Category Archives: hypoglycemia

Sometimes your the bug…

In honor of “throw back Thursday”, here is a post from June of 2009…

Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug

Today I am definitely feeling like the bug. It was after midnight and of course I was dying to get to sleep. I set my alarm for early next morning…my boys’ last day of school. I found a meter and a strip. I grabbed a lancet, waded through all of the junk that my youngest son had left on the stairs to his room rather than putting away and was off to test. One last check for a few hours. One check and I could sleep! We had been out for pizza to celebrate good grades so I was sure that he would still be high. He had been 16 (288) earlier so I was certain that I was going to be able to rest.

Wrong! I took the meter. I filled his finger with blood. The strip refused to suck. What the???? Okay, I cleaned the finger. I got more blood. I tried again. It just barely accepted the blood. I waited for the reading…E5. Error! Not enough blood. Oh the lovely four letter words that were on the tip of my tongue as I headed back downstairs again. I would try this one more time.

New meter. This one had to be better. New strip. Same lancing device. Back up the stairs, this time grumbling and picking up items as I went. I threw the items off to the side for my young son to deal with tomorrow and headed to his bed. Once again, I lance his finger. Once again, I got a large amount of blood. The strip sucked this time. I walked towards the stairs not even considering that I might have to correct. Good thing…he was 3.2 (57)! More choice words as I shuffled off to get some juice. I filled a glass, found a straw and went back upstairs for a third time in less than five minutes.

My son was not keen on drinking. I finally got him to sip. He drank t all except the last few drops which fly out of the straw and all over his pillow.  My cream pillow cases now have spots of red strawberry juice on them! I am choked. I hate diabetes. I clean the pillow cases as best as I can and then I wait. Why are 15 minutes a lifetime when you are dead tired and simply want this day to end?

Yeah! 5.5 (99) and I was off to bed for two hours. Oh the fun! Oh the joys! Oh where is my DexCom Seven Plus????

Diabetes won that round…

Once again, let me just say…I hate diabetes. It gets on my nerves. It messes with my mind and every time I dare to think I have things figured out? WHAM! It screws with me. 


A few nights ago we were traveling to take my son to visit with his father for a few weeks.  We made a few stops along the way and decided to enjoy a nice big pizza in our hotel room. That night readings provided some great insights.  My son was perfect after two hours.  His readings climbed at the  four hour point.  Eight hours after eating the fat was wreaking havoc and my son was nice and high. Ugh!


I decided to take this as a learning moment.  I took careful note of how things  rose and vowed to make some great, informed changes later. I was going to turn my frown upside down!


The next day we headed back on the road for the final leg of the trip for my son.  We stopped for some lunch. Once again, our travel meal was higher in fat than I would normally like.  Once again, I was sure that we were going to defeat diabetes by getting the insulin ratios and delivery times perfect. Once again I was wrong! 


As we traveled down the highway, I heard my son ask “How much of this glucose gel should I take?”


Crap! “How low are you?”


He was 3.0 (54).  I told him to drink the entire thing.  I looked back and noticed how pale he was.  I began scouring my purse for more glucose. I always have enough food to feed a family of four for a week but I had cleaned things out when I went away last month. I hadn’t replenished. What was I thinking? 


Panic began to creep in. We were on the highway.  We were not near fast acting glucose.  All of our beverages were sugar-free.  I watched the clock and held my breath. Finally I asked my son if he had retested.  He did. He was fine. Phew!! Catastrophe averted! 


Later, I found more glucose hidden in the truck for such emergencies but I am so glad that we didn’t really have to worry about it and I still hate diabetes!

And then there was the bad news

A few hours after my son got home from his time away, I asked to see his meter. I knew there was going to be a problem when the excuses began.  


“Well you see, you won’t find all of my readings on that meter. I used another meter in my shed.”


I asked where the other meter was.  Of course he had left it behind at his father’s.  That was convenient! He said that he had done a lot of testing on the meter he brought home in the last few days so it would give me some idea of what had been going on.  


As I scrolled through the meter I found readings that were between 20-30mmol (360mgdl+).  I tried to breathe.  I asked him what was going on. 


“Well, I was high this morning because I didn’t want to go low last night and interrupt the little bit of sleep I was going to get.  You see how I was low at 11pm? I had a juice and a granola bar to cover it.” 


“A little bit of overkill don’t you think? You were just low (3.7/65), a juice would have done it.  If you weren’t going up that quickly after 15 minutes then you could have added more without sending your readings through the stratosphere.” 


I continued to scroll through the meter and note the results.  I continued to work to breathing.  All of the readings were high and higher! What was going on? 


“I think my site was going bad.  See, my readings dropped once I changed the site.”


