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Posts from the ‘Real Life Diabetes’ Category

Verio Sync: Unanticipated Glitch.

The Verio Sync meter and I have been happy friends for a few years now, starting back in late 2013.  (Here’s that first post, with disclosures aplenty. Second impressions are here.)  

I honestly can’t figure out why more people aren’t using this meter.  It’s fast, it’s accurate, and the Reveal app is awesome.  This meter has been the best fit for me in the last few years, which is a big statement because I historically revolt against excessive change when it comes to diabetes tech.

Bottom line:  I like this meter.  Quite a bit.

Footnote on bottom line:  Until last week, when I tried to upload my information to the app, which had been recently  updated on my phone, which meant the app needed all of my information again, only to realize that the PIN had worn off my meter and I couldn’t enter it into the app.

Holy run-on sentence, but the end result is no PIN?  No upload.  No upload?  No data access.

Pain in the ass, that is.  Had I known, I would not have updated the app on my phone.  Had I known, I would have written the PIN down on a piece of paper.

But wait a second … I was just at Joslin with my endocrinologist, and she was able to plug my meter into her computer and upload my data.  No PIN, no hassle.  She had some magical data system that siphoned my health data into their files.  How come my doctor can access my data but I can’t?

The guy who talked to me for ages on the One Touch customer service line was very nice, and very helpful, only ultimately couldn’t do anything other than offer to send me a new meter (which still has not arrived).

“You’ll receive a shipping label to return the old meter,”  he mentioned.

“Can I wait a few weeks to return it?  I want to see if my doctor can get the data off that meter before I send it back.  I want those numbers, if I can get them,” I asked.

“Sure thing.  Not a problem.”

So he was very nice.  But the underlying problem here is that the data on that meter is mine.  My glucose data, generated every morning, every time I eat, and every night before bed.  It’s the specifics of my diabetes day, dictating the content of my dinner plate and influencing the integrity of my CGM sensor.  That information is mine.  And yet my doctor has the key to open access but I do not.  She has a “pro” account but I’m managing my disease daily, and yet I can’t access my own data from my own machine.

This doesn’t make sense. It’s my data! This problem can be fixed once patients are given the tools to manage their condition, instead of information being held behind a wall of medical privilege. You know … once we’re viewed as “pros,” too.

UPDATE: Lifescan called me a few minutes ago. Here’s the rundown:

Airplane Site Changes: A Grost.

Earlier this week, I flew to San Diego to visit with the team at Tandem and brainstorm some plans for 2016.  It was a quick trip (managed to land right when that weird storm was picking up speed – made for a very exciting landing and also reinforced my hatred of flying), but a productive one.

On Tuesday morning, before leaving for the airport, I needed to change my pump site.  In the winter, my skin has a tendency to become scalier and more irritated than in the warmer months, so skin real estate is a real issue, and site rotation is important, yet it’s challenging to find a place that wasn’t already somewhat rotten.

Against my better judgement (and mostly because I was in a hurry), I made the mistake of inserting my infusion set onto the back of my hip.  Normally, this placement is awesome and totally out of the way, but that morning, I managed to stick the site exactly where my waistband was situated.  It was also exactly where I would put my hands when pulling my pants on or off, making it a high traffic site.  But whatever – I was in a hurry, the skin was good there, and I’d just be really, really careful when sitting / visiting the ladies room / getting dressed.

I made it about six hours before I ripped the site off completely.

This moment happened at the end of my five hour flight home from San Diego, as the plane was starting to land.  Thanks to a paranoia about blot clots (hat tip to that pesky Factor V Leiden bastard), I drink a lot of water on long flights and get up from my seat very often.  (Apologies to anyone who has ever sat next to me on a plane.)  I wanted to duck into the bathroom very quickly before the plane landed, and in my haste, ripped the pump site out with swift precision.

Blood streamed down the side of my hip. Not optimal.  In a panic, I looked at the bathroom walls and door to make sure my grossness was contained, and thankfully it was, except now I had bloody paper towels and the plane was descending quickly and fuck I needed a new site in a hurry.  After cleaning myself off (stuffing the bloody paper towels into my pocket because I didn’t want to throw them in the garbage), I went back to my seat and said a silent thank you to my always-over packed carry-on.  A large Ziploc plastic bag that carried snacks and glucose tabs was emptied out and became the medical waste bag.  As the flight attendants were preparing the cabin for landing, I grabbed my extra infusion set and stuck it into my stomach without anyone noticing.  A quick fill of the cannula and I was back in business.  My horrible paper towels and infusion set garbage were contained and concealed without issue.

THIS IS WHY I OVERPACK.  Every time.  I get some flack for keeping an infusion set in my purse all the time and for carrying insulin pens, too, because rarely, rarely is there an issue.  I could not have foreseen the need to change out my site at my seat on the plane (fuck you, Miss Manners), but when I ripped out my site, it was less jarring to discreetly change my site than to spend the next two hours driving home to Rhode Island from Boston without insulin.

