It’s been just over 2 months since I got my Dexcom. And by “got” I mean “had amazing friends send me one with all the supplies since my insurance company is hassling me and I’ve been having scary lows.”
Last year, Kim did a cartoon about the stages of CGM ownership. Because of the battle I went through to get the Dexcom, before I was even hooked up to it, I was comfortably in this stage
After a day or two when the feelings of being so overwhelmed by all the information wore off, I was most definitely here.
|Crazy in Love|
The first night I had it on I alarmed 10 times. I was both disturbed by how many lows it was catching and comforted by the fact that it was, in fact, catching them.
But just as Kim predicted, I now find myself in this stage.
I don’t immediately fumble for the receiver as soon as it rings. I’ve taken to leaving it on vibrate because I’m a light sleeper and that sound is enough to wake me up… without the alarm scaring the crap out of me.
But a few nights ago, I moved from the Meh phase to the idiotic phase.
I had placed a new sensor that day which happened to be expired (note: I’m not condoning or encouraging the use of expired sensors. I have no clue what exactly expires in the sensor or if using them could be an unsafe or unwise choice. However, I rely on the kindness of friends for sensors, so I take what I can get. Including what’s expired.) It usually takes about 24 hours for a sensor to get on point for me and until then, I get some false alarms. It had been a long day, I was exhausted, and I was experiencing what we call “alarm fatigue” in the hospital – basically, I’d had so many false alarms that day that I stopped noticing and responding to them.
I went to bed late that night and I was exhausted. It felt like as soon as I’d start falling asleep, the receiver would vibrate. Instead of looking at it, I’d hit the receiver buttons twice to clear the alarm and fall asleep. It went on like that all night. Wake up to a vibrating receiver every 30 to 60 minutes. Clear the alarm without looking at the receiver or testing my blood sugar, and go back to sleep.
Around 5 am, I woke to the sound of the receiver alarming. I know that for the alarm to actually ring when it’s set to vibrate, I was below 55 mg/dl. Instead of fumbling for the receiver and testing my blood sugar, I picked up the receiver, and... gulp... shut the alerts off. (idiot party of one.)
I woke up at 7 with a headache. I felt dizzy and sluggish but thought it was from not sleeping well. An hour later I was ready for breakfast, tested my blood sugar, and saw 48 mg/dl staring at me. Assuming the dawn phenomenon had already hit, I can’t even think of how low my blood sugar was when I woke up that morning. I was wondering why no alarms had gone off so I looked down at my receiver and realized my sleep deprived low-induced stupidity from the night before. I not only saw that I’d shut my alarms off, but also that my blood sugar had been well under 60 for 5 hours.
Diabetes technology is great, but we have to use it – properly – to get the full benefit (and of course, even then, there's still any number of potential technological glitches than can occur). My receiver is now permanently set to alarm unless I’m in a patient care setting. Scaring the crap out of me every time it rings is worth it if it gets my attention and gets me to act on the alarms instead of ignoring them.