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????

Return of the Zombie Mom

Last night was one of those nights that Murphy’s Law of Diabetes fated to happen. I have been running around mentally and physically lately with a lot on my plate.  There are occasions coming up and never enough hours in a day to get caught up on everything.

Yesterday I was feeling great. I had my mom’s Mothers Day gift all wrapped.  I was working on sorting out my youngest son’s cell phone.  I had picked up a few of the required items for my oldest son’s graduation including his card. My youngest had the new running shoes he had been bothering me about. I was happening. I finally called it a night well after 11:30. That is pretty late for me these days but I felt great! You know where this is headed right?

My biological alarm clock is back on track and at 2am I woke up.  I stumbled to my son’s room, tested his blood and waited for the result. It was 5.6 (100).  What to do? What to do? He could go up.  He could go down. I didn’t want to treat or reduce any insulin just in case but…

Back to bed I went. I would be up in another hour.  Once again, my personal alarm did not fail me and I crawled back out of my bed.  Good call Mama Pancreas…a lousy 4.6 (83).  This was not a good trend. I grabbed some orange juice (remember he hates the glucose tab hangover) and gave him the straw to drink. I curled up on the couch with my book and attempted to turn the words in front of me into meaningful sentence. 

Thankfully it was soon time to retest. I turned off lights and headed back to my son’s room. All would be fine. Wrong! He was now 4.4 (79).  Insert profanity here alternated with the “thank you Lord for waking me up!” prayer.  Okay, more juice, more reading, more waking up. 

By about 4:30 all was good for me to head back to bed.  So much for sleep. I knew I would not get to go back to bed the next morning and I didn’t. I have simply spent the day as a walking zombie but what can you expect when you live with diabetes? Only the unexpected of course!

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.

Two or Three?

Last night was one of those nights…you know the ones that you wake up but debate if it really is time to test or not? I have written about the debate many times. Last night was not a lot different.

I woke up at two.  Should I test? My bed was really warm. Maybe I could wait until three. My son had gone to bed a bit early and had tested earlier than normal.  He was perfectly in range which could spell disaster later. I decided that I had to get up.

Instincts were sadly right. He was low–not a lot low but low enough to need some glucose.  I dug through his drawers looking for some tablets. I know I have said how much he hates waking up to a glucose tablet hangover but tablets it was going to be. After grabbing three or four empty tubes of tablets, I finally scrounged up enough glucose to treat the low. I fed him as he slept and then stumbled to find my book and a place on the couch.

This process continued until 3am.  Despite the low being caught at 3.7(around 65), it took a lot of glucose to bring it over 4.1 (75ish). As I sat on the couch reading, I looked outside and noticed the snow that had fallen. The weather people had forecast a storm of snow, after an hour to treat my son’s low, a snow day would be a welcomed treat. I headed back to bed hoping that the weather would worsen and realizing that while I wondered if I should test at two or at three, Diabetes had decided that I would test from two UNTIL three. UGH!

Sleepless with Diabetes

Diabetes has lived in my house for more than 11 years and 8 months.  During that time (and for a number of years before), I have never slept through the night. I wake up at least once but more often multiple times through the night each and everyone of those nights. whether my son is at home or not.
Each time that I wake up I run through a gamut of emotions… Holy crap! What’s wrong? Do I need to test? Is there something going on that I am missing? Should I get up? What time is it? I must need to test!
As well as… do you have any idea what time it is? You went to sleep less than an hour ago! Are you insane? Get some sleep! He just tested before he went to bed and that was only 20 minutes ago.  Roll over.  Sleep for another hour or two maximum and then test him.  At that point it will be okay.  He is alright. Close your eyes and shut down your mind. Enjoy the break!
Are you serious? What if he is low and I missed it? What if????
Go to sleep.
At that point, I will usually sleep for another hour or so and then am woke up by much of the same dialogue and mounting anxiety.  This time it is more of a “get your butt out of bed.  You wanted to be woken up, you were, now deal with it!”. 
I crawl out of my warm bed because I know that I will stress myself if I stay there any longer. I stumble into my son’s room, wonder where the light is and then pause as I watch his bed.  Just as I did when my boys were sleeping in their cribs, I watch.  I hold my breath until I see his chest rise or hear him snore. If he rolls over as I walk in the door, my heart is set at ease…until I test him.
No matter what the result is though, I do have some peace.  My son is alive.  He is okay.  Diabetes did not win.  I am doing my job. We will make it through another night…I think.