The moral of this story?  Insulin is necessary on the ground and at 37,000 feet.  Be prepared when you travel.  And for crying out loud, bring back ups because Insets are only available in first class.

Gadgets and Gizmos.

Getting dressed this morning and trying to shove an insulin pump and a Dexcom sensor and not map the silhouette of my dress with pump tubing was an exercise in frustration, and that song from The Little Mermaid kept going through my head.

“I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty … I’ve got whosits and whatsits galore …”

But I sat at breakfast during my meeting today and elected tea over actual food because my blood sugar, despite excellent technology and fastidious care, was elevated and stubborn about staying that way.  Despite best efforts, diabetes was still a pain in the ass this morning, and there wasn’t much I could do about it.

And that urge for a cure, some version of it, became strong.  Come on, research.  Come on, artificial pancreas teams.  Come on, islets.

I want more.

Hypo Perspectives.

Last night my low alarm went off like a siren in my bedroom, partly because I had hooked my phone up to a bluetooth speaker to (successfully) help amplify the Dexcom alarms, but mostly because my blood sugar was 50 mg/dL.

How the alarm didn’t wake up my daughter (clad in Captain American pajamas and asleep in my bed because Chris was out of town last night) is beyond me.  How it didn’t wake me up the first few times it went off is beyond me as well, since I was low for about 35 minutes before actually acknowledging it.  A text message from my husband, asking “Are you awake and drinking juice?” grabbed me from the fog.  (Thank you, Dexcom Share, for making the “Big Brother” moments worth the moments when I need a hand.)

Some lows are textbook ones in that they employ symptoms like a sweaty forehead and clumsy hands, but a juice box or some glucose tabs or a banana can take the edge off those symptoms at first bite, the adrenaline surge of the low quieted by a chewing jaw.  These lows don’t leave a hangover or a residue of panic.  They just happen, and then they’re over.

Other lows are so odd, so disconcerting, so thick with confusion and hypo fog that I find myself unable to put the straw into the juice box, or to even reason with my brain that a juice box is necessary.  Last night, my hypo-addled hands weren’t able to push me up onto my elbows so that I could eat or drink anything without spilling it all over the bed. 

My kid slept beside me, unaware and occasionally stretching so her hands tangled in her hair.

I frigging hate these kinds of lows.  Somehow, I ended up treating with juice and felt the need to wander downstairs into the kitchen and have a box of raisins.  And then a second box of raisins.  And then another glass of juice.  I remember standing at the kitchen island and taking two units of insulin after grossly over-treating this low, still wobbly from still being in the low.  I know I didn’t need to eat anything else after that first juice box but for some reason, my body needed comfort.

In that moment, I’d trade a 250 mg/dL for the waves of nausea and unconsciousness that lapped at me.

I went back to sleep damp with sweat, covered in juice.

This morning, the plastic sleeves of two juice boxes were on the bedside table.  I corrected the high blood sugar I had eaten myself into.  The bedsheets are in the wash in efforts to remove the carb count from their thread count.

The trench of a very unsettling overnight low blood sugar and the mountain that followed. #diabetes

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Small Victories.

My only resolution for 2016 was to write more. Not necessarily here on my website, but wherever the words seem to come most comfortably. I have a few fiction ideas I’m fleshing out here at home, but blogging has always served as a way to unknot some of the thoughts in my head, mostly centered around my disease. Once my disease angst is unknotted (with blogging being the mental equivalent of gently tapping a fork against a knotted necklace chain until it goes slack and gives up), my mind feels better about diverting thoughts to things that are More Fun.

The problem with blogging is that it’s a public forum. Which means that I sometimes write with readers, or perceptions, or assumed judgments in mind. Sharing while simultaneously panicking doesn’t make for good writing, and more importantly, it takes away from the whole therapeutic/fun aspect of blogging. SO. I’m trying to blog like no one’s reading. Which means there may be more fractured sentences. And shit that doesn’t make the most sense. And probably less-than-lovely language, but oh well.

[ clumsy segue ]

I’ve been making use of Dexcom Clarity over the last few weeks and while it’s humbling to see my blood sugar graphs plotted out in full color folios, but there is a certain power to logging and reviewing my blood sugars.  (Huge sigh here because I make progress when I fastidiously review my blood sugars, which means I should continue to review my blood sugars, which I hate because is a tedious pain in the ass.  That’s kind of a diabetes theme:  tedious pain in the ass.)

Applications that actually DO SOMETHING USEFUL and don’t require extra work are my favorites, like the One Touch Reveal app that my Verio Sync uses and the Dexcom Clarity one.  Checking my blood sugar is mildly painful; reviewing data compilations should not be.

My numbers are improving, and with them, my mood.

This A1C is not entirely accurate (as it changes every few days when I review the PDF downloaded from Dexcom Clarity), but it’s very close to where my lab work pinned me, so I’ll fucking take it.

Also bringing much joy this week? These Tweets:

Unrelated to anything:  I found this sleeve smiling at me the other day:

And now it’s smiling at you.

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