“Dropped? When? Where? How long was this site in? You were running over 20 (360) for days!”


He replied that his site was a little old. He had probably gone over by a day or so.  Perhaps his site was as much as seven days old I asked?  He just shrugged his shoulders. I wanted to scream but instead I asked him about a cut on his hand. 


“When did you do that?”


“Yesterday.”


“What do you think it will look like in seven days?”


“I hope it will pretty well be gone.”


“So when you lance a small hole in your body for your cannula, how much healing do you think has gone on around it in seven days? When the tissue around it heals, it can’t absorb insulin any more.” 


He replied that he thought he could go 5-7 days before a site change.  I know that some people will with no problem but he has insurance, he is young, and I really didn’t want to go down that alley with him so I replied that ideally sites are changed every 2-3 days. 


“Oh, well you see all of these highs have meant that I learned a lot this trip. I should probably do this more often. I never realized this stuff before. Now I know it. Wasn’t this a good thing?”


I had to laugh because otherwise I would have strangled him.  None of this information was new. It was all stuff he knew before.  I told him that continuing to run that high would result in serious complications. He told me that he had been told that was hogwash.  I replied that maybe one or two highs would not kill him but doing this forever would quickly result in problems. To help him understand all of this, he was now definitely going to the Friends for Life Conference in Vancouver.  He needed some more training.


Once again he shrugged that teenage shrug and went back to enjoy being home.  I just sat and shook my head.  Maybe he would learn because of this.  Maybe one day everything I tell him about his diabetes care will have some meaning. In the meantime, I will continue to pray, to hate summer vacations and extended periods of insane bg levels. 
  

Waking up is a good thing

My son got off of the plane, stumbled towards me and yawned. He had to be up at 6am and for a teen who likes to sleep until noon, this was just way too early!



After our initial chatter he turned to me and said “You will be happy to know that I now wake up from my lows.”  


“You mean you woke up more than once?”


“Yeah, I wake up feeling starved. I hate it. It messes with my sleep.”

“Waking up is a good thing. The alternative is not waking up!” 


“I know but it wrecks my sleep. I would rather have uninterrupted sleep.” 


“That is not an option.  Waking up is a great thing. I hope you continue it!” 


“Sleep is a good thing. I would really rather just keep sleeping. That would be great.”


I shook my head and attempted to explain that an eternal sleep was not an ideal. My son grumbled some more. He is not nearly as enthused as his mother is.  He understands my relief but yet another glitch in his life thanks to Diabetes is not at all welcome.  


Oh well! Hopefully we are onto something that lasts! 



Sometimes your the bug

Originally posted in 2009 but the feelings remain the same….

Today I am definitely feeling like the bug. Its after midnight and of course I was dying to get to sleep. I set my alarm for early tomorrow morning…my son’s last day of school. I found a meter and a strip. I grabbed a lancet, waded through all of the junk that the boys had left on the stairs rather than putting away and was off to test. One last check for a few hours. One check and I could sleep! We had been out for pizza to celebrate good grades so my youngest son would still be high. He was 16 (288) earlier so you know I was going to be able to rest.


Wrong! I took the meter. I filled his finger with blood. The strip refused to suck. What the???? Okay, I cleaned the finger. I got more blood. I tried again. It just barely accepted the blood. I waited for the reading…E5. It was an error reading!! Not enough blood. Oh the lovely four letter words that were on the tip of my tongue as I headed back downstairs. Let me try this again.


New meter. This one had to be better. New strip. Same lancing device. Back up the stairs, this time grumbling and picking up items as I went. I threw the items off to the side for the boys to deal with tomorrow and headed to my son’s bed. Once again, I lance his finger. Once again, I get a large amount of blood. The strip sucks this time. I walk towards the stairs not even thinking about having to correct. Good thing…he was 3.2 (57). More choice words as I shuffle off to get some juice. I fill a glass, find a straw and do those stairs for a third time in less than five minutes. He is not keen on drinking. I finally get him to sip. He drinks it all except the last few drops. Those are sucked up into the straw and then fly all over his pillow. He is using my cream pillow cases and I have managed to get strawberry juice on them! I can’t even blame him but I am choked. I clean them as best as I can and now I wait. Why are 15 minutes a lifetime when you are dead tired and simply want this day to end?


Yeah! 5.5 (99) and I am off to bed for two hours. Oh the fun! Oh the joys! Oh where is my DexCom Seven Plus????

Mom You are Low!

Like any good family with diabetes living in the house, we have a rule…Never Waste Blood!  If you cut yourself, find a meter. Never waste an opportunity to see what your blood sugar levels are. 


