Last night was rather frightening (mostly for me, not so much for my son).
Since last weekend, my son has been going to a coding sleep-away camp (for glucose-normals) in another town about 1 hour 15 minutes from home. Last year, when he went, he was still in honeymoon, and had not entered puberty yet – times were easy. This year, we have a much harder time with his BG, and we prepared carefully for camp: we discussed alarm strategy, basal plans, and adjusted his phone ring time with his cellular provider so that it would be as long as possible before going to voice mail.
Of course, the day he left for camp, his BG starting going everywhere – that was expected, due to different routines, different foods, no exercise and wild sleeping schedules. The nights were not good either, but we were able to make due by tolerating higher levels for highs at night. A couple of times I called him around 3-4am because he was approaching 180 and had not woken up yet. His BG levels were not great (lots of highs and lots of lows) but we had expected that.
Last night he went to bed really late again, as he has for the past 5 days, so he was quite tired. In the middle of the night he started going low. Once he had passed 65 I started calling him but could not wake him. I called non-stop, every 20 seconds (the ring duration), for 15 to 20 minutes , at which time he was in the low 50s. So I woke my wife up, asked her to alternatively call the camp director and my son, and jumped in my car, driving to camp (1 hour and 15 minutes away).
As I was driving I was thinking through my options. Last year, I had tried to get a hold of the camp director a couple of times, but had never been able to get through in a timely manner (no less than two hours). I had no expectation my wife would get through to him. I knew their dorm was in an access-controlled building, so I could not walk in. I was hesitantly vacillating between ambulance, police or firemen while driving in the night at 95 miles per hour.
Once he hit the lower 40s (after another 10 minutes) I got ready to call. Right then my wife texted she has just gotten a hold of the camp director, who told her he would wake my son up. I kept on looking at the CGM - he hit the LOW level and stuck there for the next 20 minutes. I could not understand why we were not getting news from the camp director or my son. Finally, as I was again ready to call 911, we got a text from my son telling us he had reached 100.
It turned out that the camp director could not wake him up for a good ten minutes – he just would not wake up. Then, once up, he took a bunch of carbs and quickly went up, then texted us. His CGM remained LOW for about 45 minutes, as he had trouble keeping his BG up. I ended up picking him up a few minutes later and bringing him home for the rest of the night. Not surprisingly, he was quite slow-witted throughout the episode.
For the last couple of days of camp, I am shuttling him back and forth, morning and evening.
The lesson of this experience, for me, is that a teenager can be in a physical state where no alarm will wake them up, and that 24-hour access to camp staff in summer camps for teenagers appears necessary. I am still working through the events of last night, trying to figure out how we could deal with it differently next time.
What is worse than this bad experience is that it is the first time we have not been able to be UNLIMITED since diagnosis. This is a very troubling thought. I really believed we would always be able to find a way to do whatever another glucose-normal kid would do. I am disturbed and unsettled that glucose-normal sleepaway camp is defeating us right now.