The other night my husband and I had a huge wake-up call. It was the middle of the night, and I heard screaming and crying coming from the kitchen. I immediately knew that it was Kaitlyn, and in exasperation, I jerked my husband awake and said, "Get Kaitlyn!" We rushed out of bed and found her in the dark kitchen, crying and scared. She was disoriented and very pale… tell-tale signs of Kaitlyn's low blood sugar. My husband grabbed her testing kit while I went for the juice.
When her number popped up on the screen, we were very surprised to see that it was on the low end, but still in her normal range. We started giving her juice anyway, got an alcohol prep pad, cleaned her finger and checked again. This time, we got a number that made more sense based on how she was acting. She was actually 20 points lower than the first time we checked. After the juice she improved almost immediately. She woke up a little bit more and acted more like herself. We could talk to her, and she told us she was feeling better. A few minutes later, we checked again, making sure we cleaned her finger, and she was back in her normal range.
Kaitlyn fell right asleep, but my husband and I were rattled and jittery from the scare we had just experienced. We talked about it and realized that Kaitlyn had eaten some apple slices as a bedtime snack right before she went to sleep. A couple hours later when my husband was going to bed, he checked her apple juice-covered finger. It of course gave a high reading, which he treated. Instead of bringing her back in range, the unnecessary treatment sent her too low.
We realized that night that we had gotten into a really bad habit! Often times we neglect to make sure Kaitlyn's hands are washed or cleaned with alcohol before we check her blood sugar, especially at night, while she's sleeping.
I hope that I'm not completely alone when I say that taking care of a child with diabetes is tiring work. It's hard to be diligent in doing everything just the right way all the time, day after day, year after year. Sometimes, it's all too easy to let things slip a little bit. We sometimes rationalize that we're being careful enough and forget about the consequences of being too casual or sloppy. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a wake-up call to renew our resolve to put our best efforts forward in taking care of our little Kaitlyn.
About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.