Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Teenage Diabetic Brain

My Teenage Brain
I have one of these living in my midst. Yes a teenage diabetic brain. She is one of, the three to treat. I must discuss recent happenings in hopes to relate or get support. 

Okay I know that most teens have limited capacity to focus, as they are concerned about social events, sports, and in our case fashion and hair.

My daughter has really taken the diabetes thing in stride, seriously since 11 she has injected, tested, gone to appointments, learned about carbs, exercise and other intricacies in relation to managing diabetes. Is her diabetes well controlled? Well not perfect but well enough. I was never harassed about my diabetes from my parents. They kept me safe, ensured I took my shots, ate my meals and snacks, and that was it. Never nagged and therefore I never had any anger towards them. I could essentially be a kid with "D" in the background.

I must say that we attempt to do the same with our D kids. But I note that lately, I have to ask her to test, like in the mornings on my way out the door, I'll pause, and ask, "Did you test?" and she will put down the backpack and hair brush, and proceed to test. I really try not to lecture but this is happening all the time, like everyday.  She will go to her friend and forget her supplies, get home from school and say "I haven't taken any insulin today because I didn't eat" or my least favorite, she injects blindly, basically having know clue what her glucose is and taking a whopping dose based on her teenage brains strange calculation.

Scary stuff! I know. I have discussed this calmly, more times then I can remember. Still no change. Yes I've called off sleepovers and events as a consequence, taken her phone away, she still doesn't have it back, but I feel guilty as I know diabetes is a supreme pain and inconvenience in our everyday life. And I know it just isn't important to her.

Question is I am honestly at a loss....what do I do next, lock her in the house? Duck tape an insulin pump to her? What?!  Sorry just frustrated. I certainly can't be there to remind her every time she chooses to eat to remind her to count the carb and take the appropriate amount of insulin. Trust me I've considered it. There is the option of NPH, but then I fear lows and rebounds.

You'd think in a house full of D, my child would be a superstar, that just ain't so. I just want her safe. Any ideas would be very much appreciated.


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Nikki of Our Diabetic Warrior said...

Trev, my heart goes out to you. My son is still young so I can't give advice. Did you try and talk with the doctor about it yet? Is there a way you can download her blood glucose levels to analyze?

I'm sure someone in the DOC has been through this. I hope they can help you.

Trev said...

Thanks....I am even having difficulty getting her to use her own meter and not mine or her little sisters, I am just hoping to keep the communication flowing...Trev

Nikki of Our Diabetic Warrior said...

Maybe instead of taking things away - reverse it. If she can present her meter to you with a weeks worth of readings, you could treat her to something (allowance, trip to the mall, etc...)? Just a thought.

Teen years are so hard even without type 1 in the mix.

Jonah said...

Offer to take over the care- don't ask her to check her blood sugar, check it for her. You count her carbs, offer to give her a shot. If you have to remind her everyday to test her blood sugar, her blood sugar is tested just as much as if she was remembering on her own.

When I was 17/18 and struggling, that's what I really wanted somebody to do for me.

bflohockeymom said...

How old is she? (this is my first time on your blog) I have a 13 year old doing the same thing. I nearly fell over last week when she said she forgot her OmniPod when she went to school so she just didn't eat any lunch so she wouldn't need insulin. *sigh* I can feel your frustration because you would think with a parent and sibling with D it would just be a given that she takes care of herself. I know not everyone would agree but I think taking things away as a consequence is the right start. You're not punishing her because of D; this is part of her responsibilities and she's not taking care of them. I have told my daughter before "yes, it sucks that you have D and I'd do anything to take it from you but I can't and you MUST take responsibility for it and keep yourself safe." The blindly bolusing is very scary. I would definitely talk to her dr to see if there are any teen resources around you that could help her. A counselor who specializes in D teens, a support group, etc. You do know how she feels more than most parents of D kids do but she is a different person and we all know D differs in every person. Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 16 and was diagnosed at 11. She was really good at staying on top of her diabetes. I would ask her if she took her blood sugar, insulin etc. She always told me she did. I was so proud of her. She had such good management that her doctors office had her interviewed by interns for a study on children with Type 1.

Then, it just recently all turned around. She had an appointment with her endo. While we were there, they downloaded her meter. Her A1C was 9. She has never been that high. Without me having to say a word, the PA came in and read Amber the riot act. She did not hold back. She told me that Amber was not taking her blood sugar. The only time she was taking it was around dinner time (which is obviously when she was with the family). She wears the OmniPod pump. So we could tell that she was not taking insulin either. She was high all the time.

