Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Every low is different

There are few things that surprise me anymore since diabetes came into our lives. There is one thing though that happens now and again that makes me shake my head in confusion...low blood sugars.
We have had countless lows over the years. I've seen everything ranging from a 2.0 to a 33.0 staring back at me from that blood sugar meter. When Emma was diagnosed, it was drilled into my head by the nurse and doctor to be on guard for anything below a 5.0....anything below that number was cause for panic and needed to be treated immediately with juice or some other form of fast acting sugar. In the beginning I used to freak out and shake nervously right along with her. I remember on the second day of junior kindergarten, I got a phone call from Emma's teacher telling me that they just checked and she was 2.0. We were still new to the diabetes world at that point, and I panicked...my heart began to pound as I ran out my front door and to the school to save her. I was shaking, I was sweating, I was saying prayers in my head to anyone that was listening to please save her and make sure she was ok. I ran down the hallway of the school and to her classroom and as I walked through the door I saw her standing there at the teachers desk....giggling....juice box in hand...a big smile on her face. She was calm...she didn't even look low to me...she was just standing there doing what she was told...drinking her juice and waiting for me to arrive.
Fast forward a few years to yet another low. We were shopping at Walmart in evening and as we were paying for our purchases, Emma told me that she felt low...so we checked...and sure enough she was low. I don't remember the exact number now, but I know it was a 3 something....not terribly low...I had certainly seen lower. So, I pulled some candy from my pocket and gave it to her as we walked to the car. I always have candy on me....always. No matter where I go or what I am doing, I always have some sort of candy in my pockets and my purse for situations like this. It's odd to think of candy and juice as things that can save my daughters life. Anyway, we got to the car and she started panicking....telling me she still felt low...she was shaking uncontrollably and her face was pale...and her eyes.....oh her eyes could tell a story all their own...they were filled with fear. I have never seen her look that scared in my life...aside from the time she decided to do gymnastics in bed and hit her head on the steel frame and had to get an MRI done because they thought she fractured her skull.....but that's a tale for another time. She was terrified. She looked like she felt helpless and sick and worried and afraid that something awful was going to happen. I remember thinking...but she is onl in the 3's!!! She's been much lower than this before and hasn't had this bad of a reaction! I handed her a jug of juice that I was beyond greatful to have just purchased. I told her to just drink it...drink it until she felt better. All of the rules I was taught years before were out the window...the old drink or eat 15grams of carbs, wait 15 min and check again...repeat if necessary. I didn't care about the rules...they meant nothing to me. I was focused on fixing my child...fixing the low...making it go away...making it better...making that terrified look disappear from her eyes. I am her Mommy and I was going to make it all better.
Fast forward another couple of years...to last night. Emma was upstairs in bed watching a movie before bed. Se called down to me that she felt low, so we tested and she wasnt low...she was 5.8. I knew though...I have learned over the years to trust HER....trust how she is saying she feels...not just what the meter says. So, I gave her a rainbow chocolate chip cookie and sent her on her way. The movie ended about 20 min later and she came downstairs to brush her teeth and get ready for bed. As she stepped off the last stair and into the kitchen, she giggled to me and said, "oh yea, by the way...I still feel low." She was giddy at this point...laughing at every little thing...bumping into the open pantry closet door as she walked by to get to the meter...she laughed at her bumping into it like it was the most hilarious thing she has ever done. We tested her and she was 2.8. She dropped that much in merely 20 min. She saw the number and laughed some more...I shoved a juice box at her and she snickered away as she slurped the life saving potion made of 100% apple juice. I stood there laughing with her because sometimes you just have to laugh. Sometimes this life with diabetes sucks so friggin much that the only option left aside from checking yourself into the mental ward of the hospital is to to laugh. So there we were laughing....acting like two drunk friends on a Saturday night that just got home from the bar and were looking for a snack as they remembered the evenings fun events. We laughed. It's what we do.
I don't know much....but I do know that diabetes is not a text book black and white answer disease. Nothing is the same. There are different reactions to things...different symptoms to lows...different behaviours...different answers to solving the immediate situation. It's always different...always changing...it's a mixed bag of 90% guessing and 10% past experience and 10% gut instinct. And yes...I know that adds up to 110%....I did that purposely.
Once you think you know how a certain situation will play out...diabetes pulls the rug out from under you and laughs maniacally as you stumbled and stammer your way back to solid ground again. The one and only constant with diabetes is that it's always different and how you manage to roll with the punches and grab ahold of those differences and changes is really all that matters......well, that and laughter....don't ever forget to laugh.

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