Monday 9 January 2012

Just Keep Swimming

Yesterday afternoon Dylan and his younger sister were invited to go swimming with our next door neighbors, who have children of similar ages. The 4 kids spend a lot of time together, and they all get along really well. The majority of their play time, however, is usually spent in one of the two backyards, so diabetes has never really been an issue. Sure there has been the odd time here and there that they all go to a movie, or go bowling (they went two days ago), but because Dylan has been pretty on-the-ball with his diabetes care lately, I try not to worry too much, and I force myself to give him some independence. Plus, now that he has a cell phone, he simply texts me if he has a question or concern.

The neighbors know he has diabetes, and I know they know some basic info about it, but I've never sat down with them and had "the talk" (you know the one I mean, about what diabetes is, how to recognize highs and lows, counting carbs, bg testing, all that fun stuff we load onto the parents of our kid's friends before leaving our child in their care...). I know Dylan has talked to them a bit about it, and his sister would certainly notice right away if he was showing signs of low blood sugar, so I decided to let him go to the pool.

But swimming and diabetes don't always mix well. We use the new Minimed VEO pump, which is NOT waterproof, and unless I'm at the pool with Dyl to hold on to the pump, I'm not comfortable with him leaving a $7000 unit in the changing room. So right before leaving, he did a quick test and was 4.8 mmol/l (86.4 mg/dl). He felt great and took off his pump. As an added bonus, yesterday was infusion set change day, so he also took off his 3-day old infusion set, and headed out the door completely pump free. It's not too often that he gets to go commando, but when he does, he loves it.

In the past, we've found that swimming is intense enough exercise for Dylan that he is okay to go pump-free. His blood glucose level holds pretty steady while he's in the pool and we rarely have to bolus post-swim. But he usually only swims for an hour or so. Yesterday they were in the pool for over an hour and a half, so by the time he got changed and arrived back home his pump has been suspended for just over 2 hours. Another blood test revealed he was 13.0 mmol/l (234 mg/dl), which is high, but not as high as I was expecting considering he had gone over 2 hours without basal insulin. A quick bolus and he was back within range by dinner time.

Did it go exactly as I expected? No.

Does it ever with diabetes? No.

Would I do anything differently next time? Probably not.

It's so rare that Dylan gets to go pump-free and just be a regular kid for an hour that I don't want to deny him this simple pleasure. I spend so much of my days worrying and fretting about diabetes that every so often I need to force myself to step back, let Dylan be a kid, and say, "just keep swimming."


  1. That 234 will not hurt him in the long run. Being "normal" for a little while is worth it :)

  2. My thoughts exactly Kathy, thanks for your comment!

  3. 234 is not that bad; if you test at the one hour mark you may often find him around that number, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. So I would rate his experience as a success. I'm sure he had a great time.