Thursday, January 28, 2010

To bolus or not to bolus--it's not a question

Meet Sydney...

--She is 6 years old (although she will tell you she is "almost 6 1/2) and has Type 1 Diabetes.
--She was invited to a birthday party for this Saturday.
--I don't know the little girl who is hosting the party. She is in Sydney's kindergarten class.
--Sydney wants to go to the party...of course she does. This IS a birthday PARTY after all! She should want to go!
--She wants to go without parental supervision...of course she does. She IS ALMOST 6 1/2 after all. Obviously she doesn't want her paranoid mother following her around with a glucometer, food scale, and hand sanitizer.

The Problem...
--There is going to be cake. With frosting. And probably ice cream.

--There will probably be soda or kool aid. It won't be diet...of course it wouldn't unless you have a Type 1 child, what parent actually feeds their kid diet drinks?

--There will also most likely be candy. This is a birthday party after all!

My dilemma...

--From the time Syd was diagnosed I promised I would help teach her responsibility for her diabetes from an early age. She was young when she was diagnosed...only 4. So Loren and I have been the primary care givers with Syd helping when she could. I try my best to NEVER let her diabetes prevent her from being a "normal" kid. BUT the nature of this condition is that she does need to take certain precautions. She is forced to be more responsible because her health is on the line.

--She wants to go to the party. I want her to go to the party. But we have issues of checking her sugar. Bolusing for carbs. And factoring in party running around and acting crazy. She wants to experience a birthday party without me tagging along. I can't blame the girl either.

--I've called the mom to rsvp and left a message to call me back because this mother deserves and needs to know some basic Type 1 info. She hasn't called me back yet.

So how do I handle this situation? I have a few options...
1) Have syd call me before she eats anything and after she checks her sugar. Tell me what she is going to eat and I tell her how to bolus?

2) Sit down with the mom and explain things to her so she can also watch for symptoms of a low? (Syd gets nervous telling other people when she feels low...esp if they don't know much about her diabetes.) Tell the mother how to check sugar and bolus?

3) Go to the party against Syd's wishes because, honestly, I don't know this family. Maybe I should be going anyway?
So, those of you who have been in this situation, how should I best handle this situation? I've already talked to Sydney about her need to be a responsible little girl. And she is! She does a great job. I'm just looking for other responses about how to handle this situation because I know this won't be the last time we are faced with this particular circumstance.


Jennie said...

We have delt with this same dilemma a lot. First of all, I call the mom. Most are very compassionate and have even offered to provide sprite zero for the whole party. If not, I send Brittany with her own drink. (We also have the dumb Celiac issue, so now we send her with her own cupcake so she has the carb count ready to go.) Before I didn't mind helping the mom realize that the icecream needed to be measured in an exact measuring cup so Brittany could carb count it. I always dread seeing a birthday invite, because I know its going to require some work ahead of time, but well worth the effort for your little girl to go have a good time. PS I always meet the mom at the door and explain that there are needles and insulin kept in my daughters purse and to keep it out of reach from little kids.

Amy said...

I'm totally interested in hearing what others have to say, too, because we haven't dealt with this yet either!!
You're such an amazing D-mom Shamae and Syd is such a smart little girl....I'm sure you'll get it figured out!

Lora said...

Honestly... I would go. She is only in kindergarden and you probably wont be the only parent there. I agree with bringing the sprit zero. I would just "hang back" and let her do everything herself. You can tell her that your going to help the little girls mom and that you will be there only if she needs you. This way you can get an idea of how she handles herself for future parties.

Hope this helps...
I am faced with this same thing this weekend (except Justin is in
3rd grade and their going to lazer tag) I am not sure how I am going to handle that either.

Nicole said...

WOW hard question!

hmmmmm what would I do?? Well Cara is only 4 and I know that because she is in school we will have to go through this many times very, very soon. For Cara I for sure would have to stay, just in case anything happened. Cara too does not like to tell people when she is feeling LOW or HI, she is just not comfortable with it.

What I do know, is you will do what is best for Syd and even if she does not agree with your decision you are the mom and you would never want anything bad to happen to her.

Good luck!!

Leighann of D-Mom Blog said...

Can you set some limits for your daughter so she can eat freely without going overboard. Ask the mom to give her only a reasonable amount of cake and ice cream. And bolus when you pick her up?

So maybe she'll run a little high. She'll surely be running around a lot.

I'm not saying to do this every time. But maybe you could let her be a kid and be carefree at the party and handle the carbs, bolusing, and high on the back end.

If they are eating cake right away, maybe you can give a bolus right when you drop her off.

If they are having cake in the middle, maybe you could hang out at a nearby coffee shop & have the mom call you right before or after they eat. You could pop in real quick to bolus and leave again.

Good luck! I'm sure she'll have fun!

phonelady said...

