If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow…

The dirty truth is in this little black box.

I was alarmed in my sleep last night.  Seven times, to be exact.

Last night, the CGM half of my pump beeped* at me seven times to tell me my blood sugar was too high.  Twice, I did a BG test and gave a small correction bolus.  Once, I bloused without testing.  The other four times, I fumbled with the buttons to silence the alarm, then went back to sleep.

This scenario has played itself out all-too-often lately.  I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks (to be honest, it wasn’t always the pump screaming at me; sometimes it was my sweet, adorable baby.  Unfortunately Z doesn’t come with an ESCAPE button to get me away the noise, but that’s not the point).  Surely, I could wake up each time, test, and correct.  I could and I should.  If I did that, those later alarms probably never would have happened.  My A1C would be better, too.

But I didn’t.  I chose to sleep.

I like to think I was being a wonderful husband by not turning on the bedside lamp and waking up my wife (because nobody will make a meter – with necessary built-in lighting – that will talk to my pump.  And testing by the pump backlight can be really awkward and often leads to an ERROR 5).  However, the reality of the situation is that I was just really tired, and getting back to sleep was my first and only priority.

Somehow, I need to change this.  People who use the Dexcom sometimes leave the receiver on a somewhat inconvenient part of their nightstand table, forcing them to get out of bed to respond to its alerts.  Since mine is built into my pump, the receiver is always within 42 inches of me.  If I can’t find it, I just grasp the tubing near my infusion site and reel it in like a fishing line.  Then I just press the second and third buttons at the bottom in sequence.  I don’t even need to open my eyes.  It’s a brilliant system.  Brilliantly dangerous.  (Did I mention that the third and fourth buttons in sequence go to SUSPEND mode?)

Bad habits die hard, and I’m not quite sure how to change this one.  I suppose there are ways, ranging from the motivational (remind myself how important it is) to the ridiculous (surround the pump with bubble-wrap and duct tape so I have to awaken to painstakingly unwrap it before silencing the alarm).  The former is not likely to work in my sleep, and the latter … well … duct tape in the bedroom just isn’t my thing.

I’ll have to try something – I’m open to suggestions – and if that something doesn’t work, I suppose I could switch-gears and try something else. Living with D is all about change.

Yes, there are two paths you can go by. But in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.
Robert Plant


*Yes, beeped.  Despite my preference for vibrate-only mode, when the pump is sitting on the mattress next to me, I don’t notice the vibrating alert, and that’s when Minimed decides it’s time to get loud.

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Posted on March 26, 2012, in Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), Diabetes, Insulin pump, Personal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. My vote is that you were being a good husband and not turning the light on! At least you are acknowledging the alarms going off. I just sleep thru the Dexcom alarms. I have a conspiracy theory that they somehow get muted between 11 PM and 6 AM.

    I doubt this will work for you since yours is attached to you, but a friend of mine bought her daughter an alarm for the deaf – it has very loud alarms and also comes with a bed shaker (I doubt your wife would like that option!). Their dog won’t sleep in the bedroom now because the alarm is so loud. Or you could get the longest pump tubing available to put it as far away as you can (like at your feet) so you have to fish for it to shut it up. When I was pumping, I saw some gadget that could roll the tubing up when you don’t need long tubing.

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    • I guess I do acknowledge it, but it does take me awhile to realize where the beeping is coming from! (Remember, my pump is kept on vibrate; it rarely beeps). I hear that sound and look at my alarm clock, the smoke detector, the baby monitor….

      And I do have the longest tubing they make, but the ability to reel-it-in makes the length kind of irrelevant. And it still needs to be close enough to receives signals from the CGM transmitter.

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  2. We have all chosen to silence the alarms. :/ I silenced mine during a low this past Friday night. Luckily I did get up and treat it but still.

    I had to lol at your comment about reeling in the tubing. I have so done that. I usually clip it to me but if I don’t, I reel it in just like you explained. Oh the quirks of pumps …… lol

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