Saturday, October 9, 2010

Diabetes Nazi Mom.

Anger. Frustration. Fear. Terror. Sadness. Tears. Overwhelmed. Frustrated.

Yes, that was frustrated twice. As a parent, there is nothing worse than when a child lies to you. I know we have all done it. As a child, you seem to have to try to see what you can get away with. You want to make your parents happy so why show them some of the ugly reality? Besides, they tend to get mad and you get in trouble. 

As a parent, its a knife in the heart. Its that perfect little person that you held in your arms those first few months and promised you would protect at all costs.  That perfect little child grows and will tell you what they think you want to hear and the hurt when you find out its not true cuts you to the core.

Its not like my son is my first teen.  I have a 16 year old. He has lied to me. He has gotten in trouble for doing things that I felt were inappropriate and even illegal. He has never seriously hurt himself and continues to get good grades. I remain thankful for that  but each slight hurts just as much as the first.

Add diabetes to the mixture and these teen years...well I am working to fight back the tears because the consequences of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, unsafe sex, and non-compliant diabetes care are all the same.  Its having that last item thrown into the mix that just makes matters that much worse.

Last night I went to check on my son.  I was more than a little concerned about his overnight readings because he has recently decided that he wants to be fit.  His body has become his temple and he is feeding it good food and exercising.  Being a supportive parent, I have allowed him to purchase some gym equipment and remind him to test before, after and even during a workout.  He has been doing that. Last night I was tired and went to bed before him.

"What is your reading?" 
"Okay, you are going to have a snack and test before you go to bed right?" 
"Call me if you have any problems."

At 2:30am, I had to get up.  I tested. He was low.  I cursed and headed to the fridge for some juice.  I came back, he drank and then I went to check his meter to see what his last reading was.  That was when my world began to fall apart once again.

At midnight, the last test before mine, he was 3.1 (55).  Fifteen minutes before that he was 3.5(around 60ish).  He was dropping and he went to sleep!!! He did not call me for help.  He just went to sleep risking not waking up again.  I was shaking and wanted to cry! I literally thanked God that he was still alive and hadn't seized or worse.  What was he thinking???

If this was going on, what else was going on? I sat on his bed and began to look back through his meter.  I was livid.  I was in shock.  I wanted to scream but it was now 3am and people wanted to sleep. For weeks, he had been lying to me about his readings at school.  He put in numbers that were in range so I would not make any changes.  He knew that that could be a problem.  They were never perfect.  They just looked okay but they were ALL fake.  My heart was broken. My baby was lying to me. He said he wanted to be fit and look after his body but he was working to kill it.

I was beside myself.  I wanted to pull him out of bed right there and then.  That would do me no good. After he was in range, I went back to bed and tossed and turned.  What the heck was I to do? How do I get through to a teen who thinks he is immortal? We have all been there.  How do I teach him? How do I not scream at him in my frustrations? He is a good kid. He is breaking my heart.

I am going to try the health angle.  I have taken away his new prize possession for a week--his dumbbells. Its the only thing at the moment that he seems to care about.  I thought about his phone but that will be the next stage.  I will now be texting him at school every day. Its allowed and it will be done. I will be asking for readings at set times. I will be checking his meter EVERY night. He will learn that to be healthy and buff on the outside, he needs a healthy body on the inside as well. I have to try and do this without freaking out. That is going to be so hard because watching your child potentially hurt him/herself is so devastating.

I told my fiance about this at breakfast.  He knew I had been up with my son last night because he was low but didn't know the rest of the story at that point.  As we discussed it, we both decided that part of the problem most likely is not wanting to test in front of his new peers.  I am sorry but that is life. That is the life of a person with diabetes and not wanting to is not going to change things. There are things in my life I do not like to do but it has to happen. And I wonder why I have stress and anxiety in my life? I don't know that it will ever end with diabetes in the picture...and children.

I guess its back to tightening the reigns, being more diligent, kicking his butt and being the terrible mom.  It feels like grounding know Mom is punished as much as he is but time for mom to suck it up as well. This is serious and needs to be nipped in the bud NOW!

