I love that these topics are really getting me thinking...there have been so many diabetes memories, both good and bad. I could post about Dylan's diagnosis. Or about Cyclebetes, the cross-Canada cycling event I was lucky enough to participate in not once, but twice. I could write about one of the many amazing JDRF events we have partaken in, or about the day we started pumping. All worthwhile choices.
But no. Today, the memory that keeps flashing to the forefront of my brain, is of Dylan's one, and only, REALLY bad daytime low. Sure, he's had hundreds of lows, in fact, lately he gets them daily. But this low...this bad boy was different. It had attitude. It was the type of low that keep a d-parent living in fear. The type of low that makes you want to hold on to your child and not let him or her out of your sight. EVER.
One day, within the first year after Dyl was diagnosed (he was 4 years old at diagnosis), he was spending the day with grandma at her house, which is about a 10 minute drive from our house. (For the record, she is and always has been knowledgeable about Dyl's diabetes, and is one of the few people I've always been comfortable leaving Dylan alone with.) After spending the afternoon together, she was driving him home when she decided to make a quick stop at the library to drop off a few books. She pulled up in front of the building and noticed Dylan had fallen asleep in the back seat of the car. Side-note: this was a very common occurrence, and still is now. Dylan frequently falls asleep within the first minute or so of travel time. Knowing this, she left him in the car and ran the 10 or so feet to put the books in the outdoor return slot. She hopped back in the car and drove to my house. When they pulled in our driveway I could see her, from the kitchen window, struggling to get him out of the car. Again, this wasn't uncommon. He would sleep so soundly for short drives, that we would often have difficulty rousing him once we reached our destination. I saw her pulling him out of the booster seat and trying to get him to walk up the flight of stairs to the back door. And that was when I knew something was very wrong.
Normally Dylan would be disoriented after snoozing in the car, but he would still semi-wake up and stumble into the house. This time he wasn't. My mom was literally dragging him; she had both arms hooked around his chest in a sort of sideways embrace, and was attempting to pull him up the stairs, his legs and feet dragging behind. As I opened the door to help her, she apologized, explaining that he had fallen asleep in the backseat and she couldn't rouse him.
I immediately knew the truth. He wasn't sleepy, he was hypoglycemic. Between the two of us, we brought him inside and sat him on the couch. I tried, unsuccessfully, to give him dex, but he wasn't responsive enough to chew the tablets. I grabbed a juice box, rammed the straw through the metal hole, and squeezed the juice up through the straw so that it dribbled slowly into Dylan's mouth. For the first few seconds, he didn't swallow, the juice running out of his mouth and down his chin, spilling onto his t-shirt. Then suddenly, as I was about to prep the glucagon for my first real use, he swallowed a few sips of juice. Then a few more. And slowly, as if by magic, the life returned; the color slowly returned to his cheeks, the clarity to his eyes, and the control to his limbs. He was back.
Nothing, I repeat, nothing, can prepare a parent for that experience. I thought I was ready - I had done all the training, been through the procedures, I knew what to do in an emergency. But nothing I had read or studied could have prepared me for the real deal. That afternoon was the first time I TRULY understood just how unpredictable, powerful, and terrifying, diabetes could be.