10 minutes vs. 14 hours


One of the frustrating things about parenting a teen with diabetes is that teens seem to think that they can tell diabetes what to do. (I once had a diabetic student tell me, "I am invincible!")

Of course ordering diabetes to behave a certain way will never work; but sharing this fact with my teen only makes her angry, and it certainly doesn't stop her from trying to boss diabetes around.

A couple of weeks ago, M and I decided to go to her school's production of Footloose (an on stage musical). I wanted to see it in order to be a supportive regional high school parent. I also knew that one of M's friends was in the production, and that M wanted to show her friend support.

After going to work the morning of the play, It occurred to me that M might not want to sit in her high school auditorium with her decidedly uncool mom, while her friends were all there alone, being cool, and hanging out.

So I told her that she could invite a friend.

One thing led to another. Her friend and her friend's brother came over for dinner before the four of us took off for the play. Nice kids. Good conversation. None of which was about diabetes.

As advised by several parents, we arrived very early, snagging good seats - but not together. That would be uncool.

I seated myself with another abandoned mother and enjoyed the show. M periodically waved at me, and even purchased a bottle of water for me during intermission.

After the play, we dropped off her friends, and arrived home.

I asked M to check her bg. I knew that she had had a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and it was 10:00 pm. I wanted to make sure she went to bed on the right track.

This is when she said, "Mom, don't freak out. I know it's going to be high."

"Well, how do you know that?"

"Well, my pump was yelling at me that it was out of insulin about halfway through the play."

I was concerned. Normally the pump gives you a "low reservoir" warning buzz before it runs out.

I expressed my concern that the pump might be malfunctioning.

M explained that she DID get the warning buzz. During dinner. Before we left the house.

While I surmised that perhaps she should have taken care of it before we left, M checked her bg.

It was 512 mg/dl.

She changed the infusion set, and bolused.

We then had a conversation, broken up into 20 minute intervals, (the frequency with which we checked her bg), in which she explained that she didn't want to make her friends wait while she changed her infusion set before we left. That it was "just annoying", and that we might have arrived late.  (489. Bolus) She thought that she probably had enough insulin to get her through the show, even though we had had pasta for dinner (476. Bolus). And yes, she had the Reese's cup even after the insulin had run out, because she didn't think it would go up this high (479. This isn't coming down as fast as it should! Injection). Now can she please go to bed? She is so tired.

Well, she can, I explain, if she wants me to wake her up every 20 minutes.

At this point, M started to cry. Through her tears, she angrily spat these words: "I just want to sleep!"

She was furious with me. Unfair, considering that I didn't get her into this mess, but hormones, diabetes, and being tired are unlikely to make a young person rational. I explained to her that I couldn't go to bed myself until her bg was in the 200 range. We needed to get it under control. (452. Bolus)

Finally, at 12:20 am, M's bg was 274. I allowed her to go to bed, with the promise that I would wake her up in two hours to make sure we were on the right track.

At 2:30am, her bg was 62. A little too low. We fed her two rolls of Smarties and checked again in 10 minutes. It was 89.

I went to bed, so that I could get up at 4:30 am to check again. Bg was 52. Feed two rolls of Smarties. Back to bed. Daddy checks bg at 5:30 am. 64. Time to get up and eat breakfast.

By noon, after 14 hours of near-constant monitoring, and very angry glares and comments by my number one teen, everything settles back into normal range.

I tried very hard not to point out to M that if she had taken 10 minutes to change her infusion set before the play, that we could all have come home and gone right to sleep, and nobody would be angry with anybody.

In fact, I didn't give her that lecture, because I was actually angry with her. Really angry. And I was afraid that my sympathy and understanding had completely left me. A calm and rational discourse was elusive, if not impossible.

What I did say was this: "NOTHING is more important to me than you being healthy. No matter how inconvenient it might seem, your HEALTH always comes first."

She nodded.

But I am somehow sure that this is not the last time I will be saying these words to her.


Teenagers are hard.

I HATE you! Let me go to bed NOW! I've got it under control!




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