For some reason, the past few nights when I have woke for the fifth time in four hours, I have ached for the too many other parents who were doing the same thing.  I have been grateful for the parents who do not have this experience.  I have longed for the day when I don’t have to wake and worry…whether my son is with me or not.  I longed for the day when it is safe for him to sleep…as well as me.

Thankful for Nightmares!

Last night I went to bed and, for a change, fell asleep right away. It was wonderful! My son was running a bit on the higher end of okay and sleep was my friend…or so I thought!

After a few hours of peaceful slumber, I began to dream. The dream was strange and twisted.  I finally awoke after a few minutes (that seemed like hours) of terror, violence and mayhem.  I hadn’t watched anything scarier than part of Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, and I hadn’t had anything to eat. I had no idea why I was awake but awake I was and still shaking! 

It was only 1:30am but I decided to get up, shake off the heebie jeebies and test my son.  I stumbled to his room first, found his meter and got an error.  Grr!! I was now out of test strips.  Next meter! Grabbed another one and waited for his reading. It was 3.3 (60).  Where did that come from? I began searching his room for glucose. He had tablets but only green apple. I had been reprimanded recently for improper use of the coveted green apple tablets. I was told that I should not be wasting these awesome tablets at night when he would not remember them.

With that in mind, I headed to the kitchen to grab some of the more acceptable night time tablets.  I fed him in his sleep and waited.  I was still shaking from the dream. I was dying to crawl back into my bed, cuddle in and make the horrible feeling go away.  I was also extremely grateful. 

Again, I had no idea why I had this dream.  It started out nice enough and ended up being horrific, but I was so glad that it happened. Normally I would not wake up until 2:30 or 3am.  I didn’t dare think about that could have happened if I had waited. 

That was not the first time  that I had been woken by a dream, a strange noise or the call of bodily functions.  It was not the first time that an interruption to my sleep had caught an unexpected low.  I am not the only person that this happens to but I can guarantee that every one of us parents of children with diabetes who have been woke by a nightmare or a rollerskating Indian say a heartfelt prayer of thanks when all is said and done!

Blue Candles

For those of us in the diabetes community, the title says it all–Blue Candles. They are the candles that we light in cyberspace to remember someone with diabetes who has lost the fight. Each month, each week, we seem to see these images pop up across the online community.  As profile pictures are changed on Facebook stories emerge, fears grow and the desire for a cure is that much stronger.

This time the candles are being lit for a bright, young fourteen year old girl. She was diagnosed when she was four years old.  She laid down for a nap and her father found her dead on her bed a few hours later.  The story sends chills down my spine.  She did not die at night. She passed away sometime during the afternoon.  We do not know many of the details.  We only know that she was far too young to die.

I don’t tell my son about these stories any more. He is almost the same age and has had diabetes for a few years more than she did. I don’t light candles on my Facebook profile.  I don’t write about half of the stories that I hear.  I can’t. I read about these children–whether they are fourteen or forty, they are still someones children.  My heart breaks for the parents and the families. I hug my boys a little closer. I pray a little harder. I hope for the very best.
I was reading a story one day of another child lost and of course had teared up a little. Someone told me that many children sadly die each day.  It could be a complication from cancer or an asthma attack but other diseases kill as well. It was suggested that I can’t focus on these deaths and be obsessed or paranoid. I reassured this person that I wasn’t. I read. I mourn. My heart aches for the families and I grieve for the life cut short before its time. 

It is true that our children die crossing the street, riding in cars and playing in swimming pools.  As parents, we do our very best to protect them.  We teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. We put them in car seats and demand that they were seat belts.  We teach them water safety and we warn them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.  All in all we do our very best to guide them and pray that they will be okay.

As parents of children with diabetes, we do all of that “normal” stuff and then we do a little more.  We work to help them to recognize highs and lows.  We test them as often as we can.  We keep tight control to prevent complications and fear going too far and having to wake to a child gone because of a low.  These fears are real. They do not keep me up all night but they do wake me up at 2am to test.  They do not stop me from letting my son be a child but it does make me check his pockets for glucose and his cell phone when he goes out.

