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Charlie's classmates grilled me and they grilled me good. After reading the book about diabetes, I was besieged with questions. I was amazed. Adults don't ask such good questions.
A lot of the questions were about the pump:
What happens if you lose the pump? What are all those buttons for? What do you do with the pump when you go to the beach? How long can he stay off the pump?
Charlie stood up beside me and demonstrated the pump like a flight attendant.
Batteries for the pump became the hottest topic of the day:
How do you know if the batteries are low? What do you do if he needs new batteries? How do you change the batteries? Where do you get batteries?
"Dudes, they're just triple As. You can get those just about anywhere."
One kid blew me away with his questions. Remember, they're only 6. He wondered how we know what Charlie's blood sugar is while he's sleeping. He then asked if all foods make his blood sugar go up. I explained the difference between foods with carbohydrates and no-carb proteins such as fish, steak and poultry. "But what if the steak had something on it?"
"You mean like a sauce or a marinade?" I asked, chuckling at how great the question was.
"Well, then wemight need to give him insulin for that. Does your father have a funny beard and wear a crown on his head that says 'Calorie King?'"
A tall, skinny kid with a lisp agreed that it was a good idea that we detach Charlie's pump before swimming in a pool.
"If he went in the pool with the pump, the pump would explode."
"Yes. We wouldn't want Charlie to explode in a pool," I said.
"Does the pump talk to you?" the same kid asked.
"Well, no, but maybe it will someday. Right now it just beeps."
"The scientists should invent a pump that tells you what his blood sugar is and talks to you to let you know when your blood sugar is too low. It could yell loudly to wake you up."
Yes! Yes! Can you please get a job at Medtronic, kid?
And finally a little girl in the front row, patiently waiting her turn, asked softly, "why did he get diabetes?"
The questions were tremendous and their concern was pure. In feedback from a parent of a child with diabetes one grade ahead of Charlie, I find comfort. I think it will prove to be right on the mark.
"His peers will be your greatest allies throughout the school years."
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)