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!).

Monday, December 12, 2005

Trouble in Paradise--Chapter 2



The Martins have landed again. You'd think by now they'd be bored with me. Actually they struck 20 minutes ago and Rio and I had a nice compatible snack of chocolate covered orange sticks to cover the low. Now the alarm is going off again. I'm assuming that the intestinal fluid has not caught up with the BG yet. I flip open the case, expecting to be greeted by a number between 70 and 80. The first alarm actually gave us a bit of a scare as it was at 69. That's the lowest number the girl has ever intercepted. It struck slightly more than an hour after we ate dinner, so I assumed we had a fast moving hypo attack. Must’ a bloused wrong.

The screen reads: 47.

The blood in my veins turns to ice. 47. How can that be?

A stare at the Guardian, stunned. I didn’t think I’d ever see a number below 60 again in my life, ever. Not with this wonderful technology on my team. Then the adrenaline surge hits. I scramble to the kitchen for the Freestyle test strips. This is a number that needs to be double checked. But just in case, better keep the family in the loop, "Babe," I shout to the house in general, not being exactly sure where my mate is at the moment, "the girl just clocked me in at 47!" I'm trying to get a Freestyle test strip out of the vial when Deb materializes from nowhere at my shoulder. "I thought she was supposed to warn us at 80?" She glares accusingly at the monitor.

"I had an alarm 20 minutes ago, she won't re-alarm for twenty minutes once she's gone off."
Maybe that wasn't such a great feature to activate...but under finger stick rules you eat your sugar, wait 15-20 minutes and test again. That doesn't normally get you into trouble. Maybe the next generation Guardian will have an over-ride for situations like this (hint, hint).

I'm having trouble, 'cause my hands are shaking. Adrenaline? Fear? Or hypoglycemia? For the last few months I've never had any symptoms, no matter how low I go. I finally get the strip out and go through the painstakingly long process of testing my sugar. It didn't used to seem like a long processes.... I've been spoiled by pressing a button for instant results. The Cozmo vibrates and reads: 121.

Now my blood pressure is going up.

Early on, I had one sensor that was a little funky for part of a day, but today has really been the pits. She's been reading low all day, but this is too much. I take a second finger stick to be sure. So who to believe? The Guardian gets to low's more quickly, but this seems too great a stretch.
We decide to break out the back up meter as a tie-breaker. I've not used the Precision X-Tra before. I slip in the calibration strip and I get an “E-6” error message. What the hell? All of my machines are running amuck. An airborne computer virus? That would do in our society in about three days....

Now we have to find the manual for the new meter....shit.

Then the girl's alarm-clock noise sounds off. This just gets better by the minute. Screen shows "CAL ERR." Mad dash for the Guardian manual. This stands for Calibration Error. She has recognized that the range between the finger stick I entered and what she is reading is too great. Something is up. She shuts down the BG reading and asks for a fresh calibration finger stick.

Then the pump vibrates. What NOW?! Oh. 10 pm alarm to remind me to take my Lipitor.
I feed the Guardian another Cozmonitor reading and the calibration (re-calibration?) process starts. This normally takes 10 to 15 minutes. I pass the time by screwing around with the Precision Xtra. I plug in the calibrator strip (rather than using code numbers like most meters, this one comes with a master strip for each set of strips. In theory, you use this before using the strips to set up the meter for the batch of strips.) and I keep getting the E-6. When I put in a BG strip I get a message the meter isn't calibrated. I haven't used this one yet for BG, I was planning mostly to use it as a keytone meter, but my keytone test strips haven't arrived yet.

Finally an idea dawns on me. The test strips are 10 days beyond their expiration date. They couldn't have....could they? I reset the date on the meter to October. I insert the calibrator. Boom. Lot number. Ready for use. Clever bastards. The clever bastards finally found a way to try to force us to throw away test strips even one day beyond their expiration date.

I slip in a test strip and take a finger stick. The test strip takes quite a bit more blood than the Freestyle. One cool thing, however, there is a translucent window that shows you how much more blood it needs. My old Flash meter used a pin-head of blood. The Cozmonitor, although it uses the same test strips as the Flash takes about twice as much. This meter takes about four times as much. A pretty big drip of blood. It is fast, though, once it drinks enough. 119. Sorry, girl. The vote is 2 to 1 against you tonight.

Again a low alarm. She has re-calibrated and now thinks I'm at 65. Finger stick on Cozmo now shows 110. I silence the alarm and enter another calibration value. For the next half hour she stubbornly shows me low, then inexplicably jumps from 68 to 90 in five minutes time.

Now we are all on the same page....but the ice is thin. What happened? Will it happen again? Will I be getting false alarms from my lovely Guardian angel as I try to sleep tonight?

Tonight, if I get low alarms I’ll finger stick first, and eat sugar later. Damn it.

Tomorrow: things get worse and no sleep for Wil.


Blogger Sandra Miller said...

Now this is definitely not good.

Wil, have you talked with Medtronics about this? If so, what was their take?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Wil said...

Yes I have and the details are in tommorow's post. Not trying to be a tease, just letting the story unfold in managable bites(and it's still not over in real time yet either...)

5:47 PM  
Blogger Sandra Miller said...


I'll stay tuned...

7:55 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

I'm hanging on for the update too. I check this blog daily. Hope tomorrow's blog post will be positive for you Wil!

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reading your post today you claim that the cozmonitor takes more blood then the Flash. Well I can tell you they both actually take the same amount of blood. .3 microliters.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Wil said...

Wendy--That's what they say, but it is not true. I used a flash for about six months. The flash gets by on an almost ridiculously small drop of blood. The Cozmonitor (and I've had two of them) I've used for over a year. It will not give you a reading on the Flash sized blood drop. It just sits there telling you to keep adding blood. When I first started with the Cozmonitor I often had to give my self a second finger stick because I was use to the flash sized drops.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Lipitor Prescription Information said...

My name is Giulia White and i would like to show you my personal experience with Lipitor.

I have taken for 9 years. I am 60 years old. I took 20 mg for 9 years and I told numerous physicians about my pain and stiffness and was told that I had arthritis and to keep taking it. I left it at home by accident when we went on vacation and within 3 days, the pain in my legs began to go away. After 2 weeks I knew it was a very dangerous medication. I went to my new physician and he wanted me to try Pravachol. Afer 4 days on it, I was in a fog and thought I had the flu. I have been off it for just 36 hours and feel better. I am an RN and should have known that I was experiencing side effects with Lipitor, but you listen to your Doctor because you trust him. I now tell my patients to trust what their bodies are telling them. Statins can't be good for anyone but the drug companies!!!!!!!!!! They keep lowering the recommended levels so that almost everyone is considered to have "high" cholesterol. If someone is 30 and on this for 30 or 40 years there is not telling what the long term effects will be.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Joint and Muscle Pain / Stiffness.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Giulia White

1:23 PM  

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