As a parent, I cannot protect either of my children 24/7 for the rest of their lives. I wish I could. As much as I love watching them grow, think and spread their wings, part of me craves for the days past when I held them tight and could keep them safe in my arms.  They are growing. My oldest son is driving and almost out of school.  My youngest is well into his teen aged years and venturing off on his own more and more.  Diabetes or not, I can only pray I have done my best, continue to do as much as I can and leave the rest up to a higher power.

Last night was my son’s first night home after a few weeks away. I went to bed and woke a few hours later than I had planned to but he was low. The story of young Carson played itself out in the back of my head. After 45 minutes and a lot of juice, his blood glucose levels were back in range and I could return to bed. I said a prayer of thanks that I woke up to test him. I prayed for Carson’s family.  I touched my son’s hair and wanted to hold him tight and kiss him gently on the forehead like I used to when he was small. He is now a teen. If I did anything beyond quietly touch his hair he would wake up creeped out and would claim nightmares for the rest of the night! Instead, I watched him sleep and I thanked God that he was alive, healthy and happy.

I will test my son at all hours. I will remind him to bolus.  I will deal with late night lows.  I will demand to know where he is going when he leaves the house. I will preach the evils of smoking, drug use and the dangers of too much alcohol.  That is my job and I need to know that when I close my eyes I have done that job to the best of my ability. This will never guarantee the 100% safety of either of my boys but its my very best and that is all a parent can ever do.

When perfect isn’t so perfect

I was tempted today to just re-post My Favorite Number blog.  It kind of fits with my night. My son’s readings have been all over the map. I am sure that is in keeping with the crazy weather–one day summer and six days of late fall. We have days of extreme activity followed by days of xBox and Dukes of Hazard movies. Add to that sites that are usually left a day or two longer than they should be and you can see blood glucose anarchy quickly developing.

Last night I expected highs.  He had a totally lazy day so when I looked at the blood on his finger as I tested, I predicted that it was of the “high” consistency.  Wrong! It was of the “crap, which way is it going to go” consistency.  He was perfect. He was 5.2(94).  It was 3 am.  What was he going to do for the rest of the night? Would he go up? Would he stay the same? Would he drop? Perfection is rarely achieved. What was I to do?

At 3 am, I hedge my bets that he will drop and feed him two glucose tablets.  I stumble back to bed hoping that I haven’t sent him nice and high for his first full day of summer vacation.

When I woke up the next morning, I got up and tested him again. I was positive that I would see a 9(160). I was sure that I had driven him up. Wrong again! He was low.  I went out to get him some juice but of course we only had Crystal Lite.  Okay, I will add sugar to it! A few big spoons full of sugar and off I went to wake him up and get him to drink. I don’t normally wake him but its morning and I was up so he could be also!

After a glass of sugary juice and he only went up to 3.5 (65ish).  Next stop was tablets.  I fed him at least another four.  As he was eating, in his sleep, I couldn’t help but think “Rockets–the breakfast of champions!”   I so need a life!

As you can see its been a fun filled start to summer vacation. He will be heading off to his father’s for a few weeks soon so I had better get things a bit more in control by then. Wish me luck!!!

The “LOW” down on a 13 year old’s Party weekend

What a weekend! Friday, my son came home from school and wanted to go to the fair with his friends that evening. Where was the fair? At the other end of the city of course! Well, the school year is coming to a close and some of these boys will be going to a different school from my son in the fall, so I agreed to allow him to go.  He had glucose, meter, pump, cell phone and was set. 

As I picked him up later that evening I was rather amazed. My baby had been out in a city without me or his older brother, walking the streets at night and I had allowed it? He was with a crowd of a dozen or so other young people so there really was no danger involved. It was just scary that he was old enough to have this sort of responsibility.  He had tested and all was fine but I knew that after walking for five hours on a fair ground and goofing around with his pals that Diabetes would get its revenge.  It had behaved while he was out.  There were no lows to worry about so you know that the night would be rough! 

This was one night that I decided to be proactive. I put on his “low” basal was sure I would give myself a small reprieve.  When I tested him at 3am he was perfect. I gave myself a mental high five and went back to bed with a small glow of victory. I had beat Diabetes at is own game this night!! Oh yeah!!

