Tagged: Dexcom

About Last Night…


The Kid had a temperature of 102.3 and would only sleep if I was her human teddy bear.
My father had knee replacement surgery and I ate a Clif bar for dinner waiting to see him in recovery.
I was exhausted. I muffled the Dexcom under my pillow so The Kid wouldn’t wake up.
It didn’t wake me up.
Bedtime BG: 98.
12:45a BG: 39.
A stupidly large glass of grape juice and a few cookies.
1:20a BG: 159.
Temp basal of 70% for two hours. Go back to bed.
4:38a BG: 465.
Remind myself that just 8oz. of that juice is 40g of carbs. Not going to even talk about those cookies.
In the process of rage bolusing, I run out of insulin in my pump.
The Kid wakes up and watches me refill a cartridge, dose, and drink a large (but not stupidly large) glass if water.
6:45a BG: 226.
Cup of coffee. Dose for cream.
9:14a BG: crash.

My blood glucose is now back to normal this afternoon, but I’m not.

Stress + stress + stress = the sad graph on my Dexcom.

(Dad is fine, The Kid is better, and I need a long nap.)

The Hiccuping Dexcom and Digital Xanax

Xanax, in digital molecular form.

Xanax, in digital molecular form.

We’ve come a long way from boiling pee with Benedict’s Solution to get an idea of our glucose levels. I’m impressed and content with my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and how accurate and easy it is. Since I’ve consistently begun to use a Dexcom (I got a Dexcom Seven Plus and then upgraded to a Dexcom G4 last October), I’ve caught highs and lows that I know would have been a lot worse without wearing it.

Like much of the technology I use, I’ve become dependent upon my Dex. When it doesn’t work properly or when I’m not wearing a sensor, I suffer self doubt and “performance anxiety”. I don’t trust my body’s signals (and the Dexcom has shown there is a reason for that) when hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia hits and my increased blood glucose checks have me second guessing everything. The Dexcom calms me down, like a digital Xanax.

Dex has some issues over the past few weeks. It’s been hiccuping. I haven’t been calm.

I first noticed it when I was house hunting. An hour after breakfast, Dex would give me the dreaded three question marks for a few hours. Then it would start working for a few hours, but it was just teasing me. By late afternoon, question marks were back until late evening, when it would begin to give reading throughout the night. (I should be grateful for at least having the overnight numbers - and I am.) Lather, rinse, repeat for four days. Hiccup. Numbers. Hiccup. Numbers. Hiccup.

I didn’t want to rip the sensor out because it was my last one (my trip was extended and this was my extra sensor). Once I got home, it came out and I called Dexcom’s customer service, who replaced it for me and asked all sorts of salient questions about sweat, water, medications, and site location.

If it was a one time thing, this post wouldn’t have been written. The next sensor I inserted did the same thing, except it failed less than twelve hours after being in. Those three question marks mocked me. Dexcom was called again and in true amazing customer service form, there is another replacement sensor on its way. (Those things are expensive, yo.)

The newest sensor I put in yesterday hasn’t hiccuped, but I’m curious. Has anyone else has experienced this on again, off again hicupping Dexcom phenomenon? I began to worry that it was the transmitter battery flaking out on me, but it’s still reading OK. (The numbers could be better, but beggars can’t be choosers.)

For now, I have my digital Xanax back, it’s not hiccuping, and I’m happy.

The Obstacle Is The Path…

MazeI often end up down the Internet rabbit hole, much like a modern day Alice, finding myself in strange digital places reading wildly interesting things that have nothing to do with what I originally went to find. Sometimes it’s a nifty interactive media piece about concrete architecture in Brazil. Sometimes I learn more about a fictional character on TV than I will ever need to know. And sometimes, I come across wisdom that smacks me in the face.

I remember traipsing across Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog years ago, when it was still in its infancy. He now has over a million readers, so obviously he’s saying things that people believe are worth listening. I appreciate the control he has taken over his life and how he’s created a wonderful atmosphere for his family to blossom. I don’t read the blog often, but yesterday, on my Zite iPhone application, I ended up back at Leo’s doorstep. 

His post, The Obstacle is the Path, begins:

Often we’re discouraged because of some tough challenge or obstacle in our way. But a shift in mindset from a Zen proverb can change everything: “The obstacle is the path.”

The obstacle isn’t something standing in our way. It’s the way itself.

Look, I’m not going to discuss religion or spirituality here. (Or politics, but sex, well…. I’ve already gone there.) But I am going to talk about what I realized after I read what he had to share.

