Scary Things – Part 3

Tuesday:

This post has very little to do with blood sugar readings or diabetes.  If you’ve read the two posts prior to this then you know the past few days have been fraught with issues with blood sugar.  If you haven’t, read here and here.  I also have been stressed communicating with Angelina’s teacher, school nurse, and administrators.  I’ve spent a good couple of hours in the past two days reading and writing and exchanging emails to make sure that her diabetes 504 plan is being followed for state testing.

Well, Angelina leaves for the bus around 8am every morning.  As she was walking out the door to go to school I get a text from my husband, “They are laying off about 1/3 of the employees today.”  Now, everyone is afraid of being laid off or losing their job.  For us, this would be absolutely catastrophic.  I am on social security disability and not able to hold a job.  I have not had a job for over 5 years.  On top of that David JUST bought a new car three weeks ago after driving the same car for 9 years.  So, for the first time in about 5 years we just took on a monster of a car payment.  He needed a new car and March marked a record end-of-quarter for his employer.  There were talks of raises this year and congratulations all around.  And, of course, aside from my disability we have a child with a chronic medical condition that even the most basic treatment for is very expensive.

Our health insurance is through my husband’s job.  If he lost his job we would not only lose about 80% of our household income, we would also lose our health insurance, which means we would actually lose about 160% of our “income”. (You can do the math there)  I posted about how much diabetes has cost (before insurance) in the past year since Angelina’s diagnosis (you can find that here).  Simply put, we wouldn’t be able to afford her diabetes without insurance.  Or we would have to default on the auto loan we just took out, which would be the more likely scenario.  Even then, I’m not sure how we would do it.  Fortunately, like many people with D that are fortunate to have good insurance, we have a stockpile of diabetes supplies.  But even that would probably only last us a month to 6 weeks past the expected refill time.  And that’s only because I just picked up her insulin from the pharmacy yesterday (All $880 of it, before insurance).

Four of my husband’s friends from work were let go.  A lot more people than that were let go, but these 4 are people that we associate with socially and who have been to our home and/or we have been to theirs.  It wasn’t until 9:30am that I finally got the text that said his job was safe.  I am incredibly relieved for us, because job loss means so much more than just a loss of income.  In very real terms, job loss for him could very quickly mean having to choose between need diabetes supplies and insulin for my daughter to stay alive or food and housing.  Without our insurance, even if my husband got another job right away, there is a very real possibility of still being forced to make that choice.  I can’t wait until the United States finally stops treating health coverage as a luxury item and starts providing it for everyone, regardless of income, and certainly not tied to a person’s employer.

Scary Things – Part 2

Monday:

Monday morning came way too early after not getting to bed until 1:30 am.  It was also the first day back at school for Angelina after two weeks of Spring Break.  I happened to actually wake up at 6:30 when David was getting ready to leave for work.  I knew there was no way I would wake up again to my alarm at 7 or 7:30 (I have two set to make sure I wake up on normal mornings) if I went back to sleep so I got up.  Blood sugar was perfectly in range.  Got her breakfast, bolus, off to school.

Went about my day, heard nothing from the school. Great!  Around 3:45 I see the bus pulled up outside our house (normally the bus turns at our corner and stops diagonal from the house on the opposite side of the intersection.)  I see Angelina coming off the bus at our gate so I went outside to investigate.  D-Mom senses were tingling again because this is just ODD.  Angelina walks up to the door and I said “Why were you dropped off at our door?”  Her response, “Substitute bus driver.”  Okay, big sigh of relief from me, nothing is wrong.  And then, “It’s a good thing because my blood sugar is low!”  WHAT?!?!  As part of her diabetes accommodations at school she has to check in with the nurse near the end of the day to make sure her BG is in a good place to ride the bus because she is the last stop and has an hour-long bus ride.  So, I said, “Okay, let’s get you some juice.”  We go in the house and she said that she alerted low on the bus. “Mom, like, it just said “LOW” but there was no number.”  If any of you use a Dexcom you know what this mean, if not – when the Dexcom just says “LOW” and doesn’t show a number it means that it’s outside of it’s readable range of 40-400, so a “LOW” reading means she was below 40, according to the Dexcom.

Screenshot 2014-04-22 13.03.53

Fortunately she carries a spare meter in her backpack, even though technically she isn’t supposed to.  She said her meter said 62, which is still low, but certainly not as scary as a below 40 reading.  The only problem is that she didn’t have anything in her backpack to treat the low.  I thought she had a tube of glucose tabs, but she didn’t (She does now, as of yesterday!).  She said she had a package of beef jerky in her backpack though and ate that to at least stop her blood sugar from dropping more.  According to the Dexcom she was low from 3pm until she got home 45 minutes later.  The bus leaves the school at 2:55pm and they had a substitute bus driver who knows NOTHING about her diabetes, obviously.  So she ate her beef jerky and waited to get home, fortunately the beef jerky did seem to keep her BG from plummeting further and juice worked quickly just as it should, almost too well.

