Monday, November 24, 2008

Coming Down Off the Bus

I lean back and stretch, before glancing at the time in the lower right corner of the computer screen.

11:35 AM

Joseph should have called by now to confirm his lunch bolus.

Standing up, I stretch again-- then walk upstairs to the kitchen, drop into a seat at the counter and slide Joseph's bright yellow and green logbook in front of me.

Hmmm.... 155 before breakfast-- that means the spike will be a bit higher. But if today is anything like the last few days, he'll probably coast into the low-to-mid 100s.


We've had some out-of-left-field highs of late, so I'm not entirely confident in my prediction.

A few minutes go by and I look at my watch, then at the clock on the microwave.


He should have called at 11:30, right after lunch...

But then I remember something.

It's Friday... the field trip... his class went downtown to see a musical performance.

I get up and rummage quickly through a stack of papers next to the phone-- until I find my half of the permission slip.

"Students will arrive back at school by 11:30 am," it says.

I look at my watch again.


Relax, I tell myself, he's probably just finishing his lunch...

Several more minutes pass before the loud ring of the phone causes me to jump.

"Hi, Mom," Joseph says, his voice sounding tired, "lunch was 93 grams."

"Cool, Bud-- and what was your bg?"


"Okay, let's see now - "

"Mom... "

A pause.

"... before that, I was 37."


For a second, I'm convinced I didn't hear him right.

"Thirty-seven," he says again, a little more slowly.

"Wha- where-- when were you 37?" I sputter, trying to stay calm.

And failing miserably.

Because all I can picture is Joseph on a loud school bus, packed with middle schoolers.

A blood sugar of 37.

"It was when I got off the bus-- I felt really low and I went to the health office and checked and took some glucose- "

"Wait-- did you feel low during the bus ride back to school?"

"Well, kind of... I mean, I felt hungry. But I figured we were gonna eat lunch once we got back."

"How many tabs did you take?"

"I took five and then ate lunch about seven minutes later."

"So after seven minutes, the glucose brought you up to 81, and then- "

"No, I was 81 after I had lunch."

"Oh, Honey-- you've gotta check again before you eat, to make sure the glucose is bringing you up."

"Well, the blueberry bagel I had didn't really slow things down. I was fine-- and Mom, it was kinda cool the way all the girls were worried and wanted to give me hugs and stuff."

Despite hearing the smile in my son's voice, I can't stop feeling sick about this.

What if he was 37 just a few minutes earlier? While he was still on the bus, miles from the school?

I try to shake this thought as we calculate his lunch bolus.

"Bud, why do think you went low? Were you more active this morning? Did you give yourself extra insulin? A correction? A bolus for a snack?

"Mom-- no, none of those things. I just got on the bus this morning, sat at the concert, got back on the bus- Mom, it happens. I have to go-- recess is almost over.

"All right, Bud... " I say, straining to sound normal, "I'm sorry, go ahead-- I'll... I'll see you later."

Shaking, I sit back down in my chair, and stare through wet eyes at the logbook in my hands. At the "37" I've written in it.


Because I can't find a single reason for that number.


Shannon said...

I am feeling that roller coaster. Yesterday after breakfast my little lady was at 334. I counldn't explain why. It gets so frustrating. We are having LOTS of lows too. Almost every time I checked her the other day it was below 80...This is all so new to me.

I am glad that he got feeling better though!

Penny said...


When I saw the 37 I got the same feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when Riley is low at school.

We've had many unexplained highs lately, expecially in the middle of the night. I'm talking highs that just won't come down. This disease is so frustrating and scary to say the least. I'm glad Joseph was OK>

Allison said...

I remember feeling that way during my horrible, no good, very bad weekend where I was over 500 twice, and only spent about 5 hours total in the 100s.

But you know what? Joseph is going to be fine. Do you know how I know this? Two things:

1) He was able to find the positive in a very bad situation (Hugs from girls? I suppose if I was a pre-teen boy that'd be cool).

2) He understood that these things happen and he was ready to move on.

Very, very important life skills for a PWD. Heck, finding the positive and moving on from the negative are pretty important life skills for anyone.

chris bishop said...

I had a 37 this weekend as well. I could account for it to a degree (cleaning the house and wrestling with the kids.) but it is still a little scary when it sneaks up on you.

Sandra Miller said...


How soon after breakfast was she 334? If she eats cereal, a high spike two hours post breakfast is common. If it was four hours after, she might just need a little more insulin to cover her food.

Or she might be getting sick.

Or growing.

Definitely, check in with your diabetes clinic on these numbers. I remember doing that all the time in those early weeks.

Hang in there.


You know, I'm usually so much better with the big fluctuations. But that 37 really hit me hard.

He hasn't been that low in a very long time. And for him to be falling while on the bus-- for no reason.

Scared the heck out of me.

About Riley's overnight highs:

If he's not getting sick, he might just be growing. Joseph went through some awful, resistant overnight highs a few weeks ago. We increased his basals across the board, and for a couple of weeks, it worked like a charm.

The fact that he grew an inch during those weeks confirmed our suspicions.

Of course, now that the growth spurt has passed, he's been falling overnight... sigh.


I think you're right about my son.

Now if I could only keep my own worrying in check...


Yes, it was the sneaking up - with no explanation - that really frightened me.

Penny said...

I've found that Riley tends to run high at night when he hits a growth spurt. I'm doing some adjusting tonight only to , like you said, do more in a week or two when the spurt ends. sigh.

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...


Being the PWD and not the 'mom', I can't imagine your worry, but Joseph did OK. Maybe letting him run a little high for the next couple of days will give him a little break and help him regain some hypo awareness.

And I totally agree w/Allison...he's one tough kid, he's going to be fine. He handled it perfectly.

Snackrifices said...

The middle school years were the worst ones for me too, pretty much from when I was ten until thirteen. Seemed like ratios changed more often than my cartoon character socks.

I remember one time I went on a field trip to the capitol building and spent a half an hour of it sitting on the steps outside with my head on my knees trying to come up. I'm sure my mom was panicking the same way.

you really make me appreciate my mom. thanks.

Nicole P said...

I hate scary numbers like that and I understand how worried you must be. Though Joseph handled it amazingly, I'm sure that's not much comfort... Ugh. Puberty plus diabetes equals UGH.

PancreasMom said...

I have goose bumps... Our kids are so resiliant and strong and brave and see the bright side, it sounds like your son has the great attitude of when it is over, it is over and move on - we as parents are thankful they have the opportunity to move on.. those lows are a parents worse nightmare... but he did great and kept eating.. so a forgotten check can be overlooked when it seems he did not even need to bolus for a lunch, and wow, a blueberry bagel... you would have thought he would be 300 at least with no bolus!

if only as parents we could be as strong on the inside as our children on the outside!

I am so glad your son is okay!

Sandra Miller said...


I don't think we'll have to worry about letting him run high for a couple of days... he's already doing it. I'm afraid he may be coming down with the stomach bug Evan had this weekend. Sigh.


Thanks for sharing your experience. I think these teen years are gonna be quite a ride...



Yup, that about sums it up.


Yes, they sure are resiliant (definitely more so than this mom. :-)

Oh, and about that bagel-- we actually did do a bolus for it (though not as much as usual because of the low).

Joseph was 81 right after eating it, but you're right-- he would have been through the roof hours later if he hadn't bolused at all.

Bernard said...


Sorry to hear about the low number. But it sounds like Joseph did a good job of handling it. Which is remarkable considering how low he was at the time.

I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving without too many highs or lows. God bless.