By: Scott M. King
Jolted awake at 4 am with a low blood sugar, my heart racing, is not my first choice to begin a bright day. While it was still dark, I staggered out of bed to find my tube of Dex 4’s. I should have tried to get right back in bed, but my hunger was overwhelming. Grabbing a bathrobe, I plodded out of the bedroom to plunder the fridge. I ate three oranges, a pear, and two pieces of toast before my hunger pangs subsided. I was wide awake with my heart still pounding from the hypoglycemia.
It took 30 minutes for my body to calm down. With the return of sleepiness and the coming subtle gray light outside, I was ready to crawl back into bed. But before I did, I took 5 units of regular insulin. I knew from previous experience that my blood sugar would probably be 300 mg/dl if I didn’t take a necessary precaution. Just as I was drifting off, I heard the voice of Spencer, my three year old.
“Daddy, I’m wet,” he said. He is at that wonderful stage when he wants daddy to do everything. After I removed his wet clothes and he had found a cozy spot in “mommy & daddy’s bed,” he decided he definitely needed a warm bottle and his teddy bear. “Just a few minutes of precious sleep, please,” I prayed, as I fulfilled the young prince’s request.
The next thing I heard was Miranda, our 17 month old, crying from her crib. Nadia and I had to negotiate which one of us was going to get up and make breakfast for the kids. I won. After telling her about my hypo, she granted me 30 more minutes in bed. After a hypo like that, I could sleep another eight hours. There is nothing as sweet as hearing the bedroom door shut with all the noise on the other side.
After what seemed like the blink of an eye, Nadia came in at 7:30 am to tell me I better get up because she is leaving in ten minutes for an important business meeting. The children were going stir crazy, the puppy needed to go for a walk, and I had to take our sick cat to the veterinarian. On my way to the coffee maker, I tested my blood sugar-135 mg/dl. Not bad, considering the 4 am five-car-pile up. After a cup of coffee, I was feeling almost normal.
The next challenge was to get everything packed and into the car. For the kids: a diaper bag, wipes, clothing, coats, car seat toys, juice and food snacks. For myself: meter, strips, insulin, syringe, Dex 4 tablets, and food snacks. I locked the cat into her carrier, and buckled the kids into their car seats.
My mother-in-law came along to help. She entertained Miranda while Spencer and I brought the cat into the veterinarian’s waiting room. Spencer started pulling on a string attached to the blinds. His yanking seemed harmless until I heard a loud snap. Two receptionists from behind the counter rushed out to save their blinds. Fortunately, no major damage had been done. They anxiously lead us into an examination room without sharp or breakable objects. I took this opportunity to check my blood sugar. It was fine.
The Vet advised us to leave our cat with him to be treated. Spencer solemnly repeated everything the Vet said to make sure I understood this sagacious advice. I knew the Vet was having a difficult time with Spencer. When he finished, he looked at Spencer with clenched teeth and attempted a winning smile.
With an hour to burn. I walked the kids over to a children’s toy and clothes shop nearby, but in accordance with the day’s precarious theme, I discovered even a toy store is not indestructible.
While I checked out shoes for the kids, Miranda trolled the isles. She accidentally removed the price tags off everything she touched. Spencer climbed into a stroller and attempted to dismantle it with a plastic toy screwdriver. Then he started playing with two footballs. I heard the manager scream at Spencer, “Little Boy, oh Little Boy, STOP THAT!” Apparently the two footballs were lamps and the string by which he was pulling them was the power cord.
I decided to cut my losses and grab the kids to leave. The manager was upset. To avoid a confrontation, I redirected my children’s attention toward a fast food restaurant next door. While I was ordering, Spencer decided he needed a chair across the room. The clientele looked up from their burgers to watch and listen, as Spencer dragged the chair across the terra-cotta floor.
This was one of those times when I cherished the moment of strapping them tightly and safely into their car seats. One quick trip to the market, mother-in-law and children safely tucked in car, and with a little luck, we might make it home in one piece.
Back at the house, I felt another low coming on, so I quickly ate a couple spoonfuls of ice cream. Spencer walked in and wanted ice cream just like daddy. I picked him up and stepped back, only to step on the bag of groceries, which emitted a haunting crunch. Of course it was the bag containing a full carton of eggs. Miranda was busy mixing the dog food with the dogs water and tasting it. Ginger, our dog with the bottomless stomach, lapped up the trail of soggy food Miranda tracked through the house. Nadia picked up Miranda and said, “You know this is not one of your basic food groups. If you would like a Carb have a cracker.”
By noon I felt like I had worked a double shift. I couldn’t believe how eager I was to head to work. Some days, going to work is like a vacation.