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Wants someone to check bg every hour at night

Discussion in 'Diabetes and College' started by Ellen, May 19, 2008.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    St. Thomas Academy's Foley Schmidt is off to college, leaving his lifeline behind - TwinCities.com

    St. Thomas Academy's Foley Schmidt is off to college, leaving his lifeline behind

    St. Thomas Academy's Foley Schmidt isn't letting a dangerous disease keep him from pursuing a college degree and playing football at Dartmouth.
    By Brian Murphy
    brianmurphy@pioneerpress.com

    Article Last Updated: 05/18/2008 10:53:37 PM CDT




    With high school football in the rearview mirror, senior Foley Schmidt counts down his final days at St. Thomas Academy and imagines kicking field goals for Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in the fall.
    Parents Paul and Shannon share emotions of excitement, anticipation and trepidation as Foley embarks on a personal and medical journey that will alter lifestyles and their unique bond.

    The former Cadets quarterback and all-state kicker has a severe form of Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes that requires 24-hour monitoring of his blood sugar, which Foley does with a grab bag of syringes, meters and juice boxes.

    Sleep time is a completely different realm, however. Foley, whose body excessively burns calories, must be awakened every hour to ensure his glucose does not drop enough for him to slip into a diabetic coma.
    For much of the past 11 years, his mother has reported for that duty, sleeping on an air mattress in Foley's room in their Inver Grove Heights home.

    She sets an alarm clock to wake up, prick one of her groggy son's fingers and test his blood before each settles back into another restless sleep cycle.

    In three months, that maternal role will fall to a stranger in Foley's dormitory.

    The family is conducting a full-court press in arranging for caregivers to perform the mundane but interminable task once classes start. Private nurses cost tens of thousands of dollars, no small bill with tuition running more than $45,000 a year at Dartmouth.
    The leading option is hiring Dartmouth medical students, whose study habits might be conducive to such nocturnal nursing.


    "I know when I'm putting my head on the pillow next year she's going to be putting her head on her pillow worrying about me, thinking about me," Foley said. "It'll be tough at first. I'm hoping it'll be a smooth transition because that will make it easier for her and my dad."

    Cutting the cord is never easy. Try letting go of a lifeline.
    "I'm sure I'll be terrified," Shannon said. "But I'm excited for Foley. The kid has dealt with a lot in the last 10 years. He's accomplished a lot. He should have that opportunity to go away to college like other kids."

    'UNUSUAL SITUATION'
    Dartmouth College, the prestigious Ivy League school that accepts only 1,100 freshmen annually, is preparing for Foley's arrival. He will be housed near the campus clinic and likely live alone to accommodate a caregiver.
    Dr. Jack Turco, the school's director of health services, also is an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist. He said there are 15 to 20 diabetic students on campus but none who require 24-hour monitoring as Schmidt does.

    "Foley's got a very unusual situation," said Turco, who is coordinating the Schmidts' effort to hire medical students. "I'm going to do everything we can so he can be well supported and to help the family make arrangements as needed."

    Foley dislikes the fuss but knows it is necessary, and he hopes to assimilate as he has most of his life.

    "I have not slept over at a friend's house since sixth grade. Kind of crazy," he said. "You can't do a lot of the things your buddies are doing like go up to a cabin or take a trip. I've become more accepting of it."

    Three million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The disease strikes children suddenly when the pancreas fails to produce and regulate insulin, the hormone that converts blood sugar into energy.

    Patients are dependent on injected or pumped insulin for life. On average, the life expectancy of a person with Type 1 diabetes is shortened by 15 years.

    Foley was diagnosed when he was 7. Over the past decade, numerous tests and specialists have been unable to determine why his diabetes is so ravenous, his insulin level so volatile.

    Adult males typically burn 2,500 to 3,000 calories a day. Foley burns about 4,000, and his body can store only 1,500 calories at any one time, according to his physician, Dr. James Dufort.

