Wash your hands! Diabetes Mistakes

Kim Benjet Health Guide
  • My husband and I didn't get much sleep last night. We made a mistake.


    Josh has been going to bed with normal blood sugars but then has been very high around our bedtime three hours later. In our efforts to tweak the basal rates and get to the bottom of this we were testing very frequently last night.


    Aaah, but the test is only as valid as the meter is accurate and the hands are clean. Josh had refilled his glucose tablets before bed so he had sugar on a few fingers.


    Can you guess where I'm going with this? We forgot about the sugar on the finger and we treated a "high" blood sugar of 375 with an injection of insulin. One hour later when we checked he was 60 with lots of active insulin. We checked another finger and he was 412. We did a ketone check, washed his hands, pulled out a second meter which read 45. Then we started feeding him.

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    That 375 of an hour ago was due to the sugar on his finger. It wasn't a high at all. Now at 1 a.m. we had to make up for all that extra insulin. Where was the glucagon? Would we need it? What was his blood sugar reading when we gave 3.5 units at midnight?


    We were taking his body on a roller coaster of our own making. Because it was the middle of the night, of course we over-treated the low. We did a lot more blood sugar checks and didn't sleep much, but fortunately we did not need the glucagon.


    The only member of the family pleased with our mistake was our year-old puppy who got to sleep in Josh's room to alert us if he woke up or anything strange happened. Josh woke up with a blood sugar of 250 this morning. He corrected it and it was normal by breakfast. His numbers have been fine all day.


    Mistakes happen. But as a parent it's hard to forgive myself for hurting my child. I can't take the diabetes away, and we can't manage it with perfection. We do the best we can. Last night was just another reminder of how diabetes assaulted my son's body and invaded our family.


    Last night's lesson? When the numbers don't make sense no matter the time of day or night, wash the finger and retest. This morning's lesson? We can correct the mistakes and put them behind us. There is no room for blame when managing this chronic disease.

Published On: September 25, 2007