We have hand signals for soccer. If we need to remind him to test, we’ll tap a forearm because that’s where he tests on his arm. Or if he has to remember to bolus, we make a sign of a V. And we have different things like that so that instead of having to go over to him and make a big deal of it in front of people we just use a quick signal.
We tried not to make too many changes
We tried not to make too many changes. We tried to let her live like a normal four year old at the time. She did have to do her shots and everything, but besides that, swapping up the diet a little bit, and taking it little by little. Now, it’s just like a daily routine for us.
I get it. I hear you.
I just had a conversation with him because his last appointment, he was complaining in the car about having to go. He still doesn’t like it. And I said to him, “Billy, I understand.” You know, I had listened for a while. I’m like, “Billy, I get it. I hear you. You don’t want to spend your time doing this.” And I’m sympathetic. “I don’t really want to be in the car driving all the way to Waltham either, but it’s ok. Can we take a moment and realize how many children do not have health insurance and how lucky you are to be getting your doctor for your care?” We’re so blessed, you know what I mean? And so I think that helped him. Just in that moment he paused.
Dealing with resistance
I think a lot of it is just talking to him. I mean, ultimately he’s going either way, but instead of grabbing him by the arm and dragging him, I sit him down and talk to him and explain that it is a lot better now and the more time that goes by, it would require more times ultimately in the hospital or more tests being done. I tell him not so much specifics; you know the long term outcomes, but just tell him that it is to his benefit now and he’ll have less to worry about at the end. I’ve never found resistance after sitting down and talking to him.
Billy keeps his own counsel. He’s never talked to me about diabetes or about friends or about anything really. We talk sports, we talk school. He’s a kid that I’m not really intimate with, but he’s become closer to my husband. Charlie takes him out to breakfast every Friday, and they play chess. I’m not sure he talks about his diabetes with Charlie. I don’t know who he talks about his–I would be surprised if he talks about it with anyone. He’s very matter of fact and if he has any deep seeded worries, he doesn’t seem to express them.
We don’t make it a big part of our conversation
Often times, what you’ll find as a parent of a kid with diabetes is that you go the store and someone will say, “Oh I haven’t seen you in so long, but I heard Billy has diabetes. My aunt had diabetes, but she died of it. I know, Billy, that won’t happen to you, but she lost both her legs then she was blind.” And you hear these people in front of you kid and I would always say to him, “First of all, that’s type II and second of all, that might have been someone who didn’t have great medical care or know how to take care of themselves.” So that’s kind of how that conversation went, but in terms of his diabetes we’re all a very open family so people around us know Billy has it. But we don’t make it a big part of our conversation.
This is his challenge in life
As an adult, you certainly don’t want your kid to have to take shots, especially when they seem a little bit painful. We were lucky that Billy never reacted particularly negatively to shots, but depending on the time of day and his mood, shots may hurt more or less. If you’re kind of cranky late at night and all of a sudden, Dad is giving you a shot that’s not going to feel so good.
What I found was that I became more critical about it. You know, this is what Billy’s life is about. This is what he needs to do to take care of himself. This is his challenge in life. I have felt that I could deal with it best once I got over feeling sorry for him or for feeling sorry for myself about what our life has become and what has to happen now with my child. This is just what we do. So it got to the point that not that shots are routine like brushing your teeth, but you don’t feel sorry for yourself that you have to brush your teeth and take care of yourself. And by having that attitude about approaching shots or approaching all the needs of your child, it just becomes what you do in life. I find that your child may have certain emotions about it, but the steadier that you are as the parent, that “Hey, this is just the way things are and everyone has their own challenges”, the easier it is for your child to deal with that.