Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another Day in D Land....

If you knew a monster lived in your house that has tried to take your child's life not once but three times, how would you feel about this beast? If you knew this monster was your permanent guest in your house and there was no way to rid your child of this life threatening beast, how would you feel? This is how I look at Diabetes, it is a monster, a vicious beast, that is not welcomed but however will stay with us until a cure is found.

I write this post for two reasons, this morning we had a scenario that brings chills to my body just thinking about the possibilities. Because this scenario reminded me of past events where this beast tried to take my sons life. In this post I will share with you what happened today to make me remember these events, and I will also share our past experience with D.

It all started with this: I'd like to know how one's blood sugar can go from a low of 72 at 5:45 am to 455 by 7:30 am????!?!?!?! I have a few choice words for D at this point, especially when we only treated with a Juice box, and nothing else... Yes I've heard of the dawn phenomenon, but seriously D, that much of a spike for no reason whatsoever in my opinion is completely and utterly ridiculous.

I can just imagine what this feels like for Clifford, I'm sure it cannot be fun at all. To my surprise even though he was extremely high, he was not acting up. We also didn't have any ketones. But please tell me how I'm supposed to feel comfortable with sending him off to school at 455, after being given the highest dosage of insulin on his scale??? We've dealt with the unfortunate outcome of D being an outright ass before and not cooperating. Back in April of 2010, only 2 weeks shy of our 2 months since diagnosis, Clifford was extremely high with afternoon snack. We were still learning the ropes, and he was still in the mindset of eating whatever and whenever he wanted and had snuck a giant pixie stick, with no insulin to cover...... Long story short, at this time the highest dosage was 5 units for snack on the sliding scale he was on. Now let me tell you snack is only supposed to be 15 carbs. I, not knowing a lot about D at this time, gave him his insulin, and snack. He ate it like a champ and went up to his room to play. As I was down doing the dishes about 30 mins later Abby came downstairs and said Clifford was laying down on the floor in his room.

I ran upstairs to find Clifford laying face down in front of his bed, he was unresponsive to me and wouldn't wake up. I rolled him over and noticed a bump on his head. At this point I was convinced something was wrong, but I tried to stay calm and told the girls it was okay, please go downstairs and sit in the living room. I ran for our Emergency shot called Glucagon. Before giving him the shot, I quickly tested his blood sugar to find he was in fact 52. I attempted to wake him or stir him or get any sort of movement out of him, but nothing happened. Now it was time for me to give him the emergency glucagon shot to bring up his blood sugar quickly. For anyone that doesn't know what this is, it's one scary looking needle, just saying. It's huge in comparison to our normal syringes to give insulin. Even though I was trained to use this, it was very hard to do with my hands shaking. I somehow, I don't really know how or what happened exactly it was all a blur, but I gave him the shot in his belly (more meat to work with there for this HUGE needle). I tested him and his blood sugar had jumped up to 144. But yet there was still no response from Clifford. I immediately called 911, and told Abby and Hayleigh to please get their shoes on. All the while trying my best to keep them calm, but it was soo very hard to do with myself freaking out on the inside thinking I was losing my son. It seemed like forever but the ambulance did eventually get there.

Thankfully my neighbors took Abby and Hayleigh and Clifford and I were off to the hospital in the ambulance. He still was unresponsive, but began to vomit in the ambulance. His blood sugar on the trip was staying steady around 140-150, but no response from him. When he began to vomit he started making weird noises but no words. We got to the hospital and while they are great people, I just don't think they understand Type 1 diabetes and hypoglycemic episodes very much. Thankfully after getting them to understand what happened, his endo team was called in Pittsburgh, and plans were made to transport him to Children's Hospital. There was still NO talking, no motions, no nothing from Clifford at this time, but all his vitals were normal. It wasn't until after Chad had arrived at the hospital from work, and I was talking with the doctors, nurses, making the plans to transport him that Clifford started to come to, and was screaming out "Mommy". All I remember from this point on was I jumped over the bed next to him to be at his side to calm him down.

In all we only had a one day hospital stay but it was still one of the most scary situations of my life. That was until June came around......

In June out of no where Cliffy started acting weird, at first it seemed like he was just being bad, but I looked at him over and over and something just didn't seem right to me. I checked his blood sugar but he was 143, not low, so it was even more confusing to me. I had him come downstairs, instead of staying upstairs, and sit on a chair in the living room. I got in front of him and started asking him questions, something just didn't seem right, he was there talking, but I couldn't really make out what he was saying, and he wasn't making any sense at all. His eyes were looking at me, but they seemed to be looking right through me. I remember turning to Chad telling him something, just something didn't seem right at all. Low and behold a few seconds later Clifford began to have a seizure. I was not quite as calm this time around as I was the first time, I'm sure Chad can attest to that. We called 911, put Clifford on the floor and tried to keep him from hurting himself while he was seizing. When we finally got to the ER his blood sugar had dropped to 39. The nurse ran out of the room and got their version of a glucagon shot to put through his IV to bring him right up. He was brought back up but was still out of it, in and out of sleep. He eventually was life flighted to Children's in Pittsburgh, where again we had a one day hospital stay to figure out why his blood sugar while at the hospital was constantly dropping. He was fine the next day, back to his normal self ready to go home. Myself on the other hand was not.

