I bet I’m not the only mom out there who has to remind her teens to get off their phones. They seriously spend way too much time on them, and really, we all do! I find myself caught in the black hole too — texting, checking emails, scrolling through social media, researching random stuff on the internet, or finding the latest funny video. To help us all stay off our screens, we have set up certain rules in our house and created “No Phone Zones.” It works well, but each of us still needs reminders so that we don’t become addicted to our devices. The only downside of our solution is that sometimes when I need to get ahold of one of my kids, they don’t pick up! How’s that for a double-edged sword? I’m constantly telling them to get off their phones, but boy do I get mad if they don’t answer when I call or text.
Simply being able to get ahold of Kaitlyn was the whole reason we got her a phone in the first place. She got one even before her two older siblings, because we justified her using it as a type 1 diabetes tool. Being able to see her numbers via the continuous glucose monitor (CGM) app while she was away from us was a huge advantage. Now that her phone has become more than just a medical device, we are having a hard time helping her limit how much time she spends on it while still always having it with her as the diabetes tool we need.
Recently, there were several occasions in which Kaitlyn was out of the house and when I tried calling her she had actually left her phone at home. There’s nothing like calling your daughter only to hear her phone ring right next to you! Not only was I frustrated that I couldn’t get ahold of her, but I worried that if she needed me (especially for any diabetes-related issue), she wouldn’t be able to call me either. We sat her down and firmly explained that this wasn’t okay and that she needed to be better about always having it with her. Little did I know that karma was waiting for me just around the corner.
The very next day, Kaitlyn’s school nurse tried to call me on my cell phone. And I didn’t pick up. For 45 minutes, she was trying to get ahold of me on both my cell and my home phone, but I wasn’t paying attention. When I finally picked up my phone and saw the multiple missed calls and messages, I called her back and found out that Kaitlyn had been in the office for almost an hour with blood sugar levels above 500. We had changed her pump site that morning, and in the rush of putting on the new site and getting out the door to school, she forgot to dose for her (apparently quite large) breakfast. The nurse was doing what she could to help Kaitlyn’s number come down, but Kaitlyn felt awful and she tested positive for moderate ketones.
I rushed over to the school to pick her up and apologized profusely for being so hard to reach. When we got in the car to come home, I looked at her and I said, “I know. I know! I should have answered my phone!” I got a taste of my own medicine that day, and we both decided to try a little harder to be more diligent about keeping track of our phones… but also understanding that we’re both just trying to do our best.
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.