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!).

Friday, December 30, 2005

Of mice and men

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans, right? It was the night of many false alarms...opps...errrrr...I met to say the night of many pre-mature alerts. Oh, F that. It was a night of false alarms. I got low BG alerts at 52 minutes past midnight, and again at 2:32 a.m., and again at 3:12 a.m., and again at 4:52 a.m.. All in the mid 80's of course, as my low alert is set at 85. Problem being the BG was cruising at about 100 all night long. Of course I could have changed the re-alarm period to two hours instead of 45 minutes but that's too long for my sense of security. What if there were a real hypo in there somewhere? I could have moved the threshold down to 75 for this one night. But that would have required opening my eyes more than 15%, which would have woken me fully up, which would have been the end of any chance for a good night's sleep (not that I got one anyway).

Instead, each and every time, I opened my eyes 14%, took a finger stick, entered it as a calibration--hoping to drag the sensor up just a few points so she'd stop alerting me. Alas, no such luck. On the bright side, my sugar was rock stable all night long.

Then at 8:17 a.m., after I'd been up and around about 45 minutes. Air Raid!!!

What? A high threshold alert? 193? No frickin way. My wake up BG was 127 and I haven't put a bight in my mouth yet today. Finger stick confirms the Guardian is out of her mind. Now how did that happen? I've got beaucoup calibration points in stable water all night long. The system uses the last four, weighted more heavily for the most recent. So how on earth do you run low all night and then out of the blue spike that high?

I'm guessing some sort of freak power spike. But to calibrate or not? If the sensor's out put stays high I'll wish I had. If it settles down I'll be biasing it high. It is a no win. I take the calibration.

Two hours post breakfast the children are neck-in-neck, so I guess I made the right call. Sensors often run on the low side on their first day. Medtronic admits that, and other users have told me that too. I've seen it some, but not as much as other folks. This sensor is the Hissy-fit replacement sensor, so it started its stint of duty in the early evening instead of the early morning. I'm hoping that, back on schedule, this won't be my average evening. I'll keep you posted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a piece of crap. A $40 sensor that only lasts 3 days, but they even tell you that it doesn't work very well on the first day. I was all set to buy a Guardian, but now I'm wondering, "What's the point?" I should just set my alarm clock to wake me up in the middle of the night to make sure my bloodsugar is OK.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Wil said...

Well my rant may have been out of porption to the problem, so I apologize. One of my missions here is to share the learning curve of the technology, which might make it easier on those who follow. It is a bit of a manic-depressive journey. I didn't mean to imply that the sensors don't work the first day, nothing could be further from the truth. They work fine, it's just that they seem to get better and better as time goes on. Other users have reported to me that their sensors run low the first 12 hours or so. I've seen that, but not often. In this case, the sensor did seem to run low during the first nine or ten hours, then gave that one weird high reading. But then it settled in and has been behaving very well. It has intercepted one low and one high very well, thank you very much.

I've probably called the thing a piece of crap once or twice in anger; but I don't really believe it in my heart. I'm still wearing it, right? And don't forget, this is money from my pocket. I'm not on any sort of clinical trail and my insurance doesn't cover a penny. Your mileage may vary, but even with all the ups and downs and the few times (more than a few?) that I've lost my temper; I am a big fan of this technology and this particular system. Could it be improved? Sure. And in time it will be. But for first generation, it is pretty damn good.

Set an alarm clock if you'd rather. Of course to match the level of protection the Guardian gives you you'll have to set it 288 times per day. And please don't forget that it can also help you to map out therapy decisions that make finger sticks look possibly primitive by comparison. I'll be writing more about that over the next few weeks.

9:35 PM  

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