HI! HI! High! Merry Christmas??? That seemed to be the way our Christmas with type 1 diabetes was going to play out. Despite, diabetes playing well for days, over Christmas, it brought a variety of high blood sugars for a number of different reasons all with the same horrible results.
There were basal insulin changes to be made
Our holiday season started with a few high blood sugars here and there. The first line of attack was to tweak the basal rates on my son’s insulin pump. This is the background insulin that covers the basic activities of his body–like breathing.
A break in insulin pump tubing will cause high blood sugar readings.
Once that was done we ran into a new catastrophe. My son’s insulin pump tubing broke while he was at school. He didn’t notice for a few hours. He had spare sites at school, but rather than hook up new tubing, he went through about 100 units of insulin filling tubing and correcting.
By the time he arrived home, he was ketonic. His blood sugar levels were dangerously high. He quickly changed the pump tubing, injected some insulin into his system to begin bringing down blood sugar levels, and he began to guzzle water.
I was proud that he handle things on his own and took charge of his care so thoroughly (once he got home). Thankfully he was a lot better within a few hours.
Forgetting to bolus for your snack will also make you high when you have type 1 diabetes
Next came the night time snack with no bolus (insulin) to cover it.
My son recognized that he was high. He felt really ill during the night but thankfully with a correction dose of insulin on his pump, his blood sugars quickly came down.
And sometimes life happens and you have to still deal with high blood sugar levels
Finally, we just had highs. Pancakes are evil for my son and can cause high blood sugar levels. Thankfully we used an extended bolus to help.
Growing also leads to highs. Growth hormones are harder to combat and yet teens continue to grow.
The shirt I bought my son during summer had become too tight. The running shoes he had for the new school year no longer fit. The child I looked down on, now looked me in the eyes. This growth thing required some serious insulin to cope with.
When my oldest son grew I would just hate to see my baby getting so big. My wallet would hate to see me having to buy new clothes so quickly. As my son with diabetes grew, I also couldn’t believe how quickly it happened. Clothing him wasn’t cheap either but I also gained added grey hairs from trying to guess at basal and bolus rate changes.
It was easier to pinpoint the causes of highs before teen independence
Last night I thought how much simpler things were when I had full control of my son’s diabetes care. I fed him and knew how many carbohydrates he consumed. I checked his blood sugar levels. I bolused the insulin required for his food. I wrote everything down.
It was a lot of work but he didn’t eat around the clock like he did as a teen. I could keep readings in range more easily. Life was simpler.
Once my son became an independent teen, he began to do things on his own. He could cook his own food. He would eat enough to feed a small army. He no longer needed Mom around at functions. He was able to do his own carb counting (and usually he is pretty good at it). I instead was relegated to the nagging voice of “did you bolus for that? Have you checked your blood lately?”
We made it through a holiday season filled with high blood sugars. We were able to pinpoint many of the causes. Diabetes will still throw us a few curveballs. Trying to figure out the causes of high blood sugar levels will remain a challenge until the day that my son is cured. Despite that, we will keep working at it. Somedays we will be awesome pancreases. Other days will require us to regroup and refocus but we will keep going…four hours at a time.
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