Thursday, June 20, 2013

Your Child Depends On You!!

Being a kid is tough enough without the complications of a chronic disease. The joy of a normal childhood is stolen from them...unless their parents take an active role in giving them the best care possible. 

I don't want to cast my son in the 'sick role' of society. My desire is for him to have as normal of a life as possible. This isn't always an easy task.

Shots, blood sugar checks 4-6 times a day, hypoglycemia, constant blood sugar monitoring during extraneous activities, keeping a daily log book of blood sugar levels, carbs and insulin dosages at every meal as well as quarterly endocrinologist visits are all a normal part of a diabetics life. These measures are small in comparison to the huge benefits received from following these steps - a long and healthy life.

Not doing these things for your child is equivalent to signing their death certificate. 

A bit blunt? Sure. But it's true.

I couldn't imagine any parent would neglect the duties associated with the care of their child with diabetes. It was incomprehensible to me...until the other day.

I had a conversation with a school health professional this week. We were discussing the advances in diabetic care with medical devices like the insulin pump and new research which could lead to a cure within five years time. She told me that in years past there may have been one child in the district with diabetes. Now, there are four alone in the one elementary school where she works. Diabetes is predicted to affect one in four people within the next 10 years. This is evidence of those statistics.

The next part of our conversation was disturbing to me as well as sad. She said the parents of the diabetics she is working with now are doing a great job with the children. But just a couple years ago, there was a young boy whose parents gave him no treatment at home. The only diabetic care he received was during his time at school. 

When he was in fourth grade, he passed away.

I was stunned. How could a parent neglect their child's diabetic care or any care for a chronic disease? This is blatant child abuse in my eyes. His death could have been avoided with monitoring and proper health care.

 From my experiences, I realize that insurance companies make it difficult for diabetics to afford their supplies. There is help possible through the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

But flagrant neglect is unacceptable. 

If you or someone you know has a child with diabetes or the symptoms of diabetes, including but not limited to: 

Loosing weight without trying
Weakness and fatigue
Frequent trips to the bathroom
Unquenchable thirst
Tingling or numbness in your hands, legs or feet
Blurred vision
Dry, itchy skin
Frequent infections or cuts and bruises that take a long time to heal

Call your doctor. If you feel there is something wrong, advocate for your child. My doctor told me my son had a virus, but I knew it was more serious than that. Demand blood work be done. 

Also, monitor your child's blood glucose at every meal and before bedtime. Keep in contact with your doctor when sugar levels change, when they are ill or when they are vomiting. 

It's not difficult to do these small steps to give your child a great life.

Don't they deserve the chance at a normal life? 

Don't let them down. 

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