A while back I posted on Facebook how adjusting to a type 1 diabetes diagnosis is very much like adjusting to life with a newborn in the house.

Basically,
-) You spend a few days in the hospital making certain everyone is healthy and getting your bearings while being trained on how to manage the situation at home.
-) Eventually they discharge you and as a parent your first reaction is, “Wait! Are you sure we’re ready for this? We don’t really FEEL ready for this.” But you basically are.
-) We’re living our lives on a roughly 4 hour feeding schedule again
-) Not sleeping through the night any more.

Now with the arrival of our son’s continuous glucose monitor (CGM), those similarities continue.

The CGM tracks and reports on the glucose levels in the interstitial fluids in his body every 5 minutes. We’re only a couple of days into it, but he seems very satisfied with it. It’s a remarkable tool. One of the features Erin and I appreciate most is that there is a downloadable app that allows C to share his readings with us via our cell phones. As long as he makes the information available to us, we can log into the app at any time and see how he’s doing. Additionally, there are alarms built into the system so that if his blood sugar levels rise or fall beyond set “safe” levels we all get notifications on our phones. All of this has made for some interesting dynamics as we continue to redefine normal and maintain balance in all of this change.

Both Erin and I have admitted to each other that we both have to work very hard to not leave the app open on our phones and observe his glucose levels in a continuous stream. This functionality would really allow folks to take helicopter parenting to a whole other level. Fortunately, Erin and I are not by nature those types.

I confess The first day that I logged in around the time that I knew he would be eating lunch at school. I left the app open for roughly 30 minutes because when I first logged in I could see that he was trending low. The resolution came later than I expected, and it was a bit of a tense wait on my part; but I’m not precisely clear on when his school lunch hour is. Despite my nerves, in pretty short order, I could see that his sugars climbed back into the safe range and leveled off. Clearly, he had eaten and injected and was in complete control of his situation.

I heartily patted myself on the back for resisting the urge to text and ask when lunch would be and was he paying attention. He’s thirteen. He’s got this. And if he doesn’t, within a certain margin of error he needs the latitude to explore, experiment and sometimes¬†make mistakes. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to sit back and watch as a parent.

The more direct parallel to the newborn phase is in the night time alarms. Our cell phones have now become our ‘baby monitors.’ Back when the kids were infants, particularly as newborns, I recall only ‘mostly sleeping’ with that monitor in our room. You know how it is. You sleep and you mostly rest, but one ear is always tuned to the monitor. There’s always one small percentage of your brain and consciousness that never truly surrenders to sleep as it maintains vigilance for any signs of distress. Same thing here.

I’m sleeping, but it’s a very light sleep. It’s as if my mind is anticipating that inevitable low sugar alarm which requires a trip into his room with a juice box for a quick infusion.

Please know, I’m not complaining. I’m extremely grateful for the technology. In the grander scheme of things the system affords Erin and I a very real sense of security and confidence to allow C beyond our reach. This extends his sense of normalcy in that he’s not under our stare or in our care 24/7. So he appreciates it. Mostly, I’m recording these observations for my own amusement out of a sense of curiosity.

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