I really try my hardest not to hate this disease but how can you not hate something that has almost taken your son's life not once but 3 times, including DKA at diagnosis????? If D were a person who attempted to kill my son 3 times, I can most definitely see myself hating this person more then anything. I have my days with D that I wish I never had to watch my boy suffer because of it. I've also had days where D cooperated and it wasn't so bad.

But then there are times like last night when Abby comes downstairs for snack at 8pm and tells me Clifford is upstairs sleeping. Normally for a parent with a non diabetic child this would be awesome, wow they put themselves to bed!!! But for me, I dropped everything that was in my hands and ran up to his room. I called out his name trying to wake him up. It took two times but he woke up and I asked him what he was doing. He said "I'm sleeping, I'm tired". I breathed out a sigh of relief , it had scared the crap outta me to hear that he was sleeping. Clifford just doesn't fall asleep, and if he does it usually isn't good.

Everyday is a fight, and I try my hardest to make Clifford think everything is as normal as possible. I try not to complain about D out loud where he can hear, or talk about how scary it is to send him off to school, or how I toss and turn over and over at night because I worry how he's sleeping. Or how my heart jumps when the phone rings in the morning and it is him calling from school to let me know he's there and feeling good. Or the adverse effect of when my heart sinks when the school calls randomly on an unscheduled call. But because D decided to enter our lives this is my reality I deal with on a daily basis. I do not wish for anyone to feel sorry for me or for Clifford. In fact I want the opposite, feel happy because we do our best to live a normal life, just with an added visitor.


  1. I have lived this nightmare too many times to count. My son has been T1D since age 14 and went on to acquire adrenal insufficiency which causes hypoglycemic unawareness... the lack of adrenal function deprives him of the physical warning of lows. I vividly remember the first "episode" of seizures. It has haunted me ever since. That was 16 years ago. Given his hypo unawareness, the nightmare repeated itself numerous times since. I checked him constantly in the overnight hours. He hated my "intrusion" as his teenage years set in. I secretly placed a baby monitor in this 16 year old boy's room in hopes that I would allow myself to sleep. Then... he left for college. I had begun suffering from anxiety attacks, but now that he was out of my sight, they got worse. He graduated, and, as any guy in their early 20's, he got his own place. Ever since he left my home, I have called him every single morning at 7:00 a.m. He knows the routine... if he does not answer within one hour, the cops comoe a knocking on his door. Although he understands my fears, D has clouded this Mother-Son relationship. Now, finally 32 years old, he has seemingly conquered this dragon and has been doing eons better. I still worry. I still call every morning. I still cry. I still ask God to heal him, or to at least heal me enough to accept the things I cannot change. Did I mention that my marriage fell apart when my boys were three years old (twins)and had to endure this by myself? It would ghave been so much more bearable if I had someone there with me. Ironically, my sons' dad (my x-husband) has been T1D since his early 20's and has never seen our son experience one of these unconscious seizures. I have often asked the Lord why he has so much confidence in me, because I sure lack it when I self-reflect. This has changed my life so profoundly. I am still alone, but at least my sons are doing well and, for this, I am eternally thankful.


  2. I'm very happy to hear your son is doing much better. But I understand how the worry will always be there. I know my worries with Cliffy and T1 are just beginning and will probably not get any better the older he gets. I see how T1D can put a strain on a marriage or any relationship. It's hard on one person to deal with everything D throws at you, and at times it's very hard to understand why our children and us were put in this situation. It has many times made me question my beliefs. I try daily to think about what I have that I am thankful for and Thank god for those. But it doesn't make it any easier. I am trying to surround myself with the positives to keep me from worrying too much, but it's still hard.

    I am thankful that Chad is here to help but I do worry that it may get to overwhelming eventually. I try to handle all Cliffy's diabetic care on my own when he's home with me, but it does get difficult at times. I just try not to overwhelm everyone else or let on how stressful it actually can be. Thank you for your comment, and reading my post :)

  3. Hey girl, I feel you, boy do I feel you, one thing stood out to me though, If you ever have to use glucagon again (which I pray you never do) go for the thigh, it is absorbed much more quickly in a muscle than sub-Q fat. I was just reading blog on The Princess and the Pump and it hit me (she said belly, needs to be thigh). Check out her post if you haven't yet and stay strong sister, one day at a time, but I know you know that. Hugs! jaclyn

  4. Wow, I am so sorry you had to go through that and so soon after diagnosis. I get the feeling of endless worry. As I read other's blogs about kids going low, it seems that each child can react so differently to various low #'s. My daughter was 73 and was shaking with the glazed over look one time, yet can be 68 in the middle of the night and suck down juice no problem. Good for you in recognizing the signs in your child.