Diabetes And Gym Class

The subtitle of my blog is becoming obsolete. Do I write about writing anymore? Lifting? A little theatre here and there, but type 1 diabetes has come to the forefront.

After a year and a half of failed efforts, I've devised a system that gets my child through PE class without having a low blood sugar.

PE was held, for quite a stretch, just after lunch. I'd build in extra carbs to Theo's meal, uncovered by insulin, to give him energy to burn off without hitting a low.

Except...it wasn't working. Some days okay, others down in the danger zone. I asked the teacher to tell me when he planned a tougher class, and sometimes he'd remember, sometimes not. Of course I'd need to know this info before the start of the school day in order to pack an appropriate lunch, so you can't fault the guy for forgetting this plan until it's too late.

Recently, PE moved to a good hour and a half after lunch, so I couldn't throw in those extra carbs (he'd run high for too long). Instead, I hit Costco.

Let me tell you about my first few visits to Costco. I walked around with eyebrows raised, suspicious that surely something bad was behind all these good prices. Children from a third world country were tied up in back and forced to hand craft the small cups that samples are served in; I was sure of it.

But with no evidence, I gradually relaxed, the dark chords stopped playing, and before you knew it I was there every week. (My husband, on the other hand, has been banned. How many deodorants does one man need?)

And there, at Costco, I found these:

Brothers All Natural Freeze-Dried Fruit Crisps. 20 pouches. Peach comes in at 7g of carbs; Fuji Apple and Asian Pear at 9g.

And these. 48 (48!) of these:

Stretch Island Fruit Co. Fruit Leather. Flavors run to 11-12g each strip.

These are nice numbers for fifteen minutes of activity, so I bought both products. I shoved a few fruit leathers into the larger crisp box, grabbed a Sharpie, and wrote this on the inside of the lid:

Easy: Peach
Medium: Apple or Pear
Hard: Fruit Leather

I carried said box to the school, gathered the PE teacher and my child around me, and explained the system: You will both meet at the start of each class. You'll decide what kind of day it is and take the appropriate snack. I'll keep them refilled.

So far, so good. Only one day did Mr PE misjudge, but all was caught in time. I'm proud of my new system and wanted to share it here. Or maybe I'm just looking for reasons to take another trip to the big warehouse; you be the judge.


  1. i LOVE this idea. there's elegance in its simplicity.

    btw, my husband went to costco by himself about 15 years ago, for the first and last time. he can't be trusted alone there. ;)

  2. Do you have a another strategy for this, Shannon? I think the plan has to match the people--i.e., I might have a different plan if we had a different teacher, etc.

  3. You rock, D-mom: That you not only came up with a concrete solution to the "ensuring adequate blood sugar for the PE class problem," but you also were so proud of yourself for devising it you shared it with your readers!! As someone living alone half the time and not having children, it is hard for me to imagine how challenging even small things are for maintaining your son's health.

  4. Thanks, Jennah! I know you have your challenges, too.

  5. Amy,
    Love your blog and the way you write about issues of concern to D-Moms and people with diabetes in general, Amy. As an editor at DiabeticLivingOnline, I wonder if you might consider adding our Tip of the Day widget to your site? It's free, and easy to embed with the code I can provide you (but can't do here because your site tells me the HTML cannot be accepted...)

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom with others. And let me know if you have any questions about adding Diabetic Living's Tip of the Day tool to your site.
    Debra Steilen, contributing editor
    debra.steilen at meredith.com

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Debra. I just visited your site and subscribed to the e-newsletter; once I get a sense of what I'd be advertising, I'll check back in with you. Thanks again!


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