The other day I was setting an alarm when I thought about how I have four of them on my phone. It got me thinking about their purpose and how I feel about them. Let’s take it from the bottom.


3:00 PM: School Pick-up, Tuesday.

About a year ago I started working at a new office on Tuesdays. It’s a little farther from home and kids’ school, so I need to leave work promptly at 3 PM to pick up my two kids and two more kids from our carpool. One lovely Tuesday, shortly after my start at the new office and in the beginning of the school year, I lost track of time at work. I was plowing through tasks, felt accomplished and got a lot done. On my way out I stopped at a colleague’s office to say bye. “Aren’t you late, she asked?” “No, I’m exactly on time, it’s 3.” “Umm… No, it’s 4,” she said. I looked at her wall clock. “No way, it can’t be 4, you clock is wrong.” Then I looked at my phone. “OMG it is 4!” “What time do you have to pick up?” “3:45!!!”

To make a long story short, I made a few frantic phone calls and got someone else to pick up the kids. They were second to last to be picked up and they were not pleased, though a little amused. I was mortified. Ever since I have a recurring alarm at 3 PM on Tuesdays so that I am never ever late for school pick up again.

5:55 AM: STFU and Run!

This alarm is my favorite. A couple of years ago a friend of mine made a comment about how, when she was in the Marines, if they were too tired to run, they were told to do this nice and easy thing: STFU and run. The phrase instantly became my running motto, so much so that I had it written with a sharpie on my arm for the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon.


Saturdays have been my sacred running days for a number of years now. Saturday mornings I get up and run. I usually meet my running group at 7 AM, but even if I’m running solo I still wake up early and get going. It’s rarely an easy task to get myself up on a Saturday morning, when my family is peacefully sleeping. But I’ve never regretted forcing myself out of bed and lacing up my running shoes. STFU and Run!

3:58 AM: Alarm

I have no idea what this alarm is about. Obviously I used it at some point. It may have been to test V’s BG, or it may have been for travel. I don’t know why I haven’t deleted it – I guess you never know when you can use another alarm, right?

At this point, you may be wondering why I’m writing about all these alarms in the blog about diabetes and Celiac. This brings us to the 2:00 AM alarm. In our family, we don’t do Midnight, Three and Six. In fact, we don’t routinely get up in the middle of the night to test V. When we do, we roll with Eleven, Two and Five. I usually test V before my bedtime at 11 PM. She may need a correction or a change in a temp basal rate. Sometimes we are battling highs or lows because of illness, change in activity, or what she had for dinner. If we determine that a middle-of-the-night check is needed, we set the alarm for 3 hours later, at 2 AM. My husband is up at 5 AM to get ready for work, so he can check on V then. I am usually up for the day at 7 AM for further follow-up. It works out quite nicely and we share the 2 AM duty so that we can take turns getting a night of uninterrupted sleep. We have it all worked out, and yet I hate this stupid 2 AM alarm, aptly named “Diabetes-related sleep disturbance.”

I hate the 2 AM wake-up. I hate that diabetes disturbs our sleep and our peace. I hate that I tend to wake up to it even if it’s not my turn to be up. I hate that my body is so accustomed to it that I tend to wake up at 2 AM even if we don’t have to set the alarm. I hate that diabetes, while manageable, is also so serious that there are times each week we need to be up in the middle of the night to make sure V’s numbers are in an acceptable range. I hate that sometimes us being up is not enough, as we have to also wake V if we need to treat her low BG. And I hate that at some point, sooner than later, we have to pass the torch to V. For now we completely take over her diabetes care at night. She sleeps soundly through all alarms and vast majority of finger pokes. As she gets older and becomes more responsible for her care, it will have to change. She will have to set her own alarm to wake up and test in the middle of the night, and we will have to step back and learn to trust that she will act responsibly.

I am also hopeful that, as diabetes technology continues to improve, more tools to improve nighttime safety and ease the burden of management will soon become available. It would be so great if no one has to set an alarm in the middle of the night to deal with diabetes. And it would be so great to delete the 2:00 AM alarm from my phone for good.

5 responses to “Alarms

  1. Wouldn’t it just! This is probably the thing which strikes most fear and sadness into me – the fact that my girl may never get a full night’s sleep if she is intent on keeping herself safe and healthy. And the worry that sometimes she might feel like she just can’t be bothered 😦


    • Yes, I worry that diabetes burnout will strike, and at the most inopportune time. At the same time I know better that it is useless to worry about something that may or may not happen, and I am hopeful that better tools will be there when V has to be more responsible for her care. All that being said, it effin’ sucks 😦


  2. Great post! Glad that you and your husband are able to share out the night time diabetes duties. I can say (in my experience) that night time duties become a little more part time as you become older and more independent, and I hope this will be true for V as well.


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