Category Archives: night time hypoglycemia

Who Will Do the Pouring?

It was 6:30am.  I woke up in shock at first that I had slept so long and then calmed myself. I had gone to bed after 1am and my son was still up doing his “thing” for a few more hours.  He tests before he goes to bed so it was probably just the right time to test. And I was right…
I checked, doing my best to stay 3/4 asleep so I could doze instantly when I returned to bed.  He was low.  No such sleeping allowed. I got a glass of juice and told him to drink.  I continued my routine of heading back to my room to wait for 15 minutes.  As I headed back however, I began to think…what will he do when I am not there to wake him and bring him juice? I know that many adults with Type 1 diabetes handle it fine.  They have glucose or juice boxes by their beds. They wake up and deal with it. Its part of their lives…but this is my kid. He is not an adult that I know.  No matter how big he gets he’s my little boy.
I hope that he will wake on his own. I know he has done it (and complained about this new-found ability) when he was away from me. It still makes me worried. My son is very private about his diabetes. He is also very independent.  That is a good thing and a terrible thing for a mom.  I know he has good friends. I know that they would watch for him if he was living with one of them…but what if he wants to live alone? Well, he should have that right! But as his mom, I worry. I know it will sort itself out. I can’t borrow worry. I can’t predict the future.  At night, nightmares rear their heads though.
Its daytime now.  Time to focus on the today…like getting him to take out the garbage and Swifter the floors! He will soon be 16 and there will be enough to worry about with him learning how to drive.  I will save the worry about how he will handle nights alone for a few more years…or another late night/early morning low worrying session!
juice

Another Night, Another Battle with the DMonster

3:15am.  I looked at the clock and began to do the math. How long was it since my son went to bed? What would his bg level have been? Do I really need to test yet or was it too soon? My bed was comfy.  It took me forever to fall asleep.  Did I need to get up or should I sleep another hour?
I figured that he had probably tested around 1am but something still made me drag my tired butt out of bed. I made sure to not be fully awake. No major movements to disturb the still sleeping parts of my body.  All would be fine. My mind would be appeased and I could go back to bed…or so I would have liked but the meter said differently.
He was 4.3 (77).  Not ideal for sleeping in my world.  I quickly woke the rest of my body and my brain began to fire on a few more cylinders.  It was time to find some glucose! I went to the fridge and for some reason it was filled with diet Pepsi, diet lemonade, and zero calorie flavored water.  Nothing with any decent amount of carbs in it! Okay no panic I had glucose somewhere. Eventually I found a bottle of liquid glucose.  I got my son up enough to drink and sat on the couch to wait.
I checked out the world of Twitter. I caught up on the latest happenings in the world of Facebook and read a few pages of my book.  Soon it was time to check him again.  Success…well sort of. He was now 4.6 (83).  It was still far from ideals but he was on his way up.  I scoured his room and found a bottle of glucose tablets. He would not be happy in the morning. He says that they leave a crappy taste in his mouth when he gets up but a glucose hangover it would be.  I fed him three tablets while he slept and returned to my own bed.
I wish I could say that I instantly fell asleep but I didn’t.  By 5:30 I was still staring at  the clock.  Thankfully its Saturday so I could sleep in a little bit but by 6 I checked one more time just to make sure all was still okay. He was a lovely 7(126) so I was happy to doze for a few more hours.
Diabetes may have kicked my sleep pattern to the curb for one night but we are ready to fight another day…and make a few changes to summer basal patterns!fight the d monster

 

Sleep? Sleep? Where are you???

Friday morning I woke to my phone ringing a half an hour before I had to get up.  That is just plain cruel, unless of course the recorded voice is telling you that there is no school and you get to continue to sleep.  In that case, its a welcome distraction! I turned off my alarm, rolled over and planned to enjoy an early long weekend.

I got my sleep Friday but it had to last me for the rest of the weekend because diabetes was not going to play nice.  My son had been running a little high at around 2-3am.  I was considering making a change but was going to give it one more night to be sure.  