Yesterday I was drying off our blender and was stabbed by one of its blade.  I could feel the piercing of my skin and began to squeeze my finger. Sure enough blood began to spill out of a small cut. 


I was on the phone but headed to my son’s room and said “I need a meter. I am bleeding.”  


He dropped the game he was playing, found a meter and grabbed a test strip. It was so odd to see him moving my finger to the meter the same way I have done with his for years. The role reversal was strangely sad. 


I continued my phone conversation and he said “You are low.  Its says you are 3.6(65).” 



I told him I couldn’t be low and walked away.  The blood had dried up and I couldn’t retest to prove to him the result was off. 


A few minutes later my son followed me into the kitchen where I was still on the phone. “Mom, you are low. You should be having an orange juice.”


I told him that I felt fine. Shouldn’t I feel different if I was low especially since I don’t have diabetes? 


“Mom, everyone is different. Perhaps people without diabetes feel lows completely different than I do.  The meter says low. Low is low. You should have some orange juice.” 


In the meantime from the other end of the phone I heard “or at least go and take a glucose tablet.”  I was speaking to my mother and she seemed to be enjoying the irony of this conversation. 


I never did have any juice. The only “symptom” I had was a mild headache that had plagued me all day.  I am going with meter error but his concern and his no nonsense approach to my reading made me laugh but it also touched me that he was worried too…only in a house where diabetes lives!




Beginning tomorrow, I will be re-posting blog posts from the not too distant and distant past.  I hope you enjoy a stroll down memory lane with me.  I will be out of the country taking in a vacation like I have never had before so enjoy and I am sure I will have lots to blog about when I return!

Mom, You realized that I saved my own life!

My son is supposed to be in swimming lessons through school.  Week one he hadn’t registered properly and he wanted to study for a math exam so he didn’t swim.  Week two he was high and he claimed that I told him that when he was that high it was dangerous for him to swim so he sat on the sidelines and studied his math once again.

We were now on week three. I had been in contact with his homeroom teacher because she was concerned about the time he was missing at the pool.  We were both certain that this day he would be in the water!

Breakfast was bolused so he would not be high at the pool. His swim gear was in his bag.  An extra site was packed just in case. We were good to go! Until the text message came in…”I will weird i think im droping or something”. 

Panic quickly began to set in.  My son is fanatical about his spelling when he sends a text message. Most people use all sorts of short hand and he is no different to a point. He likes his words to be spelt properly if he is typing them out.  “Will” instead of “feel” put me on edge.  I called him asked him what was going on.  He told me that he was in range but he knew that he was dropping. I suggested that he take glucose for the impending low, disconnect and hop in the pool.  He would be fine but double check half way through the lesson.

When he came home that afternoon I asked him how things went.

“Well basically I saved my own life! You see, I was 8 (145) when I tested but I knew I was dropping.  I ate the glucose like you said but I didn’t go into the pool.  I sat on the side and talked diabetes to my old science teacher.  Remember, her husband has Type 1? Well we chatted about him being really high at sea one time and having to be airlifted to the hospital.  After a bit I retested and after doing nothing and eating glucose tablets, guess what happened? I was lower still! I was down to 5 (90).  Can you imagine what would have happened if I had been swimming? I would have dropped like a rock! It would have been have been horrible. I could have died in the pool!”

What could I say? He was a little dramatic but I agreed that he had done the right thing.  I keep praying that one day he might actually use the lessons that I have been paying for.  Diabetes does not seem to want him to swim…and funny but my son for once is happy to agree with it!

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Our First Terrifying Low

Today’s challenge is to write about a first. There are so many firsts in diabetes…the first time you inject your child.  The first time you test their blood.  The first time you make a dosing adjustment.  The first time you let them go to a friend’s house without you.  The first time they have ketones. The first time they go low…

We were not allowed to leave the hospital until my son’s blood glucose level went low at least once.  It was a safe place for this to happen. He was two. He had no way of telling us how he felt. I was terrified as to how either of us would react when he went home.  Eventually we did have to go home however and trying to regain some sort of control of our lives was not easy.

I tested.  I injected. I watched. I lived by the clock.  I counted each exchange.  Food was restricted and fights with a toddler were many. Life was not good but it got worse…

The first time that I remember my son going low at home definitely puts me in the “World’s Worst Mom” category.  We had not been home from the hospital for long. It was early spring.  The snow had finally gone.  The boys and I were enjoying the chance to be outside.  They were playing and I was working on my yard. 

As I worked, my youngest son began to get fussy.  He was demanding. He wanted to go inside.  He was whining and basically being an annoying two year old who desperately needed to go for a nap.  I told him to give me just a few minutes. I would be done soon and we could go inside.

