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The Fall

Monday, January 23, 2012

It was a few weeks ago at gymnastics. 

She had just recently moved to the big equipment.  Regular size bars.  Regular size beam.  Regular size vault.

In her previous class, blood sugar was never an issue.  She never did enough activity to warrant doing a basal reduction or giving her free carbs.

But this new class, with all the big, new equipment, was different.  We just didn't know it yet.

She doesn't wear her Dexcom receiver in gymnastics class.  She doesn't want the other girls asking her what it is.  She just wants to be normal.  I get that.  So we let her go without Dex.  It makes her happy.  And that's a huge plus about the Omnipod.  We can hide it.  And without the Dex receiver, no one can see a thing.

The parents are sent upstairs to the viewing room.  We all crowd around the windows watching our kids down below in the gym.  You've got to get there early if you want a seat!

She started out on the bars that night.  The bars are on the other side of the gym.  She looks like a little ant flipping around!  The bars are her favorite!

Next they moved to the floor.  They were practicing cartwheels and roundoffs and jumping onto the vault and doing back flips into the pit.  She seemed fine.  But her cartwheels and roundoffs were a little off...

Then they moved to the beams.  The beams are right below the viewing window.  She does a great job on the beam.  They are learning to balance and turn and lift their legs and jump. 

She was smiling and laughing and having fun.  Just like always.  But she was really unsteady. 

"She's off tonight" J commented.  And she was.  We could see it now that she was right in front of us.  She was having a really hard time staying on the beam. 

She was shaking so much that it looked like she was doing it on purpose just to be goofy.  Something she has been known to do...

But then....

She fell.

And this time, she landed FACE FIRST on the mat. 

I think my heart stopped.  But she got up and brushed herself off. 

She started to cry and her teacher picked her up and held her.  She knows that Sweets has diabetes.  She knows that we are always up there watching. She knows to give us the sign if something isn't right. 

So I waited.  And I watched.  And she stopped crying.  And she got back up on the beam. 

But she was still shaking. 

"Something isn't right."  I said. 

The thought had no more come out of my mouth than Dexie started beeping in my purse.

It usually won't pick her up.  But she just happened to be right below us.

And guess what it beeped???

Low.  Under 55.

So I took off running down the stairs, cursing myself for not realizing what the problem was.  I mean, really...  How many signs do I need?!?  Why did it not occur to me that she was LOW?!?

Parents are not allowed in the gym - but I ignore that rule when I need to test.  So I burst into the gym and grabbed her and tested. 

And she was 55. 


A little juice and some smarties and her bg came up.  She was off to join to her class.  Nothing keeps her down.

But I was shaken. 

How in the world did I not realize that she was low?  She could have really gotten hurt. 

She's just starting to feel her lows.  Most of the time she is oblivious.  She feels a crash but not a slow drop.  And we are working on her recognizing that a shaky feeling often means low and that she should tell someone.  But it's a work in progress...

To her it was just another low.  Just another interruption to her life.

But it shook me up. 

Since then, not too much has changed. 

The low and the fall have faded into the backgroud.  I don't think or obsess over it like I did right after it happened.  I don't worry about what easily might have been....

She still does not wear the Dexcom to gymnastics.  I'd like her to.  But it means a lot to her not to wear it and so I'm forcing myself to be ok with that.

We've discussed lows a lot and what it feels like and how she HAS to tell her teacher if she is feeling shaky. 

And we're working on things.  Experimenting with decreased basal rates and free carbs.  It seems to vary a bit from week to week but we're finding success with a 30% basal reduction for 2-3 hours and possibly 15 g free before class depending on bg when class begins. 

The only thing that has really changed is that I'm a little more on my guard.  I watch a little closer.  Scrutinize every fall.  It reminded me that I must ALWAYS be alert.  ALWAYS be looking for the signs.  Especially because she often can't.

 I've been reminded that diabetes is always there.  It never goes away.  It never takes a break.  It never leaves her alone or allows her to be just like everyone else.  At least not on the inside. 

But that's pretty much it.  Nothing really changed.

And that's how it should be. 

Diabetes is not going to keep her from doing gymnastics.  It's not going to keep her from anything. 

That little girl is full of spunk and vigor.  NOTHING holds her down.

So even though it shook me up, I'm taking my cues from her.

I'm dusting myself off and getting back up there. 

Because if she can, then so can I. 

She is, after all, my hero.



  1. Oh Hallie, it must have been so scary! But you know what I think about what you write all this? That you are teaching her resilience, one of the best qualities I can think of. She got back to class and didn't let it stop her. I applaud that, and I applaud you and her. Bravo Mama!

  2. I'm sobbing reading this. I wonder everyime J runs. A lap is he slow cause he's tired or low.

    Could maybe. The teacher keep Dex on her? So it picks up signal and she doesn't have to "wear" it?

    She's amazing mama, as are you!

  3. Wow, amazing that Dex worked at that distance. What a gift. I've read that you don't feel your lows sometimes when they move down gradually. It's easier to feel when they drop. Sounds like she is doing some phenomenal stuff....

  4. someday, you will be her hero. <3

  5. Awwww... that's a beautiful AND scary story. Although she doesn't know it, she's teaching us ALL a thing or two about "getting back on the beam"

  6. Luckily, my daughter does not go low with gymnastics but we have that issue with swimming. We do not have a Dex so we just have to stop and test.

  7. ~K usually feels her lows... but she misses them when she's swimming, then she refuses to check because she doesn't want to be interrupted. Sigh. Our kids are amazing.

  8. ~K Usually feels her lows -- except, at times, when she's swimming. Then she refuses to check because she doesn't want to interrupt what she's doing. Sigh.
    Our kids are amazing.

  9. She sounds like an amazing little gymnast! How scary for you to be watching her and discover how low she was....I probably would have fallen down the stairs and broken my foot on the way down! That is amazing the cgm worked from that far away and was right on. Natalie has gotten really good about feeling her lows and it is always the "shakey" feeling that makes her ask us to check her. She even said one time her legs felt shakey, but we could not see them shaking. So we talk a lot too about telling us or a teacher if she ever feels shakey. You are doing great!

  10. :( I'm so sorry that Sweetpea fell. I'm sure that your heart jumped. But I'm so proud of her. She's a tough cookie!

  11. I watched the same thing happen to L at swimming lessons. I'm so glad that children are resliant. It is easy to take our cues from heros, right? So glad she didn't smoosh that sweet face too badly!

  12. don't beat yourself up Hallie! I'm 50 years old, Type 1 and sometimes shake so hard I can't stand up....yet I refuse to stop what I'm doing and test....just because I'm involved in my activity and I don't want to be interrupted by stupid diabetes...or I just plain don't recognize that I'm low until one certain moment! You are doing just fine....and Sweetpea is blessed to have you by her side!
    Love from Mousie

  13. I don't think we ever get used to lows. Each one presents differently.


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