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February 15, 2005


Question from Beirut, Lebanon:

My son is a year and half and has type 1 diabetes. I work from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. During my absence, I have a nanny at home taking care of the baby, yet the feeling of guilt I'm getting is making me think of quitting. I can't stop thinking of how my son will do when he goes to nursery and school. What should I do?


You have asked a difficult question. I think you need to weigh the advantages and the disadvantages of working versus not working. You will want to consider what is best for you and your child in both the short term and the long term. Some parents do not change their work hours after their child is diagnosed with diabetes, some parents cut back on their work hours, and some parents choose to stop working. If you decide to work part time or full time, you will want to make sure that the adult that is taking care of your child (nanny, day care provider, or teacher) is trained to manage your child’s diabetes by either you and/or your son’s health care team. Some parents tell me that they feel more comfortable going back to work because they are wearing a cell phone and/or beeper and can be contacted at any time. Some parents ask that the adult taking care of their child call in, page them, or text message the blood sugar values. Other parents only ask to be called or paged if the blood sugar is above or below a certain number. If you continue to feel guilty, you may want to consider meeting with a counselor (psychologist or clinical social worker) to discuss how you are feeling and to help you make your decision. As I said earlier, this is a difficult question.