The Roller Coaster Ride

To say that Blood Sugar Levels for a Type 1 Diabetic are like a Roller Coaster Ride, would be accurate especially if you are talking about roller coasters such as Carolina Cyclone, ThunderRoad, and Top Gun, all from the Carowinds themepark in SC.  Here’s a one-day roller coaster we ride fairly frequently:

7 am at breakfast:  Maddie’s blood sugar=125.  Good place.  Eats 60 grams of carb, receives correct amount of insulin via pump, goes off to school.

10:45 am:  Phone Call from Secretary at school, “Um, Jennifer–Maddie just tested for lunch and she is at 264, is there something we should do other than bolus for lunch?”  Me: “No, just let her bolus for the carbs she’ll be eating and include the BG#.   The pump will calculate both what she needs for her food AND will correct the high blood sugar.”

2:45 pm (Maddie has to test everyday at lunch AND just before getting on the bus to be sure her numbers are in a safe place for the ride home):  Phone Call from Secretary at school , “Jennifer, Maddie is 63, what should I give her?”  (63 is way too low–we shoot for her numbers to be between 80 and 180)  Me: “Give her two glucose tablets and a granola bar…I’ll come pick her up asap!”

5 pm dinner:  Maddie tests for dinner and her blood sugar is 135.  Good spot.  Now to bolus for her dinner carbs, but must subtract some carbs or monkey with the I:C ratio since she is getting ready to go to soccer practice.  We don’t want to give her too much insulin since she will  be using up carbs exercising.  This was likely the reason for her low at school because they had recess after lunch on a hot day.

7:30 pm:  Home from soccer, doing homework, practicing piano…”Mom, I feel shaky, I think I’m low.”  We test, and sure enough, her number is 78.  We check how much Insulin she has on board, leftover from dinner, and make an educated guess at how much carb she should eat to bring her up to a healthier level, AND be enough to carry her through the night as she sleeps.  This is the trickiest part of the day, as if the rest of the day wasn’t tricky.  But sending your child off to sleep with the possibility of her going low without knowing it and possibly passing out in her sleep is unbelievably scary, worse than the steepest plunges of a roller coaster.

8:45 pm:  Test one last time before she sleeps=134.  Hmmm…might be on its way up or might not be enough.  I tend to err on wanting to give her a bit more carb, so she drinks a bit of milk, the perfect food for carb/protein ratio.

Midnight:  232   Good grief!  Obviously, I overcompensated for her evening low.  Other nights this doesn’t happen even with a similar amount of carb given.  One never knows.  It’s a bit of a guessing game.  I correct the high blood sugar using the pump.

7 am the next day:  155.  A good place to start the day.  Who knows whether today’s roller coaster will be Top Gun, or a small one, like Scooby Doo.

Ok, so this gives you some idea…the above is a print out of Maddie’s blood sugars we keep every day.  This is invaluable information for us and for our Diabetic Educator who can look at this and see trends that need fixing, places in her day that can be tweaked on the pump to better manage her blood sugar levels.  I think at some point, families stop writing all this down.  We’re not there yet.

Oh, and did I tell you, I’ve never been terribly fond of roller coasters?

0 thoughts on “The Roller Coaster Ride

  1. nancy t says:

    You are doing a remarkable job managing a most difficult disease. I’m an RN, and it would be just as difficult for me to manage this as it has been for you. I think you are a giant. When I saw your documentation, oddly the first thing I thought of was sheet music. I pictured assigning notes to the various values and then playing it. Yep, I know, I’m pretty strange sometimes … OK, a lot of the time! lol nancy

    • jenpedwards says:

      Wow, Nancy! That is really cool! To think that our “hard work” looks like music, makes my little heart soar! I love the truth in that. Thanks for sharing your wonderful “strangeness”!

  2. Lisa R. says:

    I rode my last roller coaster at 18 and I thought to myself, “This is just NOT fun! Come to think of it, this is downright PAINFUL. This is stupid. Why am I doing this to myself?” Knowing about the Fibromyalgia now, I understand why it hurt so much. The good thing was that I could get off my roller coaster. You can’t.

    I can sympathize with the dictating LEVELS. Scott has to measure the levels of his Coumadin (blood thinner). Needs to be thin enough to keep the blood flowing through his “new and improved” heart valve; if not, he would have a stroke. With both his parents having had strokes, he already has a higher risk. However, if it is too thin and he cuts himself he could bleed to death.

    My sister told me to “eat the elephant” one bite at a time. Sometimes it is only the next step (or the next 5 minutes) that God gives you the strength for. But so far, he has not stopped giving me strength for the next 5 minutes.

    I’ll add you guys to my prayer list.

  3. Sandra says:

    Yikes, I had no idea of the challenge you face everyday. You certainly had a crash course in managing this situation. Hugs to you and your family. Thank goodness that Maddie is old enough to communicate and soon will be very helpful is balancing her diet.

  4. Sharon says:

    I can sympathize with you and Maddie. I was diagnosed with type II in June and am already tired of testing and trying to regulate my blood sugars. I’m 61 yrs old, and it’s very frustrating for me, especially when other people try to pressure me into eating things I’m not supposed to. Maddie’s is a lot more advanced than mine, and I can imagine how hard it must be for her, and you, and scary. It is like a roller coaster, because you can eat the same thing twice and your body will react differently to it. You’re doing a great job of keeping up with it.

    I’m glad you have your art to help you with the stress. Art has saved me many times in my life. I love your portraits especially! God bless, and maybe they’ll find a cure for diabetes soon.

  5. Alex Tan says:

    It’s very sad, but yeah the illustration does portray the illness. I just hope that people could suffer less and able to live a ‘normal’ and healthy lifestyle.

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