I think it was Meri's post at Our Diabetic Life that lead me to this post. This is the stuff that I don't usually share with anyone, not even my husband. I don't let it seep too far into my perky consciousness during the day. But at night, when my positive-energy falters, when my "perky"-self slumbers, when my annoyingly, at times, "glasses colored rose" are darkened by the sun-less sky... my mind goes to places that I don't usually allow it to go when my defenses are up.
Thoughts that fleet through my brain when approaching my sleeping son during the night:
- "Oh thank god...his chest is rising and falling with inhalation and exhalation"
- "Good... he just twitched his nose a bit"
- "Phew... he moved his leg"
- "Dear lord ... why isn't he moving...oh good he feels warm"
- "Please, please, please ... don't let this be the beginning of the nightmare I have feared"
Thoughts that flood my mind if I wake in the early...the pre-dawn part of the day, BUT I wasn't planning on checking my son's blood sugar:
- "I'll never forgive myself if I don't get up and check his blood sugar and something is wrong. Never!"
- "What if .... What if ... What if ...!"
- "Get up! I don't care how tired you are...YOU must check on Joe!"
- "Drag your butt out of bed and check on your son... You have to!!!"
These are the thoughts that enter my mind almost nightly. It isn't that I live in fear 24/7. I feel I have a good and "healthy" grasp on type 1 in our lives; but I know the price. I know the price that "D" can demand of us to pay. The price that is too high to pay. It is a RARE price. A rare price that I refuse to pay with my beautiful son as the currency.
Nighttime hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a type 1 parent's worst fear. The body produces two hormones, Epinephrine and Glucagon, to combat low blood sugars. At night, Glucagon production usually declines. In addition, people with type 1 diabetes have impaired Glucagon production, which becomes even more depressed with each low blood sugar endured. Other contributors to nighttime lows is the prolonged period between meals and the body is more sensitive to insulin (unless Growth Hormone is involved). It has not been "proven" to be the cause of what we all think of every night as we kiss our dear children and tuck them in for the night. But I know AND you know we are all thinking about "Dead in Bed Syndrome". The children with DIABETES website defines it as: "Someone with Type 1 Diabetes is found dead in the morning in an undisturbed bed after having been observed in apparently good health the day before. No cause of death can be established. " It has been thought to be due to a cardiac dysrhythmia perhaps in response to a low. Who knows? Who cares? Although I know it is an extremely rare syndrome, it scares the shit out of me. "It"..."D"...and "it's" treatment..."it's" management threatens my son's wellbeing, my son's life...daily....and nightly.
The reality of my nights living a day-in-the-life parenting Joe.
10/21/2010 A well written article about Dead in Bed Syndrome