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!).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Good-by CGMS

“But, Daddy, you’ll die without your pump!”

This from the same four-going-on-forty-year-old child who told one of my wife’s good friends that she should “get rid” of her boy friend. The kid is right. The boy friend is a dirt bag.

Amazing the things kids comprehend.

Time for the big announcement. Yes, it’s official. I can no longer afford to be a diabetic. I LOVE my job, but it doesn’t pay the bills. In fact, our family’s health insurance eats up a full third of my take home pay. And I just got a letter from Blue Cross about a “modest” rate increase effective April first. My modest increase is 17%. My wife’s modest increase is 37%. When I add in the costs of commuting, our utilities, car insurance, etc. all my pay is gone. If we didn’t need to eat we’d be fine.

Thus the conversation of desperate measures. We’ve cashed in our life insurance. We’ve cancelled our house insurance. We’ve lowered our car insurance to the lowest level allowed by law. I’ve cut every corner. Now I’m looking at the pump. Even with my Blue Cross it costs me a pretty penny. I can get Flex Pens for a med co pay, but I have to pay for the first one-grand of pump supplies (my deductible).

I know the control won’t be as good…the only other thing to look at is my Guardian. The huge amount of money I poor into CGMS not only isn’t covered by insurance, but those thousands of dollars don’t even count toward my out-of-pocket expenses on my insurance plan.

I went without CGM for a few weeks last spring when money was short. It was real bad. Scary. But ultimately, this time, I realize that the girl has to go. I once said on these pages that if a gun where put to my head and I had to choose between the pump and the Guardian, I’d probably choose the Guardian. Now that the gun is to my head, I find that I’ve changed my mind. I eat pretty low carb. Lots of times I’m taking half a unit or a unit and a half of insulin. Easy to do with the pump. Not so easy with a pen syringe.

But the straw that really broke the camel’s back was the death of my transmitter. An expensive puppy to replace. I knew about that going in to this whole CGMS thing, but faced with this new capital outlay in this economic climate, well……

So here I sit for the first time in what seems like forever with no knowledge of what my blood sugar is. Am I high? Am I low? Am I going up or down? I have no clue what-so-ever. I’ve been spoiled for all this time to have access to this secret knowledge. To have the oracle whispering in my ear. I comfort my self by knowing I’m now in the same boat as most of the rest of my kind.

Am I scared? Sure I am. Will I feel the lows? Will my hypo awareness come back? Do I worry that the sugar reaper may take me in the night? A little. Thanks to the technology I’ve not had a real low for so long I don’t know if I’ll feel it or not.

Do I feel liberated at the same time? Sure. I’m at the edge of the gorge, about to dive off and I’m hoping the bungee cord doesn’t break. Feels good to have my body free of the invasive sensor, free of the bulky transmitter. To not have to worry about losing telemetry if I stray too far from my mistress. Feels good to let my skin breathe. I can take my underwear off with out accidentally getting it tangled up on the tape. I can roll over in my sleep and not stab my self in the leg.

So one last item before I sign off today: I had good intentions of keeping up with the blog, but it just isn’t happening. I now have three jobs to barely keep my head above water and there are just not enough hours left in the day. I want to thank all you readers for sticking with me, but its time to “retire” again, I think.

My parting thoughts are about health care in this country. America is facing a huge health care crisis. Those of us with chronic diseases can’t afford the standard of care. Our government has abandoned us. Our corporations have abandoned us. Something needs to be done, our Nation has lost its soul. I work in health care (well one of my jobs, anyway) and I’m a user of the system. I’m pretty smart, but this system is so broken I don’t even have a suggestion on how it might be fixed.

CGMS was a wonderful adventure, and I still hope it will be the future of diabetes control and maintenance. But for me, at least, that future is not here. Not now. Not today. It drives me crazy that insurance companies can’t see how much cheaper it is to pay for sensors rather than pay for complications. I asked some one in the insurance biz about this once. The answer was simple. Cold but simple. He told me, by the time you have complications, odds are that you’ll be someone else’s customer.

So there you have it.