How to Prove You’re Cool with Diabetes

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How to Prove You're Cool with Diabetes

“Did you make any friends?”

After the first day of Kindergarten or starting a new school there are many questions to ask. The answers are usually pretty straight forward. Kids usually come home from school telling of events that occurred with their friends. Some days it is the story of “So and so is not my friend anymore, they did this to me…” or “Look at the picture so and so made for me.” or “So and so gave me their cookies and I traded them my chocolate milk.”

Children are compassionate and caring. They are resilient. Children are honest but also cruel.

As a Mom, I was witness to a mob mentality with a group of Grade 4 boys.

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, after speaking with the children in Kurtis’ class, it seemed some of the kids would play with him. He now had a small group of friends. Once they knew they couldn’t get diabetes by touching him, they were okay with playing with him.

In October of his Grade 4 year I started Kurtis on an insulin pump. Thankfully his teacher was incredible. She was a classmate of mine from primary and high school. She was very proactive in Kurtis’ care and the learning curve associated with learning how to pump. At that time I worked part-time in the hospital as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. The teacher knew she could call me at work or home for questions or concerns. The calls initially were frequent.

Upon starting Kurtis on his pump, I opted to start him on an angled teflon infusion set. I tried a straight-in set but they kept bending causing sudden, extreme highs. I felt the angled set would give us more consistent results. The introducer needle was large enough, depending on where it was inserted, it could be quite uncomfortable. I put EMLA cream on his site one hour before inserting so he wasn’t feeling the discomfort. It worked beautifully.

One afternoon I received a call from his teacher. She sounded excited. She wanted to tell me that Kurtis’ infusion set had ripped out during recess. She was so proud of him. There was no EMLA cream in his kit. Kurtis decided he would insert the Silhouette without it. Mrs. Sperry was awesome. Instead of sending him down to the office or nursing station to change it, she would over see the change. The class was curious to watch.

At this point, the ‘cool’ boys were not as interested in playing with him. This bothered Kurtis. He wanted to play the sport games they played at recess. He didn’t want to just walk around the yard, he wanted to be active. I told him although I understood his need. I also encouraged him to start his own games in the yard, but he wanted to play with the athletic, cool boys.

During the phone call I was told that the kids were so impressed with what Kurtis had done. They talked about it all afternoon. Kurtis had put a really big needle in his stomach. He was SO brave.

Not one Certificate of Achievement could ever make Kurtis feel as proud and accomplished as that day. Days and weeks later, the Grade 4 ‘cool’ boys began to invite him to play at recess. The icing on the cake for Kurtis.

As a parent I had mixed feelings. To me it was a form of intimidation. A child having to go through a form of initiation to be friends with children so he could gain the acceptance and confidence he needed to feel good at school. I understand this happens with all children to some degree, with or without diabetes. I have seen it in a milder form with my daughter.

I had to accept that this was part of learning and life with diabetes. Since those days of Grade 3 and 4, I have hoped and prayed that Kurtis would learn that he should never have to prove himself to anyone because he lives with diabetes. It’s hard to convey that to a child, especially when they feel isolated from their peers because of it. As with many things our children experience, we can teach and guide them, but sometimes they just have to touch the stove to understand it’s hot.

Tomorrow my blog will be on the situations and concerns about Kurtis’ safety with his diabetes at school.

Saying No.

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Saying No.

How can one word cause so much stress?

Is it the concern of being selfish? Is it the fear that we are not allowing ourselves the opportunity to have new experiences and challenges? Is it the fear of believing there is no one else that can do what you’ve been asked to do? Are we afraid to disappoint? Do we need to prove a point to ourselves or others? Are we afraid of conflict and burning bridges?

In this day and age the pressure we are living under to perform, accept, accomplish, respond to, access and be accountable for is too much, not just as adults but teens and young children are being subjected to this prematurely. Our private lives are jeopardized by the creation of global urbanization and technology with the expectation to keep up at all costs.

Yes is stress. But saying no is too. How do we find balance?

Take a look at how stress can influence our health:

1. Stress hormones raise blood sugars
2. Stress contributes to insulin resistance
3. Stress leads to weight gain
4. Stress can increase blood pressure
5. Stress can suppress the immune system
6. Stress can worsen or create allergies
7. Stress can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke
8. Stress can impair fertility
9. Stress can accelerate the aging process
10. Stress can create psychological imbalances such as anxiety and depression
11. Stress can cause or enhance addictive behaviours such as drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise etc.

Here are some guidelines to assist in determining when it is right to say “No’ and find or keep your balance.

1. When you have a bad feeling and your gut says “this doesn’t feel right”…trust it!!! Be true to yourself!
2. Thinking about saying “Yes” to the request causes you to feel overwhelmed before you have even committed to it.
3. Your principles, ethics and/or beliefs are in jeopardy.
4. The financial expense doesn’t fit your budget.
5. It is not fulfilling the goals and objectives you have set for yourself.

It’s OKAY to say “No”. Words and body language are our most powerful ally. How you respond will empower you and the person who has asked.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey