Armed (and Dangerous?)

The birthday party challenges keep coming this spring.  The latest was an invitation to a celebration at a restaurant serving a buffet brunch.  Mulling it over, I shared the invite with my daughter, offering her an alternative option. If she didn't want to manage the diabetes aspects of a buffet brunch alone, she could join the group after brunch for the pool party which would round out the afternoon.

"I really think I can do it!" was the overwhelmingly self-confident response.

What could I say?

What was the worst that could happen?

How would we ever get to an overnight road trip with friends without first allowing smaller steps like this one?

So she went to a very nice restaurant with beautiful water views to have brunch with a few of her friends and two brave parents.  Armed with her pump, dexcom, cell phone and calorie king app, she was otherwise on her own.

After a two mimosa brunch of my own and a comforting mid-afternoon ice cream stand stop, I picked her up at the pool at 5:45.  She was smiling from ear to ear and recounted in great detail all of the food she'd enjoyed.  She loved the restaurant, being with her friends, and playing volleyball at the pool.

Diabetes-wise? The Dexcom graph included dots on almost every level of its screen.  By 6 it just read 'high,' and stayed that way for over an hour despite two major corrections. The meter's remote showed that over 100 grams of carbs had been bolused for at brunch, and that corrections had been given at 2 and 4 for numbers in the 150-200 range.  She had unplugged the pump twice to swim but not for long since the water was "freezing."

As far as I can tell, she did all that she could, and I made sure she understood that.  A discussion of the desserts she sampled leads me to believe she under-calculated their carbs but since miniature pastries aren't on our regular menu, she was forced to guess.  The real problems didn't start until almost 4 hours after brunch, probably when the fat from the {still unclear to me number of} pieces of bacon she ate met the 105 + brunch carbs and the handful of pretzels she bolused for at the pool.  Truth is, she could easily have hit 400 whether I was with her or not.  Buffets are hard.  Mystery foods are hard.  Add into the mix frigid pool water which tends to spike her, unplugging to swim, and a healthy amount of excitement, and the results are not entirely unexpected.

All we can do is try to learn from the experience.  Mini pastries have more carbs than expected and should be consumed in limited quantities.  Balancing high carb and fatty foods from the buffet with a few lighter options might mitigate disastrous blood sugar results.  Following a heavy meal with an adrenaline-producing dip in ice water while the pump is unplugged shouldn't be a regular occurance.

You may think it was dangerous to send a 12 year old with diabetes to navigate a buffet brunch.  Perhaps a little bit.  But really, on some level, it's dangerous to send a 12 year old with diabetes anywhere.  The best I can do is to arm her with the tools and knowledge she needs to take care of herself, and with confidence. Despite the results, this was definitely a confidence-building experience.  For both of us.


  1. I love that you did this. We have allowed our 11 year-old to navigate parties on her own several times now, and she continues to improve her skills. Each time gets easier for us, and we are able to relax and enjoy the event more as her skill and confidence grow. It's a good thing for us, as the parents, to see them succeed... Congratulations to you both! -Wendy

  2. I'm hanging on the "smiling from ear-to-ear" part. Sounds like a very successful outing.

  3. Ooh la la, good call on the 2-mimosa brunch AND on taking the "small step" (which for me would be a huge step.)

    The cold water spike is amazing news to me. Adrenaline, right?

    Your daughter is doing an amazing job. Just that she wanted to do it and was happy and confident. Next time maybe the mini desserts will be easier to figure out, maybe not. Either way, your girl is totally on her way!


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