Diabetes and Discipline
What to do when my judgment may be inhibited by my disease.
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
October 2008 — As with many things having to do with fusing diabetes and parenthood, I wasn't able to come up with a plan for dealing with discipline when my blood sugar bottoms out before the issue hit me full force right in the middle of a contentious Time Out.
You just don't envision this stuff. You worry about low blood sugar at inopportune moments. But ideas about the details of such things just don't surface ahead of time. I mainly worried about becoming unconscious and my daughter's safety somehow becoming compromised as a result, but that hasn't happened. Instead, I find the strange blend of discipline and diabetes coming into play more and more as my daughter approaches her third birthday.
So far, I've just been figuring it out on the fly. It certainly can be challenging. Especially during what my husband calls "a clash of wills" with our little strong-willed bundle of energy. Thankfully, I have the gift of being able to remain conscious and relatively lucid with a blood sugar in the 40s. I've even been known to speak sense in the 30s. But when you're communicating with a toddler, even with a blood sugar right on target, the exchange can take every ounce of energy you can muster. And I wonder whether I'm altogether effective in those moments.
So, lately I've been contemplating my series of snap decisions so far. I wonder what the best course of action is. Do I tell my daughter about my compromised blood sugar? Is that ridiculous? Should I just say "Mommy's sick?" Or would that give her more ammunition for our battle? Would it incite cooperation? And if it did, would that be a good thing? Having to behave because mommy's "sick" might cause psychological problems down the road. That said, I don't think it's necessarily bad to be honest with your kids about being sick. I've noticed some parents have the tendency to hide weakness from their kids and appear as the super hero all the time. I'm not sure that's good either.
What's left? Letting her be a brat? Not an option. Maybe letting her be a brat for the moment while I get some O.J. is the answer. Clearly, I've got way more questions than answers. I suppose that like most things in life – parenthood included – the answers come over time and with patience. And maybe I'll discover that these details aren't all that important after all. More often than not, my blood sugar stays sound enough to stand my ground as a parent. I guess I'm left in this moment hoping those instances will be enough to instill the discipline my daughter needs to be a decent human being and outweigh the times when my judgment may be inhibited by the side effects of my disease. We shall see.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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