Life After Diabetes Moved Out

when your child with diabetes leaves home

No more school to wake up for. There are no teen boy grumblings. My nest has been empty for over a month now and it is taking a bit to get used to life since my child with diabetes has moved out.

My son has been quite good at making sure he uploads his pump for me to look at his readings. He appears to be checking his blood glucose more than once a day so I try to offer little criticism and simply make gentle suggestions where needed.

Managing Diabetes Full-time is no longer my job

Life is a little different when your child with diabetes leaves home. Moving diabetes to the back of my mind after all of these years is a challenge.  I still wake up a lot during the night. I still worry but that is what Moms do. I worry about both of my children. Diabetes just gives me one more thing to be concerned about.

I really don’t miss living with type 1 diabetes. I don’t miss having to get up in the middle of the night. I don’t miss wondering why he had a higher or lower reading than expected. I don’t miss time spent at diabetes clinics.  I don’t miss trying to figure out a new insulin pump.

I do however miss my son. Don’t get me wrong, I miss both of my boys but I have had a bit longer to get used to my oldest being away.  My youngest and I have spent a lot of time together over his lifetime.  His best friend is my best friend’s son.  We visited together. We went on trips together and counted carbs together.  He is now enjoying life on his own–doing stuff without Mom always there. I am sure he is loving the freedom! It’s different for me.

I still miss walking into the kitchen and seeing him sitting at the table surrounded by a fridge full of food.  I miss seeing his chin-up bar dangling from a doorway. I miss his dry, quick wit and timing. I miss the chicken fights that we would break into as we met in the hall. 

Keeping open the lines of communication

We text every day.  We talk at least once a week. I make sure that diabetes is the last thing that we discuss. It is rarely ever the very first. I ask about his day, his schoolwork, his friends…then I ask about readings, meters and his pump.

When he tells me “I screwed up.”  I try to remind him that his job as a pancreas is both unnatural and exceptionally difficult.  As long as he knows what he did wrong and he tries to fix it next time, its something to simply learn from and move forward.

I still find diabetes waste

I still find test strips in the most unusual of places.  There was one in my washer even though I have not done any of his laundry in ages.  We have a fridge full of insulin “just in case”.  There is a bottle of test strips that I found hidden in a box and part of an insulin cartridge that still sits in a place of honor in my car.

My new life of a Mom of children who no longer live at home is still very busy. My boys are always in my thoughts and their ability to stand on their own shows that I have taught them independence.  They will be home at Christmas.  I will savor every moment. I will fall back into the testing routine.

Life is changing.  Change is part of life but finding those little feathers (also known as diabetes waste) in hidden places of the house. When your child with diabetes leaves home, you find that these little pests no longer make you grumble at their ability to “jump” out of the trash.  They now make you smile. Now they simply remind me of my son.

New Challenges

Someone asked me to continue to update my experience has a mother of a teen with diabetes who is living elsewhere.  Let me say its a bigger challenge than having him live here!

There are definitely growing pains.  As a mom, I miss having my sons around me. I actually do wake up during the night and feel lost because there is no one to test or check on. I would gladly teleport myself to some of you sleep deprived parents but unfortunately the only things that I really can do is roll over and hope he is okay where he is.

My son on the other hand seems to be loving not having Mom hover over him and what teen wouldn’t? The rules are very different for him now and he is enjoying it to the extreme I am sure.  A friend reminded me recently that even when children are away from their parents and thinking about doing a certain behavior, often Mom or Dad’s voice is still nagging in the back of their head and they may be a bit more cautious because “what if Mom/Dad found out? They would kill me!” I hope this is the case with my boys…well you know that they continue to have some common sense because its not like I would really “kill” them exactly…

Obviously with a mom who likes to be hands on and get things done and a 16 year old who is loving being away from that, there are challenges. Oh are there challenges!!  Bringing my expectations down to a reasonable level is very, very difficult and in part only done with the help of great friends.

While we do text daily I make sure that diabetes is not often the topic of conversation. We talk like, school and diabetes if he has an issue that needs to be dealt with right away. We have however agreed to sit down and chat about diabetes specifically once per week. We chose Wednesday nights.

The first week this worked perfectly.  He uploaded his pump. I looked at the data, formed my questions and was able to be calm by the time we talked. All worked out really well. The next week I had to be away on the Wednesday so we chatted Tuesday. There were a few more issues. We spoke of what to do when type situations arose. It went okay.  This week, well its been three weeks. The shine was going to wear off of things right?

Yesterday I sent him a message reminding him of our “date”.  I told him to upload his pump when he got home from school so that I wouldn’t keep him up late. Last time he had had computer issues and it took forever to even look at the data. When he got home he sent me a message telling me that the remote for his pump still didn’t work. What??? Had he called the support people? Of course not.  He was waiting for Mom to do this. Mom agreed.

I told him to call me after his supper and we would call pump support. I would keep him on one phone and call the support people on the other so that I could ask him whatever they asked me.  I ate my supper and waited…and I waited…and I waited. It turned out that heading out with a friend for the night was way more important than Mom or a pump issue.  At 11:30pm I told him to take pictures of the back of the pump and the remote, send me details and I would deal with it in the morning. We would also talk pump the next afternoon BEFORE he got busy with other things.

After a bit of troubleshooting on my part, I got his remote working again.  There is definitely an issue so I am waiting for pump support to return my call.

Balancing 16 year old freedom, Mom control and Mom letting go is definitely difficult.  This may be one of the biggest challenges I have faced in a very, very long time.  Its a good thing I have a great relationship with my hairdresser. I may need a lot of hair color to get me through!

A reminder to myself. I may need to post it on a wall somewhere.
A reminder to myself. I may need to post it on a wall somewhere.