Monday, April 27, 2015

5 "Extras" I Recommend for Your Child With Type 1 Diabetes

Earlier this month was the two year "anniversary" of Aaron's diabetes diagnosis.  Oh man, was I ever overwhelmed when we came home from the hospital two years ago and were thrust into the world of carrying for a diabetic child on our own.  (I invite you read about that story here, here, here, here, and here.)  It was hard.  So, so hard.  

In many ways it still is hard, but since those first days diabetes care has become a part of the daily routine.  Most of it happens without fanfare and out of habit.  We've also picked up a few great resources, gadgets, and "things" along the way that have made managing the disease a little easier on my son Aaron, my husband, and me.

If you have a child that's newly diagnosed with diabetes, you've got all kinds of newness happening in your life.  When all that calms down and you're ready to start considering the next steps toward better care and management, we've found from experience that these are some things worth checking out or investing in...

This scale is so convenient for using at the kitchen counter or right at the dinner table.  Its guide, of nearly 1,000 foods, takes the guesswork out of carb counting.  Simply weigh your food, punch in the corresponding food code, and it displays how many carbs are contained in that particular serving.  It's amazing how much it covers - from every type of produce, to meats, nuts, breads, even things like homemade banana bread and Irish soda bread!  It also has a feature to help you figure the carbs for foods not listed in the guide.  It really is so helpful.  It makes me feel confident that we're getting a lot of Aaron's carb numbers right. 

myfitnesspal is a great website that allows you to input and store recipes from online recipe sites or blogs (or to manually enter your own) and then figures the carbohydrates per serving for that particular recipe.  I use this site for nearly all the casseroles and soups that I make, as well as homemade baked goods like cakes and cookies.  Because I just need carb info, I sometime even use shortcuts by entering abbreviated recipes - leaving out all the ingredients that have no carbohydrates.

Soon after Aaron was diagnosed I had a mini tantrum out at a restaurant or store or someplace because all his on-the-go supplies were rattling around at the bottom of my purse and were a pain in the butt to find.  I briefly toyed with the idea of making pouches like this, but realized my purse would be a lot less cluttered a lot sooner if I just bought these medi pouches from Karen at Ouch Pouch.  So I did!  I bought the four pack (sizes pictured here) and they have been just perfect for keeping Aaron's supplies and gear organized when we're out of the house.  (I should, of course, mention that they only work perfectly when he bothers to put his stuff into them ;) )  You can clearly see what is stored in each pouch... the snaps closures stay closed... everything diabetes-related stays together.  Aaron tosses these little supply bags into his larger "diabetes-on-the-go" bag and we're out the door.  They can easily be transferred from his backpack to my purse.   Easy peasy and oh so convenient!

This obviously doesn't have to be a bracelet, but should be something (a necklace, dog tags, etc...) to indicate that your child has type 1 diabetes and who his emergency contacts are.  There are many places to purchase ID bracelets from, but I personally recommend American Medical ID.  We have had wonderful customer service from them, including two no-questions-asked replacement bracelets that were covered under the original warranty.  Shipping on the replacements was prompt as well.
I like this sturdy stainless steel chain bracelet, but Aaron's set on switching to the stretchy bands because he gets the metal links caught on stuff (like his sisters' hair and my handmade crochet blankets...) a lot. ;)

Aaron has always had drier skin, but these past two winters he's had very bad chapping on his hands and knuckles, and well as dry patches on his legs, knees, arms, and bottom.  At first I thought this lotion might be a money-grabbing gimmick, but it actually does sooth his skin better than regular lotion, and tends to give him relief for quite a while.  Even though we have a huge bottle at home, he always gets super excited when they have free mini tubes at the endocrinology clinic :)  

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If you're just starting out on a journey with a child with diabetes, there will probably be so many other things that you'll run into that will help make your life (and your child's life!) much easier.  These were the things that made a big difference for us right away.  Hope this list can be of help to you!  And, as always, let me know if you have questions for me or for Aaron on living with, and managing, diabetes day to day!  We're not perfect at it, but we're getting better :)  

What things have you found helpful in caring for your child with diabetes?  

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