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senseless tragedy

This news article about the 11 year old girl in Wisconsin who died of diabetic ketoacidosis is so very sad. While her parents sat by and prayed for her, she suffered needlessly as her body shut down.

When my youngest child was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age 10 (she is now 11) in December 2006, she was in diabetic ketoacidosis. Her body had attacked and destroyed the beta cells in her pancreas and her body no longer produced insulin. The theory is that her body probably fought off a virus and then turned on the insulin producing cells in her pancreas for some reason. Upon arrival at the ER, her blood sugar was 757 and she had large ketones in her urine (thus the name ketoacidosis). Her body was trying to burn off the excess sugar in her blood, but craving sugar at the same time because she could not utilize it without insulin to help out. She was weak, lethargic, had lost about 20 pounds over 3 or 4 weeks, and was very dehydrated although she drank everything she could. I thought she had a stomach virus and then thought it was her appendix. She was in pain, barely able to walk due to shortness of breath and was extremely weak. I had to hold her up and practically carry her into the ER. It was awful and very scary.

I cannot imagine seeing her like that, sitting there praying for her and not seeking help.  I prayed for my daughter, my whole family, our friends and members of our church prayed for her.  We also sought those trained with the knowledge needed to help us.  The medical staff at the ICU told me that if I’d not taken her to the hospital, she’d probably not have made it through that night. She was almost in a diabetes induced coma.

I can understand that her parents have their religious beliefs, whatever those beliefs are. We all have beliefs that govern our lives. I cannot understand how a parent could sit by and watch their child suffer and die when something could have been done. I’m just not made that way. This child could have lived a long, happy and healthy life with diabetes education and insulin therapy.

Reading the news story about poor little Madeline Neumann brought back so many feelings. My eyes were full of tears and I felt the sort of outrage and indignation that I feel when one of my children have been bullied or treated unfairly. This was a needless tragedy, a death that could have easily been prevented.


visit with the endocrinologist

Youngest daughter’s appointment was today. She’s 5’4″ now, the same height as my mom and two inches shorter than me.

Her A1C was not so good this time. The A1C is a number obtained from a blood test that shows what the average blood sugar level has been for the past 2-3 months. The American Diabetes Association recommends that the A1C stay below 7 to avoid developing complications. Daughter’s A1C today was 13.5. Scary, huh? When translated to blood glucose levels, that means her average has been around 300.

We came up with a plan of action, changed daughter’s basal rate (the amount of insulin her pump gives her each hour) between the hours of 2:00 pm and midnight since that seems to be the time she has the most trouble with high blood sugar levels. We discussed changing food to insulin ratios (the amount of insulin she gets each time she consumes carbohydrates) and talked about more changes that we can make if today’s change doesn’t work. We’ll go back in 2 months and call before that if things aren’t going well.

Daughter’s blood sugar was 156 before dinner. YIPPEE! Much better already.

This big blue crayon stands outside the hospital where our diabetes care team’s offices are located.

high blood sugar, ketones = sleep deprived

I worked an hour late this afternoon since tomorrow is youngest daughter’s quarterly appointment with the endocrinologist. When I got home, she was in bed sleeping. Oldest daughter and son said she had a snack after school and then went to bed. Not typical behavior for her. Not at all.

I checked her temperature, no fever. Then I had her get up and check her blood sugar. 552. Her goal range is 80 to 150. She also has large ketones. The goal is to not have any ketones in the urine. Large = >160 mg/dL. These numbers worry me. Especially since her numbers were good this morning before I dropped her off at school. I wonder if this is the beginning of puberty and if this is a little taste of what the hormonal changes that come along with puberty can do to insulin and blood sugar levels in the body.

I’ll be up every 2 hours with her through the night checking blood sugar and ketones, hoping her numbers are back to normal by morning. I’m really glad that she has an appointment with the endocrinologist tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE:  At 4:00 am, her blood sugar was 187.  I could finally sleep peacefully at that point, for 2 hours, until time to get up.

and the winner is…

Youngest DD and I signed up for a drawing on Saturday at Walgreens.  The prize was the gift basket above.  I had a message last night saying that DD won it, so we picked it up this afternoon.  She is thrilled!  It’s filled with beauty products,  samples and two gift cards to Chili’s.

DD’s blood sugar numbers have been a little better today.  We’ve increased her basal rate (the amount of insulin she gets each hour round the clock).  I’m hoping that will bring her blood sugar readings down in to the normal range (between 80 and 150) soon.  She’s got small ketones, which is an improvement over the moderate reading she got last night.   Things are looking up.

Thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers for DD.

blood sugar

This was youngest daughter’s blood sugar reading after 7 units of insulin as a correction factor an hour before when the reading was 535. I think the tubing to her insulin pump may have been twisted today, or the cannula got bent, or something was off. Her numbers have been crazy since noon today. We’ll check her blood sugar again in an hour and see where she is. I hope the numbers will be closer to her goal range (80 to 150). I tend to get a little nervous when her blood sugar is this high.

She’s had moderate ketones this afternoon, which is another clue that she was not getting enough insulin. I’m sure she’d not be happy to know that I’ve just shared information about ketones in her urine, so I will stop with that.