Friday night he was his usual teen self and up until 1 or 2am.  He tests before he goes to bed so I continued to doze until something woke me at 4:00am.  I stumbled to his room, found his meter and checked.  He was 5.0 (90).  Such a perfect number–NOT.  I hate 5. I never know if he will stay there or drop.  It gives me panic attacks.  It is not clear cut. Its a fuzzy number that requires me to stay awake and find an answer. At 4:30 I had my answer…he was dropping.  I grabbed a bottle of Liquiblast, had him drink it and waited.  All was fine except for the fact that I had now been awake for an hour and sleep was not going to return to me any time soon.

Luckily it was Saturday so again, I was able to laze in bed a little longer between blood glucose tests.  Saturday was a beautiful day so my son took advantage of it and went for a bike ride with friends.  To counteract the effect of all of that activity, I had a Dairy Queen craving that had to be satisfied!  We headed out for some late night ice-cream.  I then dropped his basal rates for that time period. He was bound to be higher after all of that.

Wrong!  I again found myself awake after 4am.  My son had tested at 2am and was fine but at 4am he was dropping once again.  I grabbed the Liquiblast, he drank, I went to bed to read.  I retested.  He was lower still. Repeat previous performance…more Liquiblast, more reading, no sleep.  After two bottles of fast acting glucose, a temporary basal reduction, and a basal rate change, by 6am I was finally able to go back to bed and try to sleep .  Once again, I was grateful to be able to sleep in the next morning.

Unfortunately my mind and body did not agree on when to get up on Sunday morning.  By 8:30 I gave in and got up.  My son’s readings continued to be lovely all day.  At 9pm he once decided to begin working out.  I have asked him to do this earlier but he doesn’t listen. I asked if he tested? No, but he did proceed to test in front of me before continuing to exercise.  I asked if he had put on a temporary basal to account for the increased activity.  Again, the answer was no but he set one as we talked. 

Sunday night he was high.  Back to the drawing board! One clue may be the container of chocolate milk that he forgot to bolus for after reducing his basal rate.  We will see what tonight brings but in the meantime we both continue to learn…and catch sleep when I can! 

  

Butt Dragging Days are a Blessing

Its one of those drag your butt kind of days thanks to diabetes.  Last night was my usual routine of sleep, wake up, rollover, sleep, wake up and…holy crap! Its 4am already!

There was a fleeting thought in my head of “He has been high a lot lately.  Would it really matter if I waited those three more hours until we both get up?”

The thought was followed by my feet hitting the floor and me stumbling down the hall to test my sleeping son.  He was low.  The answer to my question–yes it would have mattered.  Best case scenario he would have “rebounded” and been high in the morning.  I would have attributed the high to not enough insulin and considered upping his basal rate rather than dropping it like it should be.

My son had mentioned yesterday that his readings were all over the place, in part due to his own errors, and that he felt really weird.  This helped to motivate me to move my carcass from my warm and cozy bed.

When I saw the low and stumbled towards the kitchen to grab him a glass of juice, I once again said “thank you”.  I reminded myself again how lucky I am to be able to test my son.  I remembered parents who have lost their children to the dia-beast.  I am dragging my butt.  I desperately want to crawl into bed but I have too many other things to do.  Tired or not, my son and I are alive and ready to take on another day of life with diabetes and that is a blessing.

One for Diabetes…Sleepless for me

Diabetes wins…but I put up a good fight!

This weekend was definitely one made for my youngest son.  Friday night he got to take his quad for a run.  He was able to check out a few new roads and race his machine over the snow.  An hour of activity, no real need to worry abut a drop in bg levels during the night.

Saturday saw him head out for another few runs.  He continued his exploration, following skidoo trails and finding amazing paths…until he hit a bog.  He found himself knee deep in mud with a quad that refused to budge.  There were no trees near enough for him to winch the bike out.  His phone had died thanks to the cold.  My young son and his friend began the trek back to the cabin with plans to return to the area in the daylight with reinforcements. 

He got back with a reading of 3.9 (70).  He was just in time to grab a juice before diabetes could cause him trouble.

Later that evening, fearing that someone else might remove the quad from the mud before morning, we headed back to get his machine.  After Mom ended up with mud in her boots and deftly avoided a near disastrous fall into the mud, the quad was free and back on the snow where it belonged. 

That night he ate…and he ate.  Mom was thinking however and under bolused his meals.  Diabetes was not going to ruin her night’s sleep! It didn’t. When I woke to test him, he was in a beautiful range and we both could continue to rest uneventfully. 

