The Answer for Overnights…

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 5.46.10 PM…I don’t have it.

I’ve been working hard towards learning it though experience for nearly nine years, or 3,200 trials and lots more errors. I’ve searched and asked many questions regarding it, but no clear direction has been discovered.

Overnight care is the final ugly beast of diabetes that wedges itself between Caleb and his full autonomy. There are other things that he doesn’t do – he hasn’t changed a Dexcom sensor by himself, he doesn’t call customer service when there are issues, he doesn’t manage basal program or sensitivity adjustments independently – but these are things I know he can learn and don’t present imminent danger. This overnight thing is different.

Sleepovers and extended field trips – these include periods of sleeping. Caleb is on the ball when he is awake. When he is asleep, well, he’s asleep and does it for numerous hours at a time. Diabetes works in 2 or 3 hour cycles. Sleeping in increments of 2 or 3 hours or even 4 hours is not healthy. I haven’t been able to balance these opposing needs after more than 3,000 attempts.

This is not to say that every night for the past nine years I’ve been up actively managing his blood sugar every 2 or 3 hours. Particularly with the use of Dexcom G4 Platinum, there have been a number of nights when I wake to just check the CGM number and go back to sleep until morning. But there has not been a single night that I have slept through uninterrupted. Over the past year I was lured into a feeling of safety because it was more the norm than exception that I could just do that eyeball thing at 1 or 2 am and all would be well. These past couple of months have rattled me back into the fear of how ugly overnights can be – highs that don’t correct and lows that won’t rise.

This isn’t new. It’s not pleasant, but I can handle it – or handle it well enough.

I don’t know the best way to prepare Caleb for these nights. The ones after long days of varying levels of activity that show up in overnight lows to an extent you cannot reasonably predict. The ones after uncommon and fatty foods are consumed in quantities that vary from the usual routine that release seemingly never-ending gushers of glucose into his bloodstream.

We’ve been able to normalize so many things. Special trips are the hardest to deal with and present the biggest danger because there are so many variables, yet are the times when he should be able to stretch his wings and leap and fly and learn from his mistakes.

It’s the fear of the magnitude of the mistake that has me on edge.

How do you manage overnights?

7 Replies to “The Answer for Overnights…”

  1. We do it the same as you. Dexcom is under my pillow, I check it a few times and go back to sleep. 9 times out of 10 no correction is needed. Sleepovers haven’t happened. We haven’t had any overnight field trips required for school. We have less that 3 years until college and we’re praying one of the APs are ready by then.🙏🏼

    1. Yes! The AP can’t come quickly enough, can it? That does provide great hope. Caleb is 12. His brother has chosen to go to boarding school. It’s planted the seed in Caleb’s mind. That would be two years from now. I can feel the gray hairs emerging.

  2. This issue is of great concern to us as well! I am eager to hear from others on this topic as well. Yes, the AP can’t come soon enough. We have three and a half years to figure this out as my son is a freshman.

    My son has had few sleepovers away from home. Parents have been very reluctant to take on such a responsibility. It’s both a relief and sad. My husband took time off of work to chaperone my son’s 8th grade overnight trip to Mackinaw Island. We didn’t see any other way. Adding my son’s food allergy & celiac complicated the picture. One girl ended up in anaphylaxis so these trips aren’t always managed well..,

    We, too, have many nights where we’re up every two hours struggling with highs that just won’t respond to insulin. Being up at night — multiple times — is the norm in our house as well. I often feel that there is a magnet either pulling his BGs upward or downward. We don’t deal with persistent lows (at night) though. If he’s in the range where he should be (which seems rare), he will inevitably dip lower (but not rocket down) and before he gets below 80, we give 2% milk and it holds him steady for hours (it beats a snack during the night!).

    I could go on — this is such a concerning topic — but it’s time for bed and the Dex has sounded off, alerting me to a high. My two hour window is getting shorter. 😉

    Thanks for bringing up this issue. I hope we can learn more from one another!

  3. I have always just slept through for 49 years and usually woke up. Now that I have had the dex for 2 months I still sleep and turn off all warnings. I am from old school when there wasn’t even meters and when newly diagnosed landed in ER but that has not happened for decades. Not saying what I do is correct but it is what I do.

  4. I am happy to have run across your blog! There is some sense of comfort knowing us type 1 diabetes moms are not alone on these long and sleepless nights! My son is 5 and we just started using the dexcom 5, so here i am, scrounging the internet for any info known to man about this monitor as I stare at the dexcom receiver every 5 minutes. Maybe one day I will sleep, or maybe not……..

    1. Hi, Lauren. Thanks for reading and commenting. If you just started using Dexcom, it’s a normal thing you are going through – not able to take your eyes off the graph. That will subside. 🙂 Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and your son. Caleb is almost 13, but I remember the days when he was five and managing diabetes. It was a very different, more challenging, time. Hugs to you both!

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