We had meatloaf and brussels sprouts for dinner which was only about 25 carbs.  I was falling asleep by 8pm so passed the Dexcom off to my husband and went to bed.  I woke up around 10pm when he came to bed and put the Dexcom receiver on my bedside table.  Bg was stable and hanging around 150, which was fine for going to bed.  We all went to sleep.

Then I was woken up around 2am with Dexcom screaming that she was high, over 250.  Bg steadily went up starting just after she went to bed.  So, even though meatloaf was low carb and I used extra lean beef we still saw a fat spike, apparently.  Checked her BG, gave correction and went back to sleep.  Got woken up again 2 hours later with BG still over 250.  I have a 2 hour snooze set for her high alarm since that is the active insulin time for her and correction isn’t administered more often than every 2 hours anyway.  So I got up at 4am, confirmed BG with a fingerstick and gave more correction.  Got woken up again at 6:30 when David was getting ready for work to see that BG stayed around 250 the entire night despite a few units of correction over that span of time.  It did not alert high again though because it was reading about 245 and her high alert is set at 250.  Got up and did fingerstick again, calibrated CGM, did MORE correction and started my day by emailing her teacher and nurse to make sure that the accommodations for state testing were going to be followed since they are starting testing today.

I got Angelina up around 7:30, pre-bolused for breakfast, especially since she was already high, and sent her off to school.  Whew!

Scary Things – Part 1

I’m not sure what is going on these past few days but I am feeling a bit off balance.

Sunday:

On Sunday, Angelina ate some robin eggs for breakfast and then we decided to get buffet brunch around 11am.  Dexcom was reading just under 400 BG in short order.  So, of course I pushed some correction and set a temp basal to bring her down.  She decided she was going to wash the car so she donned her swim suit and a bucket full of soapy water and went to work.  We decided to bolus for her basal rate for an hour since I really didn’t want her going without an hours worth of insulin when she was already so high.  But I also didn’t want her insulin pump getting wet either.  Of course as soon as she went outside her Dexcom went out of range, but I wasn’t worried.  She came in about an hour later looking for a towel and decided to take a warm bath with her bathing suit still on.  I finally looked at her Dexcom and told her she needed to get hooked back up to her pump.  Dexcom was reading around 150.  As always, it took her a while to decide to finally get out of the tub.

David and I were playing Rock Band and she came and sat on the couch by him (I was across the room) and said she wanted to play.  I looked over at her and told her she needed to put her pump back on, but could she please check her BG to see how things were.  As she was opening her meter case I could see her hands shaking from across the room.  Dexcom said 114.  Meter said 49.  So I said “Check again.  Your fingers are waterlogged maybe they’re just too wet and the drop was diluted.”  Second test: 45.

Screenshot 2014-04-22 12.14.48

Gave juice, calibrated Dexcom.  It was then reading about 55 but quickly started going back up. An hour later I got the alert that she had double up arrows and BG was high, 256.  What.the.eff.  Pump was back on at this point. Hm.  Decided to give it a minute for arrows to level out, and check a few minutes later and reading was slightly lower and arrows had leveled out so no correction.

Everyone went back about what they were doing. Angelina decided to play Rock Band on her own after David and I quit.  I was on the computer and decided it was time to start dinner and realized the house was quiet.  Dexcom showed her BG at 110, but I thought maybe she had gone back outside so I asked David to find her and check on her while I got dinner started.  He comes into the kitchen and says “She’s in her bed, sleeping.”  Which made my d-mama senses tingle adn I said “Okay, we need to check her BG”.  Took meter into her room and checked: 45.  Seriously?!?!  Calibrated Dexcom.  Rechecked: 34!  Meanwhile David had gone to grab a juice box.  When I shook her to have her drink at first she didn’t respond and she hadn’t woken up when I checked her BG so I felt panic rising up in me.  Fortunately then she opened her eyes and took the juice from me.  We calibrated the Dexcom (again!) and it wouldn’t accept the 34 BG reading and just came up with and a blood drop.  I tried entering in the 34 again but it wouldn’t accept it. (It didn’t dawn on me until later that it wouldn’t take it because the Dexcom only reads between 40 and 400 and the 34 was too low).

She finished her juice and I said I would be back in a few minutes to check her again.  I went about trying to get dinner ready and realized I was missing an ingredient so I sent David to the store.  After he left Angelina made her way into the living room and was sort of drooped in the recliner.  I asked her how she was feeling and she said “I just feel so weak.  It was really hard to walk in here from my room.”   At that point the Dexcom started reading again and said she was in the 60’s.  So, I did another fingerstick and BG was around 110.  I went back to making dinner and let her recuperate on the couch.

The dexcom seemed to be okay after that but I was a bit wary to trust it.  She took a shower just before bed and she said “Mom, can we just change my sensor?  It hurts.”  So we started over.  Called Dexcom and a replacement should be arriving sometime today.  However, that meant we did a sensor change at almost 10pm and her blood sugars were wonky all day.  I finally ended up getting to bed around 1:30 am.