    Factor in the daily practice and playing regimens of a three-year football and hockey career at St. Thomas Academy, plus three years of club soccer, and Foley's testing routine seems like a fourth sport.
    It is a relentless balancing of insulin, food and exercise, with Foley constantly replenishing the energy his body ferociously burns.
    During peak performance, when blood sugar can drop dangerously low, it is not uncommon for him to come home and devour a whole pizza, cookies and fruit, washing it all down with a glass of milk and a jug of Gatorade — on top of three square meals a day.

    "Because his metabolic rate is so high, the guy burns calories just sitting around," Dufort said.

    Foley tested himself on the bench during football games and between shifts during hockey, and he would steal sips from a juice box on the soccer field to avoid being substituted.

    Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that weakens the body's defenses. Foley missed two weeks of preseason football practice last year because of a staph infection on his left (non-throwing) elbow that required surgery. He returned in time for the Cadets' season opener, though his scar still hasn't fully healed.

    The disease has not hampered Foley on the football field. The All-Classic Suburban Conference quarterback twice earned all-state honors as a kicker for the Cadets, converting 13 of 16 field goals and 116 of 121 extra points in three years.

    With a 3.50 grade-point average and 31 ACT score, Foley said he declined several scholarship offers to play Division I soccer or Division III hockey and also turned down a walk-on opportunity to kick at the University of Minnesota.

    Foley is one of four kickers competing for Dartmouth's starting job, which is wide open, according to coach Buddy Teevens. Having watched Foley compete in three sports, Teevens was stunned to learn about his recruit's disease.

    "Foley's been very forthcoming, and I have a lot more respect for him for the sacrifices he's made to compete at this level," Teevens said. "It tells me this is someone who can be successful in any part of his life because that internal drive and discipline."

    There are no full-ride athletic scholarships to Dartmouth. With only 6,000 students and more than 20,000 applicants each year, the college allows only a select few to go Big Green. Foley plans to major in business.
    "We're excited because he's got the best opportunity to set himself up for the rest of his life," Paul Schmidt said.

    READY TO CUT THE CORD
    The rest of Foley Schmidt's life starts this fall, without the familiar rules or comforts of home.

    There will be no curfew, but the demand to act responsibly is no less strict. There will be new doctors to consult, and only he can manage the amount of insulin, testing strips and sugary snacks to stock in his dorm.
    Foley, the oldest of three sons and the focal point of diligent parenting for so long, is ready to cut the cord.
    "I think both of my parents are ready to have me move into the next step of my life. I'm very, very excited," he said. "Not many kids get the chance to play Division I football at an Ivy League school. I think I'm well prepared. It's going to be a heck of a run."
     
  2. OSUMom

    OSUMom Approved members

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    I wonder if the mom and dad have ever heard of childrenwithdiabetes.com? They might find it helpful to peak inside here come August. :cwds::cwds:

    What awesome accomplishments!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2008
  3. Amy C.

    Amy C. Approved members

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    Wow -- to have to be tested every hour is crazy. I wonder what is going on that his sugar is so volatile -- more than any other diabetic. It sounds like he needs a CGMS or 8 or 9 alarm clocks in order to wake himself up. Surely, he can't go on like this for the rest of his life
     
  4. bgallini

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    He sounds like a perfect candidate for a cgms.
     
  5. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    Yeah, I think he needs a CGMS. It might even be economical.
     
  6. Jacob'sDad

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    He's from our neck of the woods. I find his story fascinating. It brings up so many questions. With all the calories he burns does he need insulin at all? Should he be on a dextrose drip at night? How can he NOT HAVE a CGMS?
    Because his situation is so unique you'd think they would give him one for free just to study him.
    I'm just imagining that his BG does spike way up with food but maybe they can't give him insulin to bring it down, they just have to wait for it to drop on it's own.
     
  7. funnygrl

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    CGMS is great if it works for you- but it doesn't work well for everyone.
     