There are a lot of things in my life right now that I perceive as obstacles, but the one that has been the biggest obstacle is…


I haven’t been able to get out of my own way when it comes to my diabetes and it’s time that I own up to it. 

Better control of my diabetes is the path I want to head down, but without the data (my road math), I don’t know which path will get me there. 

I have the top-of-the-line CGM, my Dexcom G4 Platinum. Have I ever downloaded the data that it’s captured? Nope. My excuse has been that it didn’t have a Mac program for the Dexcom Studio software. I grumbled that a lot of us have Macs, so why can’t they get their act together and make it Mac compatible. I’ve grumbled about this for months, all the while knowing that there is a workaround with the Mac Bootcamp program. John has offered to be my adorable IT tech support and even set it up for me a number of times. I refused. 

Look at me! I’m an obstacle!

I have a pump that allows me to download information about my blood glucose readings in relation (or opposition, as it sometimes happens) to my insulin delivery. Have I downloaded that data anytime in the last…um…two or three years? Nope. I know where the CareLink USB is. I’ve done it before. I just have been telling myself that it should be easier to do this. Easy? I remember writing blood sugars and dosages in a log book (but it’s commonly known that a lot of us fudged those at times). It’s easier than that. 

Look at me! I’m an obstacle!

I know how to count carbs. Have done it for years. But lately, I’ve been SWAGging (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) it in the biggest way. I complain that I never know how much I will eat at a meal or how fast I’ll digest that meal, so I tend to underdose and then play catchup later. Really? I’m too lazy to turn a box over and look at the carb count half the time. And “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” if I have a low blood sugar at night. I try very hard to follow the 15/wait 15 rule during the day, but it’s game over when the only light shining is from the refrigerator door.  Even my drink of choice is a juice box of 25g of white grape and apple juice. When I’m shaking, it’s hard to tell myself to stop frantically sucking through the straw. 

Look at me! I’m an obstacle!

I’m not a lolligagger when it comes to walking down a path. If I have a destination, I’m determined to get there without meandering. (Got to be honest. I don’t like exercise. There’s a story behind my reasons, but Oh! Look! Obstacle! is part of it.) I don’t tiptoe through the tulips, but if I don’t start to follow the right path using the map and the tools I already have but refuse to use, I’ll end up tromping all over myself. And I’m a delicate flower. 

When I continued down the rabbit hole, I found this passage from Paulo Coelho’s book, The Warrior of the Light:

A Warrior of the Light knows that certain moments repeat themselves. 

He often finds himself faced by the same problems and situations, and seeing these difficult situations return, he grows depressed, thinking that he is incapable of making any progress in life.

“I’ve been through all this before,” he says to his heart.

“Yes, you have been through all this before,” replies his heart.  “But you have never been beyond it.”

Then the Warrior realizes that these repeated experiences have but one aim:  to teach him what he does not want to learn.

 I may not be a Warrior of the Light, but I am a warrior and I need to learn.

It’s time to get the software, download the data, look at what I need to do, make the changes, and get out of my own way. I am the obstacle in the path, but not for long.

I’m Blaming It On The Shower…

ShowerDex died a heroic death on Saturday morning, desperately trying in his last gasps to give me an accurate recap of my post-breakfast spike before it sputtered and quit. The sensor had a good run (except for a few “You might be low, but…. Oh, hey, you’re low…” moments) and I meant to insert a new sensor that afternoon.

Life gets in the way of my diabetes management at times. Saturday whizzed by in a blink and Sunday arrived with plans to build an ark along with a downpour and thunderstorm that shook the house. The kid and I played indoors and I didn’t get to shower. (I put in a sensor or a new insertion set after a shower; the warm water helps to soften my skin and, while I’m sure it’s all in my head, it hurts less.) When I collapsed into bed that night, I realized that it Day 2 of no sensor and just frequent blood sugar checks. I have become very attached to my Dexcom and I knew that I had to pop a new sensor in soon.

But Mondays are always a little hectic. It’s our “run around like crazy people while jumping and learning to interact politely with other kids” class and someone didn’t want the shower turned on at all. We were going to be late.

“Let’s go take a shower.”

“No. No. NOOOOOO.” She runs around, naked as a jaybird, streaking through the living room like Will Farrell in Old School. (Caution: the link is inappropriate for small children or easily offended people. Click at your own peril.)

“OK, then I’m going to go take a shower by myself.”

“NO. NOOO. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” She is no longer a toddler. She is now a pterodactyl, flapping her arms and screeching until my ears bleed.

