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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Decision Tree

She was 140 when Mr. Rose dropped her off for her church class.

I immediately thought about what time her last bolus was, and knew in my gut that she'd need 2 Starbursts for a boost.  I sat through the service feeling distracted.  I kept checking my phone, and couldn't stop replaying the scenario in my mind.

When I arrived to pick her up, she told me that half way through she felt low and tested -- 83.
She treated herself with 2 Starbursts, and was feeling totally fine.

2 Starbursts.

I knew it.

For some reason, this seemingly normal, routine, incidental part of our life felt much bigger at that moment.

It felt downright HUGE.

At first I couldn't put my finger on it.  I mean, she's been testing her own blood sugar for years.
She's spot on when recognizing her lows, and she knows how to read labels for carb counts.

It was just another fingerprick, right?

Every time a number flashes on the glucometer screen, there are a million variables that run through my brain.  When was the last bolus, has she had recent physical activity, what type of carbs did she eat last, have there been recent changes to her pump settings...and on and on and on...

In my mind, there's this decision this if you get that and these variables are this if you get that and those variables are present.  When all else fails, stand on your head while balancing a crystal glass of wine on your big toe.


How did she know?

How did she know that 2 Starbursts would do the trick?

As opposed to 3 Starbursts...or a juice box...or both?

This is one of the most difficult aspects to managing diabetes.

The decision tree.

The flicker of thoughts that automatically start scrolling as you decide what action to take next.  They're like reflexes or breathing or something.

You can't put it on paper.  You can't tell someone how to manage every possible scenario that could exist at any given moment.

Yet I'm her mom.  I feel like it's my job to take notes about her diabetes experiences.  I should be authoring a life manual for her personal reference when she's all grown up.  It's my job to TEACH her why 2 Starbursts were the answer on that particular day, given those particular set of variables.

I've read the books.  I manage her numbers.  I'm in control of the pump.  I know which types of exercise cause drama.  I talk to the doctors.  I learn from others in the DOC.

Even still, I don't know.

I don't know how I knew that 2 Starbursts would be the right thing to do.

I just did.

And, apparently, so did she.

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  1. I think our kids are like little sponges. They pick up EVERYTHING we say and do. Andrew will chime in every now and then when I'm talking to myself about what to do in a particular diabetes situation.

    Our D-kids are bright little people!!!!!!! Way to rock those Starbursts!

  2. A sixth sense. Intuition. Gut feelings. Experience. No matter what you call it, you know it, and so does Sugar. She's been observing and absorbing your every action for the past several years. She knows. And I'd agree; that's HUGE!!!!

  3. That is the hardest part about having someone else try to manage D...all the nuances that just can't be written. The number alone does not determine the action to take, all the other variables need to be considered. Our kids LIVE this stuff and really pick up on our way of doing thing...even our NON-D kiddos! My oldest son can do this better than me sometimes!

  4. "It's my job to TEACH her why 2 Starbursts were the answer on that particular day, given those particular set of variables."

    And apparently, you did. You may not even know how or when you taught her that, but you did. Kids pick up all kinds of things. Now, the important question.... What do they learn from you that you wish they wouldn't? ;)

  5. You are so spot on with this post Wendy! The variables. Oh those nasty variables. They will be the death of me, I fear! BUT, I have not yet tried standing on my head balancing a crystal glass of wine on my big toe...that might help!

  6. Great post, Wendy. Now, I want some Starburst...

  7. I love that she felt able to do all of that without checking in first, I love that she's got the maturity and ability to handle these situations. I believe you have taught her even more than you know. Hope you guys have a great weekend ;)

  8. Sugar is doing so well in figuring out what works for taught her that. You have been teaching her for years. You have been teaching us. Love you. xo

  9. fantastic post....i agree with all of the above, you have taught her without even knowing you taught're an amazing Momma!

  10. Oh I love this. Great post. And a testament to what a great mamma you are!

  11. You should be proud. Cause while you don't how you knew yet you did, so did she! You're molding an amazing young woman and PWD. She's a lucky kiddo.

    Sorry I've been mia. Love u!

  12. You are a great teacher, and she's a smart girl! You are both inspiring to me!!!! :)

  13. This is awesome! I mean really, really awesome!! It makes me smile! Way to go Sugar - and Mama!!

    And it also helps me see our journey... Look down the road. Sweets does not feel her lows. She would no idea what to do exactly. She's 5. But.... She will learn. As we keep walking ths road. I love hearing these experiences from those walking ahead of us!

  14. This post totally speaks to me right now! It is impossible to explain it to people! Ellie started Kindergarten this year and I found myself completely blank when trying to explain to the school nurse why we would give her a juice, or half a juice, or no juice or a peanut butter cracker, or etc...depending on the number or the activity! I said "I don't know, give me a minute to figure it out" 50 times the first week she was in class! I felt like a total nut most of the time! I really didn't appreciate how much we do until I had to EXPLAIN it to someone who was trying to do it! For 5 years old Ellie does really well, but she's basic, if the number is 2 numbers drink a juice, otherwise she's good! I'm proud of her for that, but there is sooooo much more that child is going to have to learn! Thanks for the glimps into your experience! I love it! She did perfectly and you didn't have to write it out for her! She's going to do great! ((hugs))

  15. you don't have to author the life manual, because she's right alongside you, and you're writing it together. :)

  16. Its certainly a com plex disease you learn on the job. Good work both of you.

  17. You're obviously doing a great job with Sugar! It's amazing what our kiddos pick up that we don't even realize we're teaching them. Charlotte has been picking little things up here and there. I have to wonder too if for her just knowing how she's felt at certain numbers gives her more of a clue how to treat than me just seeing that number pop up on the meter screen...regardless I'm just glad she's figuring it all out so that she can help herself when I may not be right there with her at the moment. Wish they didn't have to know all of this though....bittersweet!

  18. The Decision Tree--I love it! And you are obviously doing a great job of passing on all your knowledge!


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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.