E is on a multi daily injection system: one long-lasting injection at night (to provide ‘background insulin’ for 20 hours), and three fast-acting insulin injections with meals (any other large ish snack would require another injection, but we haven’t gone there yet, a whole different story…).

So. We have just started ‘carb counting’, which means that we weigh all his food, calculate the carb content thereof, and try to match the amount of insulin he needs for that meal. This appeals to the scientist in all of us, I suspect, so we’ve been trucking along, eager to get control of the blood sugar levels. 

So last night for instance we’re rushed. Everyone is starving. We weigh the sausages, cabbage, carrots, roast potatoes. Think, a full meal. Think, lots of carb. Think, he’s been running high numbers all day. Say: take the maximum dose.

We enjoy our meal, and end up trying to turn modern hymns into rock songs. Don’t ask me why.

R wanders over to the carb counting papers for a casual look. Ah, he says, very little carb actually in that meal. And roast potatoes digest slowly. Ah.

Hmm. We realise we have quite possibly overdosed and mis-timed things, so E is very likely to have a ‘hypo’ in the next two hours (when the insulin peaks). (Many of you will know all about this, but I’m proceeding for the moment like I had to proceed at the beginning of all this.) This is when his blood sugar levels drop, sometimes quite dramatically. He feels this, fortunately, by going shaky, and has so far ‘caught’ all of them, eg taken quick acting sugar to pull his level up again. Without intervention, hypos are dangerous (loss of consciousness, eventually a coma). Even with intervention, they are unpleasant.

Ice cream, R says.

Absolutely, I say.

But I’m full! E says.

Yes please! M says.

R calculates how much ice cream he needs. We all have a bowl of it — just, you understand, to keep him company. We sing and air guitar a bit more. Later, E’s numbers are fine.

I would never have dreamed that diabetes would mean ensuring that my child consumes chocolate ice cream with chocolate pieces. But hey. We made it.