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, April 22, 2009

An intimate moment—not

The girls have interrupted my fun, and now I’m sitting at my computer in the grey pre-dawn hours of my day off waiting for the second round of 15 carbs of glucose to take hold. Or to see if I need 15 more to live to see the sunrise.

Everything has gone horribly wrong somehow. Everything but Navigator and Guardian, that is.

It has been a really strange week. Monday I had a film crew following me around instructing me to just “act normal.” OK, I’ll get right on that. It’s for a documentary on diabetes care, specifically on how technology can help bridge care gaps in rural settings. A worthy cause, but it evolved from “can we interview you?” to “can we film you in action?” It turned out OK, but it was a bit embarrassing be the focus of so much attention. Pardon the pun, my blood sugar is in the 50s as I write this, so my IQ is not far behind.

We drove though a blizzard getting home last night after a drug-rep dinner. Families usually can’t come to these things, but we both work for diabetes care centers now, so we were both able to go. Winter hasn’t quite given up yet. It was nearly midnight by the time everyone was settled down and Deb had a chance to get her “Bejeweled” fix on the computer.

Deb fell asleep on the living room couch with Rio. That’s pretty much the daily status quo. At some point in the night she migrates, as when I wake up she’s usually with me. Today it was closer to dawn, I guess, because I was in that nether land between wake and sleep when she slipped under the covers and snuggled up for warmth. Her skin cool to the touch.

I absentmindedly stroke her skin to warm her up and in the process wake myself up more. Her shoulders tense, I rub them gently, and more asleep than awake she makes contented Mmmmmmmmmm noises. Of course being male my first instinct is to try and turn this situation to my advantage. Of course being a nice guy and knowing she’s been short on sleep…

So with the little miniature Wil with wings and a hallo on one shoulder and the little miniature Wil with a red cape, horns, and a tail on the other shoulder the night was shattered with Teee! Teee! Teee!


So I need to be clear about the fact that Navigator is on my shit list at the moment. Last night the bread basket was right in front of me with the most amazing array of carbolicious creations you can imagine. I actually clocked at 525 mg/dl with my super-awesome carb counting skills. Oh, and the Cabernet Sauvignon was especially smooth too.

Guardian faithfully followed this clusterfuck to the best of her ability, finally just reporting “above 400” and still showing a rise rate arrow. Navigator is blissfully ignorant of my impending DKA, blithely informing me that my sugar is stable at 270 something.

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Abbott Navigator is worthless above 200.

So shortly before bedtime Navigator buzzes, demanding a finger stick for calibration. I give her one, but noooooooooooooo, my BGL just isn’t good enough. I am too high. Try later.

OK fine. It is the last cal stick on the current five day run. That means I’m supposed to have an wide window to give it the stick. But she still alarms every fifteen minutes. Now wait a minute…. what moron developed this program? The machine knows it won’t take your finger stick at a high BGL, it also knows your glucose is high, and yet it alarms every fifteen minutes? I can mute for an hour, but I know I’ll still be high and she’ll wake me up.

On the verge of yanking her batteries out and throwing her in the corner, it occurs to me at the last minute that I can just turn off the system alarms.

So now in the predawn hours with something other than diabetes on my mind, I’m not inclined to believe her. Then I hear another noise. Bzzzt. Bzzzt. Bzzzt.

Ut-oh. I think the you-know-what has just hit the fan.

I un-tangle myself from my slumbering mate and pick up the Navigator from the night stand. She’s got me at 80 or so, calling for a low. I reel in the Guardian (clipped to the Cozmo). She’s higher, but is predicting a low too. I fumble around for the Blood-red Presto. Appropriate color for its job. I’m at 75 mg/dl. I do 15 grams.

In 15 minutes I’m at 55. The predawn air is filled with Teeeping and Buzzing.

So much for sleeping in.

Bottom line: both systems predicted the low, albeit late, within a minute of each other. Pretty damn good work, ladies.

The drop was sharp. Spectacular. I sure as hell didn’t get my 20 minute warning, but the predictive alarms did their real job: they outsmarted the inherent delays that are the nature of interstitial fluid and the sampling systems. Both gave me a heads up when my real sugar was 75 and dropping. Plenty of time to turn it around and live to see another sun rise. Technology rocks.

But then, just when I’m feeling pretty good about these systems, Navigator shuts me out. I’m in a crisis and all I get is a “- - -” and a blood drop icon. I’ve exceeded my calibration window apparently, and now I’m screwed. I know that lows or rebounds are the worst time in the world to try and calibrate a CGM.

So there you have it, contrary to her name, Navigator is the over-protective parent while Guardian gives us maximum freedom.

Ironic. Just fucking ironic.


Blogger Crystal said...

You ever notice you swear more when low? I know I do. If someone is around to listen, even if they aren't but it's usually just my cat. Poor guy.

Glad you caught the low. That was a Nasty drop if I ever read of one and I have even experienced such an episode. Ouch.

Hope things are going better.

9:11 AM  

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