Has Modern Technology Made ‘Diabetes Police’ Parents….uhm….Diabetes CIA? Want your Input?

cia badgeThere is a dilemma we face that could use the help of…….well……someone….perhaps you.  With ‘diabetes technology’ at an all time high (pun intended), there are increasing numbers of ways that we as parents can stay in touch with our children to keep an eye on their blood sugar via the cloud, cell phones etc etc to make sure they do not go too high, or too low.

When they are ‘under our roof’, that’s easy…’s our call.  As teenagers—they will balk at anything we say anyway….so this can be added to the mix.   They may get pissed at that, calling us the diabetes police…….but with this new technology….we could now be called…..Diabetes CIA.  But what about when they are sort of under our roof……but not really  under our roof?  Also but what about when they are in their dorms, or living alone in an apartment?  Would they not want the peace of mind knowing that someone ‘has their back’ when it comes to their blood sugar levels?

It’s certainly a two-way street.  Our kids do not want us to be calling them when they are just a little low and they do not want to be ‘mothered-to-eternity’, do they  (if saying ‘mothered’ offends you, feel free to interchange with ‘fathered’ or ‘parented’)?  As my dear friend, the great, late Richard Rubin stated, “it’s about balance….it’s about setting boundaries and respecting them.”

I cannot imagine that anyone WOULD NOT want a mechanism where someone could be watching for that ‘just-in-case’ situation.  But I also do not have T1 Diabetes and have not been listening to parents for 22 years either.  Many of the adults with T1 have shared many of their experiences on their blogs, not sure if I’ve seen THIS topic…..I would appeal to them to address this issue, and if anyone has already, please share the link.

Your parents, your spouse, your friends……who has your back?  I remember hearing over the years that many young adults have always feared that something drastic could happen during the night and they not wake up for it.  Okay……now there are ways to monitor that situation for, and with, you.  But how does that work; feeling ‘tethered’ to parents THAT MUCH MORE?????

What are the ground rules?  Where does one start?  How do we engage our children where they do not just ‘roll their eyes’ and tell us for the millionth time, “they got this.”
I know my kids ‘got this’, and I have been confident of that for the million times I have been told, but it’s the millionth-and-one time when they don’t answer that has me asking the question.

As new technology comes into our world, so do questions.  My two requests today…..if you are an adult with T1; are you utilizing something to share your blood sugars with someone else?  Who are you sharing it with?  If so, what is the understanding…..what have you agreed upon when they should step in and text, call, or do some sort of action-step?  Please share?

My second requests are for those parents where they have implemented this with their college kids and older teens in high school.   Share that information please.  We want to know blood sugars because we care…….but being part of the diabetes police….uhm….CIA…..won’t help anyone.  There has to be a medium line where we can help without burdening.  Kindly share your experiences.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

5 replies on “Has Modern Technology Made ‘Diabetes Police’ Parents….uhm….Diabetes CIA? Want your Input?”

If we could afford this technology, my son (19) would be thrilled to share his information this way rather than having to see my mug and hear my voice begging him to test his blood sugar. There would be a whole lot less drama.

But how do we get his insurance to pay for these “not qualifying as durable goods”?

I wish there was a grant that made getting the technology possible for people under a certain income whose insurance will not cover it. Know any Tom?

So, I have an older teen who uses a share. Very quickly we instituted some ground rules for the benefit of us both. I don’t contact him about an initial high blood sugar notification. If he sends me a text to let me know how he is handling a prolonged high blood sugar, he hears nothing from me. If he needs help, he is supposed to ask. If it seems he isn’t dealing with high blood sugar reading successfully, his dad or I will chime in.

Low blood sugar alerts get a text or a call from me or his dad. If he doesn’t respond immediately, the school, coach, friend he is with, etc., will get a call from one of us.

Once when he was low and falling he didn’t respond to repeated calls. I called two neighbors and was on the verge of calling 911. One of my neighbors went to our house. I finally got a call from him. No words for me, but I hear him slurping on a juice box and “Thanks for checking on me Mrs. __________. I’m fine. I’m calling my mom now.” He almost always answers the phone now.

I have to say that my husband does a much better job of parenting our teenager with Type I. I’m a hot mess all the time and he is cool as a cucumber. I really don’t know how he does it.

I also follow an adult friend with Type I. I only set low alerts for her.

I think Share technology is amazing, but it was clear even before it went live that using it with a teenager would be like playing rugby in a minefield. Now that we have it, I’m not sure it’s that easy.

I believe that all the new technology that is coming out is of major help. It helps to reduce the anxitey of parents with a diabetic child. I can also understand the need and want to be independent. With that said, I am a T1d (27 year old) diabetic who lives on my own, all alone. I have juice boxes, fruit snacks and glucose tabs hidden in every imginable place, because of being paranoid that I am going to go low and not be found. It is even more difficult when you are low and can’t just have that other person to help. So recently, I got NightScout (a future blog to come) and I love sharing it with my love ones, so that they can peek on me. The basic rule of thumb is that if I am low for to long of a time that they can start out with 2 text messages to me. If I don’t respond within an hour then the person I am sharing with is to call me- call me on my cell, or work phone. If I don’t answer at that point and because most of my dear friends and family that I share this with live out of state, they are to then call 9-1-1 and one of of the 2 designated people who’s contact information I shared with them and knows that they have potential of being called if this was to happen. These 2 people are more known as the people that I list of my important forms as “In case of an emergency, contact “June”. A lot of my friends that follow me are familiar with diabetes, otherwise they look at my Dexcom/Nightscout as if i am playing ping-pong or table tennis and just know that I have to keep it in the 2 horizontal lines. I have not had any difficulties with my “Dpolice” members being on crowd control, if anything it having apart of this new technology has helped me lower my anxiety more then what it was. Think of it as the Nightscout/Dexcom is my version of a young child’s favorite toy/teddy bear.

New technology is fantastic. When our daughter was younger, we were fortunate to have the Navigator. I didn’t know what her BG was doing all the time, but she did and diabetes management improved. At that age I was able to pick up the receiver and check the numbers and see a graph whenever we were together. I think my daughter appreciated that I was on top of it, particularly when she was asleep. Now, as a young adult, a college graduate, she wears the Dexcom. Initially, before she graduated, I could still pick up the receiver and check when we were together. But once she graduated, there was a difference. I needed to ask. There were more boundaries. This was her business. Not that she was rude or nasty about it, but she let me know it was her diabetes to manage. Needless to say, that was very hard for me. She wanted nothing to do with the NIGHTSCOUT. She felt that was invasive for her as a young adult, but great for families with small children. When the Share came out, our daughter decided to get that on her own and shared it with us. We only get to see numbers, no graph. I balked at that at first. Again, she reminded me that it is her diabetes. We have rules. We can text after 2 notifications AND if we don’t see any movement on numbers in a reasonable amount of time. Texts are fairly generic in their phrasing. Our request is that she texts back and lets us know all is well, that she has treated. We watch to see where the arrows are going and respond appropriately. No response from her means a phone call, to her or someone she is with.

I know she is appreciative of our support. But, once our kids get to a certain point in their lives, you have to let them set the boundaries. Do I/we like all the limits? No. Do I/we respect them? Yes. This is what all the years of support have led to.

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