If you could pull up your search history from those first nerve-racking days and weeks following your child’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, what would you find? Here’s a peek at what your fellow D-parents say was the first question they googled.
(Important note: Any question is a good question when you’re learning about T1D. And the best place to go for answers is your own diabetes health care provider.)
Does toothpaste have carbs?
“That first night home from the hospital, I literally pulled the toothbrush out of my son’s mouth as he was brushing his teeth before bedtime, because I had no idea if the toothpaste had carbs in it. If it did, I wanted to make sure it was covered. Looking back, yes, I went a little overboard over a pea-sized glob of toothpaste, but I wanted to be sure I was following everything I was told to do to the letter. For the record, I checked with the toothpaste manufacturer’s website and got my answer: 0 carbs!”
—Pauline C., Seattle, mom of 11-year-old Matt
How can I make finger pokes hurt less?
“In the hospital, our CDE [certified diabetes educator] made injections and drawing blood for checks look like a breeze. My son didn’t even flinch when she was the one wielding the finger poker. I practiced with her at the hospital, but after we got home and I was completely in charge of these duties, it was difficult to get into a groove with my squirmy 6-year-old. I googled around for some answers on how to make pokes hurt less, but then I thought about how our CDE had told me to call her with any questions — so I did. Within a few hours, I was back in her office with my son practicing. We did this almost every day for two weeks until my son stopped saying ‘ouch!’ every time I came near him.”
—Karen K., Glens Falls, N.Y., mom of 8-year-old Sam
How do I tell my child’s school about diabetes?
“In those first few weeks, I was just trying to get his type 1 care under control, and getting in touch with the school to start figuring that part out felt so overwhelming. I wanted to find a script that I could use when calling up to explain about my son’s diagnosis and what I needed. My frantic googling, however, brought me something even better. I ended up on the Children with Diabetes site, where I was able to find support from other T1D parents. I used direct quotes from some of them when I called the principal the next day!”
—Sharon D., East Brunswick, N.J., mom of 11-year-old Joey
What happens if you forget to check your child’s blood sugar?
“I was so worried about forgetting a single step in her care routine. Did I change the lancet? Did I swab her finger with the alcohol wipe? Did I rotate fingers? And what might happen if I forgot to do any of these things — or forgot to perform the blood sugar check altogether? I was googling like a madwoman about all the many what-ifs. When I brought this up with our CDE, she suggested that the best way to relieve my worry would be to take practical steps like setting the alarm on my phone for regular check times until I felt like I had the routine down. That little trick worked really well.”
—Molly, Fort Myers, Fla., mom of 8-year-old Cara
How do you organize diabetes stuff?
“Coming home from the hospital, we had medication and diabetes testing kits and all these things that needed batteries and outlets. Where was I supposed to keep it all? My google search for diabetes organization brought me to Pinterest, where I learned the tip that I swear by: Store your kid’s testing supplies in a clear plastic bag or box. It’s all in one place, and you can quickly see if anything is missing.”
—Nicki L., Naples, Fla., mom of 9-year-old Addison
Is ______ a sign of low blood sugar?
“Our CDE had given us a poster that showed symptoms of a low blood sugar and told us to post it in a prominent spot in our house, because she knew we would want to refer to it a lot. Well, she wasn’t kidding. Everything that my child did that was even slightly unusual, I was checking the poster to see if it was a sign of a low, and if it wasn’t on the poster, I was googling to make sure. (And checking her blood sugar, of course!) I’m talking about things like complaining that her foot hurt. Turns out that was a symptom of a splinter!”
—Laurel L., Georgia, mom of 8-year-old Ivy
How do I adjust to getting less sleep at night?
“Overnight checks completely changed my sleep habits, and after a few weeks of our new schedule, I was exhausted. For the most part, I have learned to adjust by sharing overnight duties with my husband, catching a nap whenever I can, and drinking strong coffee. If a little less sleep means my kid stays healthy, I’m in.”
—Danielle, Newton, Mass., mom of 9-year-old Andrew
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.