Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes 101: Ketones

Type 1 Diabetes Scares Me

Joey’s blood sugars were too high all night.  I was giving a correction, which means I was giving additional insulin, to bring his BS down both at midnight and at 2:00 am.  At 7:00 am he was still in the 200’s.  Another correction. Off to school.

Type 1 Diabetes: No Rhyme or Reason for the Roller Coaster Ride 

At 11:30 (lunchtime) he was 300. WAY TO HIGH.  He dosed for his lunch carbs and gave another correction to get his BS down.  This is when I start to ask questions like: “is your cannula still in, do you have insulin left in your pod?”  The answer was yes to all, in addition, he had a doughnut at 10:00 am.  Probably a birthday treat.  So that made more sense.  Insulin takes approximately 2 hours to run it’s course, so he still has insulin on-board from his last bolus.  He didn’t use the blood sugar of 300 to dose for lunch, because we didn’t want an additional correction, so he just covered his lunch carbs with insulin.

At 1:00, after lunch and recess he called me again, his BS was 356, not surprised, as he just dosed at 11:30 for lunch.  But now he has a headache.  NOT good.   Insulin still on board again, but he was really too high for it being an hour and half since his lunch bolus.  So, he corrected, and I asked him if he wanted me to come for him.  “No, I will see how the next half hour goes.”  He called me at 1:30, blood sugar hasn’t dropped,  his head is pounding, I told him to get ready, I’d be there in 5 minutes.

I started working from home in April.  I’m working on a project that needs to get done soon.  I work on it every day, at my own convenience, which was the deal.  On days like today, it’s a blessing to work from home.  What do people do that have jobs where they can’t leave to take care of their kids? I couldn’t have left Joey at school, he was miserable.  And it’s very dangerous to have such high blood sugars.  My husband is one of those people that can’t leave work, unless it’s an emergency, because he is on a train engine, sometimes a hundred miles away.  In my book, high blood sugars are emergencies.  But, this is why I am at home, to  be on call for Joey.

Keto What?

After I got Joey home we tested his BS again, and this time we tested his ketone level.  We use a special ketone monitor, it checks his blood levels for ketones.  Ketoacidosis (key-toe-ass-i-DOE-sis) is very serious.  It can lead to a diabetic coma or even death.   When your cells don’t get the glucose they need for energy, your body begins to burn fat for energy which produces ketones.  Ketones are acids that build up in the blood and appear in the urine when your body doesn’t have enough insulin. They are a warning sign that your diabetes is out of control or that you are getting sick. High levels of ketones can poison the body. When levels get too high, you can develop diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.  They also appear at onset, they are the reason for excess thirst, bed wetting and excessive urination before diagnosis. 

I feel so much better when I have Joey at home with me when his blood sugar is high, especially over 250.  When he has two high blood sugars in a row, we start to check his ketones every 2 hours, because if he has ketones, and we can’t get them out of his blood, we have to make a trip to the ER.  In addition, every time a child with type 1 gets sick, we have to be on the lookout for ketones.  That’s why it’s very important that we try and keep our kids sheltered from other sick kids.  We aren’t being overprotective for no reason, we are like momma bears protecting our cubs, because ketones cause death.

Ketone monitor kit on right. Uses a special test strip.

He has been home for 2.5 hours and I’ve got his blood sugar down to 123 and negative ketones.  I can take a deep breath, for a while anyway.  He has a fever, so it’s going to be another long night.


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