Category Archives: ketones

Nightmare illness

As promised, here is a post that was originally written back in June of 2009….



It all started last night a little after 9pm. My son had been playing with his friends. He and a friend came in and grabbed a freezie. My son soon came back to me saying he felt a little ill. That was when it began. He ran for the toilet and promptly vomited enough for 10 people! He had it everywhere. I was washing the floors, the walls and every surface in between.


When he was done, I told him to test and check for ketones. His blood glucose level had been in range but something had to have caused this. Where was the Precision meter? We tore apart all of our diabetes drawers. I dug in cupboards. We pulled apart junk baskets. Finally I found more than just empty meter cases and my son was able to test for ketones. They were only trace. That was not our problem. I gave him gravol, his friend went home and my little boy headed for the couch.


It didn’t take long before he was sound asleep on the couch. I quietly worked and hoped that he would be fine by the time I had to go and pick up his older brother from a teen dance. I heard a noise and looked to see if he was okay. He wasn’t. He was on his back, hands over his mouth and vomiting once again but this time he was keeping it all in his body. I was terrified. I had to force him on his side and hold him there. He kept wanting to roll back and keep in the vomit. It was up his nose and all over himself. I held on to him and let him throw up all over the floor. It was easy to clean but he kept telling me that he could not move. I was more and more scared. Finally the vomiting stopped. I had him sit up. He was very disoriented.


I ran a tub for him and wondered if I would have to bathe him. He was fine by the time it was done. He cleaned the vomit from his body and his hair while I cleaned another room. He decided that the was starving when he was done. I gave him a cracker and more gravol. He went back to sleep on the couch.


When it was time to leave I tried to get him to get dressed. He was still pretty out of it. We put a blanket, pillow, bucket, and rags in the back of the car and prepared for our car trip. As I started the car, I could hear the back door open and he began to vomit again. I stayed there and waited for him to be done. I wanted to cry. Was this ever going to end? My son wanted to stay at home but I could not leave him alone by himself. I was terrified that he would throw up on his back again. I was also going to be awhile and was not leaving him alone.


We made the trip with all of the car windows open. He slept like a log and all seemed okay. We got home and he wanted to eat. I had said if he could make the trip without being sick then I would let him have a cracker. He tested and he was 3 (54). I gave him sugar water instead. I needed something that he wouldn’t throw up and was pure sugar. It didn’t help. He fell asleep but stayed low. I decided to take a chance and try glucose tablets. He ate them but he didn’t go up. I set a temporary reduced basal on his pump. Still no upward movement. I finally suspended his pump. Still nothing. More glucose and finally a cracker. He had to go up eventually…and he did. When he reached 4 (72) I went and laid down for an hour. We were now at well after 3am. I set my alarm and checked him again. He had moved up to 5 (90). Back to bed I went with my alarm set for another 2 hours. My son was sleeping on the couch. I had propped him up so he could not sleep on his back.


About an hour later I heard him again. He was in the bathroom throwing up. He finished and came into my room to sleep. I got another gravol for him. I was hoping this would eventually start to work! He instantly fell back to sleep. I dozed. With each turn he made I was awake and certain he was throwing up again. He did vomit again at 6am. He had a bucket beside him but little left to vomit. I was exhausted. He slept like a log. His bg level had not gone over 10(180) all night. I could not believe it.


By 11:30am he was awake and looking for food. I gave him some toast and told him to see how that worked. He no longer was that lovely shade of green so I hoped for the best. He said he felt perfect. By 1pm he was ready to go over to his father’s for the night. I called to check on him. He has been perfect all day. I am so glad for him but boy am I ever beat!

Diabetes Hangover

My son has complained of a “glucose tab” hangover after I treat him for a nighttime low.  This morning I realized that diabetes gives me my own kind of hangover.

Last night something happened that I never expected. I should have remembered that we are dealing with diabetes and it is never predictable but I was complacent.

I woke up at 1:30am ready to test until I realized that it was a bit too early. I rolled over to sleep for another hour.  The hour became an hour and a half but my son was still fine(8 or 136).  I felt confident that basal rates were working. He had been low the night before and I had made adjustments.  Life was good and I headed back to a peaceful sleep for a few more hours…or so I thought.

At 5am Larry woke me up.  He said that my son was up using the washroom. He never does that during the night unless there is a problem so Larry knew I should be getting up. I did and asked my son if he had tested. He had and was 17 (289).  What the??? His bg level had more than doubled in just two hours!!  Something was seriously wrong! I told my son to change his site.  This was way to fast of a spike. He told me it was fine , corrected and rolled over to go to sleep.

I went back to bed second guessing myself.  Did I miss a low at 1:30?  Was he alive thanks to a rebound? If he rebounded there would be hell to pay the next day with highs and fears of another low.  Was the site bad? Was the new pump failing already? I eventually managed to fall back to sleep, but not for long.

An hour later I awoke to the sound of vomit hitting the toilet bowl.  This was so not good! I had been right.  My son was not getting insulin.  The site must be kinked. Again, I got up and waited.  My son looked terribly pale.  I told him we needed a new site.  He had one in his hand.  

“I can’t believe I would be throwing up at 17.” he said.