Sunday was another day of fun…without the mud.  My son headed off to re-explore a trail we had enjoyed in the spring.  We then packed up our belongings and headed for home.  Before my car was unpacked, he was off again but this time on skidoo.  Two hours of racing through powder I am sure topped off his weekend and made studying for exams that evening slightly more bearable.

I should have known that there would be trouble. I had dodged the bullet all weekend.  He had some hot chocolate as he studied.  He later came into my room announcing that I had failed in my carb counting and he was low.  I reminded him to be over 6(108) before heading to bed.  After a few more prompts of “did you test?”, we both headed off to sleep.

I planned to wake by 2 or 3 at the latest but those watching over my son knew better. I slept until 4am. I kicked myself as I got out of bed.  Somehow I knew that this night I was not going to be lucky. This was the night that he would be low.  

My premonition was dead on.  He wasn’t low…yet but my continuous glucose mom alarm said that he was probably dropping.  Two glucose tablets in his mouth and I headed back to bed to wait.  I knew I wouldn’t sleep. I hoped for a 15 minute nap at least but no, I stayed awake, watching the clock and reading about other mother’s also up with their children with diabetes.  After 15 minutes I checked my son’s blood again.  He had stayed the same.  More glucose tablets were required. I was not going to be able to sleep with him in the 4s (70s).

As the clock ticked down, I waited.  I tossed in my bed. I wondered if it would be possible to go back to sleep after all of this. I knew it would not be easy and that by 6am my upstairs neighbours would be banging around getting ready for work.  I was right on all counts.  My son was finally in range after 5am and I probably got another 30 minutes of sleep before I had to get up. 

Diabetes won this round…but I still have my son.

Why I do it

Over the past few months I have heard a lot of anxiety and stress when it comes to testing your child with diabetes’ blood glucose at night. Its a topic that can divide the diabetes community and raise blood pressure faster than the mention of Halle Berry or pumping versus multiple daily injections. It can create strife among friends and cause a serious strain on marital relationships. 

I am a night tester. I have been for the past twelve plus years. I will continue to do it for as long as my son lives under my roof. When he leaves my home, ideally he will have a CGM (that he will use) that will take the place of his current CGM aka Mom


My son sleeps soundly at night. He has looked the most peaceful when his bg levels have been out of whack.  That terrifies me.  In recent months, he has woken up to the occasional low–much to his dismay and his mother’s delight. I do not yet trust that this will happen all of the time and as one adult pointed out in The Diabetes Dad’s post on this topic, there is no telling how low he was or for how long before he woke up.  

Dead in bed is a very real fear.  Its something that too many people in our diabetes community have seen first hand.  I was recently told that there are only four cases of dead in bed in the WORLD each year.  The point was made to help quell over zealous fears but I think some fear is a good thing. It gives you respect–respect for a disease that is ruthless and deceptive.  

Diabetes does not show itself in anything but bad attitudes, fatigue and occasionally nausea or thirst.  You see it when a glucometer is pulled out, when a syringe is injected or pump peaks out from a belt around someones waist.  It does not however tell you before you go to bed, “Please know that while you are sleeping peacefully well, and despite that basal adjustment you made for the yesterday’s activity last night, tonight your child’s insulin needs will still be low.  Since you didn’t realize that and did not give him an extra snack or reduced basal rate, I will make sure that his blood glucose drops really low tonight.  You won’t notice. He will be peaceful and you will sleep pretty sound after all of these nights of broken rest.  Don’t worry, I will take care of things. I will deplete his liver of glycogen and this time? Well this time I will cause a seizure in his body, shaking his bed and waking the house.  You will get to him in time, take him to the hospital but none of you will take me for granted again….until the next time.” 

That is not the only reason that I test at night. I test out of respect and a desire for knowledge.  Knowledge is power and if I do not test my son during the night, I have no idea about the highs and lows he may have experienced. He may go to bed and wake up in range but during those 10+ hours, he may also have been low, high and a few readings in between. I am only human. I will not catch them all but I will catch a few. I will get an idea and it will allow me to keep him healthy. 

Night testing is a family choice. In my family, I choose to do it. I am not obsessed by it. I naturally wake multiple times during the night (and did this before diabetes moved in).  When I wake, I am okay with stumbling into my son’s room and testing him. Its selfish–I feel better doing it. Again, the choice is yours.  Do what works for your family but make sure your choice is an informed one. 

