As any parent surely knows by now, nights are different when you have a child with type 1 diabetes. Even when you work closely with someone to provide excellent daytime care, it can be a little nerve-wracking to leave your child with someone overnight. I actually have a poignant memory of babysitting Kim's kids one night until the late hours of the evening. It wasn't an overnight thing, but it was VERY late. My own children were at home in bed in the care of my husband. James had already had diabetes for a few years. I remember feeling oddly at ease in Kim's quiet home. I tried to figure out why. Then it hit me, none of Kim's kids had diabetes (yet), so now that they were sound asleep, I really didn't have to worry about them at all. Sadly, times have changed at her house as well.
Now she knows as well as I do that parents of kids with type 1 don't have that kind of luxury. Nights can be kind of scary. We get used to it, and of course most nights everything is absolutely fine. But it is a completely different lifestyle compared with pre-diagnosis FOR SURE, and it is definitely not easy to give that kind of responsibility to somebody else!
In our situation, my mom is an absolutely amazing caregiver for James. She is probably more conscientious than I am. Truly, I know he is getting absolutely amazing care. When I prepared to leave him overnight with her the first time, it wasn't so much that I worried that he would have an incident that my mom couldn't handle -- I worried that she wouldn't survive the stress that such a responsibility entailed!
Turns out, I shouldn't have worried at all. Craig and I took a vacation (to the wonderful Disney World®, as luck would have it!), and the nights back home were not ideal in the slightest! The first night we were gone, James' blood sugar was extremely high. My mom spent a few hours awake, testing and trying a few different techniques, but James' blood sugar still wasn't quite in range when he awoke. Everything was done ably and adeptly, but diabetes can just be tricky sometimes, and it was one of those kinds of nights. Honestly, Craig and I couldn't have done any better if we had been there. While Mom was quite tired the next morning, amazingly she adjusted just fine to the stress and, luckily, the next couple of nights weren't nearly so bad. We were gone for a full five days though, and I think she appreciated the opportunity to get back to nights free from worry!
All in all, it was a great feeling for us to have another person capable of handling James' condition at any time of the day. I think too that my mom was grateful to bear the full responsibility. She's indicated that now that she's "done it all," she no longer feels nervous or scared. She KNOWS she can handle it. Just like all of us, she feels it isn't necessarily easy, but it IS doable. She's definitely passed the test!
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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