Jen: Do I Really Need to Carry a Giant Clipboard?

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  • Not for me.

I used to carry a giant clipboard around in my bag, and I would take it everywhere I went. Upon being discharged from the hospital after James' type 1 diabetes diagnosis, we found tracking his numbers, blood sugar, carbs consumed, and insulin doses to be invaluable, particularly for all the communication we were having with our diabetes team. Since we were taking such copious notes, we found that we needed a really big log book, and we ended up creating our own with spreadsheet software. I wanted to easily write on it, to have plenty of room, to always have a pen available, and to be able to grab it easily. So naturally, I brought a giant clipboard with me everywhere I went!

As the months passed, my logging system mellowed out a bit. I still used my spreadsheet, but I no longer carried it on a clipboard; I'd leave it in my car as opposed to keeping it in my bag at all times. Then I moved to digital tracking systems, and I loved that. I was pretty good for a time at logging in each night to update and add any notes to my records.

As I see it, the only downside to keeping these records was the minute amount of time it took to make the daily entries. The upsides were huge. I loved being able to communicate with the endocrinologist or certified diabetes educator who helped us by making great recommendations to our diabetes regimen. It helped me spot patterns easily and to learn really small but significant details about the way that his body reacted to individual foods.

But somehow, I lost my way and haven't been logging for at least the past few years. My endocrinologist doesn't seem to be too concerned, and thankfully, James' insulin pump does an excellent job of remembering dosages and blood sugar numbers, enabling me to make changes to his insulin regimen as needed. For quite some time, what we've been doing has been enough. James has had good A1C numbers, he has been relatively well managed, and I've been able to, with my diabetes team, make little tweaks here and there to keep his blood sugar as steady as possible.

One of the great constants of diabetes care, however, is how much it tends to change. Just as things seem to be working perfectly, something big will come along, either a growth spurt, an illness, or basketball season will start, and that will require making assessments and new dosage changes. It challenges me all over again to find the best way to take care of James.

I feel that is happening now and that it is time to be diligent again about keeping better records of his insulin dosages, blood sugar numbers and reactions to specific foods. Now, I laugh about my giant clipboard, but it worked for me for quite a while, and I'm grateful for the role it played. That isn't to say that as I return to journaling I'll be using that exact method, but I hope to find a system that fulfills my needs just as well. It's all about making it work!


About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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