 days later when I did my nighttime check on J and had to correct his sugar. I turned on the light to his pump and saw that he only had about 14 units left of insulin. "Remind him to change his set in the morning," I whispered to myself.

The next morning was chaos...the kind of morning where your brain is like scrambled eggs and it is all you can do just to get out the door dressed. Well that morning, I forgot to remind him, and realized only when I got home from dropping him off. He wouldn't have enough insulin to cover lunch...I knew that.

So at lunch I made my way to the Jr. High and had them call him out of class to do his set change.

He came into the office, weary of my presence.

"Hey J, isn't it like day five of that need insulin, right?"

He looked at me for a long moment. I could practically see the cogs in his brain turning trying to figure out how I knew...

"Um, yeah...I'll change it now."

I handed him the insulin and reveled in my victory.

He doesn't know how long I knew. But I gave him the impression that I am all knowing. AND THAT is all that is important.

We need to stay on top of our kids. I'm not bat poop crazy enough to be on their case all the time, that would send them into rebel mode and we don't like it there. We just need to be sure that they know we are paying attention. We need to pick the right times to question. We need to be consistent with our questions, and kind in our timing.

They are going to lie. It is OK. They don't do it maliciously. It is part laziness, part boredom with the whole routine. I get why he does it...and like I said, I don't blame him for it.

But it doesn't make it ok. I made a deal with J that he only has to check 1 time at school. I compromised...I would ideally like for him to check 3 times at school. But I understand that for a 13 year old who has such a handle on it all I needed to make these compromises.

I don't ask for much, but what I do ask for needs to be done.

No exceptions.

His life means the world to me, and his future relies on healthy habits. One of those is checking his sugar at school.

The set change problem? I'll let the endo get on his case about that. I don't like being the bad guy. She'll see it on his print out and she'll have words with him, and then I'll follow through.

Four days with one set isn't going to end the world. It actually doesn't bother me as long as he is still getting good numbers on day 4. We'll see what happens. Can't bust out the diatribes unless they are needed.

Because if I have learned anything the past 13 years...

Success is 50% consistency and 50% empathy and 10% timing.

Yes, that does equal 110%. We have to put in more than is our calling as pancreases to do so.


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