Thursday, November 15, 2007

Smart Alec

About a month ago Riley came home with a note in his book bag saying his class would be going on a field trip. He was so excited. When I read the note, I felt my stomach clench up.

I had just gotten used to sending him to school.....

Yesterday was the field trip day. Riley had been talking about it for days. They were going to see a play a few towns over. He didn't care about the play. What he cared about was how they were getting to the play. They were just taking a school bus, but to a kid who has never been on one, it seemed very exciting.

"Hey mom, school buses don't have seat belts, you know." He's said that a few times over the last few days with a devilish grin on his face.

Right after I got the note I spoke with his teacher to see if she was comfortable taking Riley on the field trip. She was fine with it.

The day before the trip I sent a note to school letting her know that Riley would still need to eat morning snack even though the other kids were not. I told her I would pack a bag for her to take with her with all the essentials in it. You know, juice, fruit snacks, meter, glucagon, the normal fare for most 5 year olds.

When I tucked Riley into bed Tuesday night, Riley looked up at me and smiled, "My field trip is tomorrow!!!" He went to sleep with a grin on his face.

Riley got up at 1:41 AM to use the rest room. While he was up Michael checked his sugar. It was 175. That's about where I like it to be at that time of night.

2 hours and 27 minutes later we were up again to check, just in case. His sugar was 53. Michael woke him up and he drank a juice box in a sleepy haze.

I set the clock to get up again in 20 minutes, but I never got to sleep.

20 minutes later I heard the meter beep and Michael said, "It's 51."

What?!? It went down?

Even though I hadn't gone back to sleep Riley had. He had to be awakened again and this time he dined on fruit snacks.

Twenty minutes later the next sugar check showed a much nicer number, 108.

But, I still couldn't sleep. I knew that all the carbs he had meant he'd run high later. And all I could think about was how rebound sugars were going to ruin his field trip.

His breakfast sugar was 201, about what I expected. He had the same breakfast he has every morning. I gave him a bolus, reminded Holden 500 times how important it was to give Riley's "diabetes bag" to the teacher, and sent him out the door to school with a prayer on my lips.

He would be off away from me. What if something bad happened? What if his site came out? What if....

I was at work when my cell phone rang at 9:15 AM.


"Hi, Penny, this is P. You're never going to let Riley go on another field trip again."

I couldn't control the panic in my voice when I nearly shouted, "Why?" into the phone.

"Well, it's not even his normal snack time, but his sugar is 42."

It took a while for the number to register. 42. That's the lowest he's ever been at school. And, this low wasn't actually at school it was in the middle of a theater around hundreds of other kids.

"I gave him a juice box and he's eating his granola bar. What do you want me to do about his insulin?"

"Don't give him any", I said.


"No, don't give him any insulin. And, please, remember to check his sugar in 15 minutes and make sure he's come up. He had a low in the middle of the night that didn't want to come up."

"I'll be sure to check."

I tidied up some things on my desk and got some supplies together for a patient. As I was getting ready to walk out the door, my cell phone vibrated in my pocket.

"Hi, Penny, this is P. I just wanted to let you know Riley's sugar has come up to 103. And, I wanted to let you know that I've got him sitting right beside me."

"Thank you, so much for calling and letting me know. I was worried about it."

"I know you were."

I barley hung up the phone before the tears welled up in my eyes. If I could teleport myself, I would have been in that theater right then and my baby would have been in my lap. But, I can't so just had to trust that everything would be alright.

They were back at school by lunchtime. My phone rang again at 11:53.

"Hi, Penny, it's P. We're back!!!" I could hear the relief in her voice.

I figured she was calling now because Riley was high. He did get 32 grams of uncovered carbs.

"Riley's sugar is 75. I gave him a couple of fruit snacks and he's eating his lunch."

"75? Are you sure? "

"I've put everything in the pump and it says to give him 1.15. "

"Um, let's give him .9 since he's been running on the low side."

The rest of the day was punctuated by more lows.

At 4:13PM it was 49. Once again he got a snack with no insulin.

5:48, he was 188. I only covered the carbs for supper. I didn't correct the sugar.

At bedtime snack, he was 78.

He ran high most of the night, but woke up this morning with a sugar of 122.

When I went to bed last night, I was feeling a little defeated. I was thinking that while WDD was a nice day for diabetes, it was not a nice day for diabetes in my house.

As we passed in the hall, Holden asked how Riley's sugars did on the trip. I told him he went down to 42.

"Oh, that sucks. But, did he have fun?"

"Yeah, he enjoyed himself. He loved the bus ride and he liked the play too."

"Well, Mom, you know that's all that really matters."

He's right.

How come my kids are smarter than me?


Jillian said...

You are just as smart as them, you just have that motherly worry to add to it. Holden is right though, the fact that Riley had fun in spite of his lows is really all that matters. Hopefully the next field trip will be easier on everyone.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Penny - you are surrounded by amazing teammates (Holden & Michael, the teacher, your mom, etc).

Riley had a great time, and that is what matters most. You all did a great job managing his BG's over the phone (and what a help the teacher was!).

It is frustrating, and makes YOU feel very vulnerable, but Riley will be fine through it all. Just fine.

Carey said...

Sounds like it was handled beautifully by everyone involved.

Thank goodness you guys were up to test in the middle of the night.

It's a good thing we don't listen to the doctors who say it's not necessary.

Penny said...


I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never sleep a whole night through again until one of four things happens: I die. Riley goes off to college. There is an affordable, insurance-covered CGM that is reliable at all times. Or diabetes is cured.

I hope it's the later of the four.

Donna said...

I'm so glad that Riley had fun on his field trip. I'm also glad he has a teacher that is so on top of things with his diabetes. You are all a great team. That is such a blessing!

Chris said...

This frightens me to no end Penny. Sorry but you always get me with your posts. The fact that you want your children to just have fun is just that....JUST have fun. Thats it. No worry, no will get easier for us. We should have a diabetic island where we all congregate for a few weeks and just live with everyone of us looking after one another without any fear of someone thinking they have to give insulin if they are low....argh....(and not having to explain the dif between type 1 and type 2.) ok im getting off topic here so thats it...

Lea said...

It sounds like you and Riley's teacher have great communitaction. That really makes a wonderful difference.
Even thought he sugars were not perfect, you got through the day. Sometimes that excitement can bring down the BG.
How's he been since?

Paige said...

oh, those persistent lows. damn them! probably because he was so excited about the trip.

but holden was absolutely right: riley had a great time and that is all that matters.