Amber has her license and I have told her that she needs to take her BS before getting behind the wheel of the car. She had not been doing that either. Well, the PA told her that driving is a privilege and that she needed to take her BS before driving. She told her in front of me that if she did not do that and text me the numbers then I should be taking her keys away. Which I agreed to do. She also explained to Amber that if she was pulled over during a low or in an accident during a low, she would more than likely be treated as a drunk driver. She would be taken to jail at which time hopefully the officers would realize that she was a diabetic. She laso went on to tell her that if she kept the highs then she could end up on dialysis within 5 years. A friend of mine who is a nurse told me to take Amber to the hospital to see what dialysis really is. This PA did not hold back. I am really glad. It is harsh. But, my daughter was getting tired of hearing it from me and felt she had it all under control. As all teenagers, she felt indispensible.

Sorry for the long story. Anyway, this really scared Amber. When we left she was crying and handed me her car keys. She said "I do not deserve to drive." She insisted that I drive. This whole incident broke my heart and was very hard. But, it really helped. Amber started taking care of herself. She still has moments that she forgets. Which I understand. I cannot imagine having to deal with all that she has to deal with everyday for the last 5 years. I hope this helps. Sometimes, when someone besides mom lays down the line, it makes more of an impact.

Anonymous said...

i have to say as a mom of T1 but only 9yrs i am not looking forward to this b/c i do have a 15 yr with ADHD but, not a T1 and if you are to take the T1 out of the equation this sounds like my 15 yr with that said what we found that what helped with him just taking a shower, brushing teeth,deodorant yes even these simple things and then add T1 on top of taking care of ones self i am not looking forward to being in these shoes other then getting to 15 but we did a couple things 1. we offered rewards for just doing what he should over a period of time like money was a real motivator for him and tapper off as he did better 2. we also printed out posters with the 3 most important things we wanted him to make sure he did every day and posted one on his BR door, 1 on the the door on the way out to school, 1 on the cabinet where he gets his BK, and one in the bathroom, this has made a huge improvement b/c his reason was he just simply would forget with all the teen stuff he has going on 3. we would at last resort have him do a small essay b4 doing any thing else for the day llike 200 words, why this or that needs to be done for his health and safety, though this he found he learned a lot to as why we asked this of him, this was never to be give like it was a punish meant, but more to as why it is important other than we says so , so he would have to go like on the net and find why this was important, i hope you get the gist of what i am trying to say but i have found punishment does not work for him at least far as taking care of himself, now if he was down right bad that another story erica henson sorry not sure how to post other than anonymous

Anonymous said...

Such a tough one! I have two T1-D kids. My 16 year old daughter was diagnosed at age 5, and my 14 year old son dxd just last Nov. I have to say that my son's diagnosis really impacted his sister. I had pretty much given her the reigns a couple of years ago because she is such a responsible kid, a straight A student, and high achiever. I was VERY surprised when I took them both in for appts together to find out that she had not even been testing twice a day sometimes, SCARY! I would ask her, she would say, yeah I did, or I will. AFTER my son was dxd, she started paying much closer attention again and got her A1C down again.

My son is still learning, but, yes, I have to nag him a lot. He will tell me he's done everything and then I check his meter and he hasn't. I finally started saying, "If I check your meter, will it say that?". Then he fesses up and says sheepishly, "no..." and goes to get it. Soooooo frustrating!! I can relate. Fortunately, they have an endo that is very good with teens and understands the rebellion. He works with them from their perspective, being encouraging without making them feel guilty about it. I think that helps. I think we just need to keep them alive during this stage, knowing that they will get past it. We need a cure YESTERDAY!!!

Laura said...

Hi Trev. I also have a “Teenage Diabetic Brain” living at my house. *Sigh* No advice, sorry. I have two daughters with T1D. The older will be 16 in Aug. We deal with forgotten checks, continuous snacking, and an overall don’t want to think or talk about D. Her attitude is “I bolus and check (99% time) but I don’t want to think or talk about it after that.” Those are some scary words to a parent of a T1D that will leave for college in 3 years. But then she’ll surprise me with blousing for a huge tub of movie popcorn by feel and counting handfuls and come out with a great number. She must be absorbing information so I’ll continue to speak out loud all my D calculations and decision making. Looking like some crazy, sleep deprived loony. And when I take a step back, I see that she is not managing the way *I* want her to but not too badly overall, really. So right now I’m just quietly always reminding and trying to veil the teaching. I get a little louder when a safety lesson comes up. Like after an activity she was laying on the couch, hungry and tired and on the verge of napping.
ME: “You should check.”
Older: “I’m tired.”
ME: “Your body is telling you to check.”
Older: grunt
I made her check and she was 60(3.3).
Older: “See, I told you I was hungry.”

