Tuesday, October 12, 2010

His Meter... His Lifeline.

I often wonder, how many people outside the Diabetes Community, realize just how important a blood glucose meter is. If they realize that this little device is ultimately, their lifeline to good health (other than insulin of course!).

Today was an emotional rollercoaster for the Lidwell household.

Let me start from the beginning... last night.

Last night, at 8pm snack time, Lenny's blood sugar was 131. WAHOO! We were at my inlaws, so snack consisted of a hotdog, roasted over an open fire, a slice of bread, ketchup, and Lenny begged for a Capri Sun juice box, so, we let him have it and just covered for the extra carbs.

Midnight his blood sugar again was 131!

Then, he woke up around 2:30 am, said he had to pee. Ok, no problem. He wanted to talk to me for a little bit, so we did, then he went to bed, but not before telling me he felt low. So, I checked him and he was 120. I told him his blood sugar reading was perfect and to lay back down and go back to sleep. He did.

Then, 7am breakfast, I go to wake him up. "Mom, I feel low" Check him, 113. He was grouchy, but I figured its just cuz he had to wake up for school. He ate breakfast, still grouchy, but sent him off to school.

Had beautiful levels all through school... to the point I was actually shocked that he was 187 at afternoon snack for them because lately, at school, he is always high then, but crashes by dinner. But, didn't think too much of it because I knew I altered the amount of protein I gave him for lunch to try to get better afternoon snack levels.

He comes home from school.

"Mom, I feel low. I want some of your candy corn."

He was VERY grouchy, very persistent about this candy corn, very persistent about feeling low. At first, I thought he was just saying "I feel low" because he just wanted some candy. Yes, he does try to trick us from time to time like that, but, usually mommy's instincts are right and I know its just him trying to outsmart us to give him some candy.

Not today.

After talking to my husband for a few more minutes, I notice the kids in the living room are VERY quiet. My first thought, they found a way to get to my candy corn LOL! Worried, I went to check on them.

Lenny had fallen asleep on the couch, Mackenzie was watching TV.

I decide to check his blood sugar. The Animas Ping meter remote reads 109.

Ya know, normally, I wouldn't have thought much of this, but after the way he was acting, his persistant "I'm low, Mom", and how he had complained about feeling low throughout the night and into breakfast, I decided to get Hubby's opinion on it. We decided to use the OneTouch Ultra Mini meter to just double check the reading. (Keep in mind, we had to open a different vial of test strips and callibrate the Mini meter to those new strips. We used the last strip in the previous vial when the reading said 109.)

Good thing we did!

The Mini meter read 44.


So, then we were stuck with... which reading do we go by? How do we know which one is the correct reading? We've never been faced with this before in the 2 years we've been doing this!

We called Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and talk with the diabetes educator on call to see what she suggested.

She said, because he is feeling low, and the Mini read 44, treat as a low. Also, next time he says he feels low, check with both meters, just to be on the safe side. She said for whatever reason, the meter could just not be reading lows correctly, it could be a malfunction of the meter remote. She also said that sometimes the company could be "picky" about sending out a new pump and remote (has to send both since the remote talks to the pump and vice versa), so if we notice it doing it again, keep track of it. If it does it 3 consecutive times, call the manufacturer and explain the situation and see if they will send you out a new pump and remote.

So, we gave him 4 glucose tabs (16g fast acting carbs), and rechecked 15 minutes later, with both meters.

I calibrated the meter remote with the new vial of test strips, and rechecked.

This time, the Mini said he was 83, and the meter remote said he was 66. SIGH.

We went with the 83 reading since thats what the Mini said and we had corrected the low based on the Mini reading 15 minutes prior... and obviously, he was on the rise.

But, to be on the safe side, We waited another 15 minutes and rechecked, using both meters.

This time, the Mini read 144 and the meter remote said 125. That's when it hit me.

I recalled that when we were in the hospital with him, going through the training on how to take care of him after diagnosis, the nurses told me that there is a 20% grace period.

Well, 20% is about 20 points. Now the meters are lining up properly.

We let him eat dinner, covered the carbs.

Bedtime snack rolls around... 125! WAHOO! Hubby said he did double check it with the Mini just to be on the safe side, and all was good.

Midnight rolls around, 115! Bit low for where I like him to be that early in the night, but, all in all, good number! I did double check it with the Mini just to be safe, and the Mini read 117.

Could that ONE strip that read a bg of 109 dispite his feeling low have been bad? Yes.

Is it possible that the strip somehow got contaminated? Honestly, I dont know. There is one thing that both myself and my husband complain about all the time, and have complained about it ever since his diagnosis. The OneTouch Ultra test strips are packaged where the part that absorbs the blood into the strip for the readings, are facing UP. We always use hand sanitizer on our hands, and alcohol on Lenny's finger, prior to testing, to help kill any germs, etc, on our hands prior to checking his sugar. Could even just a tiny little bit of alcohol from the hand sanitizer on our hands (even though we make sure it feels dry before touching the strips) have gotten in the opening of the strip that accepts the blood and that be what threw off the reading? I don't know, but I'm not going to rule it out.

I do know that the pre-opening expiration date was still ok. And there is no way possible this bottle was sitting there opened for so long that it caused the strips to go bad. We go through a vial of test strips in 2-4 days, depending on if he has school.

There's a lot of factors to take in consideration I guess, to try to determine what actually caused that bad reading.

I will say this much though. After seeing all of that, then remembering he complained about feeling low over night and at breakfast, but the readings were good.... it does make me wonder now if he was low over night and we just didn't know it because his lifeline (meter) wasn't picking up on it because of bad strips. Our initial reaction was that he's just feeling low because he's had so many high numbers for the last month... so a good number just isn't what his body is used to feeling, and is, in turn, giving him low symptoms. But, now we know, that wasn't the case... atleast not after school today.


Wendy said...


I've also worried about opening a vial of strips after washing my hands.

Ugh....ugh, ugh, ugh!!!!

Patty said...

I'm glad you had another meter to double check everything!

Dawn said...

I hear ya Wendy! I hate absolutely everything involved with this disease! I feel so bad for all these kids that have to go through it. But, they are all such great troopers, and all HEROS!

Me too Patty! God only knows what would have happened without that back up meter!!