Monday, November 6, 2017

Type 1 Diabetes Awareness: A Day in the Life of a Type 1 Parent

You guys... holy. cow. I am blown away by all of the positive feedback that I have received after sharing A Day in the Life of Sawyer and what all it takes to manage his T1D and allow him to be not only his best and healthiest self, but also be able to live his life to the fullest. I cannot tell you how many people have messaged, texted, called me and told me how they had no idea of what all went into managing a child with Type 1 Diabetes. And for that I am so glad I wrote that post. I feel like it helped enlighten a lot of people in regards to this autoimmune disease and how it truly affects our family's lives.

With that being said, my next post is a little even more personal as it is about myself and what a typical day in the life of a Type 1 Parent looks like. Since I am a SAHM, it is one of my many responsibilities to take care of and properly manage Sawyer's T1D. Even when he is at school I am doing so with the help of his amazing teacher and nurse and the technology that we have been blessed with called a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Through the use of the CGM, I am able to constantly watch Sawyer's blood sugar on my phone and alert the school nurse and/or his teacher if he is in need of glucose tablets when low or dropping, or in need of extra insulin (called a correction) from the school nurse if running high. The following is a general outline of what my day looks like and you will very easily notice how managing my T1D son plays a role in my day-to-day life.

7:00-7:30 am: Sawyer eats breakfast, prepared by me. Before eating breakfast I have him check his blood sugar, tell me what it is, then calibrate his receiver (if it needs calibrating). He tells me what he wants for breakfast (usually pancakes or a smoothie). Based on what he wants for breakfast, I administer an appropriate amount of fast acting insulin via injection in the back of his arm (the one without CGM sensor in it) or in the upper buttock.

8:00-8:10 am: Colt and Blair (my youngest two children who stay at home with me) start to wake up. I change both their diapers and set them up for breakfast. Before starting their breakfast, I check my phone and make sure I am getting Sawyer blood sugar readings at school. He is responsible for making sure his phone is connected to his CGM receiver so I am able to see his numbers while at school.

9:00 am: Blair and Colt are eating breakfast. While giving Blair her bottle I check Sawyer's blood sugar on my phone to make sure his numbers are going up at a reasonable rate and are soon to be stabling out. If I see he is going up too fast, I text nurse and ask her to check his blood sugar with his glucometer and text me his blood sugar. If he is high, then he gets a small correction. I calculate his corrections by taking his current blood sugar - 150, then dividing by 100. If I see that Sawyer is dropping or low at this time, I text both the nurse and his teacher the same thing - "Sawyer is dropping/low and needs tabs ASAP." I send text to both because sometimes nurse doesn't see texts right away, and the same goes for teacher. If I don't hear back from either with an "ok" then I call the school and tell nurse he needs tabs asap. I try to fix myself something quick for breakfast once the kids have been taken cared of. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

9:30 am: I usually go to the gym or the Riverpark at this time. The kids are dressed, loaded up in their carseats. Diaperbag is packed. Before pulling out of my driveway, I check my phone to look at Sawyer's blood sugar. Same procedure goes as described above when he is high or low. Once that is seen as okay, I head to my next destination. When I get there, I immediately check my phone to look at Sawyer's numbers because his blood sugar can drop within a matter of minutes.

10:00 am: I workout, but every 5-10 minutes I check my phone and look at Sawyer's numbers to make sure he is stable. I text nurse and/or teacher if needed.

10:45-10:50 am: I am still working out and get text from nurse. She is texting me his blood sugar before lunch. Based on what his blood sugar is, I tell her how much insulin to give him. I ask her to remind him to eat all of his lunch because if he doesn't he will go low.

11:30 am: I am finishing up my workout. I check Sawyer's numbers on my phone before leaving the Riverpark or the gym. I text nurse and/or teacher if needed.

12:00 pm: Feeding Blair and Colt lunch. Before starting I look at Sawyer's numbers and make sure he isn't dropping or rising at a crazy fast rate. I text nurse and/or teacher if needed. I fix myself lunch.

1:30 pm: I know that Sawyer is about to head out for recess, so I check his numbers on my phone to make sure he isn't dropping too fast or reading HIGH. If he is either of those I text nurse and/or teacher and tell them he either needs tabs or needs to be checked by nurse to receive correction. I am also giving Blair her afternoon bottle at this time. Colt is playing in family room.

2:00 pm: I know that Sawyer is back from recess now so I check his numbers to make sure he isn't low or dropping (physical activity makes his blood sugar drop). If he is, I text nurse and/or teacher to give him tabs asap.

