Just venting, diabetic son shoveling in blizzard!

Not for nothing but i work at a cardiolgist office and shoveling is a no no for cardiac pt's. How about type 1 diabetics! My husband had this great idea for jacob to shovel with his uncle ( town worker) for his first real job. my husband doesnt understand the effects of new exercise on the body as well as later effects of exercise on blood sugars. So off he goes with a blood sugar of 147 his am dose peaking now ( he started at 202 and i gave him a normal bolus assuming he would be shoveling in the blizzard this afternoon!). he just had about 30 carbs with no bolus and a temp basal reduction of 50% for three hours. he has done this twice this year with good success, less insulin upfront but not in blizzard! my husband thinks jacob should be able to "work like a man" with lets say alot less worry than myself! arrrgghhhh what should of been a fun day in the snow is now full of worry and angst between me and my husband. jacob has food on him and is smart about his D , we plan to pick him up in about 3 hours but it breaks me apart with worry everytime he is put into a situation like this. at least when we climb mountains i am with him, the lack of control is what gets me the most i guess and his sweet face drawn in a frown when i mention to dad that he could get pretty low tonight if he overdoes....... how will i ever rest when he goes off to college! just venting.....

Sweetie, Jacob sounds like a conscientious young man.. and yes, shoveling is hard work,, but he is, except for the diabetes, healthy and strong. AND Young.He can do it. He has done it before., Look at the diabetic atheletes who run matrathons, participate in iron-man competitions, play basketball, you name it. I am getting ready to do a two hour women's exercise "quest " at my church. I will start out a little high ( I am 170 now), take along nuts/raisin snacks and glucose tabs, I forgot to caibrate /wear my CGm :Drats, will not be able to use it, because it will not be ready if I start a new sensor now., Anyway, I exercised as a young'un without such implements of blood sugar control such as blood glucose test strips, basal/bolus insulins, pumps , CGms) and was cool. Never passed out, nor was stricken with lows.
Jacob will be ok. When he goes off to college, you Will be ok. He will be the one who has to learn to take care of his own health. Let him start doing that now. It will be ok if you do not have all the control. Really: It will
God bless,Brunetta

thanks hun just needed to here some support from someone who understands! have a good work out! the worry and the whole family dynamic thing is a challenge i try to step back and not be a raving lunatic about things, and prepare him without being a nag, handing out a heaping spoonful of nutella as he leaves in all his snow cloths maybe over the top, but it made me feel better it just kills me thinking of nonD moms that just dont get all the layers of concern....

I did ok shoveling snow and have had two huge blizzards since I've been "engaged" with diabetes, both of which worked out ok. Like 3-4' drifts in Champaign a few years ago and then the 2' "snowmageddon" in Chicago a couple of years ago. Both of these were after I'd been working out and I think that Tae Kwon Do techniques such as using core muscles and legs to punch translate very well to shoveling snow. If you're attacking it, I think that you can get into a good combo of cardio plus anaerobic that can be sort of flat BG wise but it's always good to be careful.

interesting idea of evening things out anaerobic/aerobic, he has been working out with weights but not sure if he thought about his shoveling technique lol i'm sure he will be fine, i just worry... in general i was never a worrier before diabetes and i would mock my mom and grandmother for being worriers!

I live on the hill above Homer, AK. There was 18 feet of snow at my house last winter. I can assure you that shoveling never hurt me;)

Long before the days of cool insulins and meters, I shoveled snow, skiied (downhill and X-country), skated, and did all sorts of stuff. It sounds like your young'un isn't quite so young and will take good care of himself. Diabetes will not stop him from living a normal life. I know it's hard and that it is in a Mom's nature to worry. But he will be fine. All he will need is a snack.

thanks guys! after shoveling 3 hours he wasnt sure if he felt tired or low :( so he had a 15 carb snack while he was out there, and clocked in at 77 when he got home for lunch. later in the afternoon he went from 210 at snack to 37 after playing out side in the snow for about an hour of course his snack insulin was probably peaking and we didnt do a temp basal for the afternoon play, i usually dont when he is just around the house because he could come in to treat, in winters past he came in pretty much everytime due to being low, so extra food and temp basal reduction works, at least we have the technology to do this with his pump, i know the good old days of no testing one or two shots a day, i am not sure which is better ignorance or too much information! this is why i have never encouraged a CGM as i dont want him to have that continuous reminder of his D always identifying himself with a bs number, but on days like today it would have been nice. and yes he is growing up and quite responsible, i just feel that with my adult mind i think things through a bit more! i would so rather have the betes than worry about my son, but such is life. day in the snow was pretty good for all here. thanks all. amy

It amazes me, my mom and dad never knew what my blood sugar was ever. I took one shot of pork insulin a day and somehow turned out ok. I think if they had taken a more active role in my D care it would have made me resent them. Since they left me to it I developed an independence that I still have today and I can rely on myself and I have the skills to take care of myself. I know the inclination as a Mom is to protect your young but if Jacob can't handle shoveling a bit of snow how on earth do you think he will handle college ? Vent away, but please give him the skills to take care of himself independently because unfortunately you will not always be there. He needs to take control you can't do it for him and the more you think for him and bolus for him and take care of him, the less he has to do it himself. Sorry I just had to vent too. JMHO Clare

I know you mean well with your concern, but please don't inadvertently plant ideas in your son's head that his condition limits him in any way.

