When you are the parent of a newly diagnosed T1, you are given more information than you can possibly remember. My brain was focused on the medical information–so scared that I would give her Lantus when she was supposed to get Novolog or that I would miscalculate her dosage etc. On top of the medical management, there are the new dietary concerns, mainly carb counting. Add to the plethora of info the emotional aspect of dealing with T1 and a sense of panic surely sets in for all.
I consider us lucky to have been dealing with a food allergy for 14 years–we were no strangers to reading labels. Furthermore, about 4 years ago, I created a monthly menu calendar of 25 dinners my family would eat with no more than 1 of 4 people complaining about the meal. So the first thing we did after KC’s diagnosis was figure out the carb counts for those meals and her usual breakfast and lunch. Having those basics written down kept us from scrambling for a calculator at every meal. And over the course of the year we have come up with many time saving methods of managing the basics of feeding and caring for a T1. So here ‘s my Top 10
1. We bought KC a cell phone. She was almost 11 at the time and responsible enough to handle a phone of her own. The phone was for emergency purposes alone–she keeps the phone with her at school. She used the notes function on her phone to put in her carb ratios and some carb counts.
2. As I stated earlier, we did carb counts for our common meals. KC typed and put the menus in a binder which we kept in the kitchen.
3. We created a school lunch carb counting flowchart that was laminated and kept in her insulin bag. Pick and choose menu We have since added a School Lunch Carb Chart and Serving Size handout that is posted in the cafeteria because the school now has two children with T1.
4. To help KC and the school personnel overseeing her insulin injections, I created a chart with the current carb ratios and correction factors: sliding scale for insulin dose 12 break and 16 lunch carbs 80 to 150
5. We got KC a larger insulated bag with a shoulder strap so that she would carry enough snacks and other supplies with her during the day. She has now progressed to carrying a small purse. She loves Vera Bradley so those are her bags of choice but Thirty-One http://www.mythirtyone.com/77451/ has some great choices. This particular rep is also a T1 mom and donates part of the proceeds to JDRF.
6. KC is in middle school and moves around to a number of classrooms each day. We created a “low” kit for each classroom that includes instructions for dealing with both highs and lows plus emergency contact information.
7. KC’s “sick box” is an organizer that hangs on the back of her bedroom door. It holds extra lancets and strips, extra meter and lancing device, batteries for her pump + sugar-free cough drops/throat lozenges, Tylenol, nasal spray, thermometer, flashlight, glucose tabs…you name it, we’ve got it! Also created a mini one for the grandparents and for sleepovers. Another tip….we recycle the plastic gum containers that fit in cup holders for mini-sharps containers and for lancet/flexpen needle storage.
8. I put pre-packaged snacks, oatmeal/drink packets, pasta, rice etc. into storage containers and then tape the nutrition labels on the containers. I also spent an afternoon figuring out portion sizes for the pasta (hate that the labels talk about ounces or grams instead of cups–and dry measurements instead of prepared!) Also did this with leftover Halloween candy–see my post on Halloween for more tips!
9. We keep extra insulin in a mini-fridge. I put all the insulin in a plastic container so that it is easy to grab in case of an emergency. I also bought a thermometer for the fridge to make sure we are keeping the insulin at the right temperature.
10. We no longer use Lantus as KC is now on the pump…but I solved my problem by keeping the Lantus flexpen in it’s box and in a separate place from the Novolog.