Category Archives: night time lows

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

Sleep Guilt

Do you ever feel guilty for sleeping? The other night, I was in bed and really wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. I am a night-time tester and have been since diagnosis. I know some people do not believe in a need to test at night and that is their choice.  For me, night testing is not a choice but a job that I must do to keep my son safe, healthy and alive each night.
I know how important this is to me.  I know that there are nights that I have woken up at unexplained times to find him low and dropping.  I know that I have checked at other times and found him high or with site problems that I was able to stop before they turned into ketone issues.
I am very conscious of how “lucky” I am to be able to test my son at night. I know that there are parents who have lost their children to diabetes that would gladly take my place for a few nights.
I should be used to interrupted sleep. I have not slept through the night since the before the birth of my first son.  He was a terrible sleeper who never slept through the night until he was six years old! Waking, walking, testing, and going back to sleep to do it all over again a few hours later should be habit and simple.
Despite all of that, I often feel guilty when I wake up and don’t want to get up.  When I have those moments of decision–when was the last time he was tested? What was his reading? What are the odds of there being a problem right now? Do I need to test yet or can I doze off for another hour?
Sometimes those questions simply make sense.  It may have been three hours since I went to bed but I know that my night owl teen has only been asleep for an hour and he normally does remember to test before he goes to bed.  He also knows to tell me if there is a problem before he goes to sleep. It may therefore be safe to sleep a little while longer. Sometimes, those questions are purely selfish. My bed is warm.  My body is in a pleasant state of relaxation and I really don’t want to disturb it. It’s at that point that I feel guilty.
Getting up is my job. It is not one that I would have chosen but its the role that I have been given and it is very important.  My son will sleep through almost anything except the worst of highs.  Some days I wish it was different but as I have said before, everyone has something to deal with.  This is our “something” and honestly, the alternative is not worth a thought. So I live with the guilt of sometimes not wanting to get up.  I push past it and do my job–the job of a parent of a children with diabetes.  fight the d monster

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!  

Angels and alarm clocks

“Mom, I am going out on bike for a bit!”

“Did you test?”

“Did I test? Mom, would I engage in strenuous physical activity without first testing my blood sugar levels? Of course I tested!”

Insert eye roll! “Yes you would!” I yelled to him as he headed out the door. I do have to admit however, that he is improving. He still forgets to test. He still is not keen on testing or showing his pump in public but he is getting better.

When he goes out, I still have moments of panic.  Will he deal with a low when he is with his friends or will he find himself in trouble? Did he remember all of his supplies? Are his pockets filled with glucose? Does he have his phone? The moments of panic are fading a little more quickly. I am starting to have a bit of confidence in his abilities but I am sure that I will never be 100% free of worry.

My son returned to the house after an hour, full of sweat and ready to jump in the shower. “Don’t forget to test!” I reminded him. It was his turn to give me the eye roll!

That night I went through his meter. I had been slack in checking but all had seemed good. I knew that with increased summer activity problems were soon going to arise but once again I debated…lower the night time basal and risk him going high or let it ride? He hadn’t been that active…or so I thought. Perhaps the day of studying and being a lump would offset the activity in the evening and he would be good to go. I left things alone reminding him to test before he went to bed.  His meter had shown that he was staying up a lot later than normal and was testing before he went to sleep so he should have had a good gauge of his night reading before he pulled up the sheets.

I went to bed, resetting my internal alarm clock to a little later than normal.  It didn’t work. I woke up at 1.  My son was still up. He had tested and was 6.8(120ish).  Why is it that you always assume that they will drop during the night? I liked 6.8. It was a nice reading but I didn’t trust it. He was going to drop. I reset my internal alarm until 3 or 4am and back to sleep I went. On cue, I was awake by 4.  On cue, he was 4.1(74). I gave him a large glass of apple juice and crawled back into my bed for 15 minutes.  A retest revealed….that his blood glucose level had not moved. CRAP and thank goodness I woke up! More juice, more waiting and finally, close to 6am, he was back in range. I drifted back to sleep with plans of changing his basal rates in the morning.

I hate diabetes but once again, I am so grateful that I have those guardian angels that wake me up before we reach extreme lows.