Steph said...

I understand what you mean - teenagers....ughhhh! I am constantly reminding my son to test. Every couple of hours while I am at work I am calling or texting. I hate hounding him but if I let him slide he will think it is ok and it is far from ok. I look at it like anything else I have to teach him. I have to be consistant and have clear cut rules that we follow. He has certain times/situations he has to test and it is his responsibility to do it. T1D doesn't follow rules but I have to make sure he is prepared for any curve it will throw him. I know he gets tired and sometimes just wants to forget but unfortunately he can't. I don't have any advice on how to "make her" do what she needs to. Just keep trying and watching. Sometimes that is all we can do until the teenage brain clicks to the next cycle.

Scrap'N'Play said...

Trev, I have one of these in my house as well. It's been hard, but we cope as best we can. Unfortunately, we have found recently that my daughter's brain just doesn't function as well as others her age and we are waiting to see the neurologist because of it. They can't tell me whether it's because of her diabetes or just teenageristus. My daughter also has PCOS so is on a very high dose of insulin through her pump so if she misses that dose, it's very hard on her body. It took a week stay in PICU for it to click into my daughter that she can't miss doses and tell me she has done it. She was in a coma for 3 days because of DKA. Hopefully it won't take something like that to clue her in. We talked to her endo as well as her psych to try and get something in place for her. They had us write up a contract that said she would do her tests, needles, etc and she would get x after one week, y after 2 weeks and then something else after a month. Yes it was bribery, but she got to see how she felt with normal blood sugars. Hopefully something in this rambling will help. Stacy

Trev said...

Thank-you all for your comments, it is nice to know we're not alone, and I will add a little structure, positive reinforecment, and offer to take over her D for a bit(Thx Jonah) so she can focus on being a kid. The intense regimes are taxing compared to the old days. I definately look forward to future brain development : )

Anonymous said...

We have a 15 year old DD with Type 1 since 8. She is very good about checking blood sugars, obsessive about it, but does not know or bother to look up carb counts for food in restaurants or when she is out, just SWAGs it. Consequently, if she eats out she is high most of the time. However she does test two hours after eating and corrects. She has apps on her phone. Since she is always high when SWAGGING as she underestimates her carbs, I change the ICR down from 6pm thru midnight on her pump. This has helped. I agree with the person who suggested you visit a dialysis unit. Though I'm sure our endo would not agree with this method. Shock and awe.... I think it would work. P.S. Even now, at 16, when home, we take over most of the D care, taking most of the blood sugars or else going in and having her take them while we wait for the number. We have always done this and she knows we log in her numbers manually in a log book afterwards. In fact, if we start walking away before getting the number she'll call us back. This care at home is an ingrained habit. I don't know if it would work if you had not always done it this way. But taking over the D care at home makes it less onerous for her to take it over completely when she is away from us, I believe. She has not burned out yet.

mollyjade said...

I saw this linked on D-mine. My two cents as a former teenage-brained type 1 who did some stupid stuff.

I would take her out somewhere just the two of you, sit down with a sheet of paper, and each of you write down ideas on what she can do to develop better habits. Really listen to her ideas. She might come up with things you'd never think of, and she might be struggling with things you never even considered.

And then together go through and cross out any that won't really work (like "just don't test") and try to come to a consensus about what to do.

Sysy said...

Wow, I've so been there and done that. I was diagnosed at 11 and...even though I wanted to do all the right things, I genuinely was so preoccupied with normal teenage things that I would often forget all my diabetes routine. Johah's advice is exactly what I wanted someone to do for me when I was that age. My parents were busy with 4 other kids, another which had type 1, too, and so I didn't ask for this type of help but it's what I desperately wanted because I didn't want to feel sick. Once I was 21 I was much more motivated to take care of myself better and do things all on my own willpower but for a while there it was just not on my mind. good luck, this is a really tough stage for kids and their parents. I like that you care about her health and her feelings, that's awesome :)