Recently, I found out about a very scary situation in which my friend’s daughter with type 1 diabetes found herself. She had a severe hypoglycemic attack while she was at school. She was sent to the nurse’s office by herself and collapsed several times on her way there. Her blood sugar went so low that by the time she hobbled into the office, she couldn’t walk or speak. She said later that she was so scared. The office staff was able to give her sugar and get her back in range, but it was a very traumatic experience that she will probably remember for the rest of her life.
My friend posted all about this on social media, and while everyone was trying to offer up love and comfort, many of the comments also focused on what they could have done or should have done differently to avoid the situation. Why didn’t her daughter have a buddy with her? The teacher should have sent her sooner. Why hadn’t she tested more frequently? Somebody must have given her an incorrect bolus! Even I caught myself trying to give advice about getting a continuous glucose monitoring system to catch those lows. All of these well-meaning people were just trying to help, but I couldn’t help think about how all of it was making her feel worse than she already did. She was already beating herself up about not educating the teacher well enough or putting better procedures in place.
Once in a while, bad things happen. And although it’s really important to learn from mistakes and figure out how to be more prepared, sometimes we just need someone to listen and offer up love and support rather than make us feel worse about what we did or didn’t do. I probably sound like I’m describing a wife talking to her husband, right? “I just need someone to listen, not fix the problem!”
None of us are perfect parents, and I for one know that I have made just about every mistake in the book when it comes to diabetes. It’s a hard task we’re faced with, and I hope we can all give each other the benefit of the doubt. So here’s a plea to all of you T1D parents out there: Let’s do a little less blaming and pointing fingers and do a little more supporting, complimenting, and congratulating on the good things we do every day.
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.