Evan and I just got back from an awesome trip to Boston and New York. We had the best time, but it was the longest we had ever left Kaitlyn and the rest of the kids since her type 1 diabetes diagnosis almost five years ago. Luckily, my mom and dad are just about the nicest people in the world and were happy to take the kids while we were gone. But it was not without a lot of preparation and worry that we got on that airplane.
When we first decided to go, Evan and I were so excited, and we really didn’t think much about the details. We went ahead and bought the tickets and just figured that it would all work out. As the trip got closer, I had the familiar feeling of panic that seems to come before I leave my kids with anyone. It’s not that I don’t think they will be okay—I wouldn’t leave them if I were worried about their safety. I mostly worried about my mom and dad and how they would survive the week and still want to see us ever again!
Here were my worries and how we decided to handle them:
The homework routine.
Maybe it’s silly, but I think this was my biggest worry. It takes us hours every night to help the kids get through their homework even when they’re home in their regular routine. They also depend on me a lot to check their work and make sure they have everything completed and correct. This is an overwhelming task for me, and I’m their mom! My parents are great, but I worried a full week of homework would be too much for them to handle. I decided to get as much done as we possibly could before we left. We told the teachers that we would be leaving town, and we got some of the work ahead of time. The day before we left, the kids pretty much did homework all day, so that they would have minimal work while we were gone. I also called the kids each night while we were away to go over their assignments with them.
Food and dosing.
This was another one of my worries, because it takes a lot of time and effort to take care of Kaitlyn’s food and dosing needs. I decided to send a bunch of food with the kids that I knew they would like, with all the carb counts ready to go. I also decided that it would just be easier if we planned one lunch that Kaitlyn would eat every day at school and wrote the carb counts in Kaitlyn’s book ahead of time. We chose Kaitlyn’s favorite foods, and she survived eating the same thing every day. It was just one week!
We were gone a week, and so that meant at least two site changes while we were gone. Luckily my dad has gotten pretty good at these. A while back, we took a video of ourselves changing Kaitlyn’s site so that he could reference it if he ever needed it. We also had him change both the pump site and the CGM site the night before we left, so that he could have fresh practice doing it while we were still around to answer questions.
That was pretty much it. It was a long and tiring week for my parents, but everything went just fine. The kids loved being at Grandma and Grandpa’s house! My dad even made the comment that he had a new appreciation for what I do every day and that I deserve all the vacations I can get! It made me smile and realize that even though it’s hard to get away, it’s totally worth it to have a vacation once in a while!
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.