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

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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, April 07, 2009

Hooking up

I peel open the vacuum packed container. Kinda like getting a microwave dinner ready to cook. I lift out a blue-grey-and-yellow handle; it looks like the controller for a video game.

Game on, I say.

We are gathered around the large mirror in the master bathroom; Rio, Debbie, and I.

It is time to hook up and head out. Time to put in the first sensor. The Navigator’s manual resting on the edge of the sink, open to the “sensor” tab, I review the directions. It seems like an appalling amount of gear compared to holding a tiny Med-T sensor, which is the general size and shape of a guitar pick.

I peel the backing paper off of the bottom of the video controller, exposing an Saran-wrap thin clear adhesive tape. We consult the copious diagrams on pages 32 and 33 of the manual. The “top” of the sensor has little vertical lines like a radiator. These need to face my shoulder. A quick argument ensues about whether or not I have it upside-down or right-side-up. My arm is raised above my head to expose the underside of my upper arm. This means to face my shoulder the top of the sensor faces down.

“Tell me if it hurts,” says Rio.

I push the video game controller firmly against my arm. Now what? I’m afraid to let go. Online, I’ve read the tape that holds the sensor on is “crap.” While maintaining pressure, I reach up to the yellow key on the top of the “sensor delivery unit,” the video game controller. I’m to twist it 1/4 of a turn in either direction.

I feel like I’m arming a bomb.

I gently twist.

The yellow pin falls free and lands in the sink. Clink! Debbie gasps, “was that supposed to happen??”

Yeah, don’t worry about it, it is just the safety.

“The safety just fell in the sink?” she asks.

Step 12. Insert sensor. The manual warns me: “Caution: do NOT press the button until you are ready to insert the sensor. Doing so may cause unintended results or injury.” Well, I’m ready….

My finger rests lightly on the trigger. Two sets of steady brown eyes regard me, unblinking. Gently I increase the pressure of my left index finger on the trigger not knowing what to --

SNAP!

I freeze. I feel….nothing.

“Well?” demands Deb.

I think it is in.

“How do you know for sure?”

Ummm….Well… I don’t know….

Now I squeeze the two blue buttons on either side of the tower and it falls off in my hand. All that is left on my arm is a grid of smoky grey translucent plastic. It looks like a miniature concrete form.

Danger: construction zone.

The sensor looks nothing like Med-T’s wicked little golden rocket-needle. This thing looks like a computer chip. It is square. The manual tells us that if it is in right we’ll see “the tip of the sensor is inserted under the skin” and the sensor is supposed to lay flat in the top of the concrete form. There is a picture showing us.

The manual also tells us that if it is in wrong we “will see that the sensor is not flush against the top edge of the sensor support mount.” OK……

Well…. I’m not sure what we are seeing. Rio, bored and disappointed that no pain was involved wanders off. I squint in the mirror, squint at the manual, and squint in the mirror again.

Debbie squints at my arm, bends over to stare at the photos in the manual, then scowls at my arm again. “So is it in, or not?”

I poke at it gently. The computer chip is flush against the mount, but at a crazy angle. When I poke at it gently I feel a spike under my skin, tugging at the flesh. I guess it’s in. Well, we got nothing to lose by hooking up the transmitter.

Ah, but for that we must go to the next chapter.

Following the text and pictures we slide the battleship grey club tracker up the rails of the concrete form. I expect the transmitter to snap snugly in place. It does not. I’m staring at the directions, skimming the text and looking at the drawings. I’m clueless. Of course, a real user would probably get some training.

I pick up the receiver and start skimming through the menus when it vibrates in my hands. Working my way backwards to the main screen I find a email waiting for me.

New Sensor Detected.
Have you recently
Inserted a new sensor?

Hell yes.

It asks me for the sensor code from the micro-wave dinner box. I enter the code and then…

Nothing happens.

Not one fricken thing.

Then I see it. A tiny little hour glass. The system is waiting

It will be a long wait.


Next time: late to the party

1 Comments:

Blogger Jonah said...

Wow, it hurt that little?! I'm jealous.
Do you have major neuropathy or pain sensitivity or would you say that the Navigator is a zillion times less painful than the Guardian?

12:37 PM  

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