Saturday, February 9, 2013

An unpleasant break in the routine...

On Monday I missed work, and I'm pretty sure it was the first time I've called in sick because of something remotely diabetes related.

During the night on Sunday my glucose level climbed to 350 mg/dL and I was awakened at 3:15am feeling overheated and clammy, and wasn't able to get back to sleep. I tested and took one of the largest boluses I've taken in a while. An hour later I was still in the 300s. Another bolus... and an hour later, with no real progress, I swapped out my infusion set and reservoir. By 5:45 AM I had been over 200 for several hours and was feeling truly lousy. In addition to the normal hyperglycemia symptoms, I was feeling nauseous and had no appetite. I felt like I had the flu. My stomach was gurgling and churning. I called in sick and started crafting my sub plans.
By 7:00am my glucose levels were under 200 mg/dL and I fell asleep. I slept for three hours and woke up feeling much better, with my blood sugar reading 130 mg/dL.

I'm not sure if a stomach bug caused me to go high, or if my infusion set wasn't working properly, but either way my symptoms were both gastrointestinal and high blood sugar. It was unpleasant and I hope to avoid it in the future. It made me realize that I am lucky that these type of complications don't arise more often.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CGM life

I use my continuous glucose monitor ALL the time.

I've found that, when I'm using it, I am more likely to head off rises before they get too high. When I hit 130 mg/dL I bolus and I'm able to turn it around. The days that I have taken a day off are almost always days that I spend more time out of range. All that to say, it's become one of my essential tools for keeping me where I need to be throughout the day. (Notice I didn't say night?)

However... it has caused me some problems too. It wakes up my wife at night. And, it's not to save my life. There are many unnecessary alarms at night, and they don't wake me up. The sound it makes is too high-pitched for me to hear. Carol hears it, and it completely interrupts her sleep. When I say unnecessary alarms, I'm not kidding... Normally the alarms that are waking her/us up are for calibration, low-reservoir, or low battery. It's the kind of stuff that can wait a few hours till morning.

Since these types of alarms are not "live-savers", I've chosen fitful sleep for both of us. A few months ago I discovered the setting called "silence all alerts". It's perfect. I set it for a duration of 8 hours and the thing shuts up completely till I get up in the morning. It's basically saved our co-sleeping marriage. But... I have to remember to do this every night before going to bed, and I  resent it. I feel like I already have enough pre-slumber tasks that I have to remember... take the dog out, lock the doors, turn out the lights, test blood sugar, calibrate the sensor... silence the alerts.

Here's what I think Medtronic should do to get this right:
I need a louder, lower frequency alarm, so that people with high-frequency hearing loss can hear it. The alarm is like a mosquito ring-tone that my kids can hear from the next room, and I can't hear from 2 ft. away. My students can hear it and I can't. If I'm in a noisy environment I don't hear it. To be honest, because it also vibrates, I don't really need to hear it. Most of the time, I've gotten the vibration alert, read the screen and then ignored it... and then it starts freaking out...

We should be able to choose time periods when we want certain alarms to be active. During sleep, I don't want petty calibration alerts to wake me. The data collected is not more important than sleep. I am glad I have the option to "silence all alerts" while sleeping, but I have to do it every darn night... and if I forget, I'm in trouble with my beloved.

The "new sensor" warm-up period is poorly timed. It requires a 3 hour warm up before calibration, and then asks for a second calibration in 3 hours. This means that if you start a new sensor, or re-start an old sensor, within 6 hours of going to bed (so for me, after 3pm) I will be awakened by another calibration request in the middle of the night. The only way I can get by this is by turning the sensor off until the morning, or silencing the alerts.

Oh, and also... I'm looking forward to not hitting large blood vessels with the sensor harpoon and dribbling blood for 10 minutes. It doesn't happen that often, but once every 6 weeks is often enough. I hear that the recent developments make this an outdated practice. I can't wait to get with the times. I'm patiently waiting for Enlite.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

January- first 30 days of 2013

I'm going to report my summary numbers. I have gotten in to a routine with my diabetic management, and there haven't been too many surprises or discoveries lately. Well, maybe a few minor ones...

Average sensor glucose: 144 mg/dL.
Standard Deviation: 55
TDD Insulin: 30.8
Basal: 18.9

I stopped taking Alpha Lipoic Acid and Evening Primrose Oil. They are insulin mimetics which I have been taking for some time. I decided to stop taking them for a while because they are a bit expensive. I found that when I stopped taking them my insulin demands went up for about 4 days, and then settled back close to normal. I know there may be some other benefits to the supplements, but, for now, I'm going to see how I fare without them. I am taking very little beyond insulin and Symlin now.

I am a little shocked that I made it this far into a flu season without getting a cold or flu. At work I've seen kids out for a series of days quite regularly, so I know there are certainly some bugs going around. It's been over a year since I've had any viral stuff.

As I look at my sensor data I'm seeing some trends that show that I may need to look at my basal rates and make some adjustments. I think my higher trends are at the same times of day, normally around dinner time and afterwards. I'm noticing a dawn phenomenon trend as well.

At work they are offering health screening blood panels for free. I will probably participate because it will give me another metric to look at for a1c and whatnot.

My cardiologist recommended that I see his colleague for my recent six-month "check-up". It was like starting over again... he was looking at my condition like it was a brand-new mystery. He wants to confirm my diagnosis and has requested that I wear a monitor for 30 days. I'm fine with experiments and information gathering... but, if it's just for kicks? I think it's a bit inconvenient to wear a 12 lead monitor for a month just to confirm my diagnosis from a year ago, with no changes in treatment. So, I'm going in to get the monitor today... Also, how do you take a shower?

The medication they have had me on for the last year has been working well lately. It's a super low-dose and doesn't have any side-effects. I'm finding that when I don't have gluten in my life, I don't have any a-fib episodes. I'm pretty happy with the current program.