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????

Twice in one year!

Last night I pulled out the log book we are keeping for our next d-clinic appointment (and I will probably try keeping it up for a while after).  I grabbed my son’s meter and began to write down the results.  


After our chat the day before about missed tests, everything was in a row.  Tests were done. Life was looking good. Readings were everywhere of course. There were highs that I thought I had taken care of and there was a low…where in the world did that come from!!! There was a low at 1am. I never dealt with that low. My son and I had watched a movie together that night and gone to bed at the same time! The lights were out in his room at midnight but there is a 2.6(47) at one in the morning!!!

I yelled out to my son. “Get out here!!!” I was trying to breathe and focus.  He was low at one in the morning.  He didn’t retest but he was okay. He was alive when I checked him at 3am.  He had woken up to a low??? He has only once in over twelve years of diabetes ever woke to a low. He woke to a low? 

My son came out of his room wondering what he had done wrong.  “I tested Mom.  You can see. I did all of my tests.”

“Yes and you did one at 1am and you were low.”

“I know and I was scared I would fall asleep before I could retest so I made sure that I had a really big glass of juice and followed it up with bread and jam.  I figured that that should keep me safe either way.”

I wanted to cry.  I was so very happy that he had woken up on his own. How did I miss this? I never even woke to hear him get up! He had done it all on his own.  He was okay! 

“You did perfectly.  I am so impressed that you woke up!”

“Me too.” he said in a sheepish voice. 

“Next time, wake me up.  I would have covered you in case you fell asleep. Don’t ever deal with a low by yourself if it can be helped.  Its better to have someone watch your back just in case you do fall asleep. Lows can make you tired at the best of times. Just come in and get me.  I will gladly give you a hand but you did a great job.  I am really impressed and so glad that you woke up!” 

I could see the relief in his face and again it made me want to cry.  He was growing. He was learning.  He had a few more years to get this on his own but he was working towards it and its is such a heavy burden.  I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to know, to grow up and know that if you don’t wake up at night when your body is low and if you don’t treat it properly…well you might not wake up.  No child, no adult for that matter should have to live with that knowledge in the back of their head. 

I am so glad he woke but boy do I hate diabetes!  

WARNING: When the Fear takes hold

For some reason lately my internal alarm clock is off. I have been waking at 5am.  That is about two hours after the latest time that I would normally wake up. I am not sure what is going on. The first day it happened, I panicked.  The second day it happened, I panicked and then remembered that it was a weekend and the last test would have been done by son less than four hours ago.  The third day was today and I will have to fix this trend fast!

When I woke this morning, I found my son’s bg level was the dreaded 5 (90).  You know? That perfect number that you don’t know which way it will go and you quickly drive yourself insane wondering? Normally I would have stayed awake for a bit to retest, check and see what was going on. Today I was tired. I was worn out and I literally prayed for the best as I headed back to bed.

I woke up a few hours later with the intention of checking to see where his bg levels were but I fell back to sleep. When I finally woke up again, I lay there heavily buried in guilt.  The what ifs began….

What if he did drop lower while I selfishly slept?
What if he seized while I dreamed  peaceful walks?
What if he didn’t wake up when I went to check on him?
What if he had brain damage?
What if my sweet, quirky young son was hurt because of my selfish desire to rest a little longer?
This would ruin my oldest son’s graduation celebrations in a few weeks.
I would never celebrate a birthday again because I had done this. It would be all my fault.

Plagued by all of the horrific sceneiros racing through my mind, I quickly headed across to his room.  As I entered, he stretched and yawned. He held out his hand for me to test but pretended to remain asleep. I lanced. Not enough blood. I lanced again. I squeezed. I waited. He was 6.5 (115ish).  He was fine. There was no coma, no brain damage–just a perfectly fine teen desperate to sleep until his mother peels his body off of his mattress.

I took a cleansing breath and headed off to the couch to sit and regroup for a bit.  This disease can drive you crazy. I thought I was doing well at living in the now.  Not letting it freak me out very often any more. I thought I was rolling with the punches pretty well. I guess we all have our days.  Today was mine. Tomorrow will be better.