Why am I so tired?
This is not a question that I ask myself. I know why I am tired. You on the other hand may ask this of me. Maybe you won’t ask me aloud, but maybe you’ve thought to yourself why am I more tired than others. I am sure some people think I exaggerate my exhaustion, or bring it on myself, or even do it for attention. There is one reason and one reason alone that I am so exhausted and that is for the health, well being and ultimately to keep my son alive. Yes, when you boil it down, I lose hours of sleep to keep my son from slipping into a coma or dying.
Let me break it down for those of you that have no experience with being a caregiver for a child with Type 1 diabetes.
Every night I check my son two hours after his snack, which usually ends up around 9:30 pm. That number requires a decision: treat with insulin, give sugar, or leave alone. Treat with insulin and leave alone have me checking again at 10:30 pm. Give sugar has me checking again at 9:45 pm, 10:00pm and then again at 10:30 pm.
The 10:30 pm check also requires a decision of some sort: treat with insulin, give sugar or leave alone. You would think that the previous numbers would have some impact on what the 10:30 pm would be, but that would be too easy. If I am lucky enough to see two ‘do nothing’ numbers in a row I can go to bed. If I see either a ‘treat with insulin’ or a ‘give sugar’ number at this point then I follow the same sequence as above both scenarios ending with a testing time of 11:30 pm.
My goal is two ‘do nothing’ numbers in a row at the hour test.
This goes on and on and on.
If I see two ‘do nothing’ numbers as my only numbers of the night I am usually good to sleep until about 5:00 am when my own internal alarm clock wakes me up wondering if my son is ok.
If I see any other number, ‘treat with insulin’ or ‘give sugar’ I must set my alarm about 2 to 3 hours after the last check to make sure that we didn’t see another dip or rise in glucose. Sometimes highs and lows are stubborn and even though they may be gone for a bit, they do appear again.
Highs that go unnoticed while sleeping can cause DKA. Lows that go unnoticed while sleeping can cause seizures or death.
Picture this in your own life. You had the greatest day at the beach with your two little ones. Everyone was happy. Everyone was safe. Tan. The smell of salt water still on their skin. You all shower. Snuggle into watch a movie knowing that everyone will drift off to a well deserved full night’s sleep. Except one of your little ones has diabetes and his blood sugar happens to be 39 ( a low low as we call it). You can scratch that well deserved sleep goodbye. Come hell or high water you cannot fall asleep. It could mean life or death for your little one.
The phrase, “Not on my watch,” takes on a whole new meaning when it’s a piece of your heart, your reason for living for whom you are keeping watch.
Tired, yes. Looking for sympathy, no. It is what it is, but now you know why I may seem more tired than other moms you know.
(Writer’s note: It took two days to complete this post as I was too tired the first day.)