Real-Person Sick in Diabetes Land

There are lots of days that are mainly just normal. Despite the Bear’s ever-present pump and mostly*-present CGM sensor/receiver, diabetes stays in the background with school, homework, dance class, 2nd-grade drama, walking the dog, etc. occupying front and center. This is the way I like it. We “should” be doing a better job of pre-bolusing and staying on top of corrections on the weekends, but our general life/diabetes balance makes me happiest when LIFE comes out on top. Those are the times when it’s easy to feel that our lives aren’t so different from our neighbors & school friends.

Other times, it feels like we are living in some other universe entirely though. Thinking about school vacation/summer camps, traveling by air, birthday parties, and real-person sick all make me feel very, very different.

We are on week 2 of the Bear being real-person sick. A bit over a week ago, our Friday night was interrupted by the Bear vomiting. Fun! We took turns holding her hair back and cleaning up her bed, rug, bathroom floor… Even after some Zofran, she couldn’t keep anything down – not even water or ginger ale or tylenol. I stayed on the couch with her, feeling her fever and keeping an eye on blood sugars and ketones. A second dose of anti-nausea finally stopped the vomiting, but we spent the next 48 hours fighting to get her to drink/eat anything at all, trying to keep fever under 100, and giving scary insulin doses to battle ketones. Finally back to school on Tuesday.


from Pinterest (“Animas Sick Day Protocol”) 

Then, the following Friday she started having cold symptoms. Blood sugars were running a little high but ketones were thankfully nonexistent. Until… early Sunday morning. Wasn’t it enough that we were already losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time?? More vomiting – though this time it was due to post-nasal drip on an empty stomach. Sunday and yesterday were made up of a terrible cough, fever (higher than last time — hovering over 101), and eventually starvation ketones. Thought sure she would be back to school today (Tuesday), but the fever was still there and what little appetite she had yesterday was gone again eventually landing her with medium ketones by mid-morning. Went to the pediatrician since it is so unusual to have a persistent fever but they just confirmed our suspicions — nasty upper respiratory virus. Nothing to be done except fluids, food, rest. A couple of units of insulin for ketones, 4 bites of toast, some tylenol to get fever under control, and couch-dozing and here we are.

Hearing lots of “oh yeah, our kid was sick last week, what a pain,” and “thank goodness kids bounce back so quickly.” Every parent suffers when their kid is sick – no doubt about that. We all lose sleep and we all worry. Part of that worry is “will I be next?” Having to miss work is a problem for everyone, not just a parent whose child has a chronic illness. It’s not a competition.

But, it all highlights for me that diabetes does change things. The Bear being sick would be bad enough without worrying about ketones, trying to force her to eat, or giving insulin when it is totally counter-intuitive. I try not to worry about getting sick myself (luckily, I’m pretty resistent), but if I do stop to think about it I have to worry about what that will do to my own diabetes. All this additional energy, worry… what could we accomplish without it? We are ok, we are managing diabetes squared, and life goes on — but sometimes I’d love to just be managing life, without the complications.

From the fabulous Haidee Merritt’s FingerPricks (TM) series:



*Have I mentioned how frustrated I am with the recent delays with getting replacement transmitters for my own & the Bear’s Dexcoms? I don’t believe that prior authorizations take 7 business days (especially when the last time – 6 months ago? – they took about 24 hours) and it makes no sense that Dexcom itself has a “rolling backorder” that is adding another 1-2 weeks onto the process. 

This entry was posted in Burnout, CGM, Living with Diabetes, Medications, Sickness, Sleep, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Real-Person Sick in Diabetes Land

  1. Rick Philips says:

    I have to admit that when i get real person sick, I am a less than full adult. I think I want my mom, though she passed in 1986 and my wife of 38 years often reminds me she is not my mommy. I know this for certain because my mom never said, “I am not your mommy”. 🙂 Your blog is so spot on it is terrific.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for inclusion during the week of March 14, 2016.

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