Before I embark on telling this story I want to make something very clear right from the start. This event happened in the October following Samuels diagnosis in March 2009. It involves 'dead in bed syndrome' which obviously is extremely serious, and every parents worst fear. I am NOT making light of the subject at all, and as time goes on and I hear that another young life has been lost my heart breaks, each and every time. The point that I am trying to make by telling this tale is that when dealing with a diabetic child there are times that you lose all perspective of what is going on around you and logic goes completely out of the window, and you think the worst in even the most simple conditions. I really hope that I don't upset or offend anyone that reads this.
Like I said earlier it happened in October 2009 and I took the four children to Great Yarmouth for a couple of days. My friend (Karen) was already there, she goes every year and she was the with her two children, plus another three children, and she thought that it would be fun if we joined her. Now, I know that you are doing the maths. That's right two adults and nine children, in one caravan for two nights!! I don't know about fun......it's completely mental!!!
Anyway, we arrived, threw our things in the van and went out.
Fast forward to the evening. A couple of drinks had been consumed, and we were talking, as you do. Now I don't know how the conversation lead to 'dead in bed syndrome'. It's not your usual light hearted discussion that you would have at the end of a lovely day, however, this is where we found ourselves.
Now, you have to remember that Samuel was fairly newly diagnosed, and although I had lived with my husband having type 1 for 13 years I had never heard of 'dead in bed syndrome', nor had I heard of anyone who had lost anyone to it. For me it was a statistic in a book, and a fairly low one at that, so in all honesty I hadn't given it any thought.
The night progressed and I tested Samuels blood before I went to bed, his level was low so needed treating. I was trying to wake him, and he was having none of it. He did not want to wake up! Anyway, we managed to wake him, treat the hypo and eventually turned in for the night.
What you need to understand now is the sleeping arrangements. I was in a room wi a couple of the children and Karen was in the lounge area on an inflatable bed, next to Samuel and a few other children. The morning came and we were having a chat over a cup of coffee. Karen was explaining that she had had a terrible night, and hadn't slept very well, and here's the reason why....
Karen had woke in the middle of the night and Samuel was cold, instead of thinking the obvious, that being he had kicked the covers off and we were in a caravan in the middle of October so he would be cold, her first thought was that he had died! Her second thought was not how I would react, but how she was going to explain that there were 11 people in the caravan!!! Obviously she checked that Samuel was breathing whilst trying not to wake him.
As, thankfully everything was ok we laughed about it, but I think it shows that when you live with a diabetic child, sometimes you lose perspective, and have the most irrational thoughts and can't see the obvious.
That said, what I learnt on my return home, was that shortly before my arrival at the caravan Karen had had a phone call from a friend to say that the teenage daughter of a mutual friend of theirs had sadly passed away due to 'dead in bed syndrome' and she hadn't told me as she didn't want to upset or scare me. So maybe her thoughts in the middle of the night weren't so irrational after all.