The other night at bedtime I asked my teen what his blood glucose (BG) number was. Five point five,” he yelled back from his bedroom.
“Perfect,” said my husband, reaching over to turn his light off.
“Not quite,” I said. My response was almost automatic. A 5.5 reading is in fact considered perfect blood sugar – there’s even a Facebook group where people post their 5.5 readings. But for me, that’s a perfect blood sugar during the day, a bit too close to the edge of hypoglycemia for me to bid my son goodnight. I sent my son for a small yogurt to top up his blood sugar. My concern about a fatal nighttime hypoglycemia is never far from my mind.
The incident was a reminder that each of us has a different magic number, a blood glucose reading at which we are most comfortable. My husband is more of a risk taker, as he is in many of his parenting decisions. Usually I am the more cautious of the two.
Neither of us is more right than the other. However, this difference in approach can be a spot for friction between parents. This is another area where communicating about diabetes and our feelings is key to avoiding escalating tension. If this is an issue in your home, take the opportunity and step back to assess what is behind your magic number. Is fear driving your choices? If so, is your fear reasonable? Ask yourself if your magic BG number before bed or before, say leaving the house, is negatively impacting your child’s overall health.
Dr. Michael Vallis, is a psychologist who helps adults manage the stress and emotion of living with diabetes. Sometimes when he probes what is behind a higher than desired A1C, it’s the person’s comfort level with a certain BG number. In one case the patient’s magic number was 14 before he would leave his house without fear of hypoglycemia. Dr. Vallis used behavior modification to slowly adjust the patient’s comfort level about leaving home with a lower blood glucose. Before Dr. Vallis could address this issue, the patient needed to share his fear and admit that it was impacting his behaviour around his diabetes care.
As parents we need to assess how fear or other emotions could be impacting how we respond to diabetes. The same is true fears for our partner and our child.
Is fear or another emotion impacting your child’s diabetes care in a negative way? LeBretonSue
In my book, Parenting Joyfully When Your Child Has Diabetes, you will find tips and testimonials to encourage you to care for your child, yourself and your family. My book offers advice on how to cope with diabetes over the long term and we all know this is a lifelong disease.