Sleep: the Final Frontier

The other day, we headed over to CHOP for TheKid’s 3,000-mile checkup. He’s doing really well, and we’re grateful for the technology that helps us keep him that way.

File Apr 19, 8 32 25 AM
This is not today’s display. If it had been, I’d be asleep right now.

His endocrinologist knows us well enough by now to know, though, that there’s some degree of sleep sacrificed on the altar of a good A1C. Hubs vigilantly watches TheKid’s blood sugar for a good part of the night, aiming for a wakeup around 100, which is an ideal level.

When I wake up in the wee hours, I check my phone to see what’s going on with TheKid’s blood sugar before I do anything else. Lately, I’ve been waking up to a “NO DATA” message from TheKid’s continuous-glucose monitor.

That means I have go go downstairs, force-quit the app, restart it and wait 5 minutes until the CGM measures his blood sugar again and displays the result. If it’s good, I can go back to bed (whether I fall asleep again is another question.) If it’s not, I have to deal with things and stay up some more.

Anyway, the endocrinologist didn’t have too much to tell us, other than making a minor adjustment to the insulin routine for early afternoon, which is a time when TheKid typically experiences low blood sugar. So he turned his attention to us, expressing concern that lack of sleep can negatively impact our health.

He’s right. I don’t know if there’s much I can do about that 4:30 AM data drop–if it goes on for 30 minutes my phone will sound an alarm. That’s an issue on the manufacturer’s end, and I really wish they’d fix it. Technology is a wonderful thing, when it works. When it doesn’t, it’s a thorn in my side, and in this case, it can be dangerous.

I was up at 4:15 this morning to deal with “NO DATA.” My alarm was set for 6, which is still too early for a Saturday morning, but TheKid has a soccer game and has to be at school at 8:30. If I wake up after 4 and have to do more than use the bathroom, I’m up. For the day. Until I crash in midafternoon, on days when I don’t have to go watch a soccer game.

I feel like I run on empty all week long, and this is not because I stayed up too late reading or watching TV (I only do that one night a week). I’m dealing with something that can’t wait. If I’d let the “NO DATA” go this morning and went back to bed, I wouldn’t have noticed that he was veering toward a low, and set his pump to a lower insulin-delivery level to (hopefully) cut that off before it became enough of a problem that I had to wake him up with a glass of juice in my hand. Unfortunately, I just had to deliver that glass of juice. So now I watch again.

One benefit to being up before 5 on a Saturday morning: you can give some encouragement and advice via Facebook to another parent of a diabetic child who’s also awake (and worried) at this crazy hour. I hope, at least, that a little bit of good can come out of this.

"Sleep: the Final Frontier" by Barb Szyszkiewicz (@franciscanmom)
Photo via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.


This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Small Success: Sleep Deprived

Small-Success-Thursday-400pxThursdays at begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

The older I get, the less well I handle the lack of a good night’s sleep. Since Hubs has always been one of those people who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and wake up refreshed no matter what, he’s always done the Night Shift when the kids were little.

That didn’t change when The Kid developed diabetes. The thing with diabetes is that you can have a low blood sugar during the night–and never know about it. This can kill you.

dexcom g4We are blessed that there’s technology in the form of a continuous glucose monitor that sets off an alarm on Hubs’ cell phone when The Kid’s blood sugar goes too low.

Tuesday night, it was alarm after alarm after alarm. And I woke up at midnight and couldn’t go back to sleep, so from midnight to 3 I took the Night Shift. He had 12 oz. of juice during that time but his blood sugar just wouldn’t stay within the safe level.

I’m really glad that I have the sort of job where I can pick and choose what task to do at what time. Normally my best time of day to do work that requires concentration is in the morning. But not yesterday. So here’s how I succeeded:

1. I didn’t try to schedule things I couldn’t handle until there had been sufficient caffeine intake.

2. I got some overdue housework done. The bathrooms are clean and the floors have been mopped. While I cleaned, I listened to the Good Things Radio podcast. Girlfriend chat, while scrubbing the tub.

3. I made a short grocery list and went to Shop Rite, where they had doo-wop music on the radio and I might or might not have had a little extra spring in my step because of that. I wasn’t the only person dancing in Shop Rite.

4. By the time I got home, I was feeling good and awake and I was able to get a good chunk of work done!

5. And in case you’re keeping track, it’s been 2 weeks and my desk is still clean!

This morning, I’m grateful for the good night’s sleep I got. Hubs was not so lucky. He made a lot of juice runs again, overnight.

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© 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz