The Big Chill

Ironically, the low-point of my CGM graph makes it look like a big smile *

Ironically, the low-point of my CGM graph makes it look like a big smile *

I am guilty of a scary borderline-serious low this evening.

I say borderline-serious because I was still fully aware of what was happening around me, and because I never reached that confusing haze, also known as Telltale Sign Number One.

I say borderline-serious because my CGM was, at one point, showing a 54 mg/dl with double-down arrows.

I say scary because I felt fine – I had no idea I was so low (and going lower, with a full unit of insulin on-board from an earlier high correction). I would not have known if not for my CGM alert, and even then, I thought it was a false reading until my meter confirmed it.

Then the sweat caused my shirt to stick to my back, and my hand to constantly wipe my oversized (thanks, receding hairline) forehead. Then I really believed it.

Though I’ve been doing a really good job of keeping by blood sugars on the lower-but-normal side in the eight weeks or so leading up to Thanksgiving (I’m targeting a monumental A1c improvement), I’ve pretty much fallen off the wagon since Thanksgiving, so much to the point that I’m feeling lows when they aren’t really low, which has led me to trust my feelings more.

Sometimes, trusting one’s feelings is a good thing. When it comes to hypoglycemia awareness, it is not

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How I’m feeling

Over the past few weeks, diabetes has been putting some unusual thoughts in my mind. I have been…

- – -

…feeling justified, when the kinked sensor wire confirmed that I made the right choice in yanking it:

BentCGM

 …feeling victorious, when a quick response to a CGM’s “Predicted Low” alert prevented off a subsequent “Low”.

…feeling curious about the story of the person who left the pizza box labeled “Gluten Free” in the office fridge for a week:

GlutenfreePizza.jpg

…feeling wasteful, after burning 25 glucose tablets over one weekend while attempting to assemble a backyard ice-skating rink:

BackyardIceRink

…feeling addicted, when replacing a CGM sensor in a public restroom was more enticing than going without one.

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Advocacy by number

When I think of an advocate (outside of the diabetes-realm), I think of someone who steps up to bat for the little guy. Not quite a lawyer, not quite a lobbyist. But someone with the know-how, the connections, and (hopefully) the influence to make sure somebody gets that to which he or she is entitled. An advocate is someone who brings the qualities to empower someone else who may feel they are at a disadvantage. Or, maybe, they bring the time and effort to fight the necessary battles on behalf of the person whose time is too consumed with the very thing that necessitates the battle. It’s often a one-on-one sort of thing.

For a student who is unable to climb a flight of stairs, an advocate may pressure a school to install ADA-compliant ramps, as opposed to shuttling the student to a different school in another town that already them.

For a parent who cannot transport their disabled child to doctor’s appointments, an advocate may help solicit donations for a wheelchair-lift-equipped vehicle.

For the victim of a crime, an advocate may help to deal with the logistical difficulties of working through the legal system, obtaining emotional counseling, or finding peer-support.

There are many types of advocates. They are often affiliated with nonprofits, some are volunteers. But generally, they tend to work with the best interests of the individual they are supporting in mind.

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Ten more things

In the spirit of the Ten Things I posted last month, I’ve decided to follow the same path and write about a few more other things that are going on in quick, digestible paragraphs.  It’s easy to read, and – to be honest – easy to write.

Each could probably merit a post of its own, but I just haven’t got the time to do it, so I present you with the Cliffs Notes.

 

~~ UN ~~

doctor-scaleI’ve mentioned this before — my weight has never really been a problem for me.  But now I’m starting to notice a bit of a change. My belt is moving to the next notch. When showering, I feel a bit more roundness, and my site inserters are rocking a bit more when placed on the non-flat surface. And at my last endo appointment, the scale crossed over to the next decade, causing the big weight on the bottom rail to slide over one more notch. That hasn’t happened for as long as I can remember. This must be what happens when you turn 40. I want to reverse this trend before it becomes noticeable – but having never done it before in my life, it’s tough to figure out how. But at least I now feel a bit more “normal”.

 

~~ DEUX ~~

TastyKakeWhile at the supermarket on Monday night, I felt a low coming on, so I bought this. (it’s not every day that I get to eat TastyKakes, and at $2.50 it’s a bargain!).  It’s now Wednesday evening, and I’ve eaten 5 of the 6 packs. All because of lows. I wonder if this type of behavior is what’s leading to the item above. (Also, I’ve been keeping the box underneath the passenger seat of my car, because I’m ashamed to bring the treat inside of the house — do you think something’s wrong with me?)

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DENIED!

It’s been quite awhile since I made the decision to keep the 530G/Enlite (pump/CGM) system. If you followed me through the process earlier in the year, you know it was not an easy decision. Not by a long shot.

But I gave it every benefit of the doubt during my trial, and the Medtronic team tried really hard to get me to like it.  And you know what? It worked. Over the past several months, I’ve really grown to like the system and have been very comfortable with my decision.

The sensor works well for me, and I understand how to make it well. The pump is comfortable and familiar, and talks to all of my other devices. The CGM is not as lumpy as its biggest competitor, and when I get out of the pool or ocean and back in range of the receiver-pump, it backfills the last 40 minutes of readings so i know what’s going on. The ISIGs give me a window into the CGM’s workings and lets me know if my sensor is performing well even if it’s got a bad calibration. The proprietary non-Luer connector makes the reservoir easier to fill than with the more common method. The pump’s raised blister-like buttons make it easy to operate without looking at it (don’t try this at home). And the clear/white case gives it a cool and modern look that I had never before anticipated – nor cared about. And CareLink!

Try to take it away and replace it with another pump or CGM, and you’ll be in for a fight.

And now, after all of the angst and turmoil of my trial, they’re telling me I can’t keep it.

They is my insurance company — an insurance company that has treated me fairly since I first got on one of their policies 17 years ago. I’ve changed employers, plans, and coverages, but always were fortunate to have the same company administering them. They, through my current (wife’s) employer-sponsored plan, have been really good at providing coverage to keep me healthy rather than simply keep me alive until the next open-enrollment period.

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