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!).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I’m sitting in my kitchen in my underwear, skin still damp from my shower. Outside the wind howls and moans.

With eyes barley open and brain not quite dealing with the fact it is actually morning—how can it be? It’s still dark outside for crying out loud—I peel open the vacuum-sealed pouch that holds my next sensor. The last one having run its course, it is time for a new one.

I pinch up a little skin on my left leg, lay the thick needle against my skin, and PUSHHHHH. The skin resists at first, then gives way. Like Excalibur in reverse, it slides into my body until the tape at the base of the sensor touches my skin. I pull the second tab, that covers the back half of the adhesive, and smooth the sensor tightly to my skin. I pull out the inserter needle and drop it into a sharps container.

Five minutes until I can plug the seashell transmitter in and cover the whole affair with an IV3000 dressing. For the next two and a half hours I’ll be without CGM coverage while the site settles in. For the first day the accuracy will be slightly less, but the trend will be accurate. For the rest of the run, the sensor will be frightenly close to my fingersticks; further proof that Clarke was right: a sufficiently developed technology is indistinguishable from magic.

I head to the library to check my weight. I’ve lost a few pounds over the last week or two, and I want to see if the trend is continuing.

On the way, I feel something wet, running down my leg. Water from the shower no doubt. Then I feel more, and more. I look down at my leg to see many rivulets of blood flowing from the sensor site, each branching out, each pulled by gravity downwards, each diverted by the contours of skin, muscle, and body hair.


I cup my hand just below my knee to catch the little streams. Deb with have a fucking fit if I get blood all over the tan and cream Berber carpet (what were we thinking?). I hobble, hobbit like, to the bathroom and snag multiple Kleenexes and apply pressure to the sensor, which is now full of bright-red blood.

Double shit! Visions of dollar bills dance in my head. This little fucker cost me seventeen dollars and fifteen cents! Generally, if you draw blood, you can kiss off the sensor. I’ve had a few survive blood hits and run well, but in most cases they never read right.

That said, I can’t bring myself to rip it out and put in another one. I’ll run more fingersticks today to keep safe and if it gives me crazy readings all day I’ll put a fresh one in this evening.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! goes the microwave’s timer. The five minutes are up. I mop up the blood and plug in the transmitter. The green light deep inside the seashell flashes it’s morse-code. I’m here, I’m here, I’m here, I’m here. Where are you? to the monitor.

The monitor is listening. The telemetry icon switches from “no signal” to the funnel-icon that shows harmony in the universe between the two devices. Data flows through the early morning air and the mating dance of calibration and warm up begins again like some sort of Celtic wheel of life-death-and-rebirth.


Blogger RichW said...

I've had that happen a number of times taking the old catheter out when I changed an infusion set. It looks like we're going to bleed out doesn't it. Scared the heck out of my wife the first time it happened. I hate wasting all the blood. I figure it’s about a years worth of finger sticks. I take 325 mg of aspirin every day so it takes awhile to stop bleeding.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Christine-Megan said...

*sigh* I wish my sensors were "frighteningly accurate." Far from it, actually.

Hope this one works out ok.

9:23 PM  

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