Off the Dial

One Day Closer

My son loves New Jersey.

He's not a Springsteen fan – and we're from New York originally. But Benny's cousin Aaron lives in New Jersey.  Aaron was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago, just before his 7th birthday. Benny loves talking to him – they both have blue Animas pumps! - and Aaron recently helped get him a lot more excited about using his meter remote (Benny was a little nervous about the change).

He's going to flip when he sees this. 

The song is "One Day Closer," by Natalie Acciani.  All proceeds benefit JDRF and some of the South Jersey JDRF Youth Ambassadors – including Aaron and his mom – are in the video:   


You can see Aaron and his mom, my cousin Lara, hugging at around 1:50 in, but they're all over the video along with a bunch of adorable kids. Yes, Aaron's mom is my cousin so that technically makes him Benny's second cousin? First cousin once removed? Let's just leave it at diabetes buddy and fellow Lego master. And of course, a fellow New Jersey fan.

Learn more about Natalie Acciani here (and you can buy the song on iTunes, etc.)

First Grade Questions

After the stress of the start of school, I needed a lift.  Got a great one when I spoke to Benny's class about diabetes. He's in first grade so most of the children are six years old.  They were excited to learn and a lot of fun.

Jackiesgotgame We started by reading Benny's favorite D-book, Jackie's Got Game. It's all about a boy with diabetes who wears a pump and checks his blood sugar, at home, at school, where ever. He wants to make the basketball team, but will a low during try-outs keep him off the squad?!

For us, the very best part of this book is the final team roster. The first name on it is….. Benny!!  Unbelievable.  (Spoiler alert: Jackie makes the team.)

After the book, I go a little further explaining what diabetes is and why Benny needs insulin. I keep it pretty simple for kids: "Who knows how your body and brain get their energy so you can move and think?"  "Who here likes to eat food?"

Then Benny spoke and knocked me out. "Diabetes is awesome," he told his friends. "It makes me special." You know I have never told him that. I do not think diabetes is awesome.  However, hearing my six year old be positive and excited about something that really could drag him down is about as awesome as it gets.

He checked his blood sugar in front of the class, just in case they hadn't seen him do it. He showed off his pump and picked two friends to touch it while I used the remote to bolus him, so they could feel it vibrate ("I feel it!!" they shouted.)

Then we opened it up for questions.

#1 "Can Benny eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch?" Yes. I measure it on a special food scale so I know how much insulin he needs.

#2 "Does Benny ever have a low number like the boy in the book?" Yes. When he does, we give him juice or something with sugar in it to help get that number back up. He might not feel very well during that time, so please try to be a good friend and understand Benny might not want to play right at that moment. If Benny ever seems extra sleepy or slow, ask him if he feels okay and tell a grown-up. Thanks!

#3 "Where do they get the insulin that goes into Benny's pump?"Great question! Doctors make it in a special laboratory and we get it at the pharmacy, the same place your parents get your medicine.  (I almost started talking about pigs and sharks and bio-synthetics, but I'm glad I stopped myself. Gotta know your audience!)

We chatted for almost 30 minutes and then it was time to go.  When I got home Slade was just back from the grocery store. With cereal:


Okay, it's generic Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Still 22 carbs an ounce. Crunch away!!

Diabetes Art Day

Today is Diabetes Art Day 2011.  We looked on line at the submissions – Benny loved all the art work made using diabetes supplies. I thought we'd be crazy-gluing infusion sets until midnight, but then he saw the Legos.

Ten minutes later (he insisted on being in the picture):


The artist describes his work: "A mega-awesome truck carrying my pump. One of the guys has diabetes. The truck is combined suitcase and car.  The trophy is because that's a really famous car 
and it's so fast that it can drive on water."

I thought we were all set but his sister wanted in on the action:


No explanation needed, she says. "Artist wishes to remain unknown."

More on Diabetes Art Day here.  There are dozens of wonderful submissions and some of them even have to do with type 1 diabetes! (But we had fun, right?)