  8. kel4han

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    When I wake to check Maddison every hour a few days for basal testing I am a horrid mess. Emotional, physical. There HAS to be a better way for this guy. I can't imagine being a serious athlete burning 4,000 calories a day, but sheesh. Maybe he needs a complete metabolic workout comparison to carb intake. I dont know!
     
  9. funnygrl

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    I just re-read the article. It sounds like he's not even on a pump. I wonder what insulins he does use?
     
  10. coni

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    I know YDMV, but this sounds insane!!!

    I really, really wonder what is different about his body that requires such intensive management. Very curious.

    I, too, wonder what type of insulin regime he's on.

    I hope the parents have good medical advice (and second opinions!) I know there is a poster (Rick?) on the boards that had hugely fluctuating blood sugars, and the CGMS has been a godsend for him.

    Okay, clearly I'm having a hard time understanding this, although I realize it is possible...AND I'm thankful that my child isn't having to deal with this!
     
  11. grantsmom

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    Wow is all I have to say. Any time I have to test like this for one or two nights I am a zombie.

    Am I the only one who found the statement of life expectency disturbing?
     
  12. Lisa P.

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    I'm guessing they've considered the cgms and it doesn't work for him. It was my first thought, but even without it there's a similar solution -- it's called an alarm clock. If he could check and catch lows himself I'm assuming at this point he'd be doing so, I'm guessing the point is that his particular condition means that at any hour he could be too low to be coherent enough to check and treat himself.

    i think it's a fabulous way to get some of that $45 a year back. Maybe they should make the dean do it. . . .
     
  13. Ronin1966

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    Hello Ellen:

    Thats completely insane....
     
  14. linda

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    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How dare we complain about (((((((((((1))))))))) night check:eek::confused::( Unbelievable kudos to this family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So...now i guess i can rest assured to find somone to do AT LEAST 1 night check on Emmy in college!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  15. linda

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    Just checking on Emmy at a sleepover with a phone call (1-2) x a night, is hard for her to awake..I dont think the human body can take waking EVERY HOUR of sleep, to be coherent enough to check.
     
  16. kiwiliz

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    Other mums have this problem, even with children who do not have medical problems. It might be that she is overprotective. This lad is eating around 300grams of carb in between meals! He must have insulin in order to process it! That is going to be a LOT of insulin. If you are out with your carb ratios by even a little bit, with that much carb and insulin, any error is going to be HUGE! If that is the case he will be swinging up and down all over the place.

    This is not going to be the case for all kids moving into adulthood. A steady regime and a CGMS= our children will be fine! When they stop growing, everything settles down. Hard exercise can be factored in - look at Steve Redgrave, the rower. You don't get a more powerful and successful athlete than that and even when he was training for the Olympics he rarely had to test more than six times a day!
     
  17. Rukio

    Rukio Banned

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    ...You can go on trips...you can have sleep overs...


    Does he just need lower amounts of insulin? I mean, really, every hour is a wee bit extreme.
     
  18. Kaylas mom

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    I would love to know if there is an update to this story.
     
  19. Rukio

    Rukio Banned

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    So would I xD
     
  20. geekguyandy

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    He's not special

    Sorry to break the news, but there's nothing special here. Most college guys can eat a whole pizza, in fact, some do quite often. When I was in college, I was testing my sugars between every class, up about 12x a day on average. I have an extremely active lifestyle between cycling, windsurfing, rock climbing... Today I biked 125 miles, which burns about 8,000 calories at the pace I go. I have a CGMS and a pump now, and when I'm this active is actually when I have the best control.

    I think mommy is extremely overprotective, thinking that her son will instantly have an issue if someone isn't there to check up on him. He's in college now, which means that he should be more than able to handle his own needs. If an 18 year old can't survive college without constant hand-holding, how do you expect them to survive in the real world after that? I can't even imagine the social issues there must be with this situation. His mom has slept in his room the past decade?!?! Wow...
     

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