LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Finger stick city

I wince. I put my finger on the trigger, and then I chicken out. I move the Sen-serter over a little. Put my finger on the trigger, take a deep breath, wince, and chicken out again. I finally get over it on the third try. Shunnnnnk! The sensor slides into my leg without the least bit of pain.

Lot's of room here. I was able to lie two IV3000s down, side by side. Sensor on one, transmitter next to it. Nice thing about the upper thigh is that the skin doesn't bend, morph, and move around as much as it does on your stomach. Everything is lying nice and flat. This may be pretty cool.

Of course, I can't wear my skin-tight red leather disco pants anymore. Oh, wait a minute...I've never owned skin-tight red leather disco pants, so no loss there. I clip the Guardian to my right side today, over the leg the sensor is on. We don't want any transmission problems.

It has been a delight to have my stomach free of all but an infusion set today. I also want to mention that I’ve actually enjoyed splitting up the two site changes. I thought I’d rather do it all every three days, instead doing diabetes “stuff” two mornings out of three. But with the two site changes now split up, because sensor number seven coming out ahead of schedule, I’m finding that a either a traditional site change or a sensor change by itself is quick and easy.

So this is sensor number ten. I’ve reached the $400 maintenance mark. Don’t you think I should get a T-shirt or something? Tonight Deb and Rio are in town with Nana and Big Grandma--so called not because of her size, but rather her rank. She’s Rio’s great-grandmother. For a couple of generations in my wife’s family the great-grandmothers have had the title of “Big Grandma.”

Once again, I wander off track. I’m here by myself tonight so I decided it would be a good time to look at the numbers. In the life of sensor number nine there were 31 finger sticks. Most of these don’t show in the Guardian software, as only calibration sticks show up and we all know by now that we only want nice clean, calm water sticks in the machine. I’d love to see the next generation of this thing have a way to enter a non-calibration stick, just so it would be in the software and show up on the graphs. But for now I need to do it by hand.

So here’s how I wasted an hour. I scrolled through the BG history on the pump and wrote down every reading for the better part of four days. Then I opened the Guardian Solutions software, called up the latest download and went to log book. I then looked for the sensor value closest in time to the ones recorded by the pump and wrote that down next to the pump reading. In the end I had a long, long, long list of both BG checks and Guardian readings from the same approximant time. I guess it would have saved a lot of time if I had put them into my PDA or something...Any way, on to the results of my extensive third grade analysis of the data!

Out of the 31 finger sticks only six were NOT neck-in-neck. Of the 25 sticks that were close most “errored” on the low side. I have that in quotes, ‘cause if the BG meter says 101 and the girl says 99 you can’t really call it an error, can you? But you get my drift.

Of the six that were further off from each other than I would have liked, four showed readings lower than the finger sticks. These were not huge differences, just quite a bit wider gaps than the rest. For instance, with the worst of the lot the BG meter showed 204 and the girl showed 151. That’s something around 26% off, more than one would expect. But an hour and a half before they were dead on and they were very close a couple of hours later, so who knows what was going on there. Could even be one of those dreaded “bad” test strips. Or, God forbid, user error.

The other two did bug me though. One morning at a quarter after eight, as doing my pre-breakfast stick, the BG meter clocks me in at 72. I immediately re-test. Re-test shows 86; but the girl has me sitting at 100. Growl. Although, now that I study the “trace” it is slowly curving downwards. Still, a bit more of a gap than I like, and in a direction I don’t care for. Memo to the girl: in the future please error to the low side. Thank you.

The last one was sort of the same, but much milder. BG meter at 86 and the girl at 105. One hour later they are within one point of each other. I’ve really got no complaints about this sensor. It seems to have preformed as well as 1-6. Which would be to say up there in the clouds with angels and harps and stuff.

For what it is worth, I had no low alarms at all the entire three days.

By the way, number 10 has been in not quite 12 hours and she’s doing a wonderful job! Only four finger sticks, but check this out:

Coz: 143 / Girl: 135
Coz: 179 / Girl: 173
Coz: 152 / Girl: 163
Coz: 143 / Girl: 142

Those are pretty damn fine numbers in my book. Three out of four she’s on the low side in theory, but these numbers are a statistical dead heat anyway. This is the kind of performance I love to see! (And for anyone who’s upset she was high once, bear in mind there is only a 6% difference between those two numbers.)

I’m thinking it will be a good night’s sleep for me tonight! Hmmmm....maybe a cup of instant decaf with heavy cream first. Oh yeah, that sounds like a plan.


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