Yes, I admit it. I'm a member of a club. The 3 a.m. club! We have the best parties...just kidding. I am one of so many family members and caregivers who wake up in the middle of the night to check the blood sugar level of a (hopefully sleeping) diabetic relative.
This isn't a club I purposely joined or ever really wanted to be a part of and yet there I am in the wee hours of the morning padding softly down the hallway trying not to wake anyone (especially not the dog who sometimes decides he needs to be let out to sniff around the yard for half an hour).
I sneak quietly into my son's room and attempt to poke him with a lancet and draw blood without waking him. I'm pretty good at it now too. He almost never wakes up. Or at least he pretends he doesn't wake up. His numbers at 3 a.m. have been right on target for almost three weeks now and hopefully I don't jinx it with this post.
Some people stay members of this club for years. Some are told that they can take a break from membership but can't bring themselves to do it. Others do take a hiatus but that is usually all it is. If you are helping manage someone's type 1 diabetes you will be awake in the middle of the night at some point for blood sugar checking/management.
I'm currently in the club under a physician's direction. If/when I am told I can take a break I'm not sure what I will do. I know some parents that take the break and just feel thankful to be sleeping through the night. I know other parents who are given the option of a break but can't sleep without checking. I've recently been talking with a friend who is in the club for herself and despite having a continuous glucose monitor with alarms and a couple of friends that also receive alarms for her, she still wakes up between 2 and 3 a.m. every night because she is just so accustomed to needing to that she can't help it.
When I first joined this club right after my son's diagnosis, it was very stressful. I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't feel confident in my responses to his numbers, and I was often awake for long periods of the night. I would wake frequently and check the clock over and over again fearful that I would miss the alarm. After checking I would have a lot of trouble falling back to sleep with my mind racing. I've settled into it some now. I trust the alarm will wake me so I don't check the clock even when I wake in the middle of the night. After a check I can usually fall back asleep within an hour...sometimes I have to just count my breath 1 in 2 out over and over again to quiet the mind but most of the time I'm asleep again within the hour. This isn't a club I really want to be part of but I'm thankful too because a lot of families have joined other clubs that don't have as positive outcomes as my club. My son will likely have a long and full life and the price for that is waking in the middle of the night - WORTH IT!
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