My victory was short lived however. There was to be no sleeping in on this Saturday morning. I hadn’t extended that reduced basal rate and Diabetes took advantage causing him to be low.  We all got up, showered and headed out to breakfast instead. Take that Diabetes!

Later that night was party number two for my social young son.  This party I knew would be active.  A group of boys were headed off into the woods as we arrived but I was more concerned with making sure that he again had all of his supplies so I didn’t think to adjust any basal rates. After a few hours, I sent him a text and asked if he had tested. He said he was just about to do it.  I waited.  An hour later I received a second text..

“I am 3.4.  Took 4 tablets.”

3.4 (62) Crap! but at least he had treated. I called him back and told him to retest and put that “low” basal rate on.  I waited and sent another text asking if he had retested.  He assured me that all was okay. 

We got home after midnight that night and once again I double checked to see if the temporary basal rate was on. This time I also made sure that I reactivated it when I tested during the night. I was going to beat Diabetes this time! Wrong.  I may have delayed things but Diabetes continued to send my son low multiple times during the rest of the day. I was really getting tired of this.

Sunday evening I sat down with the meter, pump and my son. I got out the log book and got serious.  I made carb to insulin ratio adjustments. I analyzed basal rates.  I changed profiles to allow for summer late nights, later mornings and increased activity levels.  Once again I was confident that we would at least see a few days of good readings.
Wrong.  Diabetes kicked my butt once more.  The night was fine but by 8am things were going down hill fast.  3.0 (54), four glucose tablets….3.0(54) another four glucose tablets and a few choice words…5.6 (100) victory but by then I was wide awake. So much for sleeping in on a stormy Monday morning. My son got up as well, complaining that his mouth felt like he had eaten a tonne of sugar…well you did!

I have more changes to make before my son heads off to visit his father for a few weeks. If this keeps up, my nerves will be shot before he heads off on his own.  The reality of diabetes is that once I get these rates just perfect, he will have a growth spurt and we will be fighting highs for the next two months. I so love this windy, twisted road of life with Diabetes…grrr! Give me strength!

Easter Vacation…The adventures of Day One

We packed up our supplies…with two vials of insulin for good measure.  I made sure that we had at least two meters, 100 test strips, and an infusion set for every day my son would be away from home.  There would not be a problem on this trip!

We squeezed our way into the car and prayed that my oldest son would pack light or we may have to strap him to the roof! Thankfully we all fit in…with a bit of room to spare.  I was really prepared for this trip.  The first length of our trip was a nine hour car ride. I had my son put the “travel basal” into his pump and we were happening!

We bg levels stayed relatively stable despite the hours in the car and the only exercise being lifting his diet Pepsi to his lips at a restaurant. When arrived at the hotel room, we unwound a bit before enjoying big slices of pizza and garlic fingers.  I went to bed certain that no activity and pizza would result in some lovely highs that night.

At 3:30, I woke up and stumbled over to my son’s bed.  The room was dark and I didn’t want to wake Larry, my other son or the dogs.  Both dogs were on my son’s bed.  Our dog didn’t move at the sound of me going to test my child.  She was used to this routine. It had been around longer than her.  The other dog is Larry’s and she perked up her head.  She wondered what was going on.  I was collecting blood from my child to make sure he made it through the night.

The blood looked to me like he was high. I waited the 5 seconds and was sure I would be entering a correction. Wrong!  He was low. Crap! Good thing I packed that bottle of glucose because the only beverage in our room was diet Root beer.  I tried to concentrate enough to count off four tablets.  I checked the clock on more time and looked longingly at my bed. I so wanted to crawl back in there and go to sleep. I knew if I did…well I would fall asleep. Darn! Time to get out my book.

I couldn’t read it in the hotel room.  There were five other bodies that would not have appreciated me turning on a light to read for the next 15 minutes or more so I headed to the bathroom. I set myself up on the edge of the bathtub and proceeded to enjoy my new novel.  After 15 minutes, I was joined by Larry.  He noticed that I was up and wondered what was going on.  I said “3.3(59)” .  He just nodded and continued on with his business.

I decided to go and check my son. Victory!! He was in range! Time for some sleep…not a lot mind you as we had to be up early to continue on with the next leg of our journey.  But as they used to say on one of the TV shows the boys used to watch “that is a story for another time.”

Happy Easter!!