Last night my Middles, (13 year old teen boy) was over 400 before going to bed.
He was 238 before dinner and bolused (used his insulin pump to deliver insulin into his body) for dinner with extra insulin to correct the high.
That was 4 hours before he was going to bed.
He was surprised by the high blood sugar before going to bed.
The infusion site he had on was only 36 hours old.
I chose not to drill him regarding what he might have eaten after dinner that could have resulted in the high but I did assume he had eaten something or somethings.
I just told him to correct (bolus insulin for the high) and to go to bed.
I set alarms (two) on my phone to wake up and check his blood sugar around midnight.
I don’t remember hearing the first alarm.
I do remember hearing the second alarm and I remember silencing it.
I awoke with a start at 4:11am realizing my neglectfulness.
In the moments walking between my bedroom and my sons bedroom my heart pounded against my ribs. The fear parents of children with diabetes experience when we know there is the slightest possibility our kids could have experienced a sever low at night can be monstrous. The relief when we see our child sleeping peacefully while their chest slowly rises and falls with each breath is equally as immense.
My boy was sleeping soundly and breathing normally. Exhale.
I checked his blood sugar.
My assumption that he had eaten some rogue food between dinner and bed was incorrect. Instead the high before he went to bed was very likely due to a failed infusion site (place that insulin from his pump is infused into his body). The site needs to be replaced a minimum of every 3 days – his most recent site was only 36 hours old and shouldn’t have failed.
I had to wake the child and ask him to come downstairs to replace the site and insulin in his pump.
He didn’t complain. He felt like crud and he knew that insulin was the only way he would feel better.
Ok he whined a little. It was 4:15am and he didn’t sleep as soundly as I had first imagined.
New site, new insulin in his pump and a large bolus to correct his blood sugar.
We don’t own a ketone meter (a small device similar to a glucometer that checks the amount of ketones are in the blood via a finger stick/drop of blood), ketones are often present during periods of extreme high blood sugars. Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy, excessive ketones poison the body and when combined with dehydration can result in ketoacidosis, a life threatening condition.
Before he came into the kitchen to get his new site and insulin I heard him in the bathroom. It was too late to ask him to use the ketostix (paper strips with a small patch on the end that is chemically treated to change color if ketones are present). The ketostix are not a very accurate way to test for ketones – because the paper sticks check the urine for ketones the result is about 4 hours delayed, meaning not the most accurate ketone level, but at least it is an indication of what was happening in this body. Alas – he used up all his urine so no ketone check.
Sent the boy back to bed.
He will need to go to school regardless today. I am scheduled to work.
In the hour since I awoke with a panic I have been berating myself for yet another fail.
We own Dexcom CGMs (continuous glucose monitors). CGMs check a person’s blood sugar every 5 minutes and have alarms that can alert the wearer and others that blood sugars are high or low. Had he been wearing his CGM we likely wouldn’t have ever got to be in the 400s last night and certainly wouldn’t have stayed in the 400s all night as I slept through phone alarms.
Had I done the nagging parent thing at bedtime to determine if he had actually eaten between dinner and bed I might have been able to determine that the high was in fact due to a failed infusion site rather than by a teen that likes to snack and forgets to bolus.
Had I just stayed up between 10pm and midnight I would have not been sleeping at midnight and I would have been able to replace the failed infusion site 5 hours ago vs. letting my son sleep with such dangerous numbers.
Like I said, I get it wrong often.
I’m sorry middles.
Ps. In the 40 minutes since I wrote this and went to take a shower for work I spoke with my husband. He confirmed that he observed Middles eating multiple tangerines before checking his bedtime blood sugar. Thus, it is likely he was high before eating the tangerines but also likely he forgot to bolus for the tangerines. Suggesting that while he bolused for the high before bed he neglected to take insulin to cover the tangerines.