To tell or not to tell

My 6 year old daughter started swimming lessons today.  On the way there I keep I tell them she has diabetes or not??  Her bg was 219 because she had just eaten a snack.  Her pump would be off for an hour yet she would be getting exercise swimming to help keep it down.   I know I'm going to have to correct a high when I pick her up.  I had to return to work so I couldn't be there for the full hour.  I kept thinking should I even tell them she's diabetic or do I just keep my mouth shut knowing she will be ok and I would be just a phone call away??  My other 10 year old is taking lessons the same time and has a pretty good grasp on what to watch for.  She already doesn't get invited to birthday parties because parents are all worried about inviting a kid with t1.  I feel bad for her because she is starting to pick up on this.  I want her to have a normal life and not be ticked out of a crowd for having some disease.  I ended up telling her coach just in case.  I had to keep stressing that she will be ok but I could still see the fear of God in the coaches eyes thinking "oh great".  At what point do we have to tell out of safety vs. not saying anything because you know everything will be fine anyway since it's a short period of time? I know we need to be safe but I'm tired of her being singled out as different.     

I know it is hard to know when to say something, (especially if you were not going to be there) my daughter thinks I tell too many people but I want to make sure she will be ok.  I have found that you should be extra careful when swimming.  My dr told us Casie should be between 160 and 180 before going into the water.  So Casie goes swimming with a friend and before she went in she was 161, within 30 minutes she had dropped sown to 55.  So we found out from past experience that she needs to be closer to 200 and test often.  About the part of being diffrent, I look at it the way Casie does(she's 11 by the way).  When she was put in the hospital and told she had t1 she called her friends, and some of the friends were like oh ok bye, and then her true friends were like can we come see you, and can we come tonight?  Casie later told me she now know's who her real friends are.  She still talks to the others and they invite her over, but they are not as close.  She is now closer to her true friends because of this.    I don't know if any of this helps, I just wanted to let you know you are doing a great job!


Thanks for the support.  When my daughter got done with swimming today she was 126.  I thought for sure she was going to be in 200-300's considering she didn't have her pump on for an hour.  Guess she must have been working her little body hard to come down so much!   

My daughter got this at age 12-she has always been outgoing.Her close friends have always been there for her.The ones that were not-well that's another story.But I remember one of my fears were that she wouldn't be invited to spend the night over. One day after school I saw a group of her friends leave school together-it was a Friday.All I could think is -well this must mean the parents are afraid. I felt so sad and cried-not around my daughter.She never even saw the kids leaving,Well happy ending to all this,she continued on with all the same things she did before.Her close friends and most parents have no problem.I always made sure swim teacher,coaches etc, knew incase she ran into problems.Best wishes !

Speaking as a lifeguard, knowing that your child is diabetic and being told what signs to look for when they are low is VERY important. It also tells us what all needs to be done if a rescue is needed. If she does not have a medical alert tag/bracelet things could get very confusing. We'll start looking for head injuries, back injuries, suffocation, (we'll look for these things too anyway, we'll also immideatly call 911) and be left dumbfounded if we are not told and have no way to find out what the problem is. Please consider bringing in a glucogon kit and putting it in your son's bag in case of something like this happening.

Swim lessons are very safe and lifeguards are trained to notice and respond to emergencies. As a lifeguard I want to know as much as possible about what is happening in my pool as possible and how to deal with it. Honestly, it can be a scary job, with lots of safety variables. I think even I would give that "oh god" look if you told me you were putting their diabetic child in my care at the pool. But I would be calmed by being given a step my step procedure to follow if something happened =) The swimmer's safety is our first priority; we may require a doctor's release to participate in swimming activities. However, if your child is talented we will take note and try to challenge.

Swimming lessons aren't birthday parties, as a lifeguards we want your child to swim and swim well =)

Also, you should keep in mind Gary Hall a type 1 and winner of 2 gold medals in the 2000 Olympics and the Swim for Diabetes and that hundreds of us participare every year!

Oh One final question, what was her after swim blood sugar?

Oh ya! Your little one is burning 400+ calories per hour swimming! =) If I were 200 when I started and dropped like that I'd have a snack at the 1/2 hour point.

Swimming takes it out of my daughter as well - she can be at 140 and be below 60 in 20 minutes.   Someone told me recently that in addition to the activity level - constant movement - the body uses the blood sugar to keep its tempature up when swimming.  That gave me an aha moment - as my parents do not heat their pool and it can be quite cold at the begining of the season.  Even in a heated pool I would take it into account and keep in mind what the temp outside the pool as well.   In a new situation especially, I would make sure someone knows.

I am glad it worked out well.


Definititely, you have to tell the people in charge of your daughter at all times.  It is too risky. 

I am so sorry that she has been excluded from some parties because of her diabetes.  That really is horrible!  I am kind of speechless over that one.

Just stick with the friends who are supportive.  I am really so sorry to hear about her feeling excluded,


I definitely tell any adult who will be in charge that our son has T1, and am sure they are aware of the symptoms of lows, how to treat, have supplies on hand.  He also wears his medical bracelet at ALL times (it has come off since we got it two months ago). 

Yes, swimming burns through that BS like lightening!  On our day on the lake, William was eating every hour, sipping 1/2 juice 1/2 water all day, testing hourly, and he only got 2 units of Humalog the entire time.  We also reduced his Lantus that night to avoid a night-time low. 

As Laura said, stick with the friends that are supportive.  They are jewels, and will care enough about your daughter to look out for her.


I have had this discussion with my self many times over the years.  As a nurse I always end up telling them because it boils down to my son needs to be safe.  You are right that they all get the "Diabetic Fear" the ones that don't I worry about more.  I have attended every practice and every game for the last 5 years because I don't want to depend on some coach to save my son's brain cells from a severe low.  Not only can they lose brain cells but they can aspirate stomach contents during a severe low which will cause a bad pneumonia.  I have once or twice left him with the coach after he knew Tom well and they always have a special sign that tells the coach he is low and no one else knows what is going on. With an emergency bag and coach you feel comfortable with there should be no reason you can't leave your daughter.  As far as parents who don't want your daughter to come over because of her diabetes, you probably don't want her there anyway.  I have also seen my son's bs drop like 200 points in the water, I am more careful in the swimming pool than with football even.  Carb up before swimming or do a decreased temp basal for an hour or so before swim time.

It is nice to have another sibling close by that is use to this stuff, but it also ends up putting a lot of stress and worry on that non affected sibling.