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.