You may recall that last time I posted, we were gearing up for our annual sleepover at Grandma’s house—something that we call Grandma Camp. I feel like we did a pretty good job at preparing her for the big night. We had Kaitlyn’s CGM and cloud app set up and ready to go and her cell phone charged so that we could easily keep tabs on her numbers and help her with carb counts without having to be at the house hovering over her. It should have been perfect…but even with the cell phone and CGM, we had some problems.

The first hiccup came when I got a call that the battery in Kaitlyn’s pump was low and we needed to change it right away. Ugh! I’m not sure how I missed the low battery warning before we dropped her off, but I grabbed the supplies and drove over to change the battery and re-prime the pump. She was good to go again, so I kissed her goodbye for a second time and drove home. The second problem came when the CGM alarm went off at about 2:30 in the morning.

Kaitlyn was low, so I called my mother-in-law and asked her to give Kaitlyn some juice. I stayed up watching her graph on my phone, expecting it to rise. It didn’t. After about a half hour, she still showed “LOW,” so I called again to have her get a second juice box. I waited another half hour and still—no rise.

I was starting to panic. Grandma was awake and panicking too, and Kaitlyn was still completely asleep and too tired to wake up. I had Grandma give Kaitlyn even more sugar. We waited and waited, and the CGM graph still didn’t show any change. This didn’t make any sense to me since she always responds when a correction is given. Finally, at about 4:30 in the morning, I drove over to see what was happening. I checked her blood sugar with a finger stick, and even though the CGM still registered as “LOW,” she definitely wasn’t low! She was much higher than what the CGM showed! I let out a sigh of relief knowing that she was okay and that we just needed to give her a correction to bring her back in range, but I was also so frustrated with myself that I would trust the CGM so implicitly without having double-checked with her meter.

This probably sounds like a horrible story, but I think there is always something to be learned when you have a bad experience. Here are a couple things we learned…

First: Always double-check. I’m not saying that you can’t ever trust your equipment. That’s what it’s there for—to aid in diabetes management and to help with making decisions. This was an extremely rare experience for us. It was the first time we had trouble with the CGM, and the problem was fixed as soon as we changed to a new sensor. I also am very aware that the system is designed to assist in seeing blood sugar trends and that all decisions should be based on blood sugar readings on a meter with a finger stick. However, I have also experienced issues with blood sugar meters. It has happened more than once where the same meter has shown drastically different numbers within a minute’s time on the same finger with clean hands. The lesson learned for me is to use equipment with caution, trust my instincts, and when things don’t seem right, double-check.

Second: It’s still worth it. You might wonder why I think that this overnight was still a success when it seems like it was a nightmare. A whole night’s sleep lost for myself and Kaitlyn’s grandma, stress and worry, driving 20 minutes down the freeway over and over again, and out-of-range blood sugar numbers. Nevertheless, if you ask Kaitlyn what she remembers about this experience, she will rattle off all the great things she did—swimming, having a campfire, playing with cousins, sleeping in blanket tents in the living room, designing dresses made of paper tablecloths, and having a fashion show. She won’t mention a thing about diabetes.

Sometimes it’s not about the diabetes. It’s about letting them be real kids and experiencing things every kid should get to experience. As for me, I now have a few more items to add to my checklist for the next Grandma Camp to ensure Kaitlyn has a happy and safe time.

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.

Related topics:
Sleeping Over at “Grandma Camp”
Sleepovers, Camp, Field Trips: Spending Time Away From Home After Diagnosis
People in the Know: Can Grandma Look After Her Alone?

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