I am horrified to read in this forum of diabetics who are so scared they never leave their chair in the living room. As noted above, there are type 1 diabetics who race bicycles cross country, fly airplanes around the world, race in NASCAR, and a million other things. Diabetes should not limit his opportunities in any way.

And a CGM or pump are not the mark of the beast. Most people at work think I am checking my messages on my phone when I pull out my Dexcom to check my BG or when it goes off. Similarly when I bolus with my PDM. It's tools like this, in fact, that make management easier with large variations in activity as it gives you the fine grained control and continuous situational awareness to be confident in whatever you do. They are not necessary, but they certainly help.

I agree Clare. Sometimes helping too much can delay/prevent gaining the independence and self-confidence we need in taking care of our own D.

Reminds me of this story

But things were much different in the days of 1 injection/day, no home BG testing, and having high BG most of the day. I know my mom still worried about me, and no internet to vent on.

I concur Clare about the parent thing, and yet we turned out ok. I mean I was 10 years old and running the show. Not that my parents didn't care, but their philosophy was you are going to be dealing with this forever, so learn how to manage it.I think day two in the hospital I was giving my own shots, and drawing up my own insulin. Take the bull by the horns you know, lol. I for one don't feel that it impacted negatively on my childhood, I had an amazing childhood, teenage years (lol for the most part). But your right Clare, it does make you very indepenedent and comfortable with the knowledge you can take care of yourself.

It kinda scares me too, the stories of people scared to leave their house, scared to walk a couple of blocks, scared to sleep, etc. You just can't live your life being scared and being ruled by fear. We have a chronic condition, but a chronic condition that is manageable and should NOT be limiting any of us in any kind of way.

Thanks MM that is an inspiring story and I understand how different things are today compared with when I was a youngster. But I think my parents made my wings strong by allowing me to take care of myself. And it is a gift for which I am very grateful.

Hello, I am rick, a type 1 for 37 years. I was released from the hospital on my 17th birthday. Not a bright day.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on your amazing son and a few things that sort of struck me in your vent. I have two sons neither type 1, but one with brain injuries, and one with OCD. Trust me what you are going through is pretty close to what most parents feel only magnified because of low blood sugars. But Three weeks after I left the hospital at 17, I left home and went west for 45 days of backpacking at Philmont. My mom said it was the worst 15 days of her life and she knew, because at that time she had been type 1 for 14 years.

Here is what she told me that helped. She said that every person must sooner than later, must at some time face a situation that might have a difficult outcome. I bet your son already has at one point or another. The great news is he made it through and for the most part he will likely make it through the next one and the one after that etc.

The wonderful thing is your son seems resilient. He, like all 14 year olds, need to learn to flex that muscle. Now as a middle aged man I wish I had been allowed to flex that muscle even more. So when my son, the oldest with the brain situation went off to college, my wife and I were scared to death. I worried so many years, that I might pass type 1 to him only to see that as a young man he was 6 hours away in a highly competitive environment and there was nothing I could do to help him. Yes he was 18 but to me he was a boy. I had to remember the courage my mom showed and repay her witht eh same trust she gave me. I love my son more than you can imagine, in fact i loved him so much I had to let him do things for himself. Yes he made mistakes, just as I did at Philmont. But he was bright and he made it fine.

My other son has OCD and we saw him suffer terribly before he went to university. He woudl be closer, but still a away a bit. I read about OCD and it says those patients do better away from parents. Strange isn't it. The more they go away the less the issue. He also did fine.

Now this brings me back to you venting, I am glad you can, that shows your awesome strength. I suggest you summon even more and let him make mistakes. Let your son screw up and get right his Blood Sugar balance. When I do I learn things. Now this is difficult for parents, but kids, even your son, are way more resilient than we give them credit for. My suggestion (admittedly unasked for) is that you likely let him explore some things on his own. It will make that self-actualization muscle even stronger. Trust me this is best. Give him room let him try and fail, let him try and succeed, let him be closer to normal. If he cannot do that he will ultimately grow tp be very upset with you. Please don't let that happen. You love him too much.

On the other hand I think you have a great point about 'being a man' or manual labor in order for him to grow. See, I wish I had done more as hard work, but I did not. I am a thinker. I ran food carts in the hospital for almost four years and had insulin lows doing that. I moped floors. Shoveled drives, and carried shingles all while on insulin. I was not the best at doing any of that but i had to do it. I was married and my family needed money, I was in High school and college and needed money and it is part of what men do. OK I was not great at it, and I was lucky enough to have a brain so I could make my way at a desk. Having said that your husband is not saying the right things either. Yes hard work does pay off but men are more than strong backs. I would not push your son into physical labor and I would not keep him from it, within reason.

Listen mom he will be ok, give him the tools, let him lead you and yes worry, but please do not show it and do not shut it down or encourage it because he is diabetic.

