Monday, August 21, 2006

The Big Red Kit

The OC people know where this is going....

O had a friend sleep over last night. Sam is a girl she met at camp. They were in the same cabin and she lives one town over from us. She's a very nice girl and I'm thrilled O has found a friend close to home - she's been pining a bit for our old town and her old friends.

Anyway. This morning, O came into my room, stood there very calmly and said "Sam's blood sugar is 41 and I can't wake her up." Well. You never saw anyone move from one room to another so fast. I went into O's room and Sam was lying there, not moving. I grabbed O's emergency kit out of her diabetes cabinet and pulled out the insta-glucose. When I asked her to open her mouth, she did, but I couldn't really get her to eat the stuff. Plus, I was afraid she'd choke. So I got out the glucagon. I have never, in nearly 9 years of dealing with diabetes, had to use glucagon (knock wood, turn around three times, go outside and spit). I mixed it up and drew up half of it into a regular syringe - the needle in the kit is friggin' huge. I'd be pissed if someone injected that into me. I gave her half and checked her again. 31. Not good. So I gave her the other half. During all this drama, The Bug is shrieking, O is pacing back and forth and The Boo is having a meltdown. Made for a very soothing atmosphere. Oy.

Finally, she started to come around. She was still groggy and looking at me like she had no clue who I was, but her eyes were open and she was following commands, like "Give me your finger, so I can check your blood sugar again." I think I checked her eight times in ten minutes. She ate about ten glucose tabs and then a 13g bowl of applesauce. Thirty minutes later, she was up to 227, but dropped to 140 within 10 minutes, so I had her eat a pb&j sandwich and didn't give her any insulin for it. On the way home, she checked again and was 290.

The kid was so calm during all this. I wasn't externally freaking out, but internally, I was all "What the fu-hu-hu-hu-hu-huck? Where's the glucagon? Where's the tabs? Where's the meter? Why can't I get a test strip in the fucking meter? Oooglybooglyooglyboogly."

She said she'd only had to use glucagon once before, about a year ago. She just wasn't fazed. Neither was her grandmother when I dropped her off. If someone had dropped my kid off and told me she'd had to have glucagon, I would have given her the third degree and wanted to know every last detail.

I hope that doesn't happen again any time soon. My nerves can't handle it.


HVS said...

Geez, Julia-that's a scary situation. You kept it all together and got the kid out of it though (without calling 911)-which is a most impressive thing.
Did her grandmother say anything at all about the glucagon situation?? She(or whoever manages the D) needs to do some insulin adjusting (for sleepovers), so you're not put in a situation like that again..
I'm relieved though, that it wasn't O that needed the glucagon!!!!

Major Bedhead said...

No, her grandmother seemed totally unfazed. I didn't think she'd need to adjust her insulin. They didn't really do anything except watch movies and mess around in O's room. Maybe staying up late did it, although it's never affected O that way. Still, each kid is different.

Sandra Miller said...

Oh man, Julia.

When I saw that kit, I had to sit down.

I thought it was O.

Even so, hearing of any child needing that damned kit scares the hell out of me.

Your composure in the face of that scenario-- with the little ones goin' nuts on top of it -- was amazing. Magnificent, really.

You're my new hero.

Christine said...

Holy crap how scary. I am glad she made it through ok.

Shannon said...

Good job handling that situation especially with the chaos in the background.

I can't believe the grandma didn't want to know details.

bethany said...

Glucagon ... as soon as I saw that picture my heart started racing. I've never had to use it myself (on myself or on another person) but I've definitely had some moments at camp that were pretty close. The picture scared me more because on Friday I had to tell my doctor about the other morning when my blood sugar was 12 ... yes I know 12 ... talk about scary. So I've got a brand new glucagon kit sitting right here next to my bed that is to be used if needed ... lol - you did a great job ... i don't think i could would have been able to handle it as well ...

LJ said...

If I had diabetes and I was 12 years old I would want you to be my mom!!!!!!
There's lots of things I could say but it's already been said.
Big hugs!!!

floreksa said...

O-M-G...I too had to check that I was sitting when I saw the pic of the glucagon.

In my 13 yrs of D, I've never used one.

WOW! And with everything going on in the background, I think I would've turned into a little pile of babbling goo after it was all over.

Cat, Galloping said...

i don't know about your nerves, but clearly the rest of you *could* handle it, and really well! impressive.

CPA Mom said...

Wow, you are a true hero. My husband is an EMT and has had to do this too. I don't know how you guys do it. Wow, I can't stop saying Wow! I truly am impressed with all of you.

Nicole P said...

Oh - Julia.