I have dealt with this and I went and just told my son that I was helping the other mom and chaperoning the other kids whose folks were not there . that way you stay busy but you are still there if she needs you or if she needs to go home right away . better safe than sorry . good luck and I know this is hard .

Rachel said...

We have been in that situation. Luckily for us, Tristan hasn't asked us not to come yet so we hang at the party also.

When I had Tristan's party in the past parents stayed and they were more then welcome to stay. I even put it on the invitation. They didn't know me and I didn't know them so I completely understood them hanging around.

It sucks but bottom line is, you need to do what is right for Sydney. Unfortunately I don't believe that a birthday party is an excuse not to manage her diabetes properly. This is her first birthday party at this point, you have no idea how her body will react with all the excitement. Do you really want to put that responsibility on another mom that may not have time to pay close attention because she will be busy with ALL of the party?

Sorry! Don't mean to come across harsh. I understand what you are going through but in my head I always imagine the worst.... I know, it's horrible! I'm trying to get better! :)

Jen B said...

I'm so sorry that I party invitation causes such a dilemma! Thanks to Brook everything will be okay!

Heidi / Jack's Pack said...

Wow, what great responses you've received already! We, too, have faced this issue. I suppose all of us D parents go through this at some point or another. We haven't left Jack, who's also 6-1/2, alone at a party yet, but we know our time is coming...

I say ponder all of this advice, talk with the other mom, talk with Syd, and then follow your instincts. Listen to your gut. If deep down you feel as though she's going to be fine, she probably will be. If you're just not comfortable with letting her attend this party without you, then you shouldn't.

I think that when the time is right to send her off on her own, you'll know it. You'll have achieved a certain comfort level with Syd's knowledge and abilities to manage D on her own, and/or you might trust the parents in charge implicitly.

Good luck with your decision and please keep us all posted!

Meri said...

Oh Shamae! I've been there! I think I finally came up with the solution that works for us. I drop off and stay for a good 15 to 30 minutes. Then I leave for an hour or so to give the boys the freedom they crave. They usually serve the birthday cake at the end. I come back for the last half hour or so to monitor and check. Win/Win.

It's all about compromise. Even with kids that are not T1. I'm sure you two will work out something. Even my L knows that he can't have soda that is not diet. I tell him, if you want cake, no punch. If you want ice cream, no candy. I tell them they can't have everything that is offered, but they can have their favorites. I hope this helps! Good luck. :) Let us know how it goes!

Mike LeBlanc said...

Even if our T1 daughter is 9 we still do the quick in and out. Check sugar before we drop her off, find out when food will be served, pop in for a short while to measure and bolus, then disappear until the end.

She hardly notices that we were there.

Scott, Meredith & Audrey said...

So I don't have a kid w/ these problems but I must say I love reading your blog and being educated should I ever have a child of my own or at my child's birthday parties w/ Type 1.
So I come from a different perspective. If I were the parent of the child having the party I would want
1) A conversation beforehand (which I know you attempted to do)
2) A cheatsheet- do you have something that typed up (a few bullet points) and is that is simple for those of us uneducated to hand us that includes signs for lows, your phone #s, and special request/reminders - such as I provided Syd w/ her own drink or she can have cake or candy but not both etc...
As the parent of the birthday child I would be more than happy to help out but would feel calmer knowing I have something to reference and your phone #s should I get nervous or Syd needs you.

Just a thought from a completely different perspective!

Diabetes Super MOM said...

OOH this is hard... and such anxiety. Letting go just a smidge is a hard feeling.

Maybe a compromise... I took Mattie under our compromise.. and it was that I get to be there in the background while she ate and then I left and let her have fun. I gave the mom my cell # and then let go. I cried as I left too.

So, maybe you could compromise too, and just stay briefly so you could give her the insulin for the cake and icecream. If she does eat anything else you will know, and that is a good learning lesson for her too.

Best of luck!

The Lane Family said...

It is hard enough when our kids reach the age where they do not want us around all the time and they need a little freedom.

But I think it is even harder for you guys because not only do you have to worry about Sydney going to someone you do not knows house but also about the fact that the parent will have no idea how to help Sydney should a problem arise, and you also want Sydney to be as "normal" as everyone else.

Since I do not have a child with T1 I do not have any great answers...but I was thinking maybe you could make a compromise with her. Drop her off and then come back in an hour or so and see how things are going..depending on how long the party lasts that may be when they are cutting the cake.

All the best!!!

Brandan & Haylie said...

As another D parent, when my son was diagnosed at age 4 this was something that I discussed with his endo. She gave us great advice that we have followed. Luckily for us, he hasn't been invited to a birthday party of a child that I'm not aware of who the parents are or that I don't know personally.

Good luck! Best advice that I can give as just a parent would be to follow your instincts.

Becki said...

I don't know how to handle everything with the diabetes, because we haven't dealt with that, but as a rule, I don't like my kids to go to someone's house when I don't know the parents. So I wouldn't allow it for that reason alone. I tend to be protective in that way though!