Alarm fatigue

Today I have realised that there is no such thing as having diabetes ‘under control’. In fact, so much of it is way outside our control and last night is a prime example.

My 16 year old daughter went to bed at 7.8 – wonderful, I thought! She had no insulin on board apart from her basal and hadn’t snacked on anything after dinner, which I might add was chicken and vegetables. We had talked about putting on a temp basal just in case but looking at the evening, thought there is no need tonight – the numbers are looking good. This is pretty much as far as our plan went.

Anna’s CGM signalled she was heading below 4 at around 12.30am. She then went to 3.1 – laying in bed I thought, surely this number is wrong and there isn’t any reason to be low. Anna’s level reached 2.2 at not only around 1.30am but also around 3am – still laying in bed I thought, surely the technology is inaccurate – her levels were low then going up, then low again. Alarms are not unusual for us. She started to go back up again around 4.30am – excellent, I thought. Just as I had expected.

Getting ready for school, Anna told me that she woke when her level was 2.2 and she felt as though she was going to faint – she could barely move her feet to get her jelly beans. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I made a choice to not check on Anna and rely purely on my experience gained so far knowing my child and her Type 1. Now I think back, it was completely the wrong one. The wrong one for so many reasons – the choice not to check could have had catastrophic consequences.

I don’t know all there is to know about my daughters Type 1 Diabetes and it is arrogant for me to think that I do. Last night I was taken to school by Type 1 and shown just how much outside my control it really is. Sometimes, we fly through life thinking we have it nailed but that is just a snapshot. This is not the whole picture and this condition cannot be underestimated.

CGM technology is a wonderful tool that we really can’t take for granted or let ourselves be fatigued by it’s alarms or abilities – for me, it isn’t the be all and end all of saving my daughters life because that job lies fairly and squarely on our shoulders. Today I feel very lucky and I am grateful that I have another chance to make a different choice next time.




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