Parent's second worst nightmare (but had a happy ending)

This is going to be extremely difficult to write but I think I need to write it. The other day, I accidently overdosed Eric with his Lantus. How could that happen?? I am usually extremely careful and conscientious. But, it was the day after Thanksgiving… I was all stressed out because my whole family, including Eric, had had a stomach bug, and I’d been unable to go to work at all (this two days before a crucial project had to be finalized for launch), and I’d been arguing with my stepdaughter over who got to do the dishes that night. In short, I was not in the frame of mind to be doing insulin calculations. We give Eric diluted Humalog because the amounts he needs are so small (anywhere from 0.2 to 1.6 units, usually) that we can’t measure them accurately in whole units, so I have to mix up a batch of 10% insulin/90% saline every couple of weeks. So with the Humulog, we multiply the number of units he needs by 10 to get the right dose from the diluted solution. Ergo, if he needs 0.5 units of Humulog, he gets 5 units of the diluted solution. However, he gets whole units of Lantus—prior to honeymoon, it was 2 units, but lately we’ve taken him off it altogether because it was impossible to tell (between honeymoon and stomach bug) how much he really needed—see my earlier blog post about his multiple BG crashes for details!)

Friday night was the first night we were reintroducing the Lantus. We’d seen 3 days of consistent high BG readings in the morning, so it seemed like he was over the stomach bug, and that whatever insulin he was producing wasn’t enough to serve, so adding Lantus was the thing to do. I’d intended to be cautious and start with 0.5 units. But, distracted as I was—I drew up the Lantus the same way I drew up the Humulog, that is, multiplying by 10, completely forgetting that the Lantus is not diluted. And I gave it to him, said “all done!”, started to put everything away… and froze, realizing abruptly that I’d drawn up 5 units, not 0.5, of Lantus. One minute too late to do anything about it.

I called the clinic immediately; it was nighttime so I got their answering service, but I knew they’d call back right away. Then I had hysterics. Rationally, I knew that the insulin I’d injected wasn’t going to have an immediate effect on his blood sugar—it is a long-acting form, after all. But let’s face it—when you’ve got your child’s health and well-being in your hands and you blow it that badly, hysterics is the least you can do. I envisioned another trip to the ER, Eric on a glucose drip, with everyone looking accusingly at me as the lousy mother who’d OD’d her kid… I even feared he might die, and I’d have to live with the fact I’d killed my own son. Even when the clinic called back and told me that the solution to the problem was simply to make sure he got 20 carbs every 2 hours round the clock till the Lantus wore off, I still felt horrible. What if I hadn’t realized what I’d done right away? What if we’d put him to bed without knowing he’d been overdosed? He does usually wake up and cry when he’s low, but not always… and although I usually wake up when he cries, I was unusually tired that night from taking care of my sick family, so I might not have heard him. So to make a long story short, I spent a couple of hours contemplating the possibility that I very nearly killed my son by making a very stupid mistake.

Obviously, things turned out fine. We gave Eric lots of chocolate pudding that night, even though he wasn’t really “into” it at 3 a.m., and kept his BG up in the 200s for the duration with remarkably little trouble. Even so, I can’t say I’ve gotten over it yet. It’s not something I’m likely to forget any time soon, which I guess is a good thing—makes it much less likely that it will happen again. But I’ve at least come to realize that what the clinic nurse and my mother both told me is the truth: mistakes happen. Parents are human beings, they make mistakes, and sometimes the mistakes are dreadful ones. (My mother offered to tell me about the painful near-misses she had with me and my brothers; I declined.) I got lucky this time, and it will make me more cautious in the future. Moral of the story is, when you’re taking care of your child, focus on that and only that. If you can’t, then don’t draw up the insulin till you can. It’s a lesson I hope never to have to repeat!

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be thankful you gave it to him and didn’t forget to give it. My brother was upset the other nite and forgot to take his shot. He woke up the next day feeling awful. messed up his whole day. At least with too much insulin you can eat and take care of it.W/out it you end up not being able to function for feeling bad.

Dear Elizabeth,
You are a great mother,your children are lucky to have you.This always happens everywhere.

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:…and on and on it goes …

Remember that poem by Shel Silverstein?
Don’t let the what if’s take over…(I have a hard time with this a lot!)
You are a loving mom, a human being subject to making mistakes…we all do :wink:
I can surely understand your hysterics being a mom myself …
but everything worked out well though in the end…no more what if’s :slight_smile:
(((BIG “D” HUGS)))

Its ok. At least you realized what you did and took the necessary steps to take care of it. I think as parents we have all done something similar. I accidentally gave my 2 yo then 10 mo. too much of some meds our Pedi gave her. (I can’t remember what it was, but I remember FREAKING out! ) My Husband said its ok, they take people like you into consideration when they mix that stuff. Yeah that made me feel better :frowning: But she was fine, I didn’t sleep or anything near it, just basically made sure she was fine.
((((HUGS)))) It really is ok.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, it is something that happens…at least his does was little…I was taking LOTS of Lantus and Novolog before I had gastric bypass surgery and went on an insulin pump…well one day I had mistakenly given myself 75 units of Novolog instead of 75 units of Lantus…I had a hell of a time getting my sugars to get up and stay up…it happens and you did the best thing to do and that was realize what you did and got on the phone and got him help…

Elizabeth exhale what happened is over and Eric is fine. We can all do this I once gave my non diabetic daughter an OD of Actifed. Right after it hit me just like you and I called poison control thinking I have poisoned my daughter what kind of mother am I! They said not to worry she would just be real sleepy. Hmph! I thought hung up and called her pediatrician who bless his heart calmed me down for almost 40 minutes while I freaked sure her heart would explode from the pseudonephrine in the Actifed. I stayed up all night checking her pulse until I was sure it was out of her blood stream.

I fell asleep on the bottom of her bed when she awoke poor thing thought I was low! haha
Mistakes are gonna happen it is how we react to them that is important.
Be loved

Thanks guys! It helps more than you can know to be “absolved” by people who really do get it…

Elizabeth-- as I read your post, I was thinking that challenges from diabetes often have a solution (i.e. eat 20g carb every two hours), but the emotional effects are often hard to deal with. I hope that you are able to come to terms with this because it could happen to anyone. We have all made mistakes like this, but have gotten through it. You are doing an amazing job adjusting to this whole new lifestyle!!!

I guess Eric won’t be craving chocoloate pudding for a while!

It was traumatic only because I’ve been trying so hard to be perfect, but clearly, even if I’m less than perfect Eric will survive. Which is a relief!

Yeah… it’s taking me a while to get the news :slight_smile: but I’ll figure it out. Sooner or later. That’s why I’m here, after all… but it does take some of the pressure off to know that however imperfect I might be, he’ll likely survive the experience. Which I guess is a lesson all parents ought to keep in mind anyway, diabetes or no diabetes!

Elizabeth, Thank you for sharing; you are a great mom and have been very supportive since I joined the site. That fact that a “pro” like you can make mistakes helps “newbies” like me realize that it’s OK if I mess up: that there is a solution to all mistakes and we go on having learned from the mistake. Sometimes I don’t think as parents we give ourselves enough credit: diabetes managment is very complex; as I was reading your original post and you described how you dilute Eric’s insulin I was thinking to myself she writes about that like she is a pharmacist! You are an inspiration to all of us!!