The other night, I read a blog post written by a diabetes nurse educator from Texas. Not only does she herself have type 1 diabetes, but so does her husband. And not only does he have T1, but he's also an endocrinologist. Talk about an opportunity to offer insight and compassion from a unique perspective!
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
She was writing from diabetes camp, where hundreds of children with type 1 diabetes (and their parents) are depending on her, and probably (hopefully) have no idea they were the targets of such an intensely derogatory rant.
In her post, she called kids with T1 "pusses" - which she later changed to "wusses" - and blasted today's parents for "coddling" tomorrow's generation of adults with type 1 diabetes. She was downright furious that some kids use EMLA/ice numbing prior to site insertions, and blasted parents who check their child's blood sugar overnight. Her tone was harsh, degrading, and hurtful to say the least. It was obvious that she didn't care how the post would affect her readers, even though she acknowledged in a previous post that many of her followers are mothers who are raising a child with diabetes.
(FYI -- I would link to the post, except the author took it down, and I don't want to drive traffic to her blog after such a humiliating rant directed at parents like me.)
Now, listen. I've been a R.N. since 1995. Nurses aren't always kind to each other. They can be egotistical and tote a "been-there-done-that" attitude. Often they're known to be prideful, judgmental, and downright argumentative with each other. Sometimes they fall into the trap that there's ONLY one way to do something -- and that's THEIR WAY. Period. The nursing field tends to full of women...and, let's face it, WOMEN = DRAMA. Come on, you know it. Women can be catty...and when you combine large groups of opinionated, egotistical, catty women, it only makes matters worse. Articles addressing this issue and other commentary can be found all over the net.
It's not just MY perception. It's a real problem.
Anyway, as I was reading her post, it felt as though I could have been standing at a nurses station, listening to her vent about what a horrible patient load she had, and how miserable all of her whiny patients were making her.
Except we weren't at a nurses station.
And I'm not a colleague.
And the horrible whiny team assignment she was complaining about could have included my child.
Trust me, reading her rant really made me think twice about sending Sugar to camp next summer. I hope this is the exception, and not the rule. I'd hate to send my daughter off to be fed to the lions (ehum, *big* hint there about which camp she was representing) because someone decides they don't like the way I'm parenting her.
But I digress.
It made me sad, really. Sad that she was representing my profession with such a lack of compassion. Sad that there were parents trusting her with their beloved children. Sad that there were children who were being called names and humiliated because she doesn't like the way they're managing their diabetes.
Can I just ask...what's the big deal with EMLA? I mean, does it REALLY matter if a child/family chooses to use it? In the big picture, who really cares? If a kid grows up and wants to use it as an adult, is it really causing a problem for the rest of society? Big whoop!
Sure, there will be times that you can't wait an hour before inserting the site. I get that. And I think the kids using EMLA get that. But SO WHAT if there are kids who prefer to use EMLA for routine site insertions. As long as they're testing, rotating, counting carbs, and learning to take care of themselves, isn't THAT what matters? Why take it so personally?
For the record, my daughter used EMLA when she first began pumping, at age 3. Somehow over the past 4.5 years, it's been phased out of our site change routine. She does ask to use it for Dexcom insertions, and we're happy to oblige. If you have a problem with that, come to me...but don't drag my kid's reputation through the fire on your blog because you're upset with how I parent my child with diabetes, okay?
And overnight testing...I test my daughter every night. She wears an insulin pump. The risk of DKA is too high for my comfort level. (You thought I was going to say lows, didn't you? Yeah, lows scare me, but I'll get to them in a minute.) At any rate, I would never go 8-12 hours without testing her blood sugar during the day, so why should I do it overnight? I test to make sure her insulin infusion hasn't been interrupted. I test to make sure there aren't any alarms going off that she/we could be sleeping through. I test to make sure she doesn't need a correction so she can start her day without being in the residual haze of a high blood sugar.
And I test, because I have a healthy fear of low blood sugars. In fact, I've caught them several times. Overnight low blood sugars happen. Michael, Lee Ann, Sarah, and Kerri. They're all healthy adults, active in the diabetes online community, and they've all had some overnight low blood sugar doozies. It's not just ME and MY child. They happen, and, to be frank, they can kill her.
So, yeah, I test her overnight.
Will I test her every night forever? I have no idea. I'm doing the best I can to parent her in the world we live in right now, today. I don't know what tomorrow will look like. Will she move out, and have her mother coming to poke her finger at 2 am in her apartment every night? Probably not. Somehow between today and tomorrow, she'll take the reigns. I'm confident in that. It'll be up to her to decide how she wants to manage her numbers at night. Maybe she'll grow up, do her own research, and decide that she wants to manage herself completely different than the way I'm doing things. Maybe technology will offer so much more. Maybe a lot of things.
I think it's probably best to assume that people are really doing the best they can. You DON'T know all the variables to everyone else's life. Assuming they're working hard to do the best they can for their child instead of publicly ripping them to shreds to boost your ego might work out better for everyone in the long run.
Just a little advice from one nurse to another, that is.
Friday, July 29, 2011
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.