Summary: After all these years, Rufus the Bear with Diabetes still holds a special place in Q’s heart. Though other stuffed animals from her younger days have been boxed up, Rufus still has a place on her shelf. Rufus and the book which tells his story helped us get through a really tough week when Q had had enough and didn’t want injections. At the end of this excerpt is a little advice about giving choices.
A Bear Named Rufus
I am not saying that it was all sunshine and roses in those first few months. Our child was three years old after all, which presents its own set of challenges. Sometimes her appetite was bigger than expected, so we had to give her injections after a meal. Though she was initially compliant to getting her blood sugar checked and receiving four injections a day, there came a time that summer when she decided that she had had enough, and there was absolutely no way I was going to give her another shot.
For about a week, I had a struggle on my hands. Some days, I had to leave work to give her an injection if she wouldn’t let my mom do it. I didn’t want to hold her down and force her, but she needed these injections to live. I didn’t want her injections to be dramatic and traumatic, but nothing I could say would stop her crying, screaming, and kicking as I came toward her with needle in hand. Luckily, a package arrived in the mail that week that contained the Bag of Hope we had requested from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Inside was a little bear named Rufus and a book. I read her the story. I let her check Rufus’s blood sugar and give him an injection. And then she let me give her hers.
It was serendipity that he arrived right when we needed a way to get past this obstacle, and I’ll always be thankful for that.
A bit of advice that we were given by one of the nurses in the hospital about caring for a young child with diabetes is to give a choice where there is a choice to be given, but that not taking care of diabetes is never a choice. In other words, ask your child which finger he or she would like to use for a blood glucose check. But checking the blood sugar is not a choice, it’s a given. Ask them where they would like the injection this time. But getting the injection is not a choice, it’s a given. And if a bandage makes a child feel better after a blood sugar check or shot, offer a choice of those, too. Diabetes is a fact of your child’s life now. Your child may feel that control has been taken away, so it’s important to give children some choices to make them feel like they still have some independence and say-so.
If you’d like to learn more about the book, you can read more on the Kids First, Diabetes Second book page. It’s available widely in print and as an eBook from book sellers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and IndieBound. And if you do read it and find it to be a valuable resource, I would greatly appreciate if you could write a review on any of the online retail sites. Thanks!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to booksellers.
Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.