Category Archives: death from hypoglycemia

Join me on De-Nial

This has been a very emotional week and I have tried to insulate myself from a lot because…well I don’t know if I can handle too much more.  Recently, my family lost a dear young friend. He spent a lot of time at my house while growing up, was a good friend to my children and had only just become a new father himself. He death was both sudden and shocking.  He was only 21 and I still cannot begin to imagine the pain of his parents.

This week I have been seeing many Facebook posts about 3 or 4 children with Type 1 diabetes who died in the within the past few days.  That is way too much death for me to handle.  I honestly have not read the stories. I have heard of officials questioning the diet of an undiagnosed toddler who died–as if his sugar intake could “cause” type 1 diabetes rather than the medical community not diagnosing him? The horror is unimaginable.

As I mentioned the other day, this was also diabetes clinic week.  I still don’t have our most recent A1c back but we got a great pep talk about how its just a number and its only a concern if there is continued problems. I give that speech but it was nice to hear them saying the same thing to my son.  No matter what  reading comes back, I hope we do watch things more carefully, learn and move with forward with a stronger footing.

After the doctor’s pep talk and my mention of the possibility of a rebound at night after what I assumed was an undetected low, our nurse came in.  She reviewed the documentation and said “Oh, he had a really bad low did he?”

I was kind of puzzled. What bad low? What happened? Where was I?

“He went low at night. How terrifying for you!”

Crap! That low! I had put “that low” out of my head.  It was my big failure. It was my biggest fear almost realized. Did she have to mess with my protective bubble? As I said, this has been a rough week and I was doing a great job at insulating myself against any more stress or guilt.

Mess with my bubble she did! Instantly I had a flood of guilt as I remembered hearing someone else innocently telling me that they had woke up to hear my son moaning in his sleep and knowing that I didn’t wake up!  The panic stormed back in as I relived the fear of “what if his body hadn’t kicked out glycogen?”  Was he really going that low? Could something horrible really have happened between the 3am check when he was perfect and the 7am check when he was high?

I quickly shrugged her comment off stating that I didn’t know “for sure” that it had happened. I made adjustments the following night based on assumptions and the fact that he was insulin resistant for most of the next day.  Extreme testing, him waking and telling me he was dropping, and subsequent basal reductions would suggest that a problem may have occurred, but let’s again say that this was all very theoretical.

She simply nodded as if to say “if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, its probably a duck.”  Or in diabetes terms “If it looked like a rebound, you had subsequent lows at a similar time, and a reduced basal fixed it, he probably went low and you missed it!”  Thank heavens she just nodded and smiled.  That allowed me to slip back into my lounger on the River De-Nial.  Its a beautiful place.  With all of the ugliness of the week, I think I will happily float there a little while longer. The alternative is not a good place to be–terror, guilt, and more sleeplessness.
floating

There but for the Grace of God….

This week I was going to write about Diabetes Art Day.  I actually I planned to participate until I took a look at the amazing creative efforts of people and felt that my stick men would just not cut it (even if I made them out of test strips!) . That was the plan but life seems to change plans. 

I was speaking to a friend the other day.  His daughter in-law and grand-daughter were returning from the funeral of a young man.  I had heard that a friend of this woman’s son had passed away and I felt bad for those who loved him but that was my last thought…until this conversation. That is when I learned a bit more about how he died.  

This young man, someones baby, someones son, was just 20 years old.  He had Type 1 diabetes.  He was active and involved in sports. He went low while playing sports, passed out, seized and never regained consciousness. 

My heart stop.  I had to remind myself to breathe.  My friend said that he really hadn’t wanted to tell me about a diabetes death of a young man but he felt that I would find out anyway.  I somehow managed to continue the conversation noting that I sadly am well aware of how deadly diabetes is.  We continued to talk and educated. He understood much more about my fears after years of spending time with myself and my son.  He knew that this could be my child and that my fears were justified. 

I don’t know this young man’s family.  I don’t know about his life.  I know that he is only just older than my oldest son. I know that his family is now living my worst nightmare. I know that this isn’t right. I know that young children are not to die because of diabetes.  It just should not be.  

Parents worry about their sons drinking and driving.  We worry about them trying drugs.  We worry about them getting into bar fights, having an accident at work, or driving too fast.  I know…I worry but I don’t obsess.  

Last night, my internal alarm went off at 2 am.  I rolled over, looked at the clock and before I could groan about how unfair it was that I have been getting out of bed throughout the night for all of these years, I was up.  As I walked to my son’s room, I said “Thank you.”  I repeated those words as I searched for his meter, strips and lancing device.  I said thank you again, when I saw a high reading and reached for his pump to correct.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

I realized that as I was standing there testing, another family was waking with no one to test.  They were wishing that they were me. They prayed to have their time back to hold their son, to watch him sleep, to be able to test him and see him wake for one more morning. 


I headed  back to my bed grateful for all that is. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.