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Type1Mum

When to train teenagers to do their own night-time checks?

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Type1Mum

Hi, my 12 year old (dx May 2006) is currently away on camp for 5 days. The teachers will be waking him at 11pm and 3am to get him to check his own BGLs. When do you think is a good age to start getting teenagers to start waking-up with an alarm clock and checking their own BGLs:questionm In two years' time he will be on a camp for 4 weeks (!!!!!), so I'd appreciate if anyone has had any experience with these sort of issues. Thanks!

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notme

Hi Type1Mum, I think any time you can get a child to take some responsibility it is good. However, my teenagers (none of them with diabetes) could wake up in the middle of the night if they tried. Alarms, cowbells and fire trucks in their room would not wake them up. If you can get your son to wake up to an alarm, it might be a good thing to get started. Do some trial runs and see how it goes.

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sweetcheeks

i dont have a diabetic kid, but from my personal experiences

 

i was getting up all by myself at the age of 9 with an alarm clock to get up and take my bath and to dress myself before school...

 

i think they should be able to handle getting up and checking there levels at that age as well... at least i would think so, i also think it would depend on the child and how well they are with other things

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Type1Mum

Thanks for all your advice.

 

In response to Funnygrl, no - we generally only test him at 3am when he's been active during the day. He is really sporty, so especially during winter, when he plays two types of football every weekend, and trains for athletics and swims during the week, I'd feel more comfortable if an over-night check is done (he can drop a little low after all the activity). When he's on camp they are out and about all day hiking and kayaking etc. hence the necessity to test at 3am.

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right2fight

I rely completely on my 12 year old to treat nighttime lows. He has been responsible in this area now for some time. After all, only he knows what he feels and does a bang up job. If he has problems, he wakes me. The sooner our children learn, the better it will be when they leave the nest.

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HollyB

I'm in the same boat as notme. Aaron is really responsible with his diabetes but he sleeps like a dead man. Therefore isn't likely to wake up if he's low in the night, and isn't likely to wake up for an alarm clock either. I have had to really manhandle him to get him to wake up enough to eat, and this when he was in low-normal range (around 4.0) and just needed a safety cushion, not so low his brain was affected. I'm willing to check him when neeed for couple of years until he gets out of that "teenage sleep" thing but I do worry about school trips etc.

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Stuboy

im 23 and i dont wake up with an alarm to test during the night... i've tried.... it just doesn't happen lol.

 

But I think 12 is a very reasonable age to start taking responsibility for it all... but then was dxd at 22 so maybe I just dont know anything! :D

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slipperyelm

I really think it depends on the kid. Some kids can be super responsible and truly want to wake up, but ~biologically~ not be able to wake. If your kid can wake, good, have him do it. But as a parent, I think it is quite okay for you to make the sacrifice for him to get the uninterrupted sleep he needs as often as he needs it. You don't need to think of him as immature for his age or selfish or lazy if he cannot do his middle of the night checks just yet. Other kids, maybe they can. I really think this is a very individual thing.

 

Going to camp may be different. If he can't wake up and there are couselors who can and are willing to do his checks, fine. Even at 14 (two years from now), I think that would be okay. But I would keep letting him know that someday he should take the task on himself. I'm sure it would be really hard for him at first and you will probably also want to wake to make sure he really has woken. But eventually, I think that even the deep-sleeping pre-teen and teen body can learn to build into the sleep schedule a minute of wakefulness.

 

I think waking in the middle of the night is totally different than waking at the beginning of the school day and taking care of one's self. It could be very hard for him, so have compassion. And in those first weeks of waking middle-of-night, he make not be thinking clearly at all, he might make mistakes, so you might want to be up with him anyway.

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Eri's mom

Eri doesn't wake herself up during the night to check, unless she wakes up feeling low(amazing how THAT's changed since she was younger!)...

Eri doesn't wake up to alarm clocks, the kid can sleep through them w/o budging.

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BriOnH
...I'd feel more comfortable if an over-night check is done (he can drop a little low after all the activity). When he's on camp they are out and about all day hiking and kayaking etc. hence the necessity to test at 3am.

 

At the diabetic camp I worked at, for many summers, we would not test all the children in the middle of the night. At diabetic camp we were active ALL day. Especially on backpacking trips. The only kids that needed to be tested during the night were ones that were having problems with multiple hypoglycemic reactions.

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HollyB

Aaron will actually come to me if he's feeling he'll need a check. Often it's when he's had a huge bedtime snack late and has a big wad of insulin on board -- its action can be a little unpredictable at night so it's a check to make sure he hasn't overbolused -- or if he's running way high we'll check to make sure it's coming down.

 

I do feel that this is a very big load for a kid to carry already. He deals with this from the minute he wakes up until he crashes out for the night. An occasional night check seems a small enough way to help out.

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right2fight

Hi HollyB, You're absolutely right on when you say, "he deals with this from the minute he wakes up until he crashes out for the night." That's something that will not change, so my feeling is, the sooner our kids learn how to manage without us, the easier it may be for them to cope with this later on. Please don't get me wrong, I love my son very much and there is nothing I won't help with. I guess I feel by allowing him to manage by himself he will be so much more self sufficient. I always think, what if?, unfortunately we don't know what life has in store for us, so I aim to get him all the diabetic knowledge I can, just in case, I cannot be there for him.

Margaret

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xMenace

I'd do it before 13. In my experience their brains turn to mush on their 13th birthday. They don't start returning to the land of the living until 16-18.

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archimeech

Is this something new or was I just not trained properly when I was a child diabetic? I've never gotten up in the middle of the night to check my sugar unless I was feeling bad. Are we keeping kids under such tught control that we are causing them to have too many hypos? I wonder if all the problems that diabetic children are having with seizures these days could be attributed to the tighter control during their hormonaly imbalanced growing years? I played sports all through my childhood and never really had a problem with going too low.

