Jack Eckstrom, 5, CA – Diabetes Stinks!

I’m writing on behalf of Jack, my 5-year-old, because, well, he can’t write!  I know if he could write he’d say that “Diabetes STINKS!”

Jack was diagnosed just last October and is still in his honeymoon phase though it’s not like the honeymoon I remember.  I keep thinking if THIS is a honeymoon, what’s the rest of the diabetes marriage like?

Every day Jack checks his blood sugar at least 6 times, usually more.  Before every meal, usually in between meals, before bed, and usually his Dad or I check him before we go to bed just to make sure he isn’t running too low.  If he’s running too low, we have to wake him up to drink some juice and then, a half hour later, to eat something.  As an adult, having to wake up to eat and drink sounds pretty nice, but for a 5-year-old “it STINKS!”

Jack doesn’t count his carbohydrates yet…guess he needs to learn to add first.  We do the counting for him and decide when and how much insulin to inject.  He really, REALLY hates the injections, even though he readily admits they don’t even hurt.  At least once a day he says he wishes he didn’t have diabetes.  I think the same thing, just more often.

We’re pretty sure none of Jack’s close friends or relatives truly understand or sympathize with the complexity of his disease.  At first, everyone just assumed we fed him a poor diet and too much sugar and that changing his diet would “cure” him.  So wrong on so many counts. At this point, Jack’s dad and I are very uncomfortable placing Jack in the care of anyone other than a fellow diabetic for any longer than a couple of hours.  Our family just doesn’t “get” that once Jack has had an injection he MUST eat a certain number of carbohydrates or that we can just put any amount of food on his plate without measuring, weighing, or calculating.

For Jack’s current preschool, the teacher is extremely reluctant to give any injections and, fortunately for her, Jack’s honeymoon means he doesn’t need corrections too frequently.  Right now, all I ask is she make him check his sugar before snack time.  I leave her with detailed instructions, EVERY DAY, of what he can eat for any given range of blood sugar.  Imagine having to pack multiple snacks for every day, along with a page of instructions of what to do if….

I guess that is what the diabetes marriage is like, though, a constant series of what if’s and what now’s.

View Jack's delegate profile.