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, January 02, 2006

The new adventures of ProActive Man

We went walking after lunch. My sister, her husband, my niece, my nephew, and Rio. Up and down hills. Scrambling over lose rocks on the talus slopes. Inspecting petrified wood. Squeezing between Juniper trees. I was able to casually check my BG trend every ten or fifteen minutes by glancing at the girl's screen. Well, I thought I was being casual. Not casual enough for my poor sister, who had been designated as the most responsible adult. I'd given her the short course on using the Glucagon Emergency Kit before we headed out on the day's adventure. Every casual glance on my part brought a quick, "Are you feeling alright? Is your sugar OK?" complete with the concerned mother-like frown.

But it was a great day for me and the girl and the rest of the crew. Today, for the first time I realized that I not only have a warning system with me the entire time, I also have a simple, quick, and efficient way to keep on top of the situation. The more I work with the Guardian system, the more I appreciate it, and the more I learn how to best use it for my benefit. I don't have my black belt yet, but I feel like I'm starting to master this Continuous Monitoring thing!

For one thing, I'm getting more relaxed. When I first had the system, if I'd take a finger stick and get, say 145 and the Guardian said 135 it bugged the shit out of me. The damn thing is wrong, I'd curse to myself. Now I'm beginning to get perspective. No one is going to want to hear this, but there really isn't a difference between 145 and 135. Either could be correct, neither could be correct. Our entire house (diabetes management) is built on shifting sands. The truth: BG can't really be "measured." The good news: it doesn't need to be. Don't freak out on me people, stay with me a little longer and I'll explain.

In the old world order we took finger sticks. We became obsessed with individual numbers. We, not surprisingly, became micro-managers. We don't need to think like finger sticks any more. We can now watch the movement of our BG. Think about that for a minute.

It doesn't matter if the BG is 145 or 135. What matters is which direction the numbers are flowing and how fast. The number by itself is meaningless and probably wrong anyway, whatever system is used to "measure" it. The Guardian lets me see the motion of the BG. That is so amazing that I'm only beginning to truly understand the power and potential of this kind of info.

As we hiked I was able to “see” my blood sugar was dropping, but very slowly. That's a good thing, as I was walking off a double patty cheeseburger flame-broiled on our back porch propane grill. Oh yeah, and one of those mini-bags of Fritos.

I was able to enjoy our hike, walking and exploring and enjoying family, with no worries--secure in the knowledge that my BG was dropping very slowly. No pauses, no finger sticks. No hassles. Did I know exactly where my BG was at any given minute. Maybe not. Did it matter? No way. I knew I was in safe territory and that my BG was changing very slowly. That was all I needed to know to enjoy the day.

I'm getting really comfortable with the "work flow" of checking the BG and scrolling through the last half hour's readings. It is not much more bother than glancing at a watch. What a great way to keep in control. I am being ProActive Man, not Reactive Man.

But the alert features are still wonderful too. Once we were back from our adventures safe and sound, we were sitting around the kitchen table chatting about what we'd seen and searching the internet on our lap-tops to try to find the identity of a new critter we saw (a Tiger Salamander as it turns out, who knew there were dry-land salamanders?)

I had not been checking the Guardian since we got back in. It seemed there was no need. No exercise. No worry. No food. No reason to check. Lucky thing the girl is always on the job, even when I'm being the absent-minded professor's son.

All of the sudden the air raid siren goes off. "High alarm, high alarm!" shouts Rio, delighted, jumping up and down and clapping his hands. Well, he gets half of it....He's only three.

A high? How on earth? I find my self the center of attention, all eyes on me. Are you really high? Dunno. Maybe the machine is having an episode. I glace through the history. It shows a steady rise over the last hour since our return. That is very odd. I take a finger stick. 206. The girl called the game right. But how on earth? It is a Twilight Zone high. There is no reason, cause, or rational for it at all. No explanation. Nothing to have caused it, but there it is none the less.

I shrug and take more insulin to correct it than I did to cover the burger in the first place six hours before. The human body is a mysterious place. Twilight zone highs and lows happen. But between ProActive Man and the Guardian Angel we've got the situation under conrol!

3 Comments:

Blogger Anthony Simon said...

Wil,
Thank you for taking the time to post on your experiances with the Guardian RT. I have a Minimed pump and have been tracking the real time monitoring options for some time now. However, being able to hear from you about the day to day learning and struggles is wonderful. Thank you for the time you take each day to write it all down. You are a great help to all of us who will use one of those "girls" someday.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Tyler Wolf said...

Wil,
I too have Type 1 Diabetes, and I am very eager to get a Guardian. Thank you for posting about your experiences.

When you talk about the "twilight zone" blood sugars, I think there might be an explanation. When I eat something very high in fat (like a double-patty cheeseburger), I often get a delayed high BS. Usually, I get the high about four hours later. This phenomenon has often caused me to get a low blood sugar (if I take too much insulin initially) followed by a high. It’s the worst at dinner because I sometimes go to bed with a normal BS but wake up well above 200. I’m not sure if this was the reason for your high today. Either way, you are fortunate: the Guardian saved you before it became a serious problem. I envy you and your “girl”.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Wil said...

Anthony--You're welcome. Thanks for reading.

Tyler--that's not a bad theory. Six hours after seems a strech though. I don't usually have reactions that many hours later, but it could happen. I've also been wondering if all that excercise might have given me more Adrenaline than the basal rate could handle.

But either way, you are right. Lucky me the girl was on the case!

That's what is so cool about this tool, it can help you be on the ball, and it can also help you when you aren't on the ball.

9:55 PM  

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