Welcome?

If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Reflection


I was going through some pictures today and I came across this one of my son. I took this just one month after his diagnosis. 

He was so small - around 20 months old. When I look at children that age I still find it hard to believe he was that young. 

We have come so far since that time. I think I only got his pump the day before I took this - I didn't even have it in a pump pack yet as you can see. I was for sure not sleeping, incredibly worried, scared and then some. Fast forward to today, he will be 8 next month. 

He is a happy, and pretty healthy 8 year old that is growing up with T1. For those who are new to this diagnosis: It will be ok. It will be quite a ride. You will learn a lot and sometimes it won't be easy, but it will be ok....

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mom vs Stranger's Opinion

A few weeks ago my son wanted to try a new chicken wing place here. We are not chicken wing eating people every day, but we walked in earlier to use their facilities since my son did not need to go when he left school, and the sports bar-like environment impressed him. Even I was impressed by the size and number of televisions in that place.

Although I felt I had much to do that afternoon, I decided why not? Be the cool parent for a change. Even though we spend a lot of quality time together, he will not be young forever and before I know it, I will not be so cool, and he’ll want to eat chicken wings with his friends.

As we were ordering, he asked me if he could drink a cola. For many families, this is an everyday occurrence. In an effort to just be healthier in general, we only buy them when we are hosting parties or drink the occasional one when out. It is a healthier option for any child, and I save myself. If they are there, I will start drinking them!

I was too tired to bargain on this one. However, it was dinner time and I did not want to be up all night managing blood sugars. For us, I find these things sit better during mid-day. Not sure if it is because the body can use the energy or some other metabolic phenomenon, but I usually notice a late night spike when a sugary drink is involved even if I bolused correctly. 

That day and time, diet cola was the lesser of the two evils. He was perfectly fine with that as we do not drink those much either.

When our waiter came, I ordered two diet colas.  He paused. As he wrote the order he verbalized “One regular and one diet coke”. 

I corrected it politely. “No, that was two diet colas”. He paused again and tilted his head in that funny way to question it. 

I wasn’t sure what was so confusing, but just to reconfirm again I restated the order and “two diet colas”. 

He then he started to mumble and gesture with his hands. 

“Sorry, I do not understand”, I said. He then proceeds to tell me as he motions toward my son, “He is a child. Regular cola is better for him.” Seriously? BETTER? 

Too tired to go into details, I politely state again, “No, two diet colas will be fine”. 

He was quite the persistent waiter. He then tried to reason with me. “Come on, he is a small boy. He needs cola”. Seriously? Who NEEDS cola?

Again, but a little more firmly this time, probably gritting my teeth in order to not shout “No, he doesn’t need regular cola. Two diet colas will be fine.” 

I see my son watching patiently, perhaps almost entertained with widening eyes. It is not the first time he has seen me advocate for something. Fortunately he understands diabetes. 

But yet, the waiter insisted again. Insisting in that shrug your shoulders kind of way as if I am almost abusing my child and depriving him of the essence of childhood. "Come on" he said as he pleaded to me.

My patience had run out long ago. This time I stood up and called the guy to follow me a few tables away. Knowing he would not grasp the whole Type 1 thing in the few seconds that I was willing to spend with him, I left it at “My son is a Type 1 diabetic. I do not want him to have a regular cola right now. Please. Take my advice. Do not question your customers’ choices for their children. Sometimes there are good reasons for this that you may not be aware of”. 

Even saying that felt like too much of an explanation, but that is what came out. I didn’t shout, but there must have been some form of “Are you kidding me?” rage oozing out of my ears because I could see he was surprised. He got the point.

Sigh.

I know he didn’t mean to be rude, or keep insisting. It is not uncommon for people to insist their ideas are right – especially when it comes to children - even though I am pretty sure this guy was too young to have any. 

I have lived in places where it is the norm for strangers to give their advice. I hate it, and even people in those cultures do too, but it still happens. It happens more as I publically manage my son’s diabetes, and he will also come across similar situations where someone will insist that cinnamon will cure it. 

Best I can do is advocate for him, and try to lead by example so he is prepared when it becomes time for self-management. I am not always the best example, but at least this time as I sat  down my son didn’t question me or my response. We carried on talking about his day at school.

Later I asked for more napkins as we enjoyed our messy wings he brought me a mountain of paper. He may still be clueless about Type 1, but hopefully he will not impose on a customer again.

Mom – 1, Stranger imposing their opinion – 0.