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Posts from the ‘Blood Sugars’ Category

An Alarming Talk.

I had twenty minutes before my talk, so the double-down arrow didn’t unnerve me too much.  The TypeOneNation event in Connecticut had tables full of coffee, tea, juice, and other snacky things.  I grabbed a bottle of orange juice and downed it.

“We’ll mic you up and introduce you in a few minutes, ok?” the organizer asked.  I nodded, trying to pretend my brain wasn’t trying to remember my own name.

Usually, I try and run my blood sugars a little higher before I have to give any kind of presentation, keeping my numbers around 140-ish.  This strategy works, most of the time.  In the last ten years as a speaker, I have never gone low on stage.

Until that day in Connecticut, where I was tanking hard.

CGM alarms blaring, I had five minutes before I was supposed to be on stage.  I popped a handful of orange cream glucose tabs and chomped them up.  Low symptoms were in full effect, making my tongue clumsy in my mouth, the words hitting my teeth and getting chipped on their exit.

Thankful for a good friend in the audience, I tagged Karen for help.

“Karen … I’m dropping like mad.  Can you keep an eyeball on my CGM while I’m doing my talk?”

Friends will sit in the front row when you give a talk.  Good friends will sit in the front row with your CGM shouting into their face.

Glucose tab jar in hand (brushing glucose tab dust off my shoulder), I took to the front of the room and tried to explain my awkwardness.  “I’ve never been low during a presentation before.  It’s always been a concern of mine, but it’s currently happening.  Sorry about the glucose tabs in my hand.  And the CGM alarms going off from my phone.  And sorry if it takes me a minute or two to get my bearings while I start up here.”

If you want to feel instantly understood and empathized with, have a low in front of a room full of JDRF families.  Several moms in the audience held up snacks and gestured towards them, with “if you need it!” eyebrows.

It took me a good few minutes to climb back into functional range, but once I was back, I was able to talk without jumbling up my words.  After the talk, several people mentioned how “real” it was to watch the keynote speaker have a hypo right in front of them.  I was grateful for their understanding.

And I was able to check off “hypo on stage” from my bucket list.  Next up, perfecting this hot dance move:

Rewind.

Put test strip into glucose meter.

Prick finger.

Apply blood.

(Yawn as the meter counts down because it’s six in the morning and what’s sleep?)

Look at screen.

Blink.

Pull strip out of the meter.

Toss it into the meter back with all the other dead strips.

Zip up meter bag.

Brush teeth.

As toothpaste foam starts to drool out of my face, promptly forget what the meter result actually was.

Toothbrush hanging out of my mouth, turn meter back on and scroll back through the memory.

See result.

There it is.

Finally register result in brain.

Repeat every single day.

That Low, Though.

The low blood sugar hadn’t rooted firmly enough in my brain yet, but I knew something was wrong.  My feet were heavy against the treadmill belt, and I kept rewinding the show I was watching because the dialog wasn’t making much sense to me.

BEEEEP!  BEEEEP!  BEEEEEEEP! hollered my phone (aka surrogate Dexcom receiver) from the cupholder of the treadmill.

57 mg/dL with the pigeon head facing south.

Dexcom G5. Looks like a cute little pigeon who wants a hotdog until you realize, "Fuck – I'm really low." #diabetes

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

“Oh hey,” I said, all casual, while my brain was throwing itself against the inside of my skull, shouting “That low, though!  Go get something to eaaaaaaaaat!”

Instead, I felt compelled to wait until the treadmill had reached an even number of minutes left (WHY?? This sort of compulsion happens regularly.) before I would head upstairs to grab a snack.

Upstairs, I walked through the living room into the kitchen, passing Chris, who asked, “You okay?” and I responded with a grunted, “Low.”

Reaching the fridge, I opened it up and grabbed the first thing I saw:  an already-opened juice box.  The straw was at the ready, making my fumbling fingers flex with relief.  Slightly dizzy and with the low blood sugar almost fully acknowledged by my mind, I drained what was left of the juice box.

