Have you ever had one of those weeks when blood sugar numbers were just all over the place and you had no idea why? A few weeks ago, we did. We were actually on vacation visiting my sister, and Kaitlyn kept having persistent lows at night and then would be high all day. I couldn’t seem to figure it out! For days, I did the routine of giving juice throughout the night, doing temporary basal changes, and giving corrections all day long. I changed sites more often, even though I thought they were working effectively.
I blamed the wide variance of numbers on all kinds of things … fatty vacation food, extra excitement from being with the cousins, being in the sun and water all day at water parks, ending a growth spurt. All of those things could have been good reasons, and I figured that any day, she would just go back to normal. She didn’t go back to normal though. It wasn’t until we got home that I finally figured it out. Her pump was set to the wrong time—the a.m. got switched to p.m.! I don’t know how or why or when or whose fault it was, but somehow it got switched. No wonder we were having such a problem! Her insulin-to-carb ratios and basal rates are drastically different from night to day, so it made sense that her numbers were all over the place.
I corrected the time on the pump, and guess what? Yep, you guessed it: Everything went back to normal! Typical numbers persisted throughout the days, and she didn’t dip too low at night. Seriously, what a relief! With the blessing of 20/20 hindsight, I see that I probably should have noticed a pattern or some strong signals that something was amiss. I also probably should have called my healthcare provider or even the pump manufacturer to see if they had ideas about what was going wrong. I think that I must have been in “busy vacation mom” mode and was simply not paying close enough attention.
I really learned an important lesson though. So often, I rely on the pump for calculating everything. It’s a great tool, but I need to consistently remind myself that it is not a crutch or a substitute for good diabetes maintenance. Let’s take advantage of the amazing products available to us but at the same time keep an eye on the fundamentals of diabetes management!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.