Sweet and Sour Chicken

Do I only write sad posts about diabetes? I suppose if my blog were dedicated to the topic, I might regularly explore all sides (like this kinda fun one). However, my blog is dedicated to whatever I'm thinking about, and rarely am I thinking anything good about diabetes.

Today it made me cry, again. I'd like to point out here that although in the first year since my son's diagnosis of type 1 I was a bit weepy, lately I've been doing well. At our appointment with the endocrinologist Wednesday, not a single tear was shed, except maybe briefly when the diabetes educator mentioned...well, something that may or may not have been related to the disease. But otherwise, I was good. And Theo sat reading a book.

Today's tears are hardly worth mentioning had they not caught me so completely off guard. Shortly after noon the school secretary called to say the math I had done for the insulin shot, based on Theo's hot lunch choice of pizza, was now unuseable. The cafeteria was offering instead a special meal celebrating Chinese New Year.

My kids eat hot lunch only once a week, and it's a big deal. And yet it seems every time Theo's turn rolls around, something happens that cuts into his enjoyment. Often he's sitting out a low blood sugar, and the hot lunch is no longer hot. Today, his blood sugar was in range, but the menu threw us a curveball.

I asked that they send him to lunch while we determined the carb count (it's not ideal to eat before the shot, but it's not the worst thing). I hung up to check the carb count online, but it wasn't on the school's site (naturally; it was a last minute change). I called back and was transferred to the head of food service.

A long discussion on the chicken ensued. Was it breaded? Grilled? Seasoned, she said. With breading, I ask? No...she hesitates...just seasoning. Like grilled, then, I say. Uh, yes. So no carbs, then.

He skipped the sauce, so how much is the rice? 24.7.
And the fortune cookie? 6.

The chocolate milk I remember is 21.7; she verifies this. I ask to be transferred back to the secretary.

Jane uses her calculator to add these numbers and divide them by 18, our carb ratio for lunch. Her math can't be right; the number after the decimal point is obviously off. Just as she's doublechecking, a call comes through in their office from the food service woman, who has just discovered that the chicken is breaded.

We do new math, and I account for the fact that although the rice carb count is probably correct as given, Theo's blood sugar will run low if I give him the same ratio of insulin for the rice as for the other foods. I round down and hope for the best.

Twenty minutes have passed. Theo's back by in their office by then, happily eating his fortune cookie. They give him a shot of three units. I go to the bathroom to cry sweet and sour tears.


  1. oh maaaaaan. i hate the unexpected tears! but after so much stress over something that so many other moms and kids never have to give a second thought to: last-minute lunch change (ourselves included, once upon a time), it is completely understandable. ALL WE WANT IS FOR OUR KIDS TO BE ABLE TO EAT LUNCH WITH THEIR FRIENDS WITHOUT ANY AUXILIARY STRESS, AMIRITE?

    jeez. well done on keeping your cool until the whole thing played out!

    1. Lunch is such a stressor for me. When he's home, you make do. But all that preplanning, only for something to be off anyway... Yesterday he ran unexplicably low on a hot lunch day, and later he says to me, Mom, there wasn't very much food at all. I'm like, You mean the portions were smaller than usual? He was convinced they were. So....we do all that math, then the lunch lady slacks with the spoon.

  2. What a gently powerful sentence you wrote to conclude your narrative of a day that gnawed at you in various ways! Thinking of you and your family. Love, Jennah


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