Last night Joey had to go to the church and Chloe was being adorable and knew just what to do to guilt him into taking her with big blue eyes and a pouty lip (it gets him every time).
Kinzie checked her BG and was low, soda (easiest thing to get to) to the rescue. No second thoughts. BG came right up and we went on with our night.
A few hours later I notice Kinzie acting strange on the couch across from me. She was fidgety and making odd noises. I got up and ran over to her (pretty much knowing ‘D’ was the culprit of these actions). When things look bad, I do not want to waste time…’treat the low’ always plagues my mind; as low lows are emergent. So Jared dashes into the kitchen and brings two glucose drinks. Kinzie was alert enough to chug them, but, lethargic enough not to be able to make much sense in what she was saying or doing.
I knew something wasn’t right after the two drinks (over 30 carbs) did not seem to make much of a difference in her demeanor. I started to wipe her finger to get a FSBS (thinking with 2 glucose drinks on board) I had time to figure where we were. Just as I clean her finger she lets out this horrible noise, slouches and she let’s go of her lancet device as her eyes rolled into the back of her head and her head began to slightly jerk. My heart sank as one of my biggest fears were taking place. She had gotten low enough to start to seize.
I yelled at Jared to go get the glucagon kit. Without hesitation, he ran to the diaper bag to pull one out (it was the closest location that had a glucagon kit). As he was opening it, I was rubbing gel. She comes to enough where she could drink; dr. pepper was on the table so Jared ran and got one. I had to tilt her head back and hold it so she could drink. I then dial 911 on the phone with my other hand so all I would have to do was hit send. I instructed Jared that when I tell him to, he needed to hit send and say “My sister is diabetic and seizing and we need help now”. Glucagon kit fell to the floor, so I instruct Jared to help hold Kinzie’s drink up to her mouth and encourage her to drink and to not let her ‘ignore’ (when actually she was shutting down, but was not going to tell him) while I went behind the couch to grab it.
As I start to draw up glucagon with one hand, I pricked her finger with my other as Jared was helping her drink, to get a BG. It was low. (30s and 40s with multiple checks the following 14 minutes and a 65 in there somewhere).
Just as I prep to do glucagon, she comes to, mini amount out with 2 glucose drinks, 2 sodas and gel on top of it all).
Still foggy, I knew she was coming up. I knew that she would be okay. I knew that Jared helped save her life and we were very much guided in those moments.
Prior to this episode she was 140 (ish…I think) with no insulin on board, no trend, no activity, nothing to even predict this. In the moments during our ‘episode’ I could only pray for my mind to be clear and hands guided. They were…you would have thought our actions were rehearsed. Time like this I am so thankful I have been a home health nurse and had to witness plummets and think on the spot to keep my patients from crashing…life experience had completely and totally paid off. Opportunity presented to me earlier in my life, had now made sense.
Just as Kinzie came to, Joey walked through the door. (I was unable to get a hold of him, as he was ignoring my call. Thinking he would be home soon enough as they were prepping to do closing prayer). Kinzie collapsed in his lap and cried. She was exhausted, tired, drained, and emotional. She couldn’t even recall what took place.
I then quietly retired into the kitchen to ‘organize her supply cabinet and put things away’; when in reality I lowered myself to the ground and just wept. I couldn’t believe in that exact moment what she just went through. I couldn’t believe how stoic Jared was and how his stance never wavered. This 9-year-old boy, once again, was proving to be his sister’s keeper. What an enormous job. I am pretty sure I spent a good 10 + minutes on the kitchen floor paralyzed. I couldn’t move or didn’t want to. For the past 14 minutes I had held my breath as if holding mine would save Kinzie’s.
I am positive details are a little off, as it is a little bit of a blur but it was the worse day/feeling ever. I should have sat down and wrote a mock blog right away, but I couldn’t.
So last night, we didn’t do much more than survive. We didn’t sleep most of the night (but that really isn’t new). We got a rebound high (but it really didn’t go that high and it corrected nicely) which leads me to believe that she was trending low for a while after; we just had enough extra carbs on board to counteract that.
I gave myself about 30 minutes to loath, hate, despise, and reject diabetes. I broke down, I let it out…and then I carried on.
I let my sister and mom know what happened and they both (pretty sure it is safe so say this without even asking if it is true) experienced a slight heart attack or surge of panic and pain. Both wanting to rush and rescue or at least be reassured Kinzie was fine. We have known the possibilities, knew we couldn’t always evade the ‘doings’ of ‘D’ but it definitely turned that light on. My nephews were worried, so they drove over just to see Kinzie. When they left the younger of the two said ‘Kinzie seemed out of it’. His mom said ‘she is, she is still recovering.’
I also found out today that Devin (the older of the two) processed exactly what was going on and what the outcome could have been. It hit him with a ton of bricks why Kinzie doesn’t spend the night, why I travel with her for dance competitions, why we wake every night for checks…and that this is a battle every single day for Kinzie. He tells his mom he wished he could just take it from Kinzie whenever, however long so she could take a break; he hated this is what she has to deal with every day. It breaks my heart, which, our reality in a big way has to be their reality too. I know this, I have said it before (our disease is everyone’s disease who loves us…they help carry us without complaint). But hearing those words of a thirteen year old brings it all too true. His perspective is larger than just himself. His needs are greater than himself; and at an age where usually it is hard to see past anything but you…all he could do was wish he could fix it all for his cousin. We have indeed been blessed by amazing family.
This morning Jared was sitting next to me talking about what happened. My little boy processing what is very much a reality in our life, something that, until last night was only a phantom thought. He has to face reality of what can happen to his sister. He carried that weight with him through the day. I believe this may have been the first day/time he was able to process fully what we are facing…at 9 years old, that is a lot to take in. His reality is one that not even every adult faces.
Not sure if I even wanted to write about this event, I knew I had to. It is a fear of every single mother and father to a diabetic child (and spouse I am sure). It is a reality we live with daily…something we cannot always prevent, even with great training, vigilance and monitoring. No matter how good my ‘gut’ feelings or promptings are, this is my reality…our reality. Living with an invisible disease is a struggle. Educating the greater public on this disease is an even greater struggle as people have many misconceptions and ignorance greatly plagues this disease. There is no pill, machine, method, treatment, prevention to avoid this. There is no way to escape it. Medical advancements take place every single day, and many great things are in the works but nothing to that caliber exists. Diabetic Alert Dogs are 98% accurate…right now; you cannot beat that accuracy, help, or tool. It is priceless. We need this now more than ever before. Our reality is a stark reality.
When you see/know of someone with type 1 diabetes, do not write them off. Do not assume you know their life. Do not assume their fears are ridiculous or think they over re-act. Do not make light of the situation they face daily…one day you may look back and regret those thoughts and assumptions. I cannot stress enough the importance of advocacy, education and awareness. Don’t just say you are going to embrace all of the above, do it. Don’t just feel our pain in this moment, lift it. Share our story, educate yourself, seek answers, ask; don’t be afraid to come to us with any questions. Do not be afraid to share stories or look for opportunities to help out. There is always a way to do so. You can donate to several causes and organizations, you can donate to diabetic alert dog funds, research funds, walks,…you can make a difference. You can participate in walks/events that support it. You can help stop the ignorance before it spreads. You too, can be an advocate in your own way. One individual turns into two, then three…and before you know it, there is an entire movement of support and advocacy taking place. Do not wait until it is too late. Do not leave your regrets to linger. Do not be afraid to carry other people’s burdens. Do not be afraid that you cannot offer the right words.