I told him that he had probably gone up in the past hour.  We tested and he was now over 19 (+323). We chanced a correction on his pump and both went back to sleep for a few minutes.  At 7am I tested him again. He had dropped down to 14 (238) and said he felt a lot better. He was no longer a ghostly white so we decided he was okay to go to school.

I still am not positive as to what happened. His site looked fine when we took it out.  Despite a trip back to bed after my son was ready for school, I still felt out of sorts. The night continued to haunt me.  Questions plagued me.  Where had I gone wrong? As things ran through my head, I realized that like my son’s glucose hangover, diabetes gives me its own hangover.  It messes with my emotions and my physical being the next day and then some. Sadly there is only one fix for my hangover and that’s a cure for diabetes.

My life in Chaos

I apologize still for not getting back to part two of the diabetes walk. It is coming but I believe it deserves my full attention and at the moment, I am experiencing extreme attention deficit disorder!

For those who don’t know, we are in the middle of a major move of home, office and kids. I think that this is the biggest step I have ever made because of the impact on my children.  Me moving is no big deal but when you have other lives to consider? Well things become a little different.  Nonetheless, I decided that this was right for us and now I am in the middle of it all!

Despite making this decision quite a few months ago, the final details were only completed a few days ago.  I have had to sell off furniture, pack, get doctor referrals and finish a school year all in the mater of days! 

I think I have done a pretty decent job.  We were packed and ready to bring yet another load of “stuff” to our new home (which is nine hours away) the day after school closed.  No panic there! We made it however and the trip once again was interesting.  For a change, I don’t think I forgot anything.  Another new twist was that my son ran high for most of our travels.  We have gotten very good at increasing boluses and using what we have called a “travel basal” but something is currently off.

First though, as we taking our huge drive, we stopped at a restaurant because my children foolishly insist on being fed! As our waitress came over, my son had his meter sitting on the table and was preparing to test. The waitress was completely interested. “Is that a new meter?” 

“No”, I answered, “its an Ultra Mini.  We have it in about five other colors.”

She was impressed and stated that her niece was diagnosed at two and a half.  I said that he had been diagnosed at the same age.  She then stated that after much misdiagnosis, her husband was diagnosed at 29!  We discussed the fact that there was just no good age to have such a terrible thing happen.

Its been a bit since we had that sort of interaction but they are always great!

We left the restaurant and continued along our way.  My son continued to run high.  What was up with that? It must have been all of the french fries.  More travel basal, more water, more insulin.  The next day we experienced a pretty normal day.  He had one reading around 10 (180).

This morning I got up and heard his pump alerting. It was a low cartridge alarm.  Lucky for him, it was just alarming so I was only so choked. I still made him get up and deal with it.  I was not happy to see the reading just under 30 (540).  We corrected. I have no idea where the ketone meter is and my pharmacy was out of ketone strips before I packed to move.  Yes Mom is frustrated.  

An hour later, more testing.  He is down to14 (252).  More insulin and he is holding his own.  He couldn’t eat breakfast because he was nauseous.  Mom is so happy.  He has crashed on the couch for a bit.  More banging of my head.

I am sure he is growing.  He is heading for two weeks with his father though and I am really at a dilemma as to what changes to make before he goes. Chances are he will be a lot more active.  If this really is growth hormones, well changes should still be made. We will be in constant cell phone communication but still can’t diabetes take a summer vacation please? We have dealt with enough of this already!!!

Another Face of Diabetes

I usually protray the faces of diabetes as being “normal” looking. If you look at our Faces page you will see children playing, adults working.  You will see people that could be anyone on the street. Today I want to show you another face…
This face will not be pleased with me for exposing it but nonetheless, I want you to look closely.  This face with diabetes is terribly pale.  There are dark circles below the pale blue eyes.  Those eyes look hollow. If you look closely, you will see the shirt worn by this person with diabetes.  The dark stain at the top is either from vomit or more likely from the water that his hands were too shaky to hold.
This face with diabetes reflects the rages of diabetes.  He is high. He is hypergylcemic.  He is ketonic.  His body is running off of its own muscles and tissues to stay alive rather than the glucose brought to it through food.  His cells are starving as he vomits and urinates any liquids that enter his body before they can be used to hydrate or fuel his body.
This face with diabetes is the result of no insulin for only a few hours.  Despite multiple pump alarms to say that insulin levels in his pump were dangerously low, the reservoir was not refilled.  Despite a mother telling this child that he needed to drop into her house and get more insulin before he returned the next day, the insulin reservoir was not filled until it was completely empty. 
Thankfully he chose not to eat or things could have been much worse but it took eight hours to bring blood glucose levels back into close to normal range.  It took over eight hours to bring moderate ketone levels down to trace.  Had he have gone eight hours without any insulin, well the results could have been disasterous. 
Insulin is what keeps him alive.  After only a few hours without this life-giving hormone, this young man was terribly ill.  If left for a longer period of time he would have been fighting for his very life.
Diabetes is serious.  In case we may have forgotten, it rears its ugly head and provides faces of hyperglycemia.
Please support the Ecole Notre Dame du Cap Walk for Diabetes on June 18th.  Donations can be made online on the http://www.diabetesadvocacy.com/ website.