Teachable Moments….

I came to a realization whilst sitting watching Untold Stories of the ER with Eden yesterday – that there is still SO MUCH that she doesn’t know about Type 1 Diabetes and we have a LOT more to teach her.

Well, actually SHE was watching it – I just sat down in the same room and a particular story caught my attention.. For those of you not familiar with the TV show – these are TRUE stories – retold by the actual ER Doctor who treated the patient with some very bad acting thrown in to recreate the scene.

To cut a long story short a college cheerleader was brought in – I believe she was unconscious and her heart had stopped beating.. One of their first concerns was drugs and part of the batch of blood tests they ran was to check her blood sugar levels.. It came back “HI” and that’s when I started paying closer attention… The doctor seemed puzzled and unsure what would cause such a high reading and her heart to stop beating (I think they brought her back to life 4 times)

As the ER Doctor reported the girl had “undiagnosed diabetes” … NO MENTION AT ALL about it being TYPE ONE Diabetes. As he said, drinking 4 energy drinks had caused her heart to act erratically and the high sugar content had sent her into DKA due to her previously “undiagnosed diabetes condition”…

They showed her recovering in her hospital bed – picking food off the hospital tray in front of her and taking a sip of her boyfriends energy drink.. I was COMPLETELY HORRIFIED…

There was NO MENTION of the fact that this girl was diagnosed with TYPE ONE Diabetes.

NO MENTION of the fact that she would need to remain on INSULIN for the remainder of her life – they just showed her happy and seemingly recovered and ready to go home the next day..

Eden didn’t understand my growing frustration – I think I was probably yelling at the TV by now….. This was the perfect educational moment by a medical professional to a wide audience and it was completely squandered – WASTED – again adding to the public perception of diabetes and the growing reason why people just don’t get how SERIOUS Type 1 Diabetes is.


It also came to light that Eden DID NOT know what DKA was – yikes …

We have explained MANY MANY times over that high blood sugars cause damage to her body every single time she has them. She KNOWS that ketones are NOT GOOD – but I guess we had never really used the terminology “DKA”..  I KNOW we have explained that a build up of ketones means that her body is breaking down. We have tried to use scare tactics to get her to listen and do the right thing – this was complete proof that it DID NOT work and that a lot of the things we tell her go in one ear and out the other..

Eden’s eyes were as wide as saucers yesterday when I told her that she could be that girl on the TV screen – a scary reality that she did not particularly like.. 

It scares me to death that we are responsible for teaching her what she needs to know about a disease that could SO EASILY kill her.. We have a LONG way to go in educating Eden about the disease she carries… It is so complicated and frustrating at times.. I have read book after book about it and I STILL have a lot to learn..

We need to grab the moments when we can – when she is receptive to what we are trying to teach her.. Much easier said than done when our child is quickly moving into the “know it all” stage…

I hope she was listening yesterday – otherwise I myself missed the perfect teaching moment..


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