Monday, October 30, 2006


His blood sugar was 130 just forty-five minutes ago.

I'm scrambling to get ready for our family night out-- we're going to have dinner with some friends at their new home.

While I dry my hair as fast as I can, the kids play downstairs in the living room. Ryan just ran out to pick up a couple of dvds (Monster House and Edward Scissorhands) for the movie portion of the evening. The kids will watch, while the adults will drink wine and chat. Everybody wins.

My hair is still damp when I switch off the dryer, set it down on the side of the sink-- and listen.


And suddenly, there it is-- that awful, sick feeling in my gut.

I take off down the stairs, turn toward the living room, and before I even enter the room, I see Joseph's legs stretched out on the couch.

Oh God.

Running to him, I have to skirt around Evan-- who sits quietly in the center of the room, playing with her Polly Pockets.

"Joseph, Joseph," I say as I take a firm hold of his shoulders, shaking them.

"Wake up! Honey, you have to check your sugar!"

He's not responding.

Still holding his shoulders, I lift up the top half of his body-- my heart slamming against my chest.

He feels so heavy.

"Please, Joseph! WAKE UP!"

"Wha- What? Okay, okay, okay," he says quietly, groggily.

He gets up slowly-- swaying a little as he makes his way to the kitchen. I'm right behind him.

After a cursory rinse of his fingers under the faucet, he turns to the counter where I have a test strip loaded and ready, his lancing device in my outstretched hand.

His eyes, still not completely open, seem to have trouble focusing as he pokes his finger, squeezes, and looks for that tiny bubble of blood. I hand him the meter.


"Should I have four?" he asks, sounding exhausted.

I get him four glucose tabs, and watch as he slowly chews each one.

Five minutes later, I ask him how he's feeling.

"Mom, you always do that. I just ate the glucose tabs. And I still feel low," he says in a tired, slightly exasperated voice.

After fifteen long minutes, Joseph's bg climbs to 91.

For a few moments I sit quietly, thinking about what just happened-- about what this kind of low means for my son.

And I'm really, really scared.

But then, I take a deep breath and return to our evening out with the kids, with friends.

Because right now, there's nothing else I can do.


Minnesota Nice said...

Oh Sandra, how frightening. Hope the blood sugars start to smooth out soon.

terrilynn said...

I'm sorry you and Joseph are having to deal with this. It scares me to bits just reading about it.

Hope things even out soon.

Allison said...

Geez louise, Sandra! You nearly gave ME a heart attack!

"He's not responding."


You need to have some kind of disclaimer like "Despite the heart pounding drama of the post below, my son is still alive." (!!!)

Penny said...

I have tears in my eyes right now, Sandra. You must have been terrified. Riley went down to 43 the other day, but was able to tell us he felt low.

I hate this stupid,stupid disease!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you caught that low in time. Thank God for a mothers intuition!

Scott K. Johnson said...

What a scare!

I do remember a similar thing happening to me when I was little. I was having a low but didn't know it myself. I wanted nothing more than to get a few minutes to lay down and take a nap.

My mom thought that was weird because I had playmates over, so she made me check my blood sugar. Sure enough it was low!

I do think that this will get better for you guys, as Joseph gets better at recognizing symptoms better. It is very scary I'm sure, but I do think it will get better over time.

Thinking of you guys!

nicolep said...

Thank you, Sandra, for another totally honest entry. I was feeling your heart pounding against your chest - because mine was pounding against mine. Damn. This. F-ing. Disease. Damn it to Hell.

I do hope these scary lows stop soon.

julia said...

See, shit like this is why they need to get on a reliable CGMS NOW. Approve it NOW. Make insurance cover it NOW. Then this kind of thing won't happen quite so frequently.

What a scare, Sandra.

Anonymous said...

I don't even know what to say. we have only had one that bad so far. One minute he was fine and laughing the next minute he fell down and had no idea where he was. This really sucks, sending big hugs.

Bernard said...


My heart goes out to all of you. I hope the levels start to smooth out before too long.

Isn't it funny how, as parents, we take silence often as a sign of something bad? I don't think non-parents would understand. Thank God for your instinct.

gina said...

My mom gets like that with me,...its like you parents have some special LOW RADAR..

beep beep beep...Low blood sugar, low blood sugar must respond now...

Thank god for parents...

Elizabeth Zabell said...

This disease makes me so mad. Not only because I deal with it on a personal level. But that it happens to kids, too. It is one thing that all us adults deal with it, and it sucks. But It breaks my heart every time I read one of your posts where something happens to Joseph. Because it is hard as hell.

I am glad to know that he snapped back. Whew.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I keep track of her "personal low" ( I never thought that didn't make sense until I typed it: it is a combination of personal best and low, I guess) She was dx 1/05, just started pumping. Anyway, her's is 27. She was swimming and later said her stomach started clenching and she knew she should test. What is Joseph's?

Sandra Miller said...


I'm so sorry to have scared you!

But writing out events like this helps me deal with them... I'll try to remember the disclaimer next time :-)

So many of you expressed the hope that things even out soon... I hope so, too.

But I must say that the scariest thing about this low (and others like it) is that Joseph was asleep when it happened and he didn't feel it.

I'm afraid that's been the case with all of the lows he's had while sleeping. This one shocked me because he'd been asleep for maybe 10 minutes-- and yet I still had trouble rousing him.

Oh yes, Julia-- a reliable CGMS is needed NOW.

To those who mentioned a mother's intuition-- thank God, indeed.

The most unusual example of this happened a few weeks ago while Joseph was at school. I was having breakfast at a diner with a friend (a rare thing), when I got that same gut-wrenching sensation-- which didn't make a whole lot of sense since it was less than two hours after Joseph had eaten his breakfast.

I whipped out my cell phone and saw "1 missed call." (I'd unknowingly lost my cell phone signal when I entered the restaurant.)

Immediately, I ran outside, discovered that the missed call had come in just two minutes before and was from the school nurse's office.

When I called back, Joseph was there-- and he was very low.

And finally, Anon-

I absolutely understand the concept of a "personal low."

Just last week, Joseph was bragging at a JDRF support group meeting about his personal low-- 21.

It happened on December 4, 2005 at the base of a sled hill-- and I wrote about it here.

Anonymous said...

That sounds scary! You two are a good team, you are lucky to have Joseph and he is super lucky to have such an awesome mom! Undetected lows are more than a little scary

Shannon said...

The nonresponsiveness is heart stopping. Brendon had been on the verge of that a couple of times last week. He had a cold and any lows were just kicking his butt.

As for mother's intuition, I checked Brendon because some reflexive instinct compelled me to. Brendon looked perfectly fine, so it wasn't some kind of sign in his expression or actions....he turned out to be a 25. I shudder at the thought of what would've happened if I didn't check until a reaction happened.