That's What Mums Do....
It's been almost a month since I last wrote. Life has been a little crazy in the past few weeks and each time I've had five minutes to myself to write I've just come to a complete block.
I had my first jab on the 25th March and felt a little rough a couple of days later. 12 days later though I felt really unwell. High temperature, shivering and a general feeling like someone had pulled the plug out. I ached all over, had a constant headache and felt sick. I'm not one to take time off work, but I was incapable of doing anything. I did a lateral flow COVID-19 test and that was negative but after a couple of days feeling like this I was a little worried. I spoke to my Dr and had a test sent out, fortunately it was negative and the Dr has put it down to a reaction to the jab. After 5 days I felt OK just a little worn down.
Since the easing of the lockdown restrictions I've been travelling to the office 2 days per week and it has been so lovely to see colleagues. To actually see faces without masks. I've managed to meet up with some old friends and also with some new friends made through my group. I really enjoy being in company. To spend a few hours in a garden or walking along the beach having a coffee, chat and a laugh has been so needed.
We have had some happy news in our family, the first in a while. My daughter proposed to her partner on her partner's birthday, and she said yes! My daughter had spoken to me a couple of months ago telling me her plans and asking for my opinion on a choice of rings. It meant so much that she included me and her partner's mum in the proposal plan. Being a big softy I cried with happiness when she told me and struggled to contain my excitement when the day came. A couple of days after I spent the afternoon with my future daughter-in-law, and although they are not planning to get married in the immediate future she did tell me what they are thinking of. It was so lovely spending time with just her as my daughter was at work. I feel so lucky that my daughter is so happy in her life.
My son is 17 this week and I always get emotional around my children's birthdays. He is growing up so quickly. He's just applied for an engineering apprenticeship and got an interview next week. I am so proud of the young man he is growing into. He also gave me a huge scare two weeks ago.
Both of my children are type 1 diabetics. My daughter was only diagnosed last year aged 21, but my son was diagnosed at 12. The first year after diagnosis was a massive learning curve. He had to carb count which meant weighing everything he ate and working out the number of carbs in the ingredients, then working out how much insulin to take. Due to his age and his hormones going mad it was a very up and down time with several hospital admissions whilst we learnt to adjust to this new and ongoing way of life for him.
Type 1 diabetes is considered a lifelong chronic illness and can cause many complications. My son learnt very quickly how to manage his diabetes to the best of his ability, but there are factors that are beyond his control that can cause huge problems. His ever-changing hormones as a teenager or when he has a sickness bug or even the common cold can affect his sugars. Hypoglycaemia and Hyperglycaemia are common for T1 diabetics and whilst we now recognise the symptoms and can usually manage the highs and lows without medical intervention there are times when it just doesn't work.
Two weeks ago was one of these times. My son had been perfectly OK all day. His sugars for the most part are exactly where they need to be on a day to day basis. He went out at about 8pm that evening for a walk with his friend. He was home 30 minutes later and said he was having a low. He looked awful and was dripping in sweat. This is unusual for him. Usually with a low he gets dizzy, verbally aggressive and if too low gets disorientated, slurs his words and is lethargic. That alone is scary, but this was something different. I checked his blood sugars, and they were at 1.6, this is dangerously low. He had told me he felt low halfway through his walk and had eaten some high sugar bars, but it had not helped. His clothes were soaked with sweat, and he was shaking uncontrollably. I got him out of his wet clothes and wrapped him in a duvet. I needed to treat the low so gave him something to bring his sugars up. I checked his temperature and was shocked as he was at 32.5 degrees. Hypothermic. This has only ever happened once before and that was in 30 degree heat in July just after he was diagnosed.
He sounded like he was drunk. His words were slurred, and he was finding it difficult to think or process what was being said to him. I know with hypothermia you need to warm the person slowly, but I also had to continue to treat his low. After 30 minutes of doing this and with no improvements I phoned the hospital. Fortunately we have a direct number to the Children's Assessment Unit, and they are fantastic at giving us advice or if more urgent treatment is needed they organise directly.
Although I was scared I was so calm. The hospital was concerned but reassured me I was doing everything right. We needed to wait another 30 minutes, keep warming him gradually and treating the lows but if no improvement an ambulance would have been needed. I did exactly as required. His sugars started to rise, but he was still incredibly cold. With his sugars rising he was able to get into a warm shower. After a while his temperature rose to 34. I spoke to the hospital again, and they were happy an ambulance wasn't needed although from previous experience his sugars can then go the opposite way then plummet again taking us back to step 1.
This low and hypothermia had really taken it out of him, and he just wanted to sleep. I kept him in my lounge and let him sleep on the sofa as I still needed to monitor his sugars and temp for a while. Eventually at 11.30pm I was happy he was stable enough to go to bed. I however needed to check him again an hour later and repeat throughout the night every two hours. It is like having a newborn baby again. After he went to bed my calmness disappeared, and I sat and sobbed. I had been running on adrenaline and when that leaves your body it can cause a low. My son is growing up and wants to live a normal life. I worry about if things like this happen when he is away from home, who will help him? Would he be able to phone for help? The reality that I cannot be there for him forever hit me like a brick.
The following day I had to go to work, exhausted as up at 2am, again at 4 then up for work at 6. My son spent the day with his grandparents as he was still feeling wiped out and his temp was still only 35 degrees. We don't know what caused it, but it can happen at any time without warning. My son has a great circle of friends who are for the most part sensible, and they know of my son's condition. This does help put my mind at rest a little. I can't wrap my kids up in cotton wool but oh it is so hard sometimes. After it all returns to normal my son is fine but gets cross that I worry too much. Maybe he will understand one day when he has children of his own that all you want to do as a parent is protect your child. I would do anything for my children not to have this illness, but I cannot change it. I have to let him grow and get on with his life whilst keeping my fears hidden away.
On Friday he will be 17. He is excitedly talking about learning to drive, holidays with friends and the possibility of travelling in the future. I will happily support my son in everything he wants to do but inside I will always worry, sometimes too much, but that's what mums do.
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