I pushed and nudged the body bundled under the comforter. Then, in my most authoritative, threatening voice, yelled “Get up!” but I might as well been talking to the wall. Savannah would lift her head a few inches off the pillow, glare at me with snake eyes, then slip back to sleep.
This went beyond a child’s normal resistance to getting ready for school.
Panicked, I grabbed the glucose-monitoring device and a minute later I had my answer. Savannah had a blood sugar of 35. Anything under 40 – some say 60 – is a red alert.
I immediately flew into overdrive, pumping Savannah with cortisol and orange juice while I prayed for a sugar spike. The endocrinologist suggested I have her checked out in the emergency room. I opted the less expensive choice: the pediatrician.
“You caught her right before she had an adrenal crash,” the new pediatrician later said, as she leafed through Savannah’s telephone book size file.
About twice a year Savannah, as a result of her pan-hypopituitarism, has an adrenal crash, where all her vitals plummet and I have to step-in like some Super Hero with an emergency Solu-Cortef injection. There are no words to describe my anxiety and fear every time this happens.
Unlike an EpiPen, which is a breeze to administer, Solu-Cortef requires assembling a needle, mixing power with liquid, and then sticking a giant needle into the top of the thigh. Usually by the time I get to administering the injection, Savanna’s seizing or semi-conscious. Recently she had a crash, in of all places, the back of a cab on the West Side Highway.
I always had a march on attitude about my daughter’s rare disease. That everything is and will be fine. However, the physician’s remark made me pause and wonder if sometimes I’m in denial.
The signs of a crash are sometimes subtle. What if she didn’t have school that day? What if she had been at a sleepover? What if she was away at college?
Can she ever live alone?