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Arden's Day Blog

Arden's Day is a type I diabetes care giver blog written by author Scott Benner. Scott has been a stay-at-home dad since 2000, he is the author of the award winning parenting memoir, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal'. Arden's Day is an honest and transparent look at life with diabetes - since 2007.

type I diabetes, parent of type I child, diabetes Blog, OmniPod, DexCom, insulin pump, CGM, continuous glucose monitor, Arden, Arden's Day, Scott Benner, JDRF, diabetes, juvenile diabetes, daddy blog, blog, stay at home parent, DOC, twitter, Facebook, @ardensday, 504 plan, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, Dexcom SHARE, 生命是短暂的,洗衣是永恒的, Shēngmìng shì duǎnzàn de, xǐyī shì yǒnghéng de

Filtering by Category: School Blog

Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence

Scott Benner

This is the finale of the series. Links to previous posts are below, if you'd like to read it in order.

I was asked recently on my blog if I had any tips for a family that was considering Arden’s school day diabetes management plan. Anything that I hadn’t mentioned – perhaps a tip that would make the transition smoother. I responded in part by saying, “I didn’t know what I was doing when I started either.” I think that’s the most powerful message of support I could offer anyone. None of us know what to expect when we forge our own way with type 1 diabetes. All we have is the knowledge that we’ve been able to accumulate, but I think that’s a lot.

Consider how little you knew on the day that your child was diagnosed and remember how your doctors only began to scratch the surface when they explained diabetes care. Now, you probably have more diabetes knowledge than three doctors combined. I know that I am the foremost expert on my daughter’s physiology. I can, with great accuracy, predict how her body will react to insulin, exercise, stress and all of the factors that we pay attention to. I didn’t learn these things in school or at a doctor’s office, I learned them by experiencing diabetes – and that’s how our kids are going to learn.*

I want to caution you to not get too comfortable and to always keep a watchful eye as our children take over more and more control of their day-to-day diabetes health considerations. Because even though they are some of the most courageous and levelheaded kids a person will ever meet, they are still kids. I think they want and need to know that we are here. “We” doesn’t have to mean just parents. If you end up trying Arden’s plan in school, please remind the teacher that your child’s diabetes independence doesn’t mean that they don’t need an adult to be concerned and watchful at times. My friend’s new book reminded me recently that sometimes the most responsible children tend to get forgotten and that space can lead to apathy for them. Sometimes the trust is easy to take advantage of, especially if the child is experiencing diabetes burnout. It can happen to anyone and it will, so always remember to be a presence during those formable years.

It’s my sincere wish that this series has helped you to feel powerful and more in control. I hope that something I’ve shared has given you a new perspective and made you feel like the idea of anything being possible isn’t just something you read on an Internet meme. I also want to thank you, because I learned something from writing these pieces. I learned that I was getting too complacent and that we should be taking what we’ve learned from the last year of managing Arden’s diabetes from school and make something new happen.

I’m very excited to share that by the time you read this Arden will have gone to a concert with her best friend and her friend’s mother, without me or my wife in attendance. I’m going to take the things that I’ve learned from Arden’s diabetes management at school and use them to let go a little more. I’m going to use them to give Arden more freedom, so that diabetes can be a smaller part of her life. It may take a lot of self-control not to drive up the interstate behind our friend’s car and sit in the parking lot of the stadium, but I’m going to use the same courage I felt in an e-mail one of you sent me recently. If you can read about what I do and find the strength to try… so can I.

Thank you so much for reading!

My best,
Scott


READ THE SERIES

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
Currently reading



I Wonder Why Diabetes Picked Me

Scott Benner

There I was sitting at Arden's little desk for back to school night wondering if I could be home in time to eat dinner while it was still warm.

The teacher spoke about class culture, math and the bell schedule... pretty standard stuff. While nervous parents asked questions I looked through Arden's desk and wrote her a note about my excitement for her upcoming school year.

It felt like the evening was drawing to a close when Arden's teacher said, "The children wrote a poem from writing prompts, I'll pass them around so you can read them".

When I grasped Arden's in my hand I immediately recognized the format from a few years prior when my son Cole was in fifth grade. I smiled because he filled in the first line almost identically to Arden. 

The first prompt is, "I am"

Cole wrote athletic and smart. Arden said, athletic and funny.

My eyes moved to the second line with proud anticipation.

"I wonder..."

I don't remember what Cole wondered about in the second line of his poem, but I can tell you that Arden's query about life was, most certainly, not the same.

I wonder why diabetes picked me as it's target, Arden asked.

A fist sized lump formed in my throat as I picked a spot on the wall to stare at while I collected myself. I won't lie, I had to bear down hard to stop from crying. I quickly slapped a fake smile on my face and kept reading, scared of what other diabetes related thoughts Arden harbors – but there were none. 

When I was finished the poem I snuck a peak at some of the other kid's work. One girl wondered about zebra strips, another why recess was so short - whimsical thoughts from the minds of ten year olds. There was a small second when I could have indulged the pity that I was feeling and I almost did.

Then I thought, "Is it really that bad if Arden wonders why she got diabetes when so many others didn't? The simple answer was no. I found myself feeling proud that she wonders about her life and reminded myself that her writing didn't focus only on diabetes, in fact the poem was nearly thirty lines in length and this was the only mention. Arden saw herself as funny, athletic and confident about her future. She watches nature with curiosity and though Arden prefers quiet when she works, she doesn't judge others who don't. She didn't say she was sad, burdened and everything else about how she sees herself was intensely positive. There was absolutely no reason why I should allow myself to feel like her curiosity about diabetes was anything but that, curiosity. There are so many joyous aspects to who Arden is, she was celebrating them and she deserved for me to do the same.

