Sue Rapp

My close friend and her husband decided to spend the night in New York to celebrate her birthday. They felt confident leaving their 9-year old son in my care, as I also have a child with juvenile diabetes. I was so pleased to help my friends so they could relax and enjoy an evening on the town. It is not often that parents of a child with diabetes are able to leave their child overnight in the care of another person. Caring for a child with diabetes is constant. You never stop thinking about the next fingerstick, the next shot, the next meal, or the possibility that their blood sugar will go low. I had the major responsibility to lift that care off their shoulders for just one night.

I gave Josh his evening insulin shot, a combination of three different insulins – Regular (short acting), Humalog (fast acting), and NPH (long acting). He told me that he did not even feel the shot. I was thrilled. Everything was great. The kids were playing. I went to my bed to relax and read a book. I fell asleep with the television on, but shortly after 9:30 p.m., the telephone rang and woke me up. While I was talking on the telephone, I began watching the show, 20-20, about dreaming, the subconscious and anesthesia. My subconscious must have been alerted because I realized in a state of shock, that I had given Josh his morning insulin dose instead of his evening dose. The morning dose included a higher amount of NPH which works for 12-15 hours and peaks during hours 4-6. Panic set in…. We could have ended up in the hospital if I did not handle this right.

I immediately checked his blood sugar level, which was fine for the moment, but my major concern was the NPH dose which would not “kick in” for another four to six hours. I was up all night checking his blood sugar every hour while he slept. I gave him juice to drink to raise his blood sugar when needed. I did not sleep for one minute that night. I cannot even tell you how awful I felt. I did call my friend’s husband to tell him what I had done. I asked him not to tell my friend so she could have a Happy Birthday. I believe he never told her what happened until they got home.

Sue Rapp