How freaking stressful. And, I'm with Sandra, I thought it was O that needed the glucagon. I'm glad it wasn't O, but I'm sad that any kid should have to go through that. I'm glad, though, that she had O - whose own actions were heroic - she knew to test the bloodsugar, she knew to come get you when she realized she couldn't handle it herself - and you - even if you were freaking out internally, I'm sure your external calm helped to keep Sam calm.

And - one time getting/using Glucagon is MORE than enough, I think, for anyone.

MsCellania said...

I think I'd be postponing sleepovers for a while.
You are amazing to handle all this. I'd be toes up with just One Little ol' Baby.

Scott K. Johnson said...


Julia - you did an amazing job managing all of this. Superwoman indeed.

I'm really stupified that her grandmother didn't ask more questions... Maybe she didn't quite catch the whole GLUCAGON SHOT thing?!? ...

And Bethany - 12? Holy crap! That's a new record!

Estelle said...

That grandmother needs some SERIOUS talking to. How can she NOT be concerned? It's not like it's an every day thing. If Charlie had a sleepover and some mother needed to hit him with his epi pen a few times, you can bet your ass I would be grilling her for everything. Not to mention yelling at her for not calling me THE SECOND the situation was under control and they were on their way to the hospital.
Wow. I can't believe you handled it so well, or that the GM was such a dolt.

Penny Ratzlaff said...

When I saw the kit at the top of your post I got goosebumps. I knew what was coming and that it wouldn't be good.

While I'm glad it didn't happen to Olivia, I'm sorry it had to happen at all.

It sounds like you handled it well though.

Anonymous said...

Not the kind of excitement O was probably expecting with a sleepover, huh? You handled it well, chaos and all. I'm impressed!

(blogger having a brain fart. Maybe it needs a glucagon shot.)

Jamie said...

Wow Julia - you handled that terrifically. I probably would have been freaking out myself while all of this was going on (externally .... I don't handle stress so good). It really surprises me that the grandmother didn't seem to be concerned about it all.

I hope like hell I never have to use our glucagon on Dani .... and like the other's - I thought it was going to be O that needed it.

Big pat on the back to you! You did a great job.

graymama said...

You never cease to amaze me! You can do it all!

You even gave me a heart attack!!! I am so glad it wasn't for O!!!

It reminds me of a friend of mine who saved her chocking, colored blue, not breathing daughter yesterday. Was there something in the cosmos yesterday?!

Kerri. said...

When I first read this post last night, I thought it was O. It was that panicked kind of reading where you skim and catch only the key words because you need to rush to the end and make sure O is okay.

It wasn't until I read the post through a second time that I realized it was O's friend.

Holy shit, Julia. That's a scary situation. You handled it with instinct. And I am so glad it wasn't O.

Felix Kasza said...

Hi Julia,

well done. And it should also relieve some of the anxiety should the need for glucagon ever recur.

And no, it's not the big catastrophe as which it may appear. 41 mg/dL is cause for concern, but not for panic. 31 is cause for serious concern -- but did you wait the requisite 15 minutes before checking, after injecting the first half of the dose?

As an aside, the full dose is generally overkill even for adults. And while there is no overdose with glucagon, a half dose is sufficient to bring even me around from less than 20 mg/dL, and I weigh 200+ lbs. A full dose won't act any faster, but it will increase the likelihood of nausea. (Trust me -- I know. From more incidents than I like to remember.)

I do admire Sam's grandmother. Shit happens with D, the kid is hale, no fuss required. My hat is off to her.


If not a mother... said...

scary, very scary.

I suppose you realize that not everyone takes their child's (or grandchild's) condition as seriously as you do.

Michko said...

Wow Julia! Thank God she was with you and not someone who didn't know what to do.

Laura said...

Scary, I have had D for 11 years and never ever had to use one. Ok I need one but dont have health insurance :-o

Nicole P said...

Felix -

Any bloodsugar causing unconciousness is dangerous and cause for major alarm. If a person is not responding to you - it means parts of their body are starting to shut down - certainly cause for some level of freak-out. And having to use glucagon is as frightening as hell, no matter how many times you do it.

Finally, if my diabetic child was at the home of another person and had any reactions - I'd certainly want to know about it - and if I found out it was an unconcious reaction requiring glucagon - I would want to know EXACTLY what happened so that I could at least better deal with the after-effects later in the day.

Re: Glucagon. Given what it did with this kid's sugar - it's clear that every body is different when it comes to effects of drugs/treatments.

Angewl said...


What a terrifying experience you all went through! Thank goodness you knew what to do and that O was so calm.

{{{HUGS}}} to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Good on you for staying so calm while doing just what you needed to do. I hope in the same situation I'd be able to do the same (and hopehopehope I never have to find out). Just seeing the damned glucagon kit makes my heart beat a little faster.

Debbie said...

holy shit. that's freaky.

this kinda scenario is why I'm still scared to death to call myself a mother.

OhTheJoys said...

That is the scariest story ever. EVER.