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Sleep Number.

I love sleep.

But I did not love sleep while Chris was traveling for work these last few weeks.  Mostly because I did not sleep.

From the middle of September to last week, my husband was away for work. He came home three times for 24 hours apiece, which meant that we missed him terribly. And it also meant that Birdzone and I held down the fort for two months on our own, which, for the most part, went very well. Now that she’s five and a half years old, Birdy is excellent company and we had fun hanging out with friends and playing games. (For the record, she can kick my ass at Uno Attack. And Crazy Mates. If you haven’t played Crazy Mates, look into it. Buccaneer Bob is quite the fella.)

Doing the school routine and maintaining my work schedule was one thing, but getting enough sleep was the most difficult, and somewhat unachievable, goal. The compounded effects of not getting enough sleep took their toll over the last two months.

The first week that Chris was gone, I had a low blood sugar during dinner that was pretty intense. My best friend and another friend were over for dinner, with their kids, so there were people in the house.  I wasn’t afraid that my low was going to leave my daughter unattended.  But this low was long and drawn-out, making my mouth and cheeks numb and leaving my brain unable to formulate anything even close to a coherent thought.  I remember sitting at the dining room table, my Dexcom receiver hollering, and I didn’t respond for a few seconds.  I’d already had a juice box and some glucose tabs and my dinner, for fuck’s sake, but the food wasn’t hitting as fast or as hard as the hypo, so I was floating around on adrenaline and scraps of glucose.

It went on for about 45 minutes, and afterwards, the low hangover was epic.

I didn’t realize this low had scared me so much until a few days later, when I realized that sleep was not happening.  I wasn’t able to fall asleep at night and I woke up several times throughout the night because I was paranoid about experiencing that hypo intensity again.  I decided to share my Dexcom information, usually shared only with my husband and a trusted friend, with my best friend for the duration of my husband’s trip, because she was familiar with what the numbers mean, she knew how to respond in an emergency, and she lives five minutes away (and has a house key), so she could bust in if she needed to.

But even with the safety net of data-watchful eyes and technology that promised to buzz me awake if I fell out of range, shaking that hypo fear was difficult.  It stuck with me for the duration of Chris’s trip, alleviated only when I was either away briefly for work myself or when my daughter was sleeping at my mom’s house.  It wasn’t the actual low that scared me, but the idea that my child could find me low that kept me awake at night.

I wish this wasn’t the case.  I would love to end this blog post with a clever line with advice on how to manage these situations and the best ways to avoid fear of hypoglycemia, but the reality is that I slept through the night again once Chris was home.  And only then.

“It’s Diabetes Month … have you been advocating?” someone asked me in an email this morning.  And I realized I’ve been avoiding it a little, because diabetes has spooked me a little in the last few weeks.  I didn’t want to write about being nervous to go to sleep at night.  That didn’t feel like the “right” kind of advocacy (though there isn’t a “right” kind).

But then I realized that it was the truth.  And as much as I have accomplished despite diabetes, this disease influences my daily life in a way that far exceeds the seconds I spend checking my blood sugar or dosing my insulin.  I had trouble getting any sleep because I was scared.  Plain and simple.

The clever last line of this blog post?  I’m fucking thrilled, for a dozen reasons, that my husband is home.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nikki Thomason #

    {{{Kerri}}} I’m glad you decided to share, because I’m sure there are other folks who have the same fears. Now they can feel less alone.

    I’m also glad you have a friend who knows what to do and lives so close. That is a huge blessing.

    11/17/15; 10:02 am
  2. Jessica Jones #

    THIS IS ME. My husband works nights. I am often amazed at how little sleep I actually get some days, (weeks) (months). I spend a lot of time avoiding sleep if I am high or maybe-possibly-probably not heading low. My son is now 15, and I am still terrified that he’s the one that will have to take care of me, or find me, some night.

    Thank you, we are not alone in our fears.

    11/17/15; 10:16 am
  3. Martha #

    As we celebrate (right word?) Diabetes Month, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to acknowledge all the things about this wicked disease that make life really hard and worrisome. Yes, we can cheer all the incredible advances that are being made and advocate for even more to be done, but we can and should also say that we are afraid to go to sleep at night sometimes. In a way that itself is advocacy because it’s at the core of what all the advances in diabetes treatment are meant to combat.

    11/17/15; 1:48 pm
  4. For about the first ten years of our marriage, Maureen or I were traveling about half the year, about two or three weeks at a time. I’ve been there. Glad you were able to make do for a while, and not happy that we have to make do in these situations.

    11/17/15; 1:49 pm
  5. No matter the month, no matter how hard we’re advocating, no matter how strong we are – diabetes is brutal and real and it’s okay for us to be scared because it we weren’t? We might not be as smart as we need to be when dealing with it.

    Love you!!

    11/17/15; 2:14 pm
  6. Kerri, that’s real life, no apologies needed. I’m relieved that you have a good friend with a key so close by. Hope you get a chance to catch up on your sleep now. Being exhausted makes it much harder to deal with highs and lows. Take care !

    11/17/15; 10:42 pm
  7. Tricia #

    This is the world we live in. I have purposefully ran my numbers high in the past when my husband was away and I was alone for a weekend. At the time I was having a lot of lows and so I was scared to correct before bed. Having the correct basal rates and sensitivity factors has helped a lot, but you just never really know do you?

    11/18/15; 8:01 pm
  8. e-Patient Dave #

    You most absolutely need to keep telling the truth.

    Kerri, until you and I did that thing at Brown, and I heard you tell the truth, I had no IDEA (throughout my whole life) that PWDs can fear dying, and I don’t event want to imagine a little kid finding their parent on what I now know a low is like, much less worse.

    We Are Not Effing Waiting is a very very direct and to-the-point declaration. You keep it up please.

    11/22/15; 9:29 pm
  9. Courage is contained in the simple daily things one does despite fear – this post is the essence of courage. Admitting fear does not diminish you, it raises our estimation of your courage.

    I reflect daily on the silent, often invisible struggle so many of my friends and colleagues manage with grace. I’m grateful for your honesty, Kerri … and I know that there are uncounted legions who take “oh, my gawd, she’s just like ME” comfort from it.

    11/23/15; 8:50 am
  10. Charlene #

    I thought it was just me!! I’m petrified when my husband is away that something will happen and that my two little girls will be alone and not know what to do.
    Thanks for sharing!

    12/1/15; 9:06 pm
  11. Helen #

    I am the spouse of a diabetic. Diagnosed 2 yeas ago at over 60. He works on a farm and I worry about his long hours when they are harvesting the crop. Leaving home at 7:15 am and getting home about 10:00 pm. I feel for you!

    12/3/15; 2:23 am

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