I have a twelve year old. She is chronically ill. But she’s still twelve, and what I’m about to write is all “developmentally appropriate” but man, it burns me.
For the past couple of weeks, her blood sugars have been erratic. I had been adjusting, modifying her basal rate, her insulin to carb ratio. Wondering, is she growing? Is she getting sick? What am I missing?
The endocrinologist was perplexed too. Blood sugar was rising at an unusual time. Between dinner and midnight. She asked me, “Is she having late night snacks?”
My answer was no. But my answer was wrong.
Wendy was having unauthorized snacks after Michael and I went to bed.
I had noticed that some of the food had gone missing, bags of rice cakes, chips, pretzels, but I thought Michael was working late, we’ve had guests, maybe I’d miscounted. I’d noticed that we were going through more fruit snacks than usual, which we use to raise Wendy’s bloods sugar. But maybe they were tucked away in bags, for sports or the beach, or whatever.
It dawned on me at 2 am this morning. 2 am is when we check Wendy’s blood sugar every night. The last few weeks, between her bedtime and our bedtime, she’d come downstairs a few times, ostensibly to get the cat, or check her sugar, or say hello. It seemed a little odd, but it was summer vacation, we thought it was just a new schedule, no big deal.
So as we were going to bed last night, she had checked her sugar, and it was 115.
When we checked it at 2 am, it was HIGH, which means it’s so high that the meter can’t read it.
Which means it was over 500.
So, from 115 to over 500 in four hours……hmmm…..fishy.
I asked Michael if I could see the continuous glucose monitor…..And sure enough, right at the time Michael and I went to bed, her blood sugar skyrocketed. It was clear, she was sneaking food.
The question then became how to address it.
Here’s what I did. I took her garbage can and brought it downstairs. Then after she woke up, I went into her room and looked under her bed, behind her bed, in her desk drawers, and pulled out a ridiculous amount of bags and wrappers:
I laid them all out in front of Wendy, and I asked her what she thought I would say. Her answers were right:
I wanted to know what she was thinking.
I wanted to know why she did it.
I was going to punish her.
Here’s the part she didn’t know. The part I told her. I decided that today was the day to tell her the complications of long term diabetes. The blindness. The amputation. The difficulty in wound healing. I decided to tell her all of the things I feared might happen to her when she was older. The reason why her father and I were on top of her sugars all of the time, that these were cumulative effects. That carelessness now would result in pain later. That her father and I felt a terrific responsibility to keep her as healthy as possible now so that she could be a healthy 90 year old with great-grandkids.
I told her that we’ve always told her that we are a team, and that I wasn’t angry (I’m really not), but I am terribly disappointed, because she let the team down.
We are only as strong as our weakest link, and today she was the weakest link.
To her credit, she accepted her punishment, being grounded and no electronics for a week. She apologized. She understood. She also knows, I think, that it’s going to take time to repair the trust that was broken, but it’s not an impossible task. She’s a good kid, she’s got a lot of health problems, and she’s testing her boundaries. I TOTALLY GET IT. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard for me because it kills me.
I want to protect her from everything, even herself.
I read her this post, before I published.
3 thoughts on “Only As Strong as the Weakest Link”
Very sorry to hear about your daughter’s health. Has she tried a ketogenic diet?
This must have been so hard to address. I admire your willingness to discuss it with her and share it with us. Having a sense of control will become increasingly important to Wendy. I wonder if (when she’s no longer grounded) there are ways to invite her to brainstorm with you and Michael about that.
So very hard. It is her life, but she needs to know the consequences of her decisions. Just as the teen who chooses to drink or smoke or do drugs. Teens- they cannot possibly understand that they need to plan to be alive in thirty years. And kids are getting older younger and younger.