Recently I became convinced that my children must be programmed to get sick mainly during the night. Not regular, cold-virus sick, but the MOMMY-I-NEED-TO-THROW-UP-RIGHT-NOW sort of illness that leaves me hurdling over strewn toys while shoving the vomit bucket under my child’s face, in a frantic effort to prevent a puke trail over bedding and carpet. At 1 a.m.
The same holds true for diabetic crises and emergencies. In my house, they tend to appear around 11 p.m., setting me up for a sleepless night of monitoring, thinking, and decision-making on fully-toasted brain cells. When such events occur, I’m rendered to the likeness of Yosemite Sam, a sputtering, cursing mess.
Take last night, for example.
8:45 p.m. 245. I wonder why she’s creeping up? I must have messed up the carb count at dinner. Correction bolus given.
9:45. Finally tucked Madeline and her sister into bed after a late evening at my son’s football practice. I’ll test her at 10:45 to check that she’s dropping.
10:00. I hear Madeline’s footsteps descending the stairs, with the kind of heaviness that prepares me for what I’m about to hear. Mommy, I feel lo-ow. And my belly hurts. Testing reveals anything but hypoglycemia: 479. WTF? She must be coming down with the virus that Sophia just had. Ugh. Correction bolus given. Maddy doesn’t need to pee, so I can’t check for ketones.
10:45. Trying to be patient here. Overtesting does nothing but deliver misinformation. But, I can’t stand the wait. 5-4-3-2-1… 450. I instruct Madeline to turn herself so I can inspect her infusion site. Annnnd, the problem is discovered.
While I’m downstairs changing out infusion sets and reloading the pump, I hear tinkling in the upstairs bathroom. Maddy, WAIT! I need to test you for ketones! By the time I sprint up the stairs, my opportunity has passed. Enter Yosemite Sam.
11:00. New infusion set inserted, correction bolus administered. Madeline cries about her belly ache and I set her up with the barf bucket nearby, hoping she will fall asleep instead of vomiting. She must have ketones.
12:00 a.m. Test again: 433. Jack up the temp basal by 40% for 2 hours: a random, panic-driven decision to get more insulin in her system.
1:00 a.m. Test again: 331. Finally.
1:50 a.m. Madeline taps my head, reporting a need to pee. We drudge into the bathroom for testing. Hello, moderate ketones. What the hell, let’s test again: 320.
3:30 a.m. Test again: 165. The regulation of her blood glucose allows me to finally fall asleep for real.
5:45 a.m. Test again: 106. Pee on a stick. Trace ketones.
I’m always looking for the lesson in the mistake. This one was entirely my fault, which makes me feel bad but also strangely relieved as well, given the rather unusual experience of knowing with certainty the thing that went wrong. Next time, I’ll check the infusion site first.