There are many times people have said to me, "Don't worry, Shar, that little boy is going to be just fine." I would accept what they were saying, in spite of Rocco’s Type 1 diabetes, but I never really believed it in my heart. Until today...
We’ve had birthday parties galore lately. For a child with Type 1 diabetes, birthday parties can be very hard to deal with.
The main reason is that birthday parties are full of carbs! Usually, the main dish is pizza. Then there are treats - cake, ice cream, juice boxes, lemonade, chips, M&M’s, etc... The list goes on. All of these carbs spike blood sugar. Also, with all of these carbs, there is usually a bounce house, or a trampoline, or a germy crawl maze. Carbs and excitement raise blood sugar. Insulin and exercise bring blood sugar down.
Blood sugar within a normal range is always the goal. The problem is that the combination of the excitement, the carbs, the insulin and the exercise can send a kid into a roller coaster of blood sugars. All within the two hour duration of the party and the five hours it takes to even out the child once you get him home.
That being said, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE continue to invite our children with diabetes to your parties. The above-mentioned blood sugar issues are temporary and can be managed. The only thing worse than having diabetes at a birthday party is not getting invited to a birthday party because you have diabetes. We, the parents, can and will work it out. Thank you in advance!
So, today, after some prep work with Rocco, I sent Zeke and Rocco off to a Chuck E. Cheese party.
Last year, I bought Zeke and Rocco a cell phone. Buying a cell phone for five year olds – Lord help me with this crazy world in which I live! They were invited to party at a local play place and I just couldn't let Rocco go without some sort of communication. I didn't feel comfortable always calling the mom and asking to speak with my usually sweaty boy on her cell phone. Believe me, I have tried every way around this.
One time, I sat in a folding chair as the only adult in someone's basement for two hours while seventeen five-year-old boys ran around me screaming and playing Star Wars.
It looked a lot like this picture I found but in a basement.
I had to wait for the pizza to get there so I could see how big the piece was and then give Rocco his insulin. The adults were upstairs, but it was a family party and after the first half hour I just felt weird and in the way. So I snuck downstairs and found myself sitting in the folding chair surrounded by testosterone filled boys! The pizza was late to arrive, so I was held hostage. It was terrible! There HAD to be a better way.
So I thought I would buy them a cell phone so he could call me when it was time for me to check him and give him his insulin. At least then I could sit outside in my car during the party! Ugh!
It was so weird teaching a five year old how to work his phone. At least I had the where-with-all to get a simple flip phone that was free at Verizon! I figured I would wait until they were six to buy a smart phone. LOL!
But today is a ton better. Now Rocco knows how to check his blood sugar and he also knows how to work his pump. And that little flip phone is our lifeline.
So, for this Chuck E. Cheese party, I told Rocco to check his blood sugar before he ate. Then, call me with the number and the approximate size of the slice of pizza. I told him to compare it to a piece of Little Ceasars Hot and Ready pizza. He knows the size of that one.
I then told him he should bring him a can of diet caffeine free Dr Pepper. Hey, it worked for the Valentines party. Why not?
Then we talked about cake. I took a piece of note paper and folded it in half. I said, "Let me know if it is bigger or smaller than this piece of paper." We also talked about frosting. I drew a cake on the paper and told him the difference in carbs by the type of slice he had. The difference between a middle piece and a corner piece with all the frosting was about 10 carbs. He was surprised but he understood the concept and was proud to have the knowledge.
I was proud of myself for coming up with the idea of the folded piece of paper, until my six year old looked at me and said "Ok mom, but why don't I just take a picture of the pizza and cake and text it to you?"
I nearly fell on the floor!
He said, "I think I remember how. Say cheese." He snapped a picture, typed in my phone number and pressed send. As fast as a sixteen-year-old girl would have. Wow!
So, two hours later while he is in the germfest party, my little guy called me.
"Hi mom" he said in his little six-year-old voice (I will never get used to this). "I'm at 68 and I’d like to have a piece of pizza and my pop."
"Ok, you are a little low. So go ahead and have a half a glass of the fruit punch first, then the pizza, then the cake. Is the piece of cake bigger or smaller than the piece of paper?", I asked.
"Ok, is the pizza bigger or smaller than a Hot and Ready slice?"
"It's about half the size."
"Ok honey, tell the pump you are 68 and you will have 50 carbs." I say a small prayer as I always do that I got the number right. I undershot the carbs by about 10 to be conservative and because of the exercise level.
He then says, "Ok mom, I am going to set the phone on the table while I press the pump buttons, so you will hear some people talking and some music".
OMG! He is so stinking cute!
He picks the phone up and says, "The pump wants to give me 1.4 units."
"Good, press the OK button", I say.
We hang up. I smile to myself thinking about how far we have come. From a steel crib in the hospital to cell phone conversations.
Twenty minutes later, I get a text. He sent me this picture!
I sent him a text back that says,"Perfect!"
Thinking we had accomplished our task at hand, I put my phone back in my purse but it beeped again.
I looked and read, "ok sonds good".
So yep, you all were right my little boy is going to be juuuussst fine!