2:30 pm: I load Blair and Colt up to head to school to pick up Sawyer. Before leaving driveway, I check Sawyer's numbers on my phone to make sure he isn't low, dropping, or high. If he is I text nurse and/or teacher for instructions.

3:10 pm: Waiting in the carpool line. While I am waiting for Sawyer to come to my car, I check his numbers to make sure he is good while in carpool line. He usually is, but on the rare occasion that he isn't I text the nurse that he needs his gummies that I pack in his backpack asap and she goes and finds him and tells him to eat some.

3:30 pm: We are home from school and Sawyer goes to table and checks blood sugar, calibrating his receiver if it needs it. He gets an afternoon snack and based on what his blood sugar is and the snack that he is eating I administer an appropriate amount of insulin. Sometimes he doesn't need insulin because he is low or dropping.

4:00 pm: I give Blair her bottle. Sawyer is either playing outside or doing his homework at the table with me. If he feels low or says he is dropping, I look at his numbers on my phone or his CGM receiver and if he is (9/10 times that he says he is low/dropping he is), then I have him get a 15 carb snack (usually a yogurt or fruit).

5:30 pm: I am preparing for dinner. I ask Sawyer to check his blood sugar and tell me what it is. Based on what his blood sugar is and what we are having for dinner, I administer an appropriate amount of insulin prior to eating.

6:30-8:00 pm: Family time, play time. Sawyer sometimes has games or practice during this time, and thankfully I have an AWESOME husband who takes good care of him during these times. We both are always certain to bring a gatorade with us in case he goes low during practice or games.

8:30 pm: Bedtime routine. Sawyer checks blood sugar, calibrates receiver if needed, gets a snack, and Lantus (administered by either myself or Tyler). I give Blair her bottle and put her and Colt down for bed (Colt is usually down by 7:30 unless we are at a game). One night out of the week, Sawyer has to get a new CGM sensor put into his arm. That is one of my responsibilities. I take out the old one, and clean off his arm and his transmitter. I insert the new sensor into the back of one of his arms (usually the left because he is right handed and needs that arm to be free for sports purposes). I restart the sensor session on his receiver and then calibrate it 2 hours later. Once Sawyer is ready for bed, I say prayers with him, and make sure his receiver and phone are plugged in and charging.

9:00-11:00 pm: Tyler and I clean up the house, I pack Sawyer's lunch for the next school day, clean the kitchen and we try to spend some QT together. We are both checking our phones to make sure Sawyer's numbers are going up at a reasonable rate, goal is to have him level out at about 250 so he can slowly come down to around 80-100 by morning. If receiver needs to be calibrated one of us calibrate it. Before closing my eyes at night, I look at my phone and make sure Sawyer's blood sugar is ok. If he is high, I give him a small correction. If he is low or dropping or stabling out at under 200, I give him gummies to bring him up some.

11:00 pm-7:00 am: Sawyer can go low at any point in the night. When it does, our phones alert us and either Tyler or myself get up and give him either gatorade or gummies. This can sometimes occur multiple times during the night, and other nights none at all. Every night is a different one.

7:00 am: Day starts over.

I just have to say that I would not be able to do this without the help from numerous people. When Sawyer was first diagnosed, I felt very alone (even though I knew I wasn't). I was trying to do everything by myself and be this sort of "super human" mom that I thought I needed to be and it just exhausted me to my core. If I could give one tip to any mom or dad who has a newly diagnosed T1D child, its this- Learn to entrust others for help. Maybe not right away, but sooner rather than later. When people offer or ask to learn to check your child's blood sugar and give shots, teach them. When people ask questions so they can better understand how to take care of a T1D kid, answer them. We are almost three years into Sawyer's lifelong journey with T1D and I now rely on so many people for support and it has made a world of a difference. I rely on my husband for extra support in checking blood sugar and the administering of insulin, and he does a great job. I rely on my parents and my in-laws to watch Sawyer from time to time when needed and both my mom and MIL are trained by me to give Sawyer his insulin with meals, check his blood sugar and understand the CGM. I rely on Sawyer's school nurse to take care of him while he is there from 8-3:10 everyday, and I am so thankful for her willingness to go above and beyond for Sawyer. The same goes for Sawyer's teacher. I have relied on family friends to ask Sawyer if he feels ok or if he feels low or what his receiver says when I have not been able to do so. Sawyer has been able to live the most fulfilling childhood thus far. Tyler and I have never said no to anything Sawyer has wanted to do because of his diabetes. We never let that be an issue. We have learned to trust others to take care of him in our absence and trust the Lord that his hand will always be on Sawyer.


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