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, November 05, 2012

To sleep, perhaps to dream

“…an awful lot can happen in four minutes and 59 seconds when the shit hits the fan.”

--Beyond Fingersticks

When someone tells me a new CGM is better in a low, the first thing I think of is improved accuracy in reporting a low blood sugar as it happens. But I haven’t had my normal number of lows recently (what’s up with that?), so I found myself not really being sure if G4 was better in a low or not. Which, perversely, is rather frustrating, as that’s what everyone is dying to know about.

But then I got to thinking about the other half of the low blood sugar coin. Accuracy in a low also means not reporting lows that aren’t there.

You might need to read that two times to wrap your brain around what I’m saying. Here let me help you out: Accuracy in a low also means not reporting lows that aren’t there. Accuracy in a low also means not reporting lows that aren’t there.

In short, being accurate in a low entails screaming at you when you are low, but not crying wolf the rest of the time (unless, of course, you know… there really is a wolf).

Nothing vexes me more… well… actually quite a few things have been vexing me recently…

Let me try again: One of the things that vexes me most is when a CGM “coasts” a hair low all night long. Let’s say for instance that my BGL is cruising at 88—flat, stable, steady all night. But let’s say the CGM is a bit off. It thinks I’m at 78 instead. Not a big difference of opinion, really. Unless your low threshold alarm is set at 80. Then you get alarms. Every 15 minutes. All night long. Sometimes, no matter how many calibration fingersticks you feed the little bastard (and you really shouldn’t overload cal sticks), you just can’t get its head above water.

I can’t begin to calculate how many nights’ sleep I’ve lost to this kind of thing over the last few years.

But I just realized this morning that I haven’t had this happen on the G4. So improved low performance includes not crying wolf. And that gives me more sleep.



Blogger Leighann of D-Mom Blog said...

That's my biggest complaint. I hate it when I am woken up by false alarms in the night.

(I still haven't ordered the G4. I still have 2 1/2 boxes of 7+ sensors.)

8:25 AM  
Anonymous felix said...

"Unless your low threshold alarm is set at 80. Then you get alarms. Every 15 minutes. All night long."

Yes I hate that too. If I can be bothered getting out of bed I will drink 1/2 a powerade just to shut the thing up.

Note that this will happen sometimes regardless of how accurate your sensor is. You may actually be at 78 all night.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Raising my hand here too. Coasting along at 80 mg/dl is actually great, but we almost need our CGM's set to alert there to counter the lag. What to do?

5:11 PM  
Blogger Scott E said...

Lately I've found just the opposite. My early-morning (before waking) CGM reads 85-95, but I wake up with a 70 and curse the device for not warning me earlier. Because I'm due for a new calibration and don't want to cal and pop glucose tabs at the same time.

8:04 PM  

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