Postscript: I wrote this last night, but I didn’t really finish it. I put a framed post down, but then needed to get some sleep, and revisit this one. I didn’t realize that I had published it until this morning. (Note to self: Sleep more.) Anyway, my apologies if you’ve already seen this post, but it’s finished now…
I’ve mentioned them before.
The BAD lows she used to have.
She was so little. She had a typical vocabulary for a 2 year old. It included stuff like “cat, pig, eat, and more”.
Things like “I’m low.” and “Help me.” weren’t phrases we ran across in her storybooks. She didn’t know what was happening…or how to call for help.
They went on for over a year.
Dare I be 5 minutes late for a snack or a meal. Diabetes would swoop in and knock my baby girl to the ground…she’d pass out where ever she was… hit her head and come up kicking, screaming, fighting, confused, sweaty, bruised, biting, flailing, head bobbing, eyes rolling…
My sweet baby. She stumbled through life with a bumped forehead, chipped teeth, an occasional laceration, and a bruised face for 18 months. They happened about once a week. No amount of dosage adjustments, snacks, or strict food schedule could stop them.
|(This is my mom and Sugar (2 yrs old) on the very sad day we said good-bye when our family left MD and moved to AZ – note bruised forehead.)|
Those lows were horrible. Heart stopping. I was anxious ALL OF THE TIME, constantly worried and on guard about when the next one would strike. I can’t even begin to describe the panic. Dry mouth and sweaty palms doesn’t do it justice. The fear that, when her blood sugar came up…she wouldn’t be herself. Either from a brain too long without vital glucose — or from a head injury. The anxiety…there was no rhyme or reason. Out of nowhere these horrible episodes would take hold of my child and all I could do was plead with her to drink from a straw, rub cake mate in her gums…and pray. I can’t tell you how many times I dropped to a dirty public floor somewhere…the contents of my purse scattered everywhere…tears streaking my cheeks…fear gripping my heart…and calling out to Jesus to help us.
Anyway, I probably should have used the Glucagon shot on more than 1 occasion. After diagnosis, they specifically told us that Glucagon was strictly reserved for seizures and unresponsiveness…these lows didn’t fit either of those descriptions. Nearly 7 years of reflection adds alot of details that I couldn’t see clearly back then.
It wasn’t until I started opening my world to other families raising children with diabetes that I learned her lows weren’t “normal”. By “normal” I mean that 1) they happened at all, and 2) they happened so frequently. I would describe them to other parents and they’d act as if they had no idea what I was talking about. Didn’t these lows happen to EVERYONE?
Well, no. They didn’t.
The pump changed it for us. Smaller doses, IOB, and the ability to adjust basal rates made all the difference in the world.
In fact, I can only think of a handful of times we’ve ever come close to one of those “BAD LOWS” since she began pumping in 2007…and not a single episode of passing out like she used to.
So I’ve gotten comfortable. I’m not as anxious. I don’t panic as quickly. She’s been pumping for almost 5 years, and she’s able to communicate with me now.
The other day, we went for a family hike. The girls LOVED it! Afterwards, we grabbed a hearty snack and headed to the park for a bit. It was a gorgeous day.
And then she said she felt low.
This is the lowest BG she’s ever seen. (I’ve seen her as low as 26.)
It scared her. It scared me!
She popped back up to 120 pretty easily, and we went on to have a great evening.
It’s still there though. She mentions it from time to time. The other day, she asked me how much lower her blood sugar could get before it killed her.
Her words…”Before it kills me?”
What do you say to that? How do you look into your innocent child’s eyes, and give her an honest answer about her own mortality?
Until that moment, I didn’t even know she understood the black and white reality that diabetes could take her life. We haven’t talked about it…the fact that other children die every day from her diagnosis.
It took my breath away.
I held her close, and told her that I honestly didn’t know the “magic number” to answer her question. Everyone is different, and there are so many other things — like active insulin and activity level at the time of the low — that would need to be considered. But 34 is too low for anyone.
She knows now.
She understands that there’s a blurry fine line between life and death in the balancing act of managing her diabetes.
It’s been a few days, and the anxiety is fading.
This one shook her.
I’m not sure it will ever go away completely, but she’s not frozen with fear. Thankfully, the mind games didn’t last long, and she’s back to herself. She tackles each day with a vibrant smile, youthful energy, and a positive outlook. We’ve been back to the park almost every day this week.
This low stopped her for a moment in time, but it hasn’t slowed her down in the game of life.