Five Seconds

five red button


Five seconds. Seems like an unbelievably short amount time. Especially considering how much runs through my mind in that amount of time every night when I check Medium’s blood sugar.

From the moment that strip sucks up the perfectly formed drop of blood, to the beep that signifies the moment of truth, a lifetime of thoughts rush through my head.

It is possible to have really good control of your blood sugar as a diabetic and rarely be surprised by the number. But the truth is with Medium, his numbers are all over the place most of the time. I attribute this to his being fairly newly diagnosed, him being 11 and pre-pubescent and the fact that it is not my body, so I don’t know how he is feeling. But what number that glucometer displays is always a surprise to me.

I don’t like surprises.

I am a planner.

A self-proclaimed cotrol-freak, and I don’t like that every night for 5 seconds I hold my breath and pray that the surprise is a good one.

In that 5 seconds, I worry that it is too high. I worry that it will be too low. Somehow in 5 seconds I am able to concurrently think about giving a correction bolus and then setting my alarm to ensure that it brought his number down. In that five seconds I decide between juice and a Quick Stick if he is low. I choose peanut butter crackers and a temporary basal rate if he is only slightly low. And I choose just a 1 hour temporary basal rate if he is just slightly higher or lower than I want. In that five seconds I worry that if he is really high, is it because he is coming down with something or because he forgot to bolus for his bedtime snack? I can already picture myself systematically choosing the correct order of the buttons on his pump to deliver a correction versus setting a temporary basal rate. In 5 seconds I am able to wonder why he is low, feel sorry for myself that this will be another one of the many nights that I won’t sleep, and picture myself hysterical if I were to find him cold and dead in his bed in the morning from this low.

Seems impossible to think all of these things in five seconds.

But I do.

Because in that 5 seconds every night, the world stands still as I hold my breath and my son’s life hangs in the balance.

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3 thoughts on “Five Seconds

  1. Susan says:

    Oh Danielly. What you go through. That kid is so lucky he’s got you. Love.

  2. You’ve captured that anxiety perfectly. I was in tears on the phone with one of the nurses one day, bemoaning the fact that even though we think we’re doing everything right and taking every possible factor into consideration, the girl’s numbers are never what we think they’ll be. Her advice? “Let go.” She reassured me, “Sometimes you’ll know exactly why her glucose is where it is. Sometimes after a little digging, you can figure it out. Other times, there’s just no explanation.” Not easy for a fellow control freak like me to take. I figure if we follow the rules, she should be perfectly in target all the time. I think I’ll spend the rest of my life learning to let go.

    p.s. Easy for me to say, but try not to worry too much about the overnight lows–we’ve had our fair share over the past 11 months. Usually we can catch them by setting the alarm through the night like you, but we’ve missed a few unexpected ones–and what’s really scary is the girl sleeps right through them! Luckily the liver kicks into survival mode and pumps the body with glucagon when that happens. A high a.m. reading will show that. Don’t drive yourself crazy with visions of your son “cold and dead” in the morning (I shudder just writing that!). I may curse the crap my daughter’s body is putting her through with this disease, but thankfully it has its defence mechanisms too…

  3. Yes! What an eternity those seconds can be sometimes.

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