It's been a long day. The kids have been off from school for a solid week now. And of course, their dad had to go back to work. (Shout out to you single parents, especially those with a T1 child. I will never know HOW you do it!)
For those in our family at home this day, it didn't start too badly. We got to sleep in. (Especially good for me, since last night's football game went into OT.) And the blood sugar of my T1 was just a little higher than target. I like those days - there's a little wiggle room before breakfast, in case she dilly-dallies.
After breakfast, attitudes took a downward turn in our house. Something about not wanting to get dressed, then something about someone annoying someone else … and well, I think there was punching or something too, and not listening to requests to stop.
Can you see how much I was paying attention?
Dinner was rock bottom for the day. First, one child wouldn't do what I asked, so I got attitude. Another child absolutely refused dinner (something that was supposed to be a winner, from Pinterest even!) after trying it.This child was content to not eat at all for the night, but rather just complain about hunger pains.
Then there was our T1 child. She was already in a bad mood to begin with. Something I did or didn't do struck her the wrong way, and her usual response - "You don't love me!" - came rolling out. And now, at dinner time, with BG at 112 and dropping, we have this conversation:
Me: "What do you want for dinner?" (If she won't eat what I made, it's cereal.)
Child: "I'm not going to eat dinner tonight. You hate me."
I'm not fighting that. I know I won't get anywhere. So I decided to wait until she actually got hungry. Half an hour later, BG 98 and still dropping.
Me: "Are you having cereal tonight for dinner?" (There was no pushing the chicken tonight.)
Child: "Did you hear me? I am not leaving this couch tonight. I am not eating dinner."
Okay. Let's just hope blood sugar levels out in time for her to get hungry.
About 10 minutes later… BG 89 and level (hallelujah!)
Child: (as if the conversation was still happening) "Unless you make me pancakes."
Pancakes! Was she kidding? I just made a chicken dinner. I still had all those dishes to do. I even baked biscuits. I did NOT want to get out new dishes to play short order cook. And don't get me started on rewarding the sassy behavior by giving her what she wanted.
But neither did I want to fight this fight. Here's what could happen:
I could tell her no way. She was going to eat chicken or cereal. Well, as you know, you can lead a child to dinner, but you can't make her eat. (There was always the option of giving the food and punishing until she ate it, but here's the kid who pushes it to the limit. "Take a bite or you lose electronics tomorrow." "No." "One bite or you lose electronics for 2 days." "No." And so on.)
The bottom line would be that she would not eat to prove her point (in some twisted logic) that I don't love her. I could keep calm and explain to her, even though she already knows, that her blood sugar would continue to drop. She would eventually pass out, and I would have to give her a shot with that huge glucagon needle. "So?" She wouldn't care. She knows she wouldn't be conscious and wouldn't feel it. I'd tell her we'd have to go to the hospital for more help. "So?" She doesn't remember anything from the hospital last year except the therapy dog. Good luck talking her out of its detriments. (Oh, and in case you are wondering, hugging her or otherwise explaining that I DO, indeed love her does not get me very far.)
What hurts is that I KNOW the right parenting thing to do. Here's what the perfect parent would do:
Parent: "You will eat what I made."
Parent: "Fine." takes away dinner. "Let me know when you are ready." Turns down basal.
Child: Not eating.
Parent: Suspend basal. Watches carefully.
Child: Eventually passes out. Because she will.
Parent: Calmly gets out the glucagon, sets it up, and administers the shot, just as she remembers being taught at the hospital over a year ago. Calls endo to make sure nothing else is needed. Finds car keys, just in case the problem is not solved and a trip to the ER is required.
Child: Wakes up, possibly throws up, feels awful, and definitely learns her lesson.
What did I do? The wrong thing. I made pancakes. Why? Because, seriously, it was easier than giving that shot with the super long needle that I've never given and going to the hospital.
I'm too lazy to teach my daughter the right lesson. What she learned instead was that diabetes has given her leverage to get her way. She is going to grow up with this knowledge, continuing to use it against us, until she becomes one of those entitled young adults who thinks the world will bow to her needs. And then she'll be rudely shocked when it doesn't. (And rightly get angry with me for not teaching her this.)
I will have to fight that battle in another way, with hope and prayer. Maybe (probably), I will get another chance to teach her the lesson that she can not threaten us with her death to get her way. I will, at some point, have to save her from the brink of death. But not today. Today, I am not letting her get that close to the ledge.
In the meantime, I can hope she gets that her mom cares about her life enough to take it seriously.
I realize I don't have a big lesson in this post. You didn't learn anything here. It's just a story about my day. My long, long day. But maybe, for any of you other D-moms or dads out there who ever knew you didn't do the right thing - for the sake of not getting on the news for endangering the health of your child - maybe it rings a bell for you. Let it be confirmed that you are not alone. And if it is you, I hope you have a better day tomorrow.
While We Are Waiting...
My youngest child was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2014, when she was 7 years old. This blog tells the stories from our life with T1D, while we are waiting for a cure!