Over the years I’ve read countless books, blog posts, and forum questions; attended seminars;and entered many conversations and discussions with diabetes professionals. Since James’ diagnosis, I have learned A LOT of stuff about diabetes. So I tend to take it for granted that James knows these things too. Right? Because he’s always been RIGHT THERE. He’s been at all the endocrinologist visits. He attended the conferences, and I’m sure he’s heard me talk about diabetes at least a few hundred times.
Except maybe he really hasn’t. Because until he was about 9 or 10, he frankly had little interest in anything diabetes-related. And even now he has a remarkable talent for tuning me out unless I address him directly. And even when I do, I’m not totally sure that he’s paying attention to the same things that I am, if that makes sense.
You get the picture. I had a realization the other night as I was talking to some friends that, while I’ve had this amazing educational opportunity to learn every little detail about diabetes, James has not. He was too little in the beginning, then he was a bit unwilling, and now I suppose I just expect that he knows the stuff that I’ve worked so hard to learn. But he doesn’t. How could he? While he’s probably picked up on a lot, there are also probably some significant holes in his knowledge base. When I’ve been doing the care and shouldering all the physical and emotional tasks associated with it, he hasn’t had the opportunity to become his own “expert” like I have.
Things are going to change. James and I are going to be attending what I call “Diabetes University.” He’s going to learn about how diabetes works, what skills and techniques work best when dealing with diabetes, and all the rest of it. He’s going to get the full story. He’s ready. And time is short between now and when ultimately he’ll take over the large majority of his own self-care!
Of course, it will be run quite unlike any university that I’ve attended. No large lecture classes or blue book tests for us. Instead, it will be kind of the opposite model. It will be just the two of us, and we’ll discuss things as they happen. Of course, we’ll continue to work together with our diabetes care team and benefit from their teachings. But also, as we test blood sugar, we’ll talk about what that term really means. When he is hungry and ready to eat, we’ll talk about how different foods affect his blood sugar. When it’s time to replace a pump infusion set, we’ll talk about his body and how it’s holding up. Talk. It’s how I’m going to get James up to speed!
Because he is smart. And he is increasingly capable of intuitively understanding the mechanics of diabetes. I know him. I think he’ll like to know the science. I think his curious mind will drive him. It’s time.
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.