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Coming Down Off the Bus

I lean back and stretch, before glancing at the time in the lower right corner of the computer screen.

11:35 AM

Joseph should have called by now to confirm his lunch bolus.

Standing up, I stretch again-- then walk upstairs to the kitchen, drop into a seat at the counter and slide Joseph's bright yellow and green logbook in front of me.

Hmmm.... 155 before breakfast-- that means the spike will be a bit higher. But if today is anything like the last few days, he'll probably coast into the low-to-mid 100s.

Hopefully.

We've had some out-of-left-field highs of late, so I'm not entirely confident in my prediction.

A few minutes go by and I look at my watch, then at the clock on the microwave.

Huh.

He should have called at 11:30, right after lunch...

But then I remember something.

It's Friday... the field trip... his class went downtown to see a musical performance.

I get up and rummage quickly through a stack of papers next to the phone-- until I find my half of the permission slip.

"Students will arrive back at school by 11:30 am," it says.

I look at my watch again.

11:45

Relax, I tell myself, he's probably just finishing his lunch...

Several more minutes pass before the loud ring of the phone causes me to jump.

"Hi, Mom," Joseph says, his voice sounding tired, "lunch was 93 grams."

"Cool, Bud-- and what was your bg?"

"81."

"Okay, let's see now - "

"Mom... "

A pause.

"... before that, I was 37."

"What?"

For a second, I'm convinced I didn't hear him right.

"Thirty-seven," he says again, a little more slowly.

"Wha- where-- when were you 37?" I sputter, trying to stay calm.

And failing miserably.

Because all I can picture is Joseph on a loud school bus, packed with middle schoolers.

A blood sugar of 37.

"It was when I got off the bus-- I felt really low and I went to the health office and checked and took some glucose- "

"Wait-- did you feel low during the bus ride back to school?"

"Well, kind of... I mean, I felt hungry. But I figured we were gonna eat lunch once we got back."

"How many tabs did you take?"

"I took five and then ate lunch about seven minutes later."

"So after seven minutes, the glucose brought you up to 81, and then- "

"No, I was 81 after I had lunch."

"Oh, Honey-- you've gotta check again before you eat, to make sure the glucose is bringing you up."

"Well, the blueberry bagel I had didn't really slow things down. I was fine-- and Mom, it was kinda cool the way all the girls were worried and wanted to give me hugs and stuff."

Despite hearing the smile in my son's voice, I can't stop feeling sick about this.

What if he was 37 just a few minutes earlier? While he was still on the bus, miles from the school?

I try to shake this thought as we calculate his lunch bolus.

"Bud, why do think you went low? Were you more active this morning? Did you give yourself extra insulin? A correction? A bolus for a snack?

"Mom-- no, none of those things. I just got on the bus this morning, sat at the concert, got back on the bus- Mom, it happens. I have to go-- recess is almost over.

"All right, Bud... " I say, straining to sound normal, "I'm sorry, go ahead-- I'll... I'll see you later."

Shaking, I sit back down in my chair, and stare through wet eyes at the logbook in my hands. At the "37" I've written in it.

Frightened.

Because I can't find a single reason for that number.

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