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Monday, April 3, 2017

The Blood Sugar Lows

Well, two weeks in to our new way of life with diabetes and our son, and the lows have begun to rear their ugly heads.  Now that the hardened shell of glucose is being broken down around his cells, our son is starting to get into a more normal, safe range with his blood sugar levels.  With that comes the very real potential of going too low.  It has happened a few times since Friday and it is a new type of reaction in our son that we need to be cognizant of.  If his blood sugar dips below 70, he starts to get shaky, tired, and withdrawn.  He can go from running around, perfectly fine, to curled up on a chair, sucking his thumb and not talking.  So far, we have caught it in time and after some juice and or crackers, his blood sugar jumps back up and he is back to normal.  All this means is that we have to be more aware of our son and how he is acting, especially now that we are just starting to figure out the levels of insulin that will maintain him throughout the day and night.  They will be altered periodically going forward, but at this point it's trying to figure out the magic numbers that will keep his blood sugar between 70 and 180.  The only time it worries us a bit is if he has a low as he is going to bed.  Then we need to check him a few extra times to make sure that he isn't getting too low.  Definitely a new life we are living, but all in all, everyone is adjusting very well, including his sister who wants to be there every time her older brother checks his blood sugar.  And on the flip side, our son will actually wait for his sister and explain the whole process as he checks his own blood sugar.  That in and of itself amazes me.  The fact that our son, at 5, and within two weeks of being diagnosed with diabetes has taken it upon himself to check his own blood sugar and report his numbers to my wife and I.  I am not just talking about pricking his own finger either, he has been putting the test strip into the meter, pricking his own finger, pinching it to get a little blood out, and then getting that little drop of blood right where it needs to be on the meter.  I love that we have brought him up to be self sufficient so far.  

All of this, plus watching our son change over the past few weeks makes my wife and I wonder exactly how long our son has been dealing with the effects of a pancreas that is slowly shutting down its production of insulin.  Type 1 diabetes has been in his body since he was born.  Whatever genetic fluke he received, has been with him his entire life.   This means that his pancreas could have been slowly shutting down for months if not years.  How long has our son been experiencing the effects of a blood sugar low and not known what it was?  We don't know.  We could try and pick different instances where we thought it might have begun, but up until a few weeks ago, the process was so slow that it was impossible to notice it.  Then one day, things went haywire and his pancreas shut down insulin production.  It's crazy to me how these things happen sometimes.  Yet, just a little bump on the roller coaster of life.  Despite the fact that we have a different way to live now, in a way I am glad that our son's diabetes reared its ugly head.  The changes in our son have been incredibly positive and I wouldn't trade it now for anything (expect perfect health for our son, but he is damn close).  He has become more talkative like his sister, more cooperative, more courteous, and as long as he isn't experiencing lows, a new found energy.  He is in general more cognizant of his own surroundings and the feelings of others (unless he is fulfilling his elder brother responsibility of harassing his sister).  This is our new son and despite the struggles this will present along the way, I wouldn't change it now.  We are all moving forward, one day at a time, and its not so bad overall.  

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