You may hear many parents of Type 1 kids talk about how they don’t sleep much at all and how scary night time really is. But do you really know why it’s so scary?
Let’s look at it this way as a person without diabetes, your pancreas is still fully working properly, you can go to bed and not have to worry about anything going wrong with your blood sugar, that’s because your pancreas is working around the clock to ensure you are stable all though the night with insulin and glucagon (if you happen to get low). However, with Type 1 diabetes my children’s pancreas decided to give up and quit their job.
Now instead, it’s left to us, it’s our job to function as their vital organs, the pancreas. Unlike a pancreas which really doesn’t require sleep, we as human beings do. There are a few things I’ve learned about night time.
The first is I truly, truly locate night time with my entire being.
And the second is because of the unpredictability of diabetes during the night.
I’ve had an endo tell me once to stop testing overnight so much, that really all they needed was 2 overnight tests each week. Well that didn’t sit too well with me, but overworked, and sleep deprived I decided to give it a shot one time, and go to bed without testing my child. Yes, that might shock pretty much all of you, but we were new to this and I decided to listen to the medical professional. Well what happened you might ask? My son woke up at 3am and was “dizzy“, after testing him he was low with a blood sugar of 50! I knew that feeling in the pit of my stomach was something to listen to when I went to bed.
So as we move on in this life I am always learning something new, in fact when my son was to have dental surgery I talked with his diabetes educator, she wanted to get his numbers and see where to change his Lantus to before the surgery and the fasting he had to do. Well that night he was below target at 111 at 11pm, his target for bedtime is 120. So I decided to treat and give him 15g’s to help get him above target. He happened to wake up a little higher at 240. The educator said with him being so close to target that he didn’t need treated to help get him up. Okay well the next night rolls around, I again tested him before I went to bed at 11, and he was 112, I decided NOT to treat, and went to bed, 2:30 he was tested again and he was 130, not bad. However, 6:30 came around and he woke up feeling “dizzy“. After we tested him he was 68.
The lesson I’ve learned from these two experiences is one I’ve always knew; Diabetes is unstable and unpredictable. He could have been 112 another night and not got boosted up by juice, and still woken up high, or he could have dive bombed as he did last night. What I’ve learned is if I do not feel comfortable with the number prior to going to bed as I’ve done on these occasions (but listened to the educator) I will go with what I feel is best. I mean I understand that his diabetes team is very smart and educated in their field. They are however not experts at my children’s bodies. Unfortunately, I am no expert at their bodies either, but I have more of an inside look than they do in caring for them 24/7.
I think I may have sidetracked from the topic of this post, but you can probably guess as to why night time is so scary. Non -working pancreas can lead to many problems during the night, including fatal ones that cannot be undone. So every morning we feel blessed when we see our children’s smiling faces in the morning. It’s a great thing to be blessed with your family and what you have. But no parent should put their kids to bed at night and not know for certain that they will wake up in the morning.