Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Episode 1.

As most of you know, J was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the tender age of 8 months.  When he was diagnosed the doctor told me it was her goal to keep him out of DKA, and keep him alive.

We achieved that goal...but more than that, we achieved 14 years without a low "incident."  By incident I mean J has never passed out.  He has never had a seizure.  He has never gotten loopy, or lost time.  The worse symptom he ever had was some sweating.   I can count on one hand how many lows he has had under 50.  We've been blessed for sure.

So yesterday was shockaprising to say the least.

I got a call on my cell phone.  This is what I heard on the other end...verbatim. 

"Hello, Mrs. Schuhmacher?  This is blah blah blah blah from the High School.  I think we met in a 504 meeting last week?"

Me:  "No.  That wasn't me.  I haven't been called for a 504 meeting yet.  I'm sorry, who is this again?"

"Oh sorry, must have been another student.  Anyway...I wanted to let you know that your son just had a diabetic 'episode' in PE."

"Are you sure you have the right parent?  Are we talking about J?"

"Yes, J."
Images of ambulances, seizures, red flurries of panic flash through my head...

"Is he  Ok?  Please, is he ok?"

"Yes.  He is fine now.  But the PE teacher had to leave the entire class to retrieve sugar for him. That isn't ideal."

Me, angry that his most pressing concern seemed to be the teacher leaving the class:  "Leaving the class to save my son's life seems ideal to me.  He usually has sugar in his spibelt, but we washed it last night and we must have forgotten to replenish the sugar inside.  Can I speak to him, please?"

Turns out J had just ran a mile loop outside the high school.  When he returned to the field they were just about to play some ultimate Frisbee when he began seeing spots.  Within seconds he couldn't see and his knees were buckling under him.  Fortunately his PE teacher was nearby and immediately knew what was happening.  Barely conscious, J was able to slur out, "I need sugar.  NOW."

The PE teacher actually had two TA's there to assist.  One stayed with J, and the other stayed with the class.  The teacher first ran and got J some apple juice and glucose tabs.  After J ate that the teacher ran back to the locker room and retrieved J's backpack with his meter inside.

After he was full of sugar for a good 15 minutes the number that popped up was 70.

The principal was called and came to pick J up on a golf cart to bring him to his office.  J explained to him that nothing like this has EVER happened before.  And then he called me.

I am so very thankful J's teacher knew what to do, but I am myself.  I completely take all of the blame.  Wait...stop shaking your head at your computer!  It really is my fault.  I got comfortable.  J always feels his lows way before any symptoms pop up.  He has never had an "episode."  I thought keeping his meter in the locker room was OK. 

It is not OK.
My 14 year old son who hasn't taken a nap in 12 years came home and slept soundly with his feet on my lap for two hours.  His body took all evening to recover.  Looking at his precious face while he slept, I recommitted to fiercely taking care of him.  He is almost 15 now.  I've let him fly...and that is how it should be.  But he still needs me...and that is something I don't take lightly.  He and his brothers are my air.  Now more than ever...I need them to be safe, and happy.
So a plan has been hatched.  J is going to keep a small, soft red cooler with him during PE, complete with meter and low supplies.  He can't run with it, so it might be that he won't be allowed to run off campus anymore.  Unless he keeps his spibelt full of the things he needs.  Even though PE is right after lunch...he needs to check his sugar before class starts.  These are all things that he should have been doing from the get go.  He did them in Jr. High...I don't know why I thought he wouldn't need to do it in high school.

Please, learn from my mistakes.  Don't get complacent with diabetes.  Just because something hasn't happened, doesn't mean it won't ever happen.  Being prepared is our only ammunition against this unpredictable disease.  If we are prepared, then we can lower the worry meter a few notches.

These past couple weeks the boys sugars have skyrocketed.  Grief and diabetes don't mix well.  We've adjusted ratios a bit and the numbers have been much better the past couple days.  But, as it always is with Diabetes...we just never know when the tide will turn. 

If anything, I have to give the Boy Scouts of America some props.  When they utter their motto they take it seriously...and now I have a wicked reminder that I must too: 

"Be prepared."  


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