Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Poking the Beehive

Since the New Year we have been struggling with BGs. Rarely have we seen a number that starts with a 1.  We see BGs in the 200s, 300s and even the very unnerving 400s.  On a couple occasions we have aggressively overcorrected and Ben has gone low.  But for the most part we have been stuck in the 200s.

For the most part, I am unphased by an occasional high number, but BGs over 200, check after check after check, start to rattle me. My brain goes directly from a BG of 258 to envisioning big clumps of glucose floating around my baby's blood vessels and smashing into the back of his eyeballs.  I know, I know, I know, that all seems a little over the top, but this is my baby I am worried about.

Jeff agreed it was time for me to start tweaking Ben's pump settings. We started slow. Our first priority was to get his morning number back in range. I decided to up his 3:00 am to 6:00 am basal rate.  I increased it by the very minimum amount.  Every time I touch any of Ben's pump settings I feel like I am poking a beehive with a stick. Now don't get me wrong, a beehive is a very amazing thing, it's where those amazing little bees make the nectar of the gods, honey. But if you want any of that honey you better play really nice and not piss off the bees.  So, I make a very teeny, tiny adjustment and then run for cover worried that a swarm of angry diabetic bees will attack us. This time there was no swarm and this small adjustment seemed to bring down his morning BG a bit, but not too much, but also not nearly enough.  Not enough for me to stop worrying about Ben's eyeballs. So I kept poking the beehive.

I continued to be patient, making small adjustments each day until last week, until Tuesday when Ben ran out of insulin at school. Ben was requiring more and more insulin. The amount of insulin that would normally last three days was running out in two. Something dramatic had changed in Ben and it was time to make even more dramatic changes to his pump settings.  It was time to throw away the poking stick.

Thursday Ben stayed home from school nursing his broken shoulder (while watching Cartoon Network) and I obsessed about his BGs.  I sent our nurse educator an extensive email detailing Ben's BGs, what changes I had already made to his pump settings, and ended with Ben's broken shoulder story.  I closed with "Pretty please help me."  Because our nurse educator is AWESOME, I received a reply within a few hours.  She sent me detailed instructions to change pretty much everything. I quickly made all the changes.

Friday morning I was hoping (expecting) to start seeing BGs in the 100s. Instead I continued to see 200s and even 300s.  I am now on the verge, on the verge of having a Shirley MacLaine from Terms of Endearment sized meltdown.  Here is an example of my mental state in case you not familiar with Shirley MacLaine or the movie.

Then Saturday evening after another day of high numbers Ben asked me if he could have an ice cream.  I tell him we need to check his BG first.  He brings me his test kit and we check and then 312 flashes on his monitor.

I respond with a very dramatic, "UGH! Seriously?!"

Ben drops his head and says, "I am sorry."

Startled, I ask, "What are you sorry for?"

Ben responds, "I am sorry for the 312."

I start to realize what I had done.

I assure Ben, "You have nothing to be sorry for. The 312 is NOT your fault.  It's NOT your fault that you have Diabetes. So it can NOT be your fault that you have a high or low blood sugar ... Do you understand?"

Ben replies, "I think so ... But I wish you had told me that before."

Now I am sorry. Sorry, I had freaked out and sorry I had made Ben feel responsible. It was now my turn to apologize.

"Ben, I am sorry I didn't tell you that before. It's not your fault! Do you forgive me?"

Ben smiles and says, "Yes."

I really blew this time.  I let all my anxiety overwhelm my normally rational self.  We have been living with T1 now for a few years. I know better than this. I know that it is not healthy, mentally healthy, to become emotional and over react to BG numbers.  But at this point I couldn't stop worrying about what horrible damage all that extra glucose has been doing to Ben.  Jeff warned me I needed to calm down. Ben's brothers warned me too. But not until I had this conversation with Ben did I realize what was causing the real IMMEDIATE damage. It wasn't all that extra glucose, it was ME.

Today, we still do not have Ben's BGs down where I would like them to be.  I am still making adjustments to Ben's pump settings. I am back to poking the beehive. But I am not freaking out. 
That is not completely true ... I am quietly freaking out ... but only on the inside now.


  1. This is painfully familiar.

    Poking a beehive is the perfect metaphor.

    How many times have I said, "Sorry?! You don't need to be sorry! It's not your fault!" Clearly this statement is not getting the message across. I've been saying it this was for OVER A YEAR. He still apologizes for highs. For lows he doesn't apologize, so there must be some different face I make (maybe a sad face instead of a mad face?) for a low. Ugh.

    Thanks for this.

  2. I too think the beehive thing is a perfect metaphor! It's so hard to make those changes without worrying about what might happen, right?