All Nighters – Not What They Used To Be

When I was a teen I my friend Rita would spend the night often and we would sit in my basement bedroom singing and dancing to music from Def Leopard, Madonna, Poison, Bon Jovi, and other hits of the 80’s. On one such night we each put cheap sunglasses as we sang along with “Sunglasses At Night”. We played board games and laughed nearly till dawn.

In college I would go out with friends on Thursdays for karaoke and sing songs from Grease, Cher, and a favorite called KawLiga about a wooden Indian (only we changed the line ” he don’t know what he missed” to “He never squeezed her tits”. We often partook in dollar shots of tequila which allowed me to believe I could play pool. It wasn’t uncommon for us to close the bar.

Once in the Air Force my hubby and I as well as some friends decided to drive from San Antonio to Lake Charles (5 hours away) just to play slots then drive home. There were 5 of us crammed into my hubby’s tiny hatchback. We left at 10pm, arrived around 3am, played slots for 40 minutes and drove back. It was crazy fun.

Another time while in the Air Force Chad and I, after an evening out playing pool and dancing, drove down to Corpus Christi from San Antonio (3 hours) just to watch the sunrise then drove home.

Last night I was up until 3am. Everyone else slept soundly. I watched multiple episodes of The West Wing stopping every couple of hours to check blood sugars for both of my kids with Type 1 diabetes. There was no laughter (ok I did giggle a couple of times because of West Wing antics) but mostly I sat curled up on my couch hoping that the next check would be within range and I could go to bed.

Not last nights shrapnel - this is from last week. Different night - same process.
Not last nights shrapnel – this is from last week. Different night – same process.

As a parent of kids with diabetes nights like last night are not uncommon. They don’t happen every week but sometimes they happen more than once a week. If the kids have high blood sugars and require large doses of insulin I can’t go to bed when they do. It isn’t safe. Either the insulin doses will bring their numbers down within a safe range in 2 hours or they won’t. I can’t assume anything. Diabetes doesn’t play fair.

Sometimes the insulin corrections drop the kids too fast. Other times the corrections don’t make a dent in the high numbers and the kids will require an infusion set change (place where the tubing from the insulin pump is attached to their bodies). An infusion set change means another dose of insulin and 2 more hours of waiting (check, dose, wait, repeat). If the kids dropped too low it means giving them fast acting carbs (normally a juice) while they sleep and another hour of waiting.

I can’t go to bed and set an alarm like I used to. I have alarm fatigue. Basically I don’t hear the alarms. I have slept through multiple alarms in the last year so now I am simply afraid to trust myself to get up to a middle of the night alarm.

It is the life of a parent(s) of children with diabetes. I know I’m not alone – I know this because I see my friends on Facebook and Twitter at midnight, 1am, 2am. I love not feeling alone but it breaks my heart so many of us can visit when we should all be sleeping and our kids should all be safe and diabetes shouldn’t be winning.




3 thoughts on “All Nighters – Not What They Used To Be

    1. I only get to do this for another 8-10 years – they are stuck doing it for the rest of their lives. I pray they have friends/roommates/spouses that will take over my role when they leave me.


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