My daughter and I had dinner around 5:45. It was a regular meal. In fact it was leftovers, so it was the exact same thing she'd eaten earlier in the week. She bolused for the carbs with no correction since her blood sugar was in range.
She left at 6:25 for jazz band. I left at 7:10 for choir rehearsal. My husband, who we usually leave home alone on Thursday nights, was out late for a work event. By the time I pulled into my destination, I had a Dexcom alert on my phone. My daughter was low-ish. She was in the 60's. Which had happened the night before after dinner too, and she'd gotten kind of stuck there. There are a couple of days every month when sticky lows tend to occur, and I began to wonder if that was what was happening.
I texted her suggesting that, given the stickiness of last night's low, suspending the pumps's insulin delivery for a while might be a good idea.
By the time I got upstairs to my rehearsal I had another Dexcom alert and she was now in the 50's. She had not texted back. I resorted to texting, "Please tell me you are okay." Which at the time I felt might not be well received, but I was nervous enough not to care.
She replied that she was, that she would suspend insulin delivery on her pump, and that she'd had a juice box.
For the next 25 minutes I sang and texted and watched the Dexcom app and wished my husband was home, two blocks from my daughter, to run her up some more juice. The Dexcom alarms went from low to urgent low. I realized I'd stopped singing entirely.
By 7:55 my daughter had consumed everything in her bag and a sugar packet she'd scavenged from the band director's desk. Her blood sugar had dropped into the 40's.
I left rehearsal, clutching my phone, mysteriously muttering, "I need to go," and zipping out the door.
By the time I got in my car, 2.5 miles away from the high school, the Dexcom app read 'LOW.' That meant her blood sugar had dropped below 40.
When I texted my daughter I was leaving, she replied, 'Why? No. I'm fine. Go back. Don't Worry.'
That didn't work.
I did not drive the speed limit. I texted and drove. I Dexcomed and drove. And I prayed that my daughter would continue to text me and that all of the steps she'd taken so far would tide her over until I could help.
I ran in and out of my house to grab a juice bottle. I double-checked I still had glucagon in my purse from our Christmas trip.
She was back 'up' to 44.
I texted her I was on the way to the school with the juice.
'Well I can't leave.'
I left a bottle of Apple and Eve outside the band room door, hoping nobody would think it was anything other than a sealed bottle of apple juice, and asked her to let me know when she'd gotten it. I assumed she would come to her senses and sneak out and retrieve it quickly and surreptitiously. If she didn't I'd have to go back in and make a scene.
She'd retrieved and consumed it long before I'd driven the two blocks back home.
As I obsessively refreshed the Dexcom app while trying to distract myself with something on the Food Network, I saw the numbers begin to rise and I began to breathe.
When jazz band was over at 9, she drove home with a safe blood sugar of 90.
This wasn't a case of being unprepared. Maybe she was un-overprepared. But when leaving the house for two and a half hours, it's extraordinary to expect to be in a situation where you consume 45 grams of carb and suspend insulin delivery while your blood sugar continues to drop like a rock. At least after an accurately bolused dinner, and no unusual level of activity.
I'm grateful for whatever combination of grace, steps taken by us, and dumb luck saved us from a bigger disaster. From 7:30-9 last night was the most scared I've been of diabetes in years. We work so hard to keep things predictable and on an even keel but this was a sobering reminder that diabetes is, inherently, a dangerous disease.
Every diabetes scare we've had has resulted in steps towards preventing a repeat. Extra juice bottles will be squirreled away around my daughter's home-away-from-home in the band room and stage area of the high school. She'll stuff a few more airheads in her diabetes bag.
Unfortunately we know that there's always another unpredictable moment lurking, on any given Thursday.