Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Babysitters Must Think We're Crazy

Anyone with a child with diabetes knows that getting out of the house alone becomes VERY difficult. Especially at Leah's age, where she still needs quite a bit of assistance in her care.

Over the last few months we've had some sitters willing to give it a shot, and it's mostly been a positive experience. But it's always a bit awkward when you hear yourself trying to explain diabetes-related things to a person that really has no previous understanding of it. Some things that must make these new people go "huh??"...

1. A million phone numbers to call in the event of an emergency.

I think I've listed me, Ed, my brother, our neighbor, a friend with a Type 1 child, and a friend who's a nurse practitioner just to name a few. Overkill?

2. Our address at the top of the instructions page in BIG letters in case they need to call an ambulance.

3. Showing them how to check blood sugar.

This seems so easy to us, but I'm sure it seems crazy to expect them to help Leah with it when they've never done it. Luckily, she can really handle it on her own, but I always show them just in case. I've been known to follow it up with a blunt "Does this freak you out?"

4. Glucagon.

This is the biggee. It usually goes something like this.. "umm, yeah, so if Leah were to be unconcious or having a seizure or something and you can't get her to eat or drink anything, you should take out this vial, insert the liquid, shake it up, draw it back up into the syringe, and give her a shot anywhere on her body. Ok? But don't worry, that should never happen." Yikes.

5. TRYING to explain her CGM in a nutshell.

"She wears this sensor, so it will alarm if she's too high or too low, etc., etc.." Seems pretty straighforward, right? But then there's always some sort of confusion that the pump actually regulates the blood sugar automatically......or explaining the lag time is confusing....or it alarms in some weird way that hasn't happened in a long time but of course does while we're gone. Ugh.

6. The crazy long cord from our bedroom to Leah's bedroom that connects the microphone in her room to the speakers in our room. 

While showing her the kids' rooms and upstairs, I realized it must look pretty silly to have a microphone set up and a cord stretching all the way down the hall...we obviously would prefer NOT to do this, but it's the only way to hear that silly sensor alarm (WHY don't they make that louder??). We must look paranoid and ridiculous, but it's for the sole purpose of getting more sleep at night.

7. The "freebie" drawer.

Sometimes I don't like to give too much insulin when I know one of us won't be around for a little while. And depending on the sitter, I don't want them to deal with watching Leah operate her pump since it probably looks like Greek to them. So I'll stock a drawer full of free stuff--cheese sticks, turkey roll ups, nuts, sugar free jello, carrots, etc. But I'm sure it looks weird that we seem to only let our kids eat the same things over and over. It's just circumstantial, but they don't know that.

8. Basal testing--AKA appears that we're starving our child.

We were in the middle of a morning basal test one day when the baby sitter arrived. I tried to casually explain the reasoning behind it and what we were trying to see, and also explained why no carbs can be eaten at this time. I found myself saying "so if she absolutely has to eat she can have one cheese stick but that's it." Followed by an uncomfortable laugh and explanation that we don't starve our child on a regular basis.

9. Good questions, with a million different answers.

I've had some good questions from sitters, such as "Isn't it dangerous to leave her too high?" The short answer is no, because I'm not gone for that long and it will be ok to deal with when I get home. But of course, the long answer is "Yes, prolonged high blood sugar or extremely high blood sugar is dangerous." Always confusing.

10. And the final reason that babysitters must think we're a bit loony.....because we probably are. 

Diabetes tends to drive you a little lot crazy on most days, so it's tough to explain things and tough to trust someone else with handling it. But I think we've done a good job of relying on people here and there, and as Leah gets older hopefully it will continue to improve.

When the kids find out we're getting a babysitter, they literally can't push us out the door fast enough. So it might mean a million phone calls, and only an hour or two of getting out of the house, but it's good for them, too.


  1. This is a great blog post. I can relate to absolutely everything you mention. The tough part is finding the balance between informing babysitter properly and not sending them running out the door screaming, "you can keep your $50. I'm outta here!!!"

  2. Thanks, Carey. Just love those awkward moments, right? :)