I never paid him any more attention. I continued doing what I was doing. Diabetes never entered my mind. It lived on the fringes.  Memories of the hospital were still fresh.  Living by the clock was our new way of life but “other” fears were not yet as strongly entrenched.

I tended to my garden, moving rocks and dirt.  My son was quiet so I assumed that he had gone back to playing with his trucks and amusing himself until I was done.  I finally turned around and looked for him.  My heart stopped.

My son was laying lifeless on the ground.  What had happened? What had I done? Instantly, I had him in my arms and was screaming at my older son, “Open the door for me now!!!”

I raced through the house and put my son on my bed. I ran to the washroom to get a clean face cloth to wash his hands and had my older son get me the glucometer. I shook as I tested his blood. He was low. How low? I don’t remember. I just know that I brought juice to his lips and prayed he would drink.  He did!

Within a minute he was awake and wondering what my problem was.  He wanted to go and play.  I bribed him with watching his favorite show on TV instead.  I knew he had to retested. His blood glucose level still had to go up some more. 

I watched him as he sat, content and oblivious to the chaos that had just ensued.  I continued to shake.  What ifs ran through my mind.  I would never ignore him like that again. I couldn’t. Diabetes was not interested in my timetable, its demands were to be met NOW! 

I can’t say that that was the last time he went low but I can say that it was the last time I found him asleep in the dirt.  There were many other “firsts” in our lives.  Some were bitter sweet and some remain terrifying but such is life with diabetes.

Let is Snow

We have established that my son’s body has an aversion to snow.  He loves snow. He loves to snowmobile and enjoy the cold crisp air. Diabetes on the other hand does not like snow…or perhaps its just allergic to the physical work that snow brings.

For years, whenever it has been snowing and I made my son go outside to shovel he would be low.  No, not after the activity but long before it has started!  Before he can put on his boots, he will feel shaky, test and be low!  It has always drove me insane.

This winter, the snow was piling up.  Larry was outside clearing the driveway.  I could hear my son head into the kitchen, open and close the fridge door, and then head back to his room.  Five minutes later Larry came in and asked him to go outside and clear the steps.  He couldn’t.  He was low–in the two’s (low 40s).  He did come back up, had a cereal bar for good measure and got the job done but Diabetes made sure he was low first.

A few days later, he was again asked to go outside.  Yep, he was low before he put on his mitts!

“Why does your body hate snow?”

“I think it just feels that I really shouldn’t be doing this kind of work. It thinks that snow should be reserved for skidooing and not manual labor.”

Funny boy! Diabetes or not, he does his share of work around the house and that includes shoveling snow when needed.  Diabetes will just have to get used to it!

Why I hate Five

Its been three Thursdays and we are still doing the “Reading Review Thursdays“! Yesterday was actually a bit of a fluke.  My son had been having high reading overnight for the past three days. I knew that it was time to make a change. I decided that it was easiest to look at the rest of his readings then as well.  As I was writing down dates, I realized that it was Thursday! I was right on schedule. Yeah me!

Yes, I need a life and am a little sleep deprived.  You see, despite being high for three nights (and I mean close to 20 or 360 for my American pals) my son was perfect to on the low side all night long last night. 

After our pump tweaking, we sat at the kitchen table and chatted while he drank a Tim Horton’s smoothie.  He was 4.5(81) before he started.  He then ate two Eggo’s as well.  I felt that he would soon be running a lot higher and my basal changes came just in time!

Erring on the side of caution however, about 20 minutes after he went to bed I had him test again. He was 4.2 (75)! Crap! I sent him to the kitchen to chug a glass of juice. 

“Should I stay up and retest because I am low?”
“Well, you aren’t technically low. You are just in a range that I really don’t like you to go to sleep at.  The juice should cover it. You have school tomorrow, get some rest and I will check later.”

I checked him a few hours later and he was right around 5 (90).  Was he going to go up or drop? I was not going to get any sleep.  I hate these nights–no clear low but clearly not safe yet either.  I didn’t want to add glucose and send him too high but was it safe to leave him? Would he stay around 5? Could I be that lucky? My mind would continue to race like this all night long.

I slept for another hour but I had to get up and check again. He was dropping.  At 4.2(75) I gave him juice, grabbed my book and waited.  By 4am, he was back up to 5.6 (101) and I could sleep for another couple of hours.  By 6am I was up again but he was finally up over my favorite number 6 and had climbed to 8.6(155).  A bit of peace at last!!

Today I have to decide if I keep the basal rates at their new higher level and risk a repeat performance (although with a little knowledge, a temporary basal would be added to the mix if things began to tank) or if I go back to the old settings and assume that the highs were site related. Decisions, decisions. Just another night on the Diabetes Roller coaster.