I choose to be happy about all that Arden understands about her life and proud that she can reflect on her type I diabetes without wallowing. If she can do it, then I can too.

Arden won't know this for a long time but when she wrote that poem, she unwittingly added to my diabetes community with support that buoyed me. And so today I share her words with you in hopes that they will do the same.

The lesson that I took from my little girl's poem is a simple but profound truth.

Diabetes sucks but it isn't who we are. I decide when, where and how it makes me feel.

My name is Scott. I am a writer, a father, a husband and though sometimes I wonder why diabetes choose my daughter, I wonder a little less today because of her clarity and wisdom.


Arden's Day of Diabetes: #DayofDiabetes

Scott Benner

Around a year ago the JDRF did this cool thing where people could sign up for text alerts that were meant to simulate having diabetes - so people could understand better the relentless nature of living with type I. I loved that idea, but how could I not? That's exactly how I started Arden's Day. 

Six months ago some wonderful folks did it again on Twitter using the hashtag, #DayofDiabetes and I loved the idea even more (Twitter is perfect for this) and participated in the event. Those same people brought up doing it again today - I'm in.

I'll be tweeting, Facebooking and refreshing this blog post all day whenever diabetes requires interaction. I wonder what kind of day with diabetes this Day of Diabetes will be?


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Midnight: My day with diabetes began around midnight when a late evening bolus just would stop. Managed temp basal rates to get Arden's BG to 110.

4 AM: Up again to set more decreased temp basals. Finally gave up around 5 AM and gave Arden some juice (1/4 of a box) . Ended up staying awake because the juice wasn't working. Of course, the juice I added at 6 AM ended up being too much - figures.


7 AM: Up for school and now blousing to stop the BG rise from the second juice sips. CGM now 160, arrow straight up. Juice sips worked too well!


7:50 AM: Replaced juice box in Arden's bag (Used it last night for a low during softball pitching practice), set a timer for 45 minutes on her phone. Going to try and eliminate high BG (190 CGM) before school snack at 9:30 am.


8:28 AM: Blogged about diabetes


9:07 AM: Just texted with Arden, need her to test her BG. She told me to "wait five minutes" apparently they are in the middle of a contest. #DayofDiabetes


9:30 AM: Arden and I texted for her school snack. BG was 190, stubborn this morning. We boluses for 30 carbs. I asked her to test, she wanted to bolus from CGM. She said, "Fine I will but if they match I will poop on you" - I hope she meant the emoticon. They matched BTW.


11:00 AM: Lunch time text.


1:48 PM: Post Gym #CGMnow is 97. Temp basal off for 30 min and a few carbs should hold it there. We’ll see. #DayofDiabetes


2:30 PM: Arden will be home soon. Time to pack a bag with supplies so we can go watch her brother play baseball for the school team. I don't remember what it feels like to run out the door with just my wallet and keys. #DayofDiabetes 


3:16 PM: So the one day I try to outsmart an after school drop in BG... diabetes does the opposite. 185 and creeping up. Damn


5:07 PM: Some mini muffins will stop the bg fall. Only bolusing for half. #DayOfDiabetes


6:30 PM: Made a wild guess about dinner carbs on the way to a restaurant. Needed the pre-bolus time to work on a slightly elevated BG. I won't know hoe well I guessed for about 90 minutes.


Dblog: Best of Arden's Day 2013

Scott Benner

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These are just some of my favorite blog pieces from 2013. Please let me know if I missed yours, and I'll add it to this list along with any words about the post that you have to share. I want to wish you all a safe and Happy New Year...

New blog posts will begin to arrive in early January. Be well! Scott


The Diabetic Problem - A poem by Arden

I'll Have Two Eggs Poached, Toast and a Scoop of Maturity - Arden decides that she wants a lower A1c

Hoping vs Living - Talking honestly about a cure

What Lies Beyond My Understanding - The fight to figure out insulin

Sesame Chicken you Motherless $%&^@ - The best laid schemes of mice and men

Softball Aristotle - Arden gets thoughtful 

Holy @#%&*$% A1C - Celebrate

Number Thirty Seven - A scary low at the worst time

Arden's Hands are Growing - Something good has to come from all of this

The day I made Katie Couric laugh - Exciting day in an exciting year

When things go wrong, they go wrong - The title tells the tale

Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence Part 1 - Proud of this series

Dear Teacher: The DX - It needs to be said

Little People, Big Problems - Kids feel just like we do

What do you want to tell diabetes? - The one where you all cursed

Small World - Feel good

Fifteen-Year-Old type I told, "We are not a hospital or charity" - This is why we educate

MicroCell to the rescue

Scott Benner

 

Lately the cell coverage has been spotty in Arden's classroom. The school does have WiFi and Arden's phone is connected to it but we still seem to be having interment signal issues. The other day Arden sent me a text that said...

"58 one arrow down", but none of my return texts made it back to her phone. I quickly called the office and they put me through to the room, but I don't want that to ever happen again so I called AT&T to inquire about the poor signal quality and find an answer to our problem.

The CSR thought (and I agreed) that a good fix would be to install a MicroCell in Arden's classroom. A MicroCell creates a cell signal with the a wired Internet connect, Arden's class has ethernet. We have one in our house and get good results so I thought it was worth a try. A few minutes later the CSR explained that he thought he could help with the price (It's $200) because of the medical need. Later that afternoon I went to my local AT&T store, purchased the MicroCell and by the time I dropped it off at Arden's school, AT&T had credited the purchase price back to my cell phone bill.

As I was saying goodbye to the gentleman on the , I expressed my gratitude one more time and he responded, "Think nothing of it, my dad has diabetes... I understand."

A huge thank you to the kind CSR and another to AT&T for hiring great people who take the time to listen.