Trouble is, the juice box had apparently been left in the desert to ferment and was then tucked back into the fridge.  The fizzy, nasty grape taste in my mouth woke my brain up completely, only urging me to throw up instead of deal with the hypo.  I ambled over to the sink and stood there, holding the edge of it, the breaking news ticker in my brain reading “DON’T PUKE DON’T PUKE.”

I didn’t puke.  

I chased the fermented juice box with some raisins.  I returned to my work out. I wondered briefly if I was somewhat drunk. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it sure as hell won’t be the last.

Review: Verio Flex Meter.

For years, my love for the One Touch Verio Sync meter knew no limits.  Despite a slightly MS-DOS interface that only showed me one result at a time and didn’t let me scroll back to other results unless I loaded them to the Reveal application, I loved this meter.  It was small, it was accurate (as compared to my Dexcom CGM, which I feel is my personal gold standard), and it was covered my by insurance.

I really liked how it worked with the Reveal app the most, though.  I have always struggled with maintaining a blood sugar logbook, and being able to bluetooth my results to my phone and have them collect in an at-a-glance and also an in-depth data map took the heat off my data angst.

But not everyone loved the Sync.  And recently, it was scrapped and replaced by the Verio Flex meter.

I resisted the Flex mostly because I hate change (<– curmudgeon font), but a few weeks ago, I finally switched over (after putting my two Verio Syncs into a cryptex).  Here are my initial thoughts:

PROS:

The Verio Flex turns off immediately after you take the test strip out of it.  This is a nice change from the Sync, where it would either have to time out or be pushed off using the button after each blood sugar check.  The auto-off helps conserve battery (more on why that matters in the CONS section).

There’s a small color chart on the bottom of meter screen (on the actual housing of the meter – see picture) where an arrow shows up underneath each BG result to indicate low, high, or in range.  While this isn’t as useful for me because I’m familiar with the ranges recommended for me, this could be a really useful feature for folks newly diagnosed or who aren’t as familiar with in-range and out-of-range.

It comes with a Delica lancing device, which is my favorite, if you can say such a thing about a device meant to pierce skin.

It’s durable and decently priced.  I paid $19.99 for mine at CVS and when it dropped onto the hard kitchen tile that same night, it did not smash to bits.

CONS:

The battery life doesn’t appear to be awesome.  My glucose meters in the past have taken over a year to burn through a battery, but I’ve already replaced the Flex battery after about a month.  I’m sure the bluetooth transmission cycles the battery quickly, but it was irritating to have to switch out the battery so soon.  I like my t:slim pump because it can be plugged in and charged versus needing to keep a stash of AA batteries, and I liked the Sync for the same reason.

No light!  On the Sync, there was a light at the top of the meter that was bright enough to test in the middle of the night without turning on the lamp.  This was an awesome feature, and I have no idea why it was removed from the Flex, but it’s SORELY MISSED.  Never underestimate the value of a little light that keeps you from putting blood on the strip in a mangled way, wasting the strip.

And the syncing feature takes a while.  I feel like the Sync synced faster while the Flex takes more time to flex its bluetooth muscle.  The way the data maps on the app is identical, so that’s fine, but getting that data there is something I have to remember to do, so every second matters.

Overall, the Flex is similar enough to the Sync that I won’t bust the cryptex back open yet, but hopefully the next iteration will be better on battery, upload automagically to my pump, and the light will return!

Sweet Little Lancet.

Sweet little lancet
You are so damn tough.
I keep you until
All your edges are rough,
Until your sharp peak
Becomes dull and harpoons.
Oh sweet little lancet,
I will change you soon.

Sweet little lancet,
You deploy with a thud.
It can take several tries
To get you to draw blood.
And at that point, you’d think,
I’d wise up and swap out.
But sweet little lancet,
You should have your doubts.

Sometimes I forget
I have a vast collection.
No need to reuse!
I’m inviting infection.
I should change you out
Before you get strange,
But it takes a reminder
(Like when the clocks change.)

Sweet little lancet,
I respect what you do.
My supply closet’s stashed
With an army of you.
But in the event
There’s a cure that’s clever,
I’ll repurpose your ass;
I’ll have thumbtacks forever.

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