Finally, one more thing, he needs to give his own insulin. he is 14, he needs to learn and learn quickly. In less than 8 months he will be in HS. HS (including diabetic HS) kids go to games, dance, argue with parents, are responsible and irresponsible. They foul up and do great. He needs to experience all of that and he cannot do it, if you are dosing him every time. This is the trail for the future. How will he face college, I predict well if you let him work on this before he gets there.

Finally, I know this is tough. I know it better than most and so do you and so does your son. I suggest thinking about doing what I had to do in order to deal with these things. Consider professional therapy to help out. It does help, trust me you must come to terms with this issue and the sooner you can start the better the outcome will be.

I wish you the very best I am passing wonderful thoughts to you, your son, husband and everyone else touched by your son. He will have much to offer.

Rick Phillips

just so you know jacob has been on an onmipod for about 2 years plus, it has always been his choice when to start pumping and not to use a CGM thanks for your input, i appreciate all advise and support, i know i need to back off.

Rick, thank you sooo much for your thoughtful and heartfelt reply. I think most adult type1's grew up in different times, lets face it they were different all around not just with diabetes management but with parenting. I can attest today's parents definitely over parent and i would put myself in the middle to lower end of this spectrum. I like my kids to make their own decisions, never put them in activities they were not interested in and encouraged independence and value kindness over anything else. Jacob was diag at 10 so we handled everything up front he was able to do his own shots afew weeks in and has been on the omnipod for about two years, he changes his own pod and does most of his boluses i only help out so he doesnt have to disturb his being a kid to remember to prebous, something that doesnt get done when i am not around. Like i've said before which is totally unrealistic i would rather have this myself, it is quite different having a child with diabetes than being one yourself as i can only imagine of course. He goes off to school, to friends ect doing his own thing yes making mistakes and learning. The shoveling thing put me over the top because his uncle was on the property but knows nothing about diabetes, jacob did great but i know how much work shoveling is and his patterns in the past with something extreme like this as a parent i trust jacob, thankfully he is responsible and smart about his D ( way more than most teens) but it is always in the back of my mind is this the time someone finds him and needs to call 911 . It is a work in progress our D journey Jacob does want more independence but i think he also likes it that I have his back. He still has a few more years before college i think most endos these days advocate for parental involvement. i could say here you go this is all yours but i think with his personality or any teens there is to much risk, it is alot to handle and the chance for him throwing up his hands at it are so much greater if i did. jacob is a bright boy in a drafting program at a local tech school he plans to be an engineer so thankfully he will be using his brains not brawn for work! sorry this was so long. there really is so much involved in dealing with D physically and emotionally thankfully jacob is a kid and lives in the moment and is probably doing better than me on some days, i am grateful to have like minded people to bounce things off of, i try to rarely share with my non D friends because they just dont understand. so thank! amy

Well our blizzard is over.
I'm all for shoveling as a marvelous exercise for me as a diabetic.
This young man will gain more knowledge about his exercise potential and feel great when each blizzard shows he can do it.
Moms can vent. Kids can learn from each experience.

As I said Jacob sounds like a great kid. I am so happy he has found a way to deal with his disease in an effective way. He sounds fantastic. I agree my mom and dad were way to permissive when I was DX. Today no one would ship their kid on a train for New Mexico at age 17 for a month. I certainly would not.

I do agree about shoveling snow being very problematic. I have dropped low quickly and without warning shoveling snow. I mean its cold, its heavy and one more push will get you one step closer to being done. Then you find you are low and in serious trouble. If you are not experienced you can really have an issue and I mean quick.

Now on another issue, if your son is interested in being a mechanical engineer, have him look at Kettering University in Flint MI. My son attended, and it is tough, but their program puts kids into internships, first thing, freshman year. There was not a single year that my son went to school that he made less than $30,000 / per year. It is a great program in a not very nice city, but wow, the pay off can be awesome. My oldest is now a design engineer at Nissan and travels the world in the job he does. Yes he works hard, but he was also educated in a way that he can handle the pressure.

I wish you all the very best of good fortune.


so glad your son is doing well that sounds awesome, jacob is thinking of civil engineering. after the fact of shoveling jacob said i really couldnt tell if i was tired or low i kind of felt like that the whole time and figured i would pass out and die ( a little drama for mama he knows when he is very low, and he did have a snack to help) my point is some activities make it harder to tell, like the cold and being actively engaged or swimming in the pool..often times he would get out of the pool and be really low after changing and i'd say didnt you feel that?? a bit scary but knock on wood no lows that were not able to be self managed by jacob, i go for the apple juice if i am home, he tests, i think younger kids can handle low lows better. in anycase thanks for you kindness and concern to be honest i have been taking things a bit personally and have been feeling like a crazy mother hen when in reality we are all just doing the best we can with what is in front of us every day, overall i am soooo proud of jacob aside for a bit of teen attitude we really have a great relationship, he thanks me for my support and being good to him and i tell him how proud of am of him, he is a bit like dad and likes to have his ego stroked (lol) but he truly deserves it because he is amazing thanks so much for your support it means alot. i was honestly thinking of backing away from tu because i wasnt sure it was really serving me in the right way and that maybe my time and energy could be better spent we'll see. have a great week! amy