A Beeping Mess

headphonesI’m a beeping mess right now.

And beeping is not a substitution for an expletive, although it could be. Since my trial of the Medtronic MiniMed 530G with Enlite, I’ve become my own electronica band, beeping melodically throughout the day and night. No rhyme or reason, thus no rhythm at the beginning, but I’m starting to see some trends.

The MiniMed 530G with Enlite has a unique feature beyond the Threshold Suspend (The pump suspends if the Enlite sensor says your BG reading is below your “low” threshold.). It has a “predicative high” or “predicative low” setting, which will warn you if the algorithm believes you are going to go outside of the ranges you have set. When we did the initial setup, I put my low range at 80 mg/dl and my high at 200 mg/dl. (I drop pretty quickly, so I’m trying to catch it before I get to that point where I am not thinking straight and ignore the sensor readings in favor of…well, anything, because I think it my blood sugar will come up on its own while I’m walking around. Hint: it doesn’t.)

It is the new equipment adjustment period or is it my body? The food choices I make? (Pizza, oh pizza… I love you, but that 400 mg/dl? Even my broken pancreas rolled its eyes.) I beep, look at the pump, and it says that a low is predicted, yet less than ten minutes later, it says that a high is predicted. I’m still not used to the arrows that are on the MiniMed screen and everything is pretty wonky overall. But I’m learning, and that’s the point of this trial. I will figure this out.

The accuracy is not really in question at this point. How do I know? Because along with the MiniMed 530G with Enlite, I threw my Dexcom G4 sensor onto my arm on Thursday. There have been several times when both the 530G and the G4 have buzzed and beeped at exactly.the.same.time. If there’s any inaccuracy issues, I’ve found that sometimes it’s the G4 and sometimes it’s the 530G, but neither one is perfectly accurate all the time. Thus is life.

I haven’t had a night in which beeping hasn’t woken me up. The Threshold Suspend alarm has gone off, only to check my blood glucose level and find it to be a beautiful 110. Other nights, I’ve woken myself up and I’m low, except the 530G hasn’t caught it. (Until a few minutes later when I’m standing in kitchen over a glass of juice.) That’s been frustrating, along with the lack of response by the system to recognize that I’m coming up from a low, insisting that despite my canceling the threshold suspend, it throws up another beep and alarm and threshold suspend less than 10 minutes later.

John and I have had several discussions about the “is it me or the technology?” He maintains that it’s the technology, and to a large degree, he’s right. I need to train the technology to work with me… and I am also recognizing that I need to begin basal testing again. (It’s springtime in Paris and my insulin regimen. Hooray!)

I’ll have to adjust the predictive settings as well with the trainer, so that I can cut down on the beeping. I do find that it causes undue stress (and I’m full up on stress, thankyouverymuch) and worry that I didn’t have before.

So, if you need me, just follow the beeping. I’ll be dancing with the glowsticks in the corner.


  1. Catherine

    Thanks for this, Christel. I have tried the 530g too, and can say for sure that it’s not you; it’s the alarms. I couldn’t figure out a way to have them on without being driven crazy. There are too many of them, and they’re extremely difficult to clear. Also, even if you have the pump on vibrate (which I always do) many of the alarms seem to be permanently set to make a noise — which leads to situations like one I had recently, when I was having a conversation with a male, middle aged executive whom I’d never met, and was repeatedly interrupted by strange sounds emanating from my bra.

  2. StephenS

    Since I’ll be pump shopping in the next year (or less), I’m thrilled to read all of the pump testing posts around the DOC lately. Thanks for keeping us in the loop (little L- bad Medtronic pun not intended).

  3. Scott E

    Well, it’s only been six days for me and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the accuracy of the 530G (I’ll write more after I give it some more time - and have time to write) — but again I’m also familiar with the Medtronic “system” after a few years of using the old one.

    But here’s a question for you — is your sensor in a spot where it gets squeezed or pinched, especially when you’re sleeping? I found that, with the old sensor, if it were on my arm and I rolled onto it while sleeping, I would end up squeezing the interstitial fluid (and glucose) away and - BAM - low reading. Then I’d roll back, the fluid would flow back, and the sensor would see (what looks like) a big spike. I’d noticed the pattern on my own, but it was my trainer who explained the whole squeezing-of-the-fluid thing to me. It can also happen at or near waistbands.

    The explanation definitely helped me understand what those crazy drops and spikes were all about. Of course, not using my arms anymore (you know…trial rules) means I can rock & roll on my arms with no consequence.

    • theperfectd

      I’m “on label” so it’s all on my abdomen (the Dexcom is on my arm). My sensor isn’t on a spot that gets pinched much. It’s upper abdomen, but then again, because I’m so tiny, that also means that there’s not much between waist and upper abdomen. That explanation does help a lot, though, so thank you!

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