Wednesday, November 2, 2011
A Night in the Life of a T1 Mom: Musings on Vampires and Angels
Day 2 into November’s Diabetes Awareness Month and I’m beat already. And yet last night was a good night. Before going to bed last night at 9:00, Alex’s blood glucose levels was a quite respectable 75 mg. We aim for a range between 70 mg and 140 mg and this was perfect. Except it wasn’t, not before going to bed, and not with .42 units of insulin still worming its way through her body as it worked its magic on the pasta and chicken she ate for dinner.
No, 75 mg is not a good going to sleep number, so I had her take a slug from the juice box that I keep handy alongside the bed. A “slug” can’t be quantified so I’d estimate she drank about 4 ounces, enough to prop her sugar up enough during the overnight hours, or at least until 2:00 a.m. when I wake up to check.
Now, some parents of children with type 1 diabetes have been told that there is no need for an overnight check. But I can tell you that the few parents who choose not to wake up and check their child’s glucose level are truly in the minority. Perhaps I am overly cautious, but I am like a fanatical vampire feeling the need to wake up and draw blood from an innocent. And so, I wake up every morning at 2:00 a.m. and do the T1 mom's blood sucking thing.
I think in the 1228 days that Alex has had diabetes I’ve slept through four alarms. I remember distinctly because I still feel guilty about them, and I thank the guardian angel (Dad, I know it’s you, thank you. I love you!) for keeping her safe.
Woe to the parent who sleeps through the 2:00 a.m. check, because the guilt can eat you alive. Just ask the mom (a Facebook friend) who,the night before last, slept an extra 30 minutes – right through an alarm which kept right on buzzing – only to find her too sweet daughter clammy and pale, and her blood sugar at a heart-stopping 39 mg with nearly 1½ units of insulin still kicking. The guardian angel at work again. And yes, we all know in our heart of hearts that shit happens, that we're only human, blah blah blah, but that doesn't negate the angst or guilt.
And here's the reason why; I can also give you the names of at least three heartbroken moms who know all too well the dangers of somnambular hypoglycemia – a low blood sugar while sleeping. I may have just coined that term, but nocturnal hypoglycemia is too limiting. It’s not as though our children are any safer napping in the daytime.
But Alex’s 2:00 a.m. check was good; 159 mg – slightly higher than I’d like but not worth “fixing” and likely a direct result of the aforementioned unquantifiable slug of juice. But that’s how it goes. Her 5:00 a.m. check was a very nice 89 mg – not too high, not too low. Just right.
Oh, that it all her bg numbers could be that perfect. But I can dream, can’t I?