However, to answer the question. A child that is able to undertand instructions and the consequences of not doing something, is never too young to begin to take control of their own health and the decisions that come with it.

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right2fight

Me thinks some parents are way to over protective. You know the expression, "let sleeping dogs lie", well why wake a child up unnecessarily. I have a hard time believing that the child cannot feel the hypos and yes I am aware of hypo unawareness, it's just so many parents are losing sleep in an attempt to prevent a low. My son was dx'd at 7, is now 13, has never been hospitalized for diabetic episodes and wakes himself if necessary. I trained him well, so archimeech I think your parents did a stupendous job!

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samsmom
Me thinks some parents are way to over protective. You know the expression, "let sleeping dogs lie", well why wake a child up unnecessarily. I have a hard time believing that the child cannot feel the hypos and yes I am aware of hypo unawareness, it's just so many parents are losing sleep in an attempt to prevent a low. My son was dx'd at 7, is now 13, has never been hospitalized for diabetic episodes and wakes himself if necessary. I trained him well, so archimeech I think your parents did a stupendous job!

 

 

I sure hope you are not saying that since your son can feel his lows that everyone else should too. As you know, diabetes is not a one size fits all disease. My son can not feel his lows at night and You can believe that or not. My son has been dealing with diabetes since he was a baby so higs and lows are not new to him. There has been many times when I caught a low under 40 during the night, he never woke up. I will sacrifice my sleep for the safety of my son. I am not going to wait until he goes into a seizure and then say "well next time you should feel your lows and this wouldnt happen"!!

 

No I am not an overprotective mom, in fact I rarely jump right in when my son needs to do some problem solving. But when it comes to his health, I am responsible and will continue to get up in the middle of the night (not every night, just when numbers are off before bed) to make sure he is ok..thats my job, I'm his mom.

 

Please remember that just because your son can self manage lows, does not mean that all kids can. That doesnt mean the parents are doing a better or worse job, just that diabetes vaires from child to child...

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right2fight

As I said in my last post, there is such a thing as hypo unawareness, so I am aware that diabetes is not a one size fits all disease. I'm blessed because my child is so responsible at 13 and hope you experience the same when your child reaches that age. All opinions are welcome here!

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type1tenorlady
im 23 and i dont wake up with an alarm to test during the night... i've tried.... it just doesn't happen lol.

 

When my BG is good, I'm a very heavy sleeper. When it's low I am wide awake in about 2 minutes and it takes another 15-20 before my adrenaline stops pumping enough for me to get back to sleep. It's been this way since I was diagnosed at 11 (I'm 24 now) and didn't change during puberty, not even a little.

 

I first got my pump a few months ago and was worried I wouldn't wake up for night testing so I didn't sleep very well and I had no problem getting up, but as soon as I became comfortable with it any and all alarms just got turned off and I would go back to sleep.

 

I've been the only one in charge of my care since coming out of the hospital; my mother loves me but could never bring herself to prick my finger or give me a shot unless it were a dire emergency. That doesn't mean to say I was responsible all the time, but fortunately I am usually quite lucid when I go low, even when it's very low (I hit 29 at school once), and I always had glucose tabs or a good substitute within reach. You're right about how much the disease varies (my brother is type 1 also, doesn't test, has excellent A1C numbers and gets completely incoherent and giggles like a schoolgirl if he goes low) but if your son has a lot of trips and camp stays in his future I'd say this is a good time to have him take some more control and start to try to recognize any patterns, eg whether a certain activity makes him go low more often than another, so that he can learn to deal with them on his own.

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Type1Mum

Thanks Type1TenorLady and all the other replies. My son arrived back from camp where the teachers woke him during the night as they were v active during the day and he tends to go a little low after activitiy. On the last night, after setting 75% basal rate for 24 hrs, and half bolusing for dinner, the 3am check showed him at 2.5mmol (about 45 I think). After treating twice, as he only moved up to 5.0 (90) half hour later, he then woke at 7am at 3mmol/l (54)! The previous day he had hiked for 4 hours, and kayaked for 3 upstream. I am glad I had the teachers check him.

 

He has quite good control and last HbA1c was 6.8%.

 

Think I'll buy an alarm clock and see how he goes. In 2 years he'll be away for 4 weeks on a camp - so he'll need to have it all sorted by then.

 

Cheers!

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right2fight

Hi type I Mum, Sounds like a great time was had by all, how fortunate you have such willing, caring people to help your son. With such strenuous activities it looks like it was necessary, is your son always active? By the way, A1C is great and it looks like he's on the road to independence.

Last night I took my son to the County Fair and I didn't see him for 6 hours. Self-sufficient and happy and sad all at once. He's growing up!

Margaret

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Type1Mum

Thanks Right2fight. Yes - always active! However, I am very lucky with the school - still, it is a private school, so I really expect them to go that extra mile. They were amazed at how much he has to do, and all the extra stuff he has to think about compared with all the other 12 and 13 year olds there.

 

He plays about 4 different sports, summer and winter. Plays in the school band (Oboe), sings in the choir etc. He is very sensible - but still has the odd slip up (friends b'day party on weekend - drank non-diet fizzy drink and at way too much really fatty pizza). Still, his activity level tends to counter that.

 

Still, I can't imagine letting him leave home. When he was first diagnosed, I said to my husband that I won't let him leave until he has a nice girlfriend lying in the bed next to him!

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right2fight

Hey Mum, Sounds like what I told my son after the headmaster made him lie down to act out a glucagon demonstration. I told my son, "don't ever lay down for anybody, unless it's a woman."

Margaret

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