Avoiding Getting High At Van Halen

As a parent of children with diabetes I can choose to get angry at the occasional ‘totally avoidable’ mishaps or I can roll with it and try to fix a bad situation without criticism or blame. Sometimes I can navigate the crazy with ease other times I lose all self control and go all ‘Mommy Dearest’ on my kids*. Thankfully yesterday was more of a roll with it day.

Yesterday my daughter and I were heading off with friends to see the first of the Van Halen world tour 2015. The concert venue was just over an hour from my home. Earlier in the day my husbands colleague and his family were visiting for a BBQ. Since it was my husbands colleagues first time visiting I had begun preparing food and picking up the house early in the morning. The visit with the other family was very relaxing and enjoyable. Still with the food prep, house cleaning and then visiting I had left my daughter to prepare for the concert. I had asked her twice between 11am and 4:30pm if her insulin pump was charged and loaded. She said it was all good.

My daughter loaded the van with lawn chairs and blankets for the concert while I enjoyed chatting with my husbands colleague and his wife while the women’s soccer team was kicking butt in Vancouver. (seriously 4 goals in the first maybe 8 min!)

My daughter sat patiently  anxiously waiting for us to leave to collect friends and be off to the concert.

At 4:50pm I asked her again – “do you have an extra infusion set and supplies”.

Daughter: YES!

So we said our goodbyes to our guests, leaving them to watch the remainder of what was surly a fantastic soccer game.

We collected our friends and were off. 45 minutes into the drive the kids spotted a Dairy Queen and requested a stop.

The kids and other chaperoning adult went to DQ while I ran next door to Walgreens for Advil and water then walked over the DQ to meet up with the kids and get a tasty treat.

My daughter was already consuming a blizzard and fries when I arrived and ordered my perfectly shaped vanilla cone.

My daughter follows me out to the van to get her meter so she could check her blood sugar. She is 326. She pulls out her pancreas (insulin pump) to correct the high blood sugar and bolus for her treats.

Then I hear: “ah mom.”

My heart sank. Crap. I know what’s coming – ‘ah mom‘ is never the beginning of ‘you are the best mom ever and I was sure to be fully prepared for our adventure thanks to your reminders and support’.

Her next words: “I thought I had 66 units of insulin but I only have 24 and my pump wants me to take 23”

In my head: #&*@&%!#&@%!#&%*#!#$*@

I look back at Walgreens and say come on.

It is 6:02pm. The pharmacy closed at 6:00pm and the pharmacist high tailed it out of there with lightning speed.

We walk back to DQ. She boluses 13 units. Why 13? – I have no idea.

At DQ I post on a local people with diabetes FB page: “Emergency, anyone in blankety blank or near blankety? Out of insulin on our way to concert in blankety. Need syringe and insulin” If we couldn’t locate insulin and syringes we would be driving back home to get supplies – that would be 45 minutes to the house and then another hour+ back to the concert which would have made us substantially late.

Next I called the diabetes camp director – She knows everyone and if anyone could help it was her. (Volunteering for camp committees has it’s privileges – it is why I had the camp directors cell number – just so any camp families don’t wonder – why don’t I have the camp directors cell phone number?)

Within minutes after sharing our dilemma with the camp director she texted me that she located a family and the mom would be calling me.

Moments later I get the call. The family lives just 3 minutes from DQ.

A quick detour and my daughter had a vial of insulin and a package of syringes.

I am so grateful for all the Facebook comments, the camp director and the wonderful family who provided the insulin and syringes.

Back in the van my daughter drew up the additional 10 units of insulin she needed and injected, leaving the remaining 11 units in her pump to provide basal insulin while at the concert.


While she was drawing up the insulin and injecting one friend took pictures while all three kids were laughing about ‘shooting up before seeing Van Halen’. I have mixed feelings about the humor but am also so grateful for friends who are supportive of my daughter.

She put the insulin vial and syringes in her bag to take into the concert. At the security check the security guy saw the syringes and was like ‘ahhhh’ and my daughter simply said she needed the needles for her diabetes. Meanwhile our friends were having to remove the caps from their water bottles and leave the caps at the security table – weird.

The concert was good and while the members of Van Halen are old they still put on a decent concert – finishing with Jump.

Watching my daughter and her friends jump as the band played and the lyrics rang out – “when I get up nothing gets me down” I said a little prayer of thanks for insulin, the diabetes online community, a phenomenal camp director and other diabetes families.


*I have never beat my kids with wire hangers but I have considered wiping them with infusion set tubbing. (not really)


2 thoughts on “Avoiding Getting High At Van Halen

  1. So the 13-unit bolus wasn’t such a bad idea after all! (If I were in that situation, I’d do the same thing — I’m scared of running out entirely and would rather run high than run empty and risk DKA. Fortunately, the catastrophe was completely avoided in your case).

    Also: who is the lead singer of Van Halen these days? And I’ve thought about that lyric in the same context as you, but the chorus of “Dreams” is more emphatic to me: “We’ll get higher and higher, Straight up we’ll climb/Higher and higher, Leave it all behind/Oh, we’ll get higher and higher, Who knows what we’ll find?”

    Also: you are the coolest mom ever for taking her to a VH concert. My parents only took me to one concert in my life, a Bruce Springsteen show. Sitting between my trying-to-be-hip Dad and my can’t-stand-the-noise Mom was kind of a buzzkill.


  2. Wow. That sounds stressful. You’re a great mom. And you sound like you have great friends who were supportive at the right time.


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