Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa Does Not Have Diabetes (Or Does He?)

Contrary to the title of this post, I really am not concerned with whether or not Santa Claus has diabetes. 

But what I am thinking about is how to gently guide families that are new or experienced to the holiday with a safe and easy plan to incorporate type 1 diabetes with their usual celebration.

Last year, I spent some time typing up a how-to post for new (and veteran) families.  In our home, we plan to use the same well-worn strategy for Christmas once again. 

Here it is again, with a few new hints.

1.)  Have a game plan.  Take a few moments and write down a schedule of how you would like to see the day unfold.  Be sure to include eating times and menus. 

Also, be sure to designate to the kids where a go-to basket of emergency low-blood sugar items will be kept.  In the basket, place a meter, strips and alcohol wipes.  For us, I have found that tucking this basket in mom and dad's bedroom works great.  That is the one area of the house that guests are not in and it tends to be quiet and calm.  It also works great for kids that need a bit of down-time from the constant activities and noise.

2.)  Think ahead.  Look over your prescription list and make sure that you will not be running out of any necessary items like insulin, thyroid hormone replacement, syringes, glucose or even child cold and fever medicine. 

Have the phone number handy for an on-call pediatrician, endocrinologist, a 24-hour clinic or a holiday pharmacy.  Chances are you won't need it but it will be one less stressor to worry about.

3.)  Assemble a few food items ahead of time.  A family favorite for us on Christmas morning is our delicious orange rolls.  We wait throughout the year for the ooey gooey and oh so sweet morning treat.  With that said, serving only orange rolls would be a blood sugar disaster, so with that comes an egg casserole.  Both food items are assembled the night before in preparation for the crazy unwrapping mayhem on Christmas morning.  As one parent tests blood sugar, the other quickly pre-heats the oven and slides in the two dishes.  In an hour, we are ready for breakfast (and a nap!).

Even if you forget to put the morning food into the oven, you can have a fall back.  This is an awesome strategy.  I found that having some boiled eggs handy help in case a child dips into a candy filled stocking.  Presto Protein!
4.)  Give kids some guidelines.  Sure, they want to run into the family room as soon as they wake up to see what Santa brought but as any parent knows, having them get there too soon would be a loss in getting a few of those first moment of wonder and awe pictures.  Explain to the kids that no one is allowed to go into the family room until mom has her camera AND blood sugars are checked.  Mom can take the ultimate part of this blame so that the Diabetes Monster stays out of the picture.  Just be prepared for a few eye-rolls.

Having your diabetes basket prepared ahead of time will work for this too!

5.)  And finally... charge those batteries in your cameras and camcorders.  Every year, I am so caught up in making sure that Christmas goes off without a hitch and I often forget the most important part... capturing those magical holiday memories forever. 

And be sure to sneak in a few selfies or photo bomb if your spouse is in charge.  After all, you want to be part of the holiday magic too!
Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

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