February 25, 2016
Behavior, Mental Health
Question from Charlotte, North Carolina, USA:
My 16-year-old grandson has had type 1 diabetes since he was 6. He is having problems controlling it because he refuses to accept that he has to take care of himself. In June 2014, we almost lost him; he was in a coma for a week and in the hospital three weeks. Since then, he has been in the Emergency Room 14 times; 99% of that was because of DKA. He and his family need help. Finances are very tight.
I can only imagine how worried you are about your grandchild. Seeing someone you love not be able do all of the incredibly demanding and exhausting daily tasks that diabetes demands is so hard. I strongly encourage all of the adults that love your grandson to meet together and work out a plan where each adult takes over some aspect of the diabetes regimen for him. That is, that someone check his morning blood sugars and that someone give his morning insulin and that someone does this for his lunch and his dinner and his bedtime as well. Right now, something is happening in his life where he is unable to do these things, even if he knows he “should.” Since he’s probably feeling so physically unwell, getting the energy necessary to start doing all of these tasks again is probably too hard. So, having family take over for a while (probably 6 to 8 weeks) may help him begin to feel physically better and then be able to engage in discussions about how to move forward in a healthier manner. I also strongly encourage your family to find a mental health professional who really understands diabetes that can partner with your family as you all work together to help your grandson heal. Your grandson’s diabetes team, your local JDRF or your local ADA can probably help you find such a person.