I calmly walk into the kitchen and check my blood sugar before I get into the shower. 162 post-prandial. I’ll take it. She’s throwing small balls of Play-Doh at the ground while muttering something about doggies. I’ll take that, too.

The showering commences and now she is sobbing pitifully on the other side of the curtain. I ask if she wants to come in and she nods yes while running away. The cries grow louder and I peek around to see her in full-force snot production.  While I’ve shampooed and scrubbed and gotten perfunctorily clean, my post-shower routine will now involve consoling my snotty dinosaur.

Guess who didn’t put her sensor in?

About the time we’ve pretended to eat strawberries and drink tea and are ready to go under the parachute with the other kids, my right eye blurs. I ignore it. This is what my brain says: “I can’t have dropped that much in such a short time. I’m tired. And we need to sing silly songs with hand gestures. You’re fine.” Of course, I’ve been jumping around with her and participating, but my brain thinks that’s not exercise. Silly brain.

My stomach growls in time with the chirping children and their off-tempo clapping. I begin to think of the jellybeans stashed in my purse in the cubbies at the other end of the room. By the end of the class, I know I shouldn’t have listened to my brain. I’m low. I grab the Ziploc of jellybean goodness and shove a handful into my mouth while the munchkins line up to get stamps on their hands (and their bellies, because two stamps are never enough). By the time we get to the car, I’m coming up, but feeling down.

You see, I love that my little ball of energy can brighten my day, even when she’s chanting: “Naked! Naked!” and not minding me. But I have to mind my diabetes, otherwise I won’t be able to smile at her and roll my eyes before asking for the umpteenth time to keep her diaper on. I don’t want her to have to worry about me or get freaked if I pass out in public - or worse, in private.

So, the sensor is back on. And the next time she screams about not wanting anyone in the house to shower, we’ll have a talk about how Mommy needs to put Dex back on and the shower helps. She likes Dex. So do I.

Slave To The Rhythm

Grace Jones is bad ass.

Model, muse to many fashion designers, Andy Warhol’s Studio 54 buddy, actress (Although I will readily admit, I use that term loosely with her.), and singer. Her 1985 song, Slave To The Rhythm, has been pounding in my head for the last few weeks, the lyrics nagging me.

Work to the rhythm,

Live to the rhythm,

Love to the rhythm,

Slave to the rhythm.

I’ve come to realize,  the rhythm in my life is The Beep. My meter beeps. My pump beeps. My Dexcom beeps. (Yes, my iPhone beeps, too. Sigh.) I’m a slave to The Beep. It’s what keeps me in check, keeps me alive, and keeps me going. And in doing so, keeps me chained.

I’m looking for some emancipation from being a pack camel of equipment and their appropriate adapters, but I know it’s not happening anytime soon. How about some integration then? I know I’m not alone in saying this: “Why can’t I have a single piece of technology to manage my diabetes?’ One thing that beeps instead of a cacophonous choir of electronic whips, urging me to do something.

My Minimed Pump/Paradigm combination tried to quiet the noise in my head. It really did. A good ol’ college try and I tried to like it. For a year, the pump gave that graph and beeped accordingly. But it hurt. The Paradigm’s sensors…. Ow. Ow. Ow. Did I say Ow? I cringed at the thought of inserting one more Paradigm sensor and realized that as much as I didn’t want to carry another piece of technology, it was inevitable.

I’m happy with the Dexcom G4. Even happier than when I was using the Dexcom Seven +. (And those sensors? Don’t hurt nearly as much. What’s up with the transmitter size though? Oh, I digress…) But it’s still another electronic device.

I want a system that integrates my pump with my CGM and my meter and my smartphone and….wait for it….the ability to download all this information wirelessly to the cloud for viewing on the Internet. 

The technology options are close. Oh so close. I’m liking where the OneTouch Verio Sync is going. (DiaTribe has a fabulous first look here.) I’m also into the Dexcom G4/Animas Vibe idea, but I’m not switching pumps due to insurance.

We’re not all there yet. So close and yet so many things to carry around.

With my current configuration, I can’t upload my pump settings/bolus/BG readings in the same place as my Dexcom G4 readings (Actually, I can’t upload my readings at all. Dexcom, meet my Mac.) Diasend looks promising, but according to the website, it doesn’t work with my pump. And proprietary cords? Do not get me started. USB, people. What’s wrong with a simple USB cord?

Any solutions? Help. Otherwise I’ll be stuck with Grace Jones and her androgynous haircut and razor sharp shoulder pads haunting me forever.