Spencer Broke His Collar Bone, I Got a Cold, and My Blood Sugars Are All Messed Up

| Apr 1, 1994

Many of you read my column one year ago about the birth of my son Spencer. It was probably the most popular column I had ever written and described an event that was extremely challenging.

Spencer is Walking

Spencer has grown into a fine and beautiful boy during this past year. One thing that has puzzled me is why God decided children would learn to walk at one year and not talk until they are two years old! It seems to me that it would be much better if we could talk and reason with him before he gets up on two feet and starts careening around the house. Spencer is an especially active boy-more than any other boy his age we have met. My staff has given him the nickname of "Hurricane Spencer" because of the way he comes through the office laying waste to everything in his path. The days I take care of him I am exhausted by the time his mother returns home. I now have new respect for what mothers have been doing for years.

This morning we went through our first (and hopefully last) hospital panic with Spencer. It was gut-wrenching.

It all started when we were visiting some friends who also have children. Spencer was playing with the other children and for just a moment no adults were watching him. Suddenly he cried out-we found him at the bottom of some stairs. He must have started to climb up and then slipped.

We Feel Terrible

After the initial burst of tears, he fussed for a little while, but then he ate dinner. We all felt like terribly negligent parents to have allowed this fall to happen. It was his bedtime and Spencer fell asleep in the car on the way home. He cried when I lifted him out of his car seat, but he was soon asleep with a little snuggling.

In the morning we knew something was wrong when he cried as my wife Nadia took him out of the crib. Usually this boy is extremely happy and cheerful, but this morning he was sedate and wanted to be held. We immediately decided it was time to go to the hospital.

Scott Balances his Blood Sugars?

That's when the fun began, because I had already taken my morning insulin dose. I was going through my own diabetes ordeal trying to bring my blood sugar down. The night before, because my sugar level was 86 mg/dl, I had a vanilla yogurt bedtime snack. At 2am I woke up having to use the bathroom and my head felt thick. I decided to test again. It read 226! How could it have gone up so much? I calculated that 3.5 units would bring me back to normal, so I punched it into my insulin pump, checked in on Spencer, and went back to bed.

At 7am I was still 170, and I could feel a Cold coming on. I was frustrated with myself for letting my blood sugar stay high over night which encourages those pesky Cold bugs to grow and multiply. "That's all I need right now with a newspaper deadline this week, and my column to write; a Cold!"

I know that I shouldn't blame myself for getting a Cold. As a matter of fact, getting a Cold always drives my blood sugars up. They have been zipping up to 200 all day. It's been especially hard to keep them down. The insulin dosage I usually take just isn't working. And now I have a runny nose, a stuffy head, lots of sneezing, and a 200 blood sugar to top it all off! But I am jumping ahead in the story.

Getting Ready for the Hospital

We all decide to skip breakfast, jump in the car and get right to the hospital. I took some food for when my blood sugar gets low enough for me to eat, and my meter, strips and glucose tablets. We also packed something for Spencer and Nadia to eat.

After we signed in and had been sitting in the Emergency Room waiting room for 45 minutes, I started to feel that tingling on my tongue that signals to me it is time to test. Just after I got the drop of blood on the strip and grabbed my meter back from Spencer before he hurled it to the other side of the room, we hear our name called over the loud speaker. Grab the food bag, grab the baby bag, grab dad's diabetes supply bag, grab the baby and dash in to see the nurse.

I'm carrying my meter while it finishes counting down-which, by the way, the folks over at LifeScan said not to do. Sometimes moving it while it's counting down can cause an error message. Anyway, it's finally our turn and my blood sugar is now 65. Not too bad-your not "officially" hypoglycemic until you are below 60 mg/dl. I ate a dextrose tablet and then an orange while we waited for the doctor to come in. He looked at Spencer and then sent us down stairs to the x-ray lab.

We went back upstairs with the x-rays in hand and he announced that Spencer had a "broken collar bone." We were stunned. Our child's first injury. He told us that it is a relatively common injury at this age and that it heals very quickly and doesn't need setting or casting. He did give us a small harness with instruction to try to have Spencer wear it.

Three days later: Spencer is back to his usual rambunctious self, my blood sugars are back to normal and the Cold is gone.

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Categories: Blood Sugar, Columns, Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Insulin Pumps, My Own Injection


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