Wednesday, May 15, 2013

D Blog Week: Memories: A Few Moments In Time Could Save a Life!

I have to say I pretty much remember almost every single significant event that has happened in our life due to Diabetes now for the past three years. But the one that I can see crystal clear and can recall every single detail of is not the day my son was diagnosed, unconscious in DKA, or the life flight from a low blood sugar, no it's a small glimpse in D life that didn't present cause for a trip to the hospital at all, but it still haunts me to this day.

Like every parent that has a child with Diabetes, those moments walking to your child's room when they have slept in later than they normally would are frightening. One particular morning, he slept in a little later than normal, around 9am, which is late for Clifford on any given day. I tiptoed up to his room, checked to see if his chest was rising with each breath, I myself breathed a sigh of relief to see that in fact it was. I touched him to wake him up, and there was no movement, my heart sunk for a second, but when he started to stir I recovered from my cardiac episode. However I couldn't fully understand what he was trying to tell me. So I went through the normal 20 questions to see if he was in the 'right state of mind', or if a low was taking him over. "What's your name", Clifford, Okay good. "How old are you", Blank stare, no answer, again, "How old are you", : 9, awesome he's back, but something wasn't right. He was only answering me intermittently, and it just didn't sit right with me. I ran downstairs to get his meter (which is why we keep it by the bedside now), ran back up out of breath at this point to test him, thankfully I thought enough to bring a juice box with me. Tested him and he was 65, okay low but we've experienced lower, this juice will bring him right up I thought to myself.  He drank, and I planned on checking him again in 10 minutes to make sure he was coming up.

I went downstairs to toss the empty juice box in the trash, on my way through I decided to grab the cake icing tube, you know just in case. Then I went right back upstairs to check on him. During those few brief minutes, honestly maybe only 2. He had moved himself from his bed, and crawled through the hallway to the walk in closet at the other end of the hall, he was on his hands and knees in the closet, and still talking to me intermittently, he was having a slight twitch as well, not one that you would consider even the possibility of him having a seizure, or that you think of when you think seizure, but just a nervous twitch of sorts. Without thinking I grabbed him up and started forcing icing into his mouth, rubbing it on his gums, tongue, the sides of his mouth, everywhere, asking him to swallow. He had that 'low' look that I remember too perfectly, glazed eyes, wide open, staring through me like glass. It seemed to be forever in my mind, but within a few moments he started looking at me like I was crazy, which told me he had started to become 'normal' again and was aware of what was going on, in a sense. He asked why we were in the closet, and what I was doing, he had no recollection of what had happened. I guess in a way that was good for him. But his little sister who is 7 had to watch as I grabbed him up and forced icing in his mouth. I didn't panic, I just made it happen.

It wasn't until after this was all said and done, he was tested and was 141, that I sat down, and had to take a moment to come to terms with what had happened, and what we had just done. It was a simple moment in D life, that thankfully didn't require emergency intervention, but it very easily could if we had lost a few more moments in time that usually seem so insignificant. But in D life those moments are priceless and very well could save someones life!

Inside Peek Into the Life of Type 1 Diabetes

While on paper it all looks pretty simple when it comes to type 1 diabetes management. You count your carbs before you eat, you inject insulin and this all should provide you with a stable blood sugar number right? Boy do I wish.

While giving insulin to cover the carbs the body will covert into glucose in the bloodstream is extremely important, it's not the only factor when it comes to Diabetes management. Exercise plays a huge role in blood sugar numbers, it's a great way to bring a higher number down, or help keep you in your target zone. Stress tends to increase one's blood sugar numbers, as well as illness, or puberty.

But the one way I've been kept on my toes throughout it all is during the night time. No matter the basal's that we put into place at night time it seems that there is no correct 'formula' for his night time insulin dosage. Clifford's body tends to be more sensitive to the insulin during the night time, I really do not know why this is, as I haven't really researched it as much. Add into play the dawn phenomenon, which typically happens for him at least around 2-3 am, his numbers are usually hit or miss. With his increased sensitivity, if he's high, it's a horrible guessing game for the correct dosage to bring him down to a nice number. I know I have to back off a good deal of what the pump suggests at night time, but just how much, well that's another story. There is no one set number, I can't just back off .5 units and hope for the best, because I get varied results either still high or too low. (Oh yeah, did I mention you must take into consideration also if they had any activity before bedtime, as it could take a few hours to take full effect?) Sounds fun right?

What I'm left with is the job that his once vital pancreas would do. The way the pancreas works is rather beautiful. You wouldn't know it but as a non diabetic you may still have a higher blood sugar from time to time if you checked yourself. That is because the body will secret your insulin at just the right time to bring you down, but not cause you to go too low. It's in no other words beautiful. It's hard to understand this when you don't have to see the other side of a non working organ in play. But here I am left playing the part of the dead organ floating inside his body and it's a bit stressful at times.

An example of my nightly guessing game when he's high is like last night he was over 300 ( which I honestly couldn't figure out why, so I busted out the ketone meter), the pump wanted to give him 3.3 units, but woah is that a large dose at night time for him. I backed off down to 1.9 units, because the particular number 1.4 units showed up in my head (to subtract), and well I went with my instincts. Because he's corrected, I must set an alarm to get up 2 hours later to make sure he's not coming down too fast, last night he happened to be 270 something I believe, and while typically that number comes down into a more stable or target number, something in my stomach said that we should still bolus for this one as well. In fact the pump wanted to give him 1.4 units and I only gave him 0.3. The nice side of this story is, he's is sitting currently at a 117! But there are times it could go either way, it's never perfect, and it's exhausting to be in my head during these few short moments.

This is diabetes. Not what you see in books, or on the internet. It's not black and white, and while it's manageable as they say, it's not easy. It's time consuming, it's a parasite that takes from you every single moment of the day, but it's worth all the hassle to see a healthy child wake up in the morning! Just a little inside view into the life of Type 1 diabetes!