Sunday, September 13, 2009

Adventures in Diabetes

So we've had a very interesting 24 hours. We learned something we never knew about Type 1 diabetes when combined with the effects of Pukinson's Disease. Evidently, it's really really bad if you have low blood sugar before the Pukinson's hits you, because it's nearly impossible to get your blood sugar back up to a normal level.

What happens when you have a low blood sugar, see, is that you are supposed to eat some sugar. But if you've got a stomach bug, the sugar doesn't go anywhere, so the blood sugar doesn't go anywhere--except DOWN, since there's long-lasting insulin in your body that won't wear off for 12 more hours.

Brendan's fine now, but last night was hands-down one of the most stressful of my entire life. I have wonderful friends who came and stayed with him and the kids while I ran out to the 24-hour pharmacy for a Glucagon prescription (glucagon is the opposite of insulin and can be injected in a situation when the patient is passed out and can't eat sugar). We didn't need it, but now we have a new one for emergencies. Sort of like the Epi-pen. Yay. (And bad on us for not getting a refill of that! Never again.)

The rest of the evening was spent debating whether or not to take him to the hospital and trying to figure out some kind of sugar that his body could absorb. After several rounds of not-great-but-not-bad success, we decided to give it one more round before going to the hospital. A real Coke finally did the trick and his blood sugar, which had gone as low as 35, finally popped back up over 100.

Our friends ended up staying overnight, the kids had an impromptu slumber party, and Brendan rested upstairs. I spent the remainder of the night waking him up every two hours so that he could check his blood sugar. Oh yeah, and Sean has a mystery low-grade fever, too, so I had to tend to his needs on top of everything else. And then we all woke up early and I made a birthday cake!

It was a hard night, and Brendan is better today--he had a few lows at the birthday party, but nothing like last night. I'm all proud of myself for not panicking and just handling one problem at a time. Ryan and Morgan were a little worried about the hospital talk, but we had a followup discussion this morning that (I think) comforted them both. And I'm so grateful for our friends who came to our aid. If not for them, Brendan would certainly have spent the night at the hospital, since I am not sure I could have taken care of him and the kids, too.

So anyway, now you know--Diabetes + Pukinson's = Bad. Please just skip the whole thing if you can.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Wow! I never thought of it, but of course it makes so much sense! Funny, but regular coke is what I drink when I have "pukinson's" though I do not have diabetes.

Anyway, I am so glad Brendan is better. And of course, you rock!

Wendy Hawksley said...

Ooh, not the Pukinson's combined with Type 1 Diabetes... Bad.

I'm glad to know that Brendan is better. Hope he is completely over the stomach bug! What a rough night for everybody. Get your rest.

Kelly Valenzuela said...

What is Pukinson's? Google yielded nothing but your blog. Is that stomach virus?

Michael Gold said...

Sorry to hear that story. Wow. That would be scary.

Good thing you have the sense, rationality, and composure of mind -- and the friends!! -- to handle the situation.

...Good lesson for your children, too. Handling an emergency with reason goes far to teach children how to act and that the world is governed by cause-effect.

Good for you.