Category Archives: false lows

Its the bird’s fault

Last night was a lazy night after a busy week.  We were getting ready for some popcorn on the couch and my son was testing his blood in his room. Suddenly I heard a huge crash! I went to see if he was still alive.  He swore he was and that he had just tripped–no big deal.

I trusted that all was okay and headed back to the popcorn and a phone call to my mom.  As I was on the phone, my son calmly shows me his glucometer…1.3(23).  I tried not to panic as I followed him into the kitchen, told him to drink that juice pronto and sit down for heaven sakes!!  I ended my call and continued to watch him as he sat in the living room.

“Are you okay? Do you feel that low? Are you sure you are okay? Do you really think you are 1.3 or do you think its meter error? Are you okay?”

“Yes Mom, I am okay.  Yes I think I am low but no I don’t feel that low, just low.”

“Do you think that the meter is wrong? Should we check?”  I am praying for 15 minutes to pass quickly and am mentally reviewing where all of the glucagon kits are just in case.

“I’ll grab another meter to retest.” 

My son came back with his AccuChek Nano and attempted to put strips for his Bayer Contour meter in it.  I explain that its not going to work and fear that he really is as low as the meter said! We got out his LifeScan meter and test on it  as well as the Contour that had produced the 1.3.  He was back in range and the meters had similar readings.  Larry was shocked that he was back in range that quickly.  I explained that there still could be meter error in the 1.3 reading but my son had also just chugged back two big glasses of orange juice before sitting down in the living room.  The aggressive treatment most likely stopped any further drop and brought him up nicely. 

As I worked to breathe again my son explained that the 1.3 was not the first reading he received when testing. The first reading just said “LO”.  What the?????? Holy crap child! There went my breath!  “LO”  and he was still walking?!? There had to be a mistake but still “LO”!!!??? Holy Hannah!! I think that there was a reason that he only told me that little tidbit after he was back in range.  He knew the panic that that would instill.

Once again, I tried to get back into recovery mode. My son was fine. He had not seized. He was back in range.  This has not happened in his sleep.  All was good.  I finally asked him to help me to figure out how this had happened.

“Do you think that you messed up a carb count? Is your basal off? Do you think it still was meter error and you weren’t nearly that low?”

“I was probably at about a 2.9 (50) rather than in the one’s.  I think the problem was with the bird.  I think he scratched out the wrong number.” 

I looked at him and began to laugh.  “The bird?” 

“Yeah, the little bird inside the glucometer.  You know? The one that takes the blood, figures out the reading, scratches it on a card and then it appears on the display screen.”

I was weak from laughing. Larry thought we were even more strange than normal.  I tried to stop laughing long enough to explain.  “Remember the Flintstones? All of their “electronic” devices had little birds and creatures inside that were really doing the work.  He figures that the bird inside the glucometer made a mistake.” 

Larry got it but still thought we were crazy.  I was amazed at my son’s insight and ability to completely change the mood of the evening.  I can still see that little bird in the meter. Larry told my son to get a new bird.  I just wonder where I managed to get that kid!