Are you blessed with Mother's intuition (or women's intuition)? Do you get those gut feelings that wake you up in the middle of the night, that send you on a hunt through out your home looking for something that may be wrong, or that prompt you to randomly call your husband and children in the middle of the day just to check and see if everyone is okay? I often wish I was better at paying attention to those little butterflies. We have five children, three of which have life threatening challenges. We have one with Type 1 Diabetes, one with a very severe peanut allergy, and one with asthma. Having five children in itself is a huge distraction. I often wonder if my warning bells are drowned out by the noise and chaos that five children create. Or is it just a bunch of hooey?
Since the beginning of last week we have been battling the chaos that is low blood sugars. Our oldest is sixteen years old and has Type 1 Diabetes. I wish I was blessed with the ability to know when my daughter had a low blood sugar. Well if I was granted a wish by the universe, I would wish there was a simple cure for Type 1 Diabetes, which would make my wish for the ability to know when my daughter was low useless.
Last week our daughter's friend Heather saved her life. I am incredibly thankful, but so frustrated that my Mother's intuition didn't catch what was happening. How did Heather save Macy's life? She came over to visit Macy. Yep, that's pretty much it. She came over and I directed her to Macy's room. Macy had been home from school all of an hour. Heather found her asleep. She tried to wake her up and Macy nodded when she said do you want me to let you sleep.
Heather could have just left. She could have just taken the situation for what it looked like, a tired friend taking a nap. But instead she came to me and said, "Hey, Macy is asleep and when I asked her if she wanted me to let her sleep she just nodded and rolled over". Heather knows Macy well enough to know that wasn't a normal reaction to her coming over. So we went back to Macy's room. I took with me some Jello and a banana just in case (we were out of juice). That way I wouldn't have to waste time going back upstairs if there was a problem.
This was one of those times where it would have been a lot easier to freak out and panic. But I say, handle the problem and if you need to panic, panic on your own time, later when no one is watching and the emergency is gone. On top of that, Heather was there and she certainly didn't need to see me lose it. It wasn't until later she understood the seriousness of the situation.
So Macy was laying in her bed. She could respond some but was obviously experiencing a low blood sugar. So I fed her the Jello and the banana. Then I realized her test kit wasn't down there. So I sent Heather to look for it. It was upstairs in Macy's purse where she had left her backpack and stuff when she came home (she was probably beginning with her low blood sugar then which explains why she just left her stuff in the middle of the hall). By the time Heather had come back with her purse Macy had finished the Jello and banana. I tested her blood sugar. It was 28.
If you don't have a Diabetic in your life than that number may mean nothing to you. So for reference, the average person's blood sugar ranges from about 70-180. If a Diabetic is below 70, food is needed. If they are below 50, it becomes an emergency that must be taken care of immediately. Macy is usually not responsive or able to communicate at about 40 or below.
We needed more sugar and we needed it now. I grabbed her emergency glucose gel she carries in her purse. Why didn't we use this to begin with you may be asking yourself. Well, frankly because its gross. It tastes nasty and has a gooey consistency. Macy must be really low for me to get it into her. Honestly, I don't blame her. We waited about 7 minutes after she swallowed the glucose gel and tested her again. This time she was 24! She went lower?! So as I ran out of her room I asked Heather to keep talking to her, trying not to panic.
Its amazing how fast a someone can be going up stairs, maneuvering around baby gates, and getting to the fridge or pantry and then back again. I grabbed 2 things of Jello pudding I had made the night before (which were half vanilla and half chocolate). Running back down the stairs to Macy all the time trying my best not to panic.
Macy sat up as I asked her to do, which was a good sign and pretty amazing. I began to feed her vanilla and chocolate pudding. I was cracking jokes and making fun of my abilities to feed someone because I kept missing her mouth and getting pudding on her face. Heather laughed and Macy attempted to smile, which just made me miss again. I was reminded she doesn't like vanilla pudding, at all. But she ate it and made big 'oh no' eyes when I offered more glucose gel instead (even though it was upstairs too. I knew she would say no.)We tested again, and she was finally up to 64. She snacked on some bunny marshmallows (something she had in her purse for school lows) to continue the rise into the 100's. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life.
I am so very grateful for Macy's friend, Heather. She paid attention to Macy and came and got me. This isn't a normal low blood sugar time for Macy and if Heather hadn't come over we would never have known she was asleep and low. Normally after school she spends time on her computer and does her homework quietly in her room. Since then we have had many lows that have blind sided us. To help fight this battle I bought 4 cases of juice boxes (120 juice boxes) to stash strategically around the house and for her to stash in her locker and purse at school. She always carries something in case she goes low, but she hasn't had a low issue like this in years.
I haven't slept well since this occurred. I randomly go down and test her in the middle of the night. Which are more of those mother's intuition times. Most times I found her low in her sleep. Maybe I am paying better attention to my butterflies or maybe I am just getting lucky. I don't know which it is. My husband has also helped by waking her up much earlier than normal, when he gets up between 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning rather than 6:00. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband who will get the kids up in the morning for me since more times than not I haven't slept well or have been up at odd times in the middle of the night. As a stay at home mother I consider this my job since I am not leaving the house and working. But its really hard to keep up with when your not sleeping well, not to mention throwing into the mix a 3 year old toddler boy to keep me busy.
We normally battle high blood sugars. She is a teen girl who gets distracted easy and who tries to keep her Diabetes as hidden from the outside world as possible. Which all result in higher numbers instead of lower. High blood sugar isn't good for her either, but it is much easier to manage and is much less of a life threatening emergency. Her fear of going low of course has made her weary of letting her blood sugar drop below 175. If she could keep it at 80-100 than that would be the healthiest and best place for it. But it's also a lot easier to drop low from there compared to 175. I don't blame her for being scared. Snacks are a very important part of a Type 1 Diabetics life, balanced with protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. They can be the difference between life and death. Which sounds dramatic, I know, but a simple snack at the right time can help avoid having a low blood sugar all together. It's just a matter of when to eat those snacks. It's not as though a snack at 3:00 am is easy.
Heather is starting her job for work study this week at a nursing home near the high school. She has plans of becoming a nurse. And although my mother would say, " no, be a doctor" (since she just recently retired after 35 years as an ICU nurse.) I believe she is on track with a great career ahead of her. She pays attention and notices the things that help people. She will make a great nurse and she would make a great doctor too. Thank you Heather for being you. Thank you for saving my Macy.