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It’s a Good Tune.


“Mom, your Dexcom is making noise,” my daughter says casually, as we’re kicking the soccer ball around in the basement (because we’ll never, ever go outside again because snow).

“It is. Hang on a second,” I told her. A click shows that my blood sugar is over my high threshold, with a few yellow dots taking up residence on my graph. I’m not totally worried, though, because a check of my pump reveals some insulin still on board. I decide to let things play out and see where I land a bit later.

“I’m fine, kiddo. Let’s keep playing.”

The Dexcom has been part of my daughter’s life for as long as she can remember. When she was very small and figuring out her letters for the first time, I remember her running a tiny fingertip along the bottom of my receiver – “D-E-X-C-O-M spells … whaasat spell, Mama?”

“Dexcom. That’s the name of the machine.”

(Unlike most kids, my daughter’s list of first words included “pump,” “Dexcom,” and “diabeedles.” Maybe she’ll grow up to be a doctor? At the very least, this knowledge base has given her a leg-up on winning a few topic-specific spelling bees.)

As Birdy grew older, she started to understand some of the information that different diabetes devices provided. We’ve talked a little bit about how three digit numbers on my glucose meter that begin with “2” most often require me to take some insulin from my pump (same goes for the ones that begin with “3,” only those also come with some curse words), and how when the Dexcom makes an alarm sound, I need to check it and take some action.

“But that alarm – the BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP! one – is one we can ignore, right Mom?”


“Yeah. When it goes BEEEEP … BEEEEP… BEEEEP, you don’t always look at it. But when it goes like this,” she raises her hands up in front of herself, like she’s sneaking up on something, “BeepBeepBeep really fast, then you look right away and get some glucose tabs.”

Funny how much she notices, how much of my diabetes self-care ritual has become a natural part of our time together.

“Kind of. The long beeps mean my blood sugar might be higher, but it’s not an emergency. The short beeps mean I have low blood sugar, and I need to get something to eat so it doesn’t become a big deal. Does that make sense?”


The sounds of the low and high alarms ringing out from my Dexcom receiver have become familiar, like a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) soundtrack for my diabetes life, but I didn’t realize until recently that they are also sounds that remind my daughter of her mother.

The other morning, I heard Birdy walking into the bathroom to brush her teeth, and she was humming a little tune to herself, one that I recognized.

“Hey you. Are you singing a song?”

“Yeah. It’s the Dexcom beep song. It’s a good tune.” She grinned at me, toothbrush hanging out of her mouth.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Laura #

    Mine beeps twice slowly for high, three times a little faster for low, and four fast times for super-low. Once I figured that out, I could yell at it to “SHUT UP!!” from the other side of the room because I knew what it was telling me. I sometimes wish there was a one slow for very high (like the opposite of the four fast for the super low) because 200 ain’t the same as 350 and yet they sound the same.

    03/6/15; 1:41 pm
    • I do like yelling SHUT UP! at the damn thing. Agreed 100%.

      03/6/15; 2:03 pm
  2. This is such a cute post, and love the imagery of the creeping fast-beep Dexcom song… What a great kiddo. 🙂

    03/6/15; 2:35 pm
  3. Abby #

    so what you’re really saying is that now bird face can pronounce glucose tabs? #sad

    03/6/15; 8:12 pm
    • Today she heard me checking my blood sugar and she asked if I was low. I said yes, and she trotted right off to the cabinet where the juice boxes are. She’s breaking my heart with all this growing up crap.

      03/6/15; 10:56 pm
  4. I love it! My daughter was little before there were home glucose monitors, but she made the connection between crazy, ice cream for breakfast or lunch meals and my need to raise my blood sugar quickly.

    03/6/15; 9:34 pm
  5. Great story. I’m suddenly thinking about my two baby girls. They grew up with shots. (“Is it time for your SOT daddy?”) Love your stories Kerri

    03/6/15; 11:13 pm
  6. Please put me on the waiting-list for when the Dr. Birdy Diabeedles Clinic starts accepting new patients. I hear they are the best in New England. (with apologies to Joslin).

    03/7/15; 7:10 am

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