Wish me luck...I am in for an extra long and painful long weekend with a grouchy teen and a rough week to come!
Doug Burns, Former Mr. Universe and PWD


  1. Hey Mom!
    Take a step back, a few deep breaths and then count to 10. Look at your post - then ask yourself your question again "Why does my son lie to me?" Because he is trying to avoid this very reaction.
    I agree that he should be reporting the true results of his testing, but until you can look at them without prejudice or blame and accept them for what they are - records of his blood sugars at a specific point in time - he will continue to keep them from you. Nagging him via text messages and demanding his logs when he gets home is doing nothing to teach him how to accept his disease and the correct things he has to do to manage it. Remember - HE is the one that will have to live with this for the rest of his life. YOU will never be able to step into his shoes. Regardless of how much you love him and want to keep him safe.
    In regards to his low before going to bed - a hypo reaction exhibits the same symptoms as one who is under the influence. We all know that someone who is under the influence does not make the best choices - including going to sleep without treating a low blood sugar. Be thankful that you got up and leave it at that. One of the most difficult things for a diabetic to do (if they are not already inclined to this behavior) is to start exercising. Why on earth would you deprive him of the one thing that is helping to manage his diabetes - even if the down side is more frequent hypos??!!?? If your son is really intent on lifting weights and eating right then it would do him well to 1)meet with a certified trainer who is familiar with athletes with diabetes and 2)meet with a nutritionist who is also a CDE to teach him (and you) how to adjust his food intake to optimize his blood sugars and his lifting. Finally, if your son's diabetes is managed by an Endo, make an appointment for your son to meet with the Endo and discuss his new interests.
    You can be the mom and disciplinarian when it comes to the usual teenager angst and rebellion but when it comes to diabetes you need to be an advisor and team player. Do not ever use his diabetes and its management as a reason to lash out and/or reprimand nor make his testing and management more public than he wishes it to be. I know many adults who still do not reveal that they are diabetic to their "friends" or co-workers. I myself only reveal it if I need to test or inject or need assistance because my bs is dropping.
    Teenage years are hard enough without diabetes. Just the normal influx of hormones will wreak havoc with a child whose blood sugars have been controlled up 'til then. Then with no input from them to cause a low or high they are getting grief from a parent because they are no longer in control. It is life and it is something that will continue to occur until the day diabetes is cured. Instead of chastising your son you need to use every "incident" as a learning opportunity to figure out 1) why the result is not within the expected range, 2)what needs to be done to get it there and 3) what can be done (if anything) in the future to get it within the range or as close as possible.
    Good luck to the both of you.
    Registered Nurse 22 years
    Former Diabetes Educator for 10 years
    Type 1 diabetic 32 years

  2. Thank you Tim for your insight.
    My son did not receive the reaction posted in my blog. The blog was where I vented my frustration before speaking with my son. I wanted to be able to have a calm and serious discussion with him but I also know that many other parents experience the same feelings.
    Reasons for my son lying have been looked at by myself and those who know us. I think there were a few reasons but a tirade from me was not on the list.
    Blood glucose results in this house have always been used as a source of information only and my child realizes this. They are never reason for punishment or "you did this wrong!". They are looked at and together we seek out a solution. It may be an "I forgot to bolus" situation or it may be "well I guess we got those carbs wrong. Next time we will do this.".
    I nag him about testing and bolusing in the same manner that he is reminded to brush his teeth, shower and do his homework. After consultation with a very well known and well respected psychologist who also has diabetes, we have worked out a disciplinary approach which in this case means the loss of dumb bells. He still has other fitness equipment and is encouraged to use it.
    While I am very public about diabetes, I respect his right to be private (that is in part why his name is very rarely used in my blog or website any longer). He has been told however, that for his own safety, he needs to tell a few people so that he is not thrown out of places because he is a drunk teen but has a friend who can say "he is low and needs sugar now!".

    Again, when looking at readings, we do look at the "why" and I never say that it is his fault. We know that diabetes does its own thing and will mess us up. It is the job of my son and myself to work as a team to keep him healthy. I can only do that with data. He can only provide me with data if he tests.

    Thank you for your suggestions.