When Q was three, the circus came to town. She had been looking forward to the family outing and some one-on-one time with her mom and dad while the grandparents watched her baby brother at home. For weeks all she could talk about was seeing the clowns and trying cotton candy for the first time.
On the night of the event, she donned her red, blue, and yellow clown costume, a gift for her last birthday. We entered the domed building, descending the stairs to the floor where the circus folk were on hand to teach kids tricks, help them hang from the trapeze bar, and attempt Double Dutch.
An extremely outgoing child, we were surprised when she shied away from the clowns, the women in ornate costumes and feathered head dresses, and the trapeze artists. We waited in line and as her father lifted her to grab the bar high above her head, she burst into tears.
As the show began she sat on the edge of her seat, a funnel of brightly colored spun sugar in hand. Her long-anticipated first cotton candy.
She pinched a sugary cloud between her dainty fingers bringing it to her pink, bowed lips.
She reached out her hand to me, pushing the confection away.
Midway through the Greatest Show on Earth, she leaned into me and asked to go home. I fumbled in the darkness gathering our belongings that had been stashed beneath our feet, postponing our exit until the theater lights could illuminate our passage.
Within the week she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
That night’s events seem like a lifetime ago, yet are palpable as if they happened yesterday.
We have seen countless shows at our town’s arena since that night. A night which was yet another piece of the puzzle, signaling to us that something was amiss.
Tonight we had an early dinner and headed to the local arena to catch Nick presents Storytime Live! We were fortunate to have passes for a meet-and-greet before the show began. As we exited the press room, we walked past the large metal bowl and saw a man wearing a bowler making large arcs with the paper cone and holding it upright to reveal the delicacy.
She asked if she could have cotton candy.
I knew I would allow her to have something to eat during our excursion and the great thing about the pump is being able to bolus for consumption outside of normal meal times.
She chose a cloud of “pink!” fluff from among the rainbow of puffs and sat on the floor waiting for the doors to open and the show to begin.
Can I have it all, mama?
Though I told her she could have half, when I glanced over again she had devoured nearly three-quarters.
(Her brother on the other hand had no interest in giving it a try.)
When we were seated I pulled up Calorie King on my iPhone and even tried a web search to determine the carb count for cotton candy. Unfortunately weight is given in ounces, which I did not know.
I turned to Twitter and received several answers that an ounce is about 26 grams of carbs, two ounces in the 50’s.
With an I:C ratio of 1:15 I figured I would give her two units of insulin and if it wasn’t enough, I could correct later.
During the intermission I checked in with Twitter again and received a response that maybe I shouldn’t bolus for cotton candy. Since it is pure sugar, she would spike quickly and come back down just as fast.
We washed hands and did a quick BG check: 78.
Had I not checked back in with Twitter, I probably would not have checked her blood sugar so quickly, a mere 45 minutes later.
One juice box, fifteen minutes, and one finger check in near darkness later, she was 110.
Later we arrived home with two sleepy children, one of whom needed to be put down immediately, one who still needed her bedtime snack.
Her blood sugar? 65!
She normally gets 15 grams carbs at bedtime including a half cup milk. The protein helps the carbs stretch through the night. She chose 2 rolls of Smarties to bring her back up and was hungry for her bedtime snack now. I knew that she needed the milk regardless of her blood sugar post-Smarties.
She sat at the counter sorting the small sugar disks by color and then drank her milk and ate a cheddar rice cake (her latest snack obsession). As we snuggled in and did one last check before she went to bed, she was 124.
I checked again at midnight and she was 274.
The lesson I learned tonight?
- If she wants cotton candy on the handful of occasions that we go to an evening performance, I’ll let her.
- But I won’t bolus.
- Instead I’ll treat for a high later on. That’s if she has one.
(Thanks go to my friends on Twitter who replied with carb counts and suggestions, especially @DiabeticDuo.)