Category Archives: night time testing

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

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

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.

Mom’s Revenge

I heard my bedroom door bang open and lights suddenly filled my room. My youngest son was standing over me thrusting his pump into my sleeping face. 

“What does this mean?”

“Its telling you how many carbs you need to correct your low. Are you low?”

“No I’m high.”

Now I was puzzled. What the heck did he mean that he was high when the pump was telling him to eat? The answer was relatively simple. It turns out that he was higher still earlier in the evening. He had corrected and now the pump felt that he was dropping way too fast and he needed a lot of carbs to cover the drop.

I told him not to worry about it. I would try to wake up and test him in a few hours. 

“A few hours!!!! Are you kidding? I could be dead by then!!!” my son’s pitch quickly escalated to panic and I was mildly amused.

“You won’t die.  You wake up to your lows now remember?” 

“I woke up to a few! It was a fluke!! You can’t risk my life because I might wake up! You have to stay awake. You have to test me!!!” 


Yes, I was enjoying torturing him.  He never takes diabetes seriously. He rarely ever shows concern about any diabetes related emergencies (or much else actually).  This was an entire new spin on a disease that we have lived with for too long. Normally it was me freaking out at him! 

Finally, I felt bad for him (and actually began to wonder if the pump could be right and we were heading for a serious drop).  I told him to have a sandwich and not bolus for it.  I would test him later.

He stomped off to the kitchen and got some food. I then heard him head back into his room where he continued his tirade with his older brother as his new audience. I could hear him stating that he could die and his brother had better stay awake because his mother wasn’t! And did he mention that he could DIE!

I am pleased to state that he did not die.  The sandwich he ate kept him up through any unforeseen peaks in his insulin.  I didn’t get a lot of sleep and but we both made it through another sleepless night with diabetes!

Five Haunts our Halloween

Its November and for those of us living with diabetes that means Diabetes Awareness Month! What better way to start off Diabetes Awareness month than with a dreaded 5 mmol (90mg/dl) bg level.  

I have mentioned time and time again how much I truly hate that number.  Five means he could drop low or he could be perfect.  It should be a number to make me happy and if it was three in the afternoon instead of three in the morning I would be happy.  Five at 3am is NOT a good number. Its a torturous reading…perfect for Halloween I suppose. 


At 2:30 I stumbled into my son’s room.  I was tired.  I am getting used to being able to see at night thanks to a very recent iLasik procedure.  When you have not seen properly in 30+ years, it is actually something that is very hard to get used to.  The fact that I have to wear space goggles on my face that make me feel like a character from the movie The Fly does not help things. 

Has I said, all of this was topped off by a perfect, lovely reading of 5 (90).  Crap! I was going to have to try to stay awake and see where things were headed. Would he be low? Did I have basals set perfectly and he would be fine? What the heck would happen? Where is a CGM when I need it? Oh yeah, the one I want is not in Canada and my son thinks that they are a horrible idea anyway. More nightmares! 

I headed back to bed to wait.  I would simply doze for a half an hour and see where he was trending.  I haven’t been sleeping overly well lately and I am always pretty alert when I have to stay awake to retest.  This would not be a problem. 

Wrong! I woke up at 4am! What’s with that??? I went to check again not sure what I would be walking into.  This time he had dropped however slightly to 4.9 (87).  Time to shovel the glucose into him.  Not enough to make him high but enough to cover any drop that could occur.  How many tablets would that be? I guessed four of my giant rockets.  They are a little less carbs than the normal glucose tablets.  It was 4 am and I really did not want a lot of math involved at that hour.  

I began to feed my son.  He ate the first three fine.  At that point, I guess he had had enough of me and subconsciously did not want the dreaded glucose tablet hangover. He rolled over so that I could no longer access his mouth. I had to tell him to open up and take the last tablet.  I went back to sleep sure that I had avoided a crisis and hoping that I did not send him too high. 

This morning he woke up to a lovely 6 (108) and surprisingly no complaint of the taste of glucose in his mouth! What a great start to November 🙁  Where is that cure????? 

The Mocking Meter

It was four in the morning. I had over slept. I had wanted to check my son by three.  I had increased his basal rate to deal with reoccurring highs but he had also been doing yard work that evening and I was not sure how things were going to go in the diabetes world. 

I stumbled into his room, made my way through the landmine of dirty socks, old t-shirts and the fan he has sitting on the floor. I found the meter, strips and even a lancing devise this time. He lost one the previous night. It has yet to be found but I am sure will surface one day when I least expect it!

I tested and found that he was high.  I cursed. I felt like there was no winning.  I then looked at the meter a little closer. In the top left hand part of the screen was a little text box. It was like the meter wanted to tell me something.  We are using a Verio IQ at the moment so I know that the meter did want to tell me something. 

It had noticed the pattern of highs that he has been having overnight. At four in the morning, when you are tired and frustrated because diabetes has once again messed you (and your child) up completely…(I mean he should have been low not high after an upped basal AND physical activity), the last thing you want to see is a know-it-all blood glucose meter telling you the obvious–Diabetes kicked your butt once again! 

Looking at that small little icon, I could hear the meter say “He is high. He has been high at night for some time.  You really should up his basal rate.  This can cause problems later. What is wrong with you? Why haven’t you done this already? Are you thick? I am giving you the icon.  Get with it won’t you!”

I cursed a little more and left the room. Maybe I will get it right tonight…maybe but probably not. 


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. 

One Great Thing

What is the one thing that I do really well when it comes to diabetes? I think it has to be my ability to be a Continuous Glucose Monitoring Mom during the night. We do not have a CGM.  We do not have a My Sentry or a D.A.D.  We simply have a sleep deprived Mom and some serious guardian angels who like to kick her butt.

For years I would set an alarm clock for 3am.  I would then wake at 2am and find my son was running a little high. I would correct and sleep for another two hours. 

I would go out at night, come home and test my son only to have him sit up in bed in a zombie like state with a blood glucose reading that barely registered on his meter. Somehow I just knew to test before I did anything else.

I can go to sleep, be sound a sleep and something will wake me. I will need to use the washroom. I will have a dream of my phone ringing. I will be sound asleep, dying to stay right where I am and “something” will make me get myself out of bed.  I will stumble to my son’s room and be instantly alert when I realized that his blood glucose is low…and dropping.

I am sure that a CGM would say that I was fallable and it could do better, but I have heard that it makes mistakes too. So far, knock on wood, I have never slept through a low that caused a seizure.  My son has woken up every morning. He will ocassionally wake to his highs and has woken to one low in over 12 years.  Thankfully the Momma Monitor has only slept through the night a hand full of times. I may not get the readings right before bed. I may not bolus properly all of the time or gage the influence of activity exactly right but so far I have been able to protect my son at night, protect his body, and keep his A1c down to an acceptable range. I think that counts as “one great thing”.