Guest Post: “A Bump in the Road” by Renata

On November 29, 2010 by Cherise Shockley

A Bump in the Road

A bump in the road, a hiccup, a blip on the screen, the bob and weave, the curve ball….all terms PWD’s or Parents of PWD’s use. If you have diabetes or are a parent of a diabetic, you learn to roll with the punches. It’s part of how diabetes works, if you can’t let go of the unexplained you are going to have a really hard time. A really hard time. On top of that you have to be prepared to deal with the unexplained or the bump in the road. How in the heck we are able to prepare for the unknown is beyond me, but we do it time and time again. My family is much like most families with diabetes. I have two T1 children who have other issues ranging from Epilepsy, Latex Allergies, Food Allergies, and Hypothyroidism. We just kind of roll with it, you know. Not that anyone wants to just roll with a “what’s next” attitude but we do it. My husband and I are prepared to deal with the unexplained “stuff” that goes with Diabetes. But we were hit with something we weren’t prepared for….something that never even crossed our minds. We never prepared for the day that one of us has to step in and cover the other person. I mean, full time.

On October 19th I had a heart attack. If you had asked me in my wildest dreams if I, Renata Porter, was a likely candidate for a heart attack I would have laughed at you. I was training for the beautiful ocean swim series here in New Zealand for Pete’s sake.   But that’s what happened and I was in the hospital for 5 days. Yeah, I came out A.O.K…but do you think it threw the family a curve ball? Heck yeah! My husband is a good man. He is involved with his kids. He knows about their diabetes and all the other illnesses too. However, he hasn’t been involved in the day to day routine. My kids are old enough to walk Dad through it, however they too were a bit stressed and the memory of being on two different ratios (depending on the meal) went right out the window. Stress over my being gone trumped all hand written notes and what I thought was routine enough for the kids to remember. The biggest struggle was the measuring and counting. Even though I was in the hospital my husband still had to work. That pretty much meant all dinners were from take-away.  Do you think Mike has ever done any sight measuring? Any “eating out guess/carb counting”? Nope, never…ever.  That’s all me baby.

I guess my point in writing this is to share with everyone how easy it is to get into a routine where one parent assumes the larger responsibility with the child’s diabetes. It’s not wrong, it’s just human nature. However, I personally feel I let my family down by not being prepared. I haven’t made them walk the walk so to speak on a consistent basis just so they could be prepared if something did happen to me. Writing it all down is well and good, but you know as well as I do that you have to develop some hands on experience with the disease. The biggest thing that stood out for me was how guilty Mike felt because he wasn’t up to speed with the kids. We both are to blame for that. He knew his measurement guesses were probably wrong and to be doing it over and over again was not a good thing. The stress alone causes blood sugar numbers to go haywire, then to top it off with incorrect carb counting….yeeesh! (let the high/low rollercoaster begin!!) My kids are on MDI, what if your child is a pumper? I know a lot of you have many different programs going on at once with the pump. Does your partner know how to make the adjustments and do insertions?

Do your partner and your family a favour. Start pulling them into the routine. Make them mess with the pump on the weekends, make them guess the carb ratio’s the next time you go out to eat. Whatever it takes, pull your partners in. Don’t just write it out, make them DO IT. The best way to be able to deal with that bump in the road is to prepare for it and hope it never happens. Don’t hope it never happens and get caught short.

To read more about Renata, check out her blog: Diabetic Duo

You can also follow her on Twitter: @DiabeticDuo

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