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!).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Some insertions go better than others…

I was chillin’ with my Kindle, reading about bizarre cases of infectious disease, while I waited for the senor to get “wet.”

Now, for those of you who have yet to have the pleasure of playing with a CGM, the sensor is a wire-like device that slips under your skin. You use a guide needle to insert it, rather like an insulin pump infusion set or an IV. Stab yourself with the needle (hey, diabetes isn’t for wimps), pull the needle out, and the sensor stays behind.

The Med-T Sof-Sensor has a 23 gauge needle. Not that big in the greater scheme of things, but not exactly small either. Insulin needles are much, much smaller. Blood donation needles are much, much bigger. But the Med-T guide needle is thick enough that it can take some elbow grease to shove it in. Sometimes there’s pain involved. Sometimes there isn’t. I choose to put them in by hand because I think the Sen-setter insertion device is a piece of shit.

Once the sensor is in, you need to wait about 15 minutes to let it get “wet.” It needs to soak in your wet tissue for a little bit, taking a bath in interstitial fluid, before it will work.

How do you know when it’s wet enough?

Easy. Snap the seashell transmitter on. If you get a gently throbbing green light from deep inside the device (which was developed at Medtronic’s Area 51 facility), you know it’s good to go. No green light? Pull the transmitter back off and wait a while longer.

Some people only need a few minutes. Others need more than the recommended 15 minutes. The first generation sensors I’d just hook up as soon as they went in my body, and I never had any issues. Still, why cause trouble when you don’t need to? Now I wait. An occasional forced breather is a good thing for a workaholic, anyway.

Rio came bounding into the room. Full of energy at his age, he never walks. He runs. Skips. Bounds. Sometimes he’s does a “happy dance” that would do Snoopy proud. Yesterday he propelled himself from room to room by doing an Irish jig.

Where was I?

Oh yes. Rio came bounding into the room and said: “Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! You’re bleeding!”

So I am. But not that much… Still, I’m bleeding more than I’d like to. I mean, while it’s no gusher, there’s just enough blood there that the sensor will most likely fail to boot up on me.


I studied the blood-soaked sensor with a critical eye. Hmmmmmmmmmmm…. I could give it a chance… But it’s 50/50 it will ever work right. Plus it’s getting late. I really prefer to change these in the morning, not at night, but these assorted failures have me off schedule.

Well. Crap. Now what? The last time I had a “bleeder” it gave me erratic readings all night long. In the morning, sleep disturbed by false alarms, I pulled it out, and the site bled like the Dutch Boy’s dyke without the thumb. Astounding after so many hours. That one must ’a lodged in a capillary.

Life is too short, and I want to get to bed as soon as possible.

I pulled the sensor and started over.


Anonymous Laddie said...

I bled more often than not with Med-T sensors, so your picture is a familiar sight to me. What was worse was when I got a huge bloody lump under the skin reminiscent of a hard boiled egg.

I've been using Dexcom about a year and have never had a bloody insertion yet. That surprises me because the Dex insertion needle is not for sissies either. I did use the Med-T inserter so maybe I would have been better off with manual insertion.

Sometimes the bloody insertion sensors worked fine. Sometimes they didn't. It was a crap shoot. Hope your next sensor insertion went better.

1:14 PM  
Blogger George said...

I am with Laddie on this. I would get Bloody insertions all the time with MM. My Dexcom has given me one so far.


5:06 PM  

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