Part 1 of 2 –
Not too long after sending Caleb off to school on his 4th diaversary, I got a phone call. It was just before lunch, Caleb was with the nurse ready to bolus, but he had no interest in eating. Mrs. M knew enough not to proceed with administering insulin – thank you!
Caleb came home not feeling well and ultimately threw up that evening. He woke up the next day okay. Not 100%, but good. He stayed home and recovered.
Or so I thought.
The next few days were the same. Caleb started his days like normal. He ate only a little less than usual for breakfast. Then as each day proceeded, he deteriorated. Then rallied. Then he couldn’t stand the sight of food. Then he was running around singing – happy as a clam. He threw up one more time during these three days – but it was a quick, painless, isolated incident. For the most part he was able to eat a little here and there. It didn’t seem too unusual for someone recovering from a stomach bug.
I slowly realized that anything Caleb ate required no insulin. I also slowly realized that for every 15 or 20 carbs I forced this poor boy to consume because it was getting increasingly difficult to keep his blood sugar above 100, only about 5 were showing up in his bg readings.
Not only had I not delivered a bolus of insulin for days, but his basal was just about as low as it could go and at times I turned it off completely. Caleb uses about 25 units of insulin per day. He was down to less than 4.
We again thought he was done with it because he became a little interested in food, but he relapsed and spent a day going back and forth between happy go lucky and crying in agony and then vomiting. He was having trouble keeping anything down and was so exhausted from having to sip juice, suck on an ice pop or take a spoonful of Hershey’s syrup that the thought of consuming the slightest thing brought tears to his eyes and a pit to my stomach.
I knew we had mini-glucagon as an option, but I couldn’t help think we weren’t really in the red-box emergency zone. I knew we could bring him to the ER if we needed to, but good golly, I wanted to avoid that if we could.
At that point David called the doctor. Our concern was not so much managing D; we just didn’t know why this thing kept rearing its ugly head just when we thought it was gone. “It’s viral. It’s viral. It’s viral.” Okay fine. Sorry to bother you. Thank you very much.
With great effort, we were able to maintain his blood sugars in a safe range. Somehow, we’re able to ward off ketones, only occasionally entering the “trace” zone and once the “small” zone, but never for long.
For two more days Caleb had no appetite. He was able to take in fluids here and there and although it was still a challenge, we were managing to keep his bgs in a safe range with minimal amounts of insulin while completely avoiding ketones.
This was a long, tense, sleepless and horrid-at-times, eight days.
On day 8, which happened to be by birthday, Caleb still didn’t want any meals, but was willing to share my birthday treat of Jelly Bellys. For three reasons I will never forget this:
- I just that day discovered that Jelly Bellys are no longer peanut contaminated and therefore safe for Caleb to eat. It was joyous to welcome them back into our home and fun to figure out the different flavors with Caleb and experience that with him for the first time.
- I didn’t count a single carb as he ate those sugary, flavorful beans.
- He spit out a cherry one claiming it tasted like vomit. Whatever juice or ice pop I made him consume must have been cherry flavored. Cherry is one of my favorites. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about hearing it equated to vomit.
As quickly as it came on, it was gone. Just like that. He was back to normal. He woke up on day nine STARVING (music to my ears) and almost instantly was back to his normal doses of insulin.
To all the people who live with diabetes and handle situations like this all on their own, I applaud you. It’s not easy managing someone else in this situation. Managing it by yourself is simply heroic.
Caleb finally did get to have his diaversary meal, albeit a little late…