When I was planning my pregnancy, I wanted a Dexcom because I desperately wanted to bring down my A1C without crashing and burning into a pile of low blood sugars. But when I was pregnant and dealing with the epic lows of my first trimester (hello, 29 mg/dl without symptoms), I needed my CGM.
Sometimes the Dexcom is not on-target. If I am hyper-calibrating and feeding it too much information, I run into false-highs when I exercise and numbers that range a little more elevated than they actually are. (That’s running on the assumption that my meter is accurate all the time, which I know it’s not. And I take serious issue with that, but that topic is for another blog post. A really long blog post with expletives, I think.) Other times, the Dex is off for no reason at all. But the number of ??? I see on my receiver are (thankfully) very, very rare, and I also don’t experience a lot of sensor errors.
When it’s wrong, I get all huffy and pissed and I rant to my social media friends (aka the poor souls who are forced to Tweet alongside me), but it’s always easier to complain about the bad stuff. Who spends time talking about how wonderful their technology other is? Nah, much easier to just gripe when they’re being doofuses. (Spellcheck doesn’t like that word. Doofusi? Doofusees?)
But the other day, our stereo system went off at 5 am for absolutely no reason, pumping the sound of Aqualung into every speaker in the house. Thus waking me up. And Chris. And the baby. (Remember – this is at 5 am. Fun!) And of course BSparl wanted to stay up and play once she saw her mommy stumbling in with crazy bedhead. So when her nap time rolled around, I decided to take one, too. Chris was out working, so the house was peaceful and quiet.
And it wasn’t until I woke up, groggily, to the sound of Birdy calling for “Mama!!!” into the baby monitor that I realized I was low. But I didn’t feel super low, just sort of crabby. I figured I was in the 60’s, but a quick finger prick proved me very wrong. Meter showed 37 mg/dl. I grabbed a fistful of glucose tabs from the jar on the bedside table and chomped them down, thinking absently about needing to weed the garden and thankful that the baby was playing instead of crying.
Oh, and where the eff were my low blood sugar symptoms??
The Dexcom receiver and transmitter were sitting on my bathroom counter, waiting patiently for me to put a new sensor in, since the old one had peeled off that morning.
It would have woken me up when I was 60 mg/dl, instead of me waiting for the 30’s. It would have alerted me well in advance. When it shows me double-arrows pointing up after what I thought was a reasonably low-carb snack and lets me catch a high-in-training, I am thankful for the Dexcom. And when it beeps in the middle of the night to let me know I’m out of range, gives me the opportunity to correct it, and allows me to sleep in blissful blood sugar HappyZone, I am thankful.
When I spoke with the Joslin medalists, they all mentioned hypoglycemic events. And how scary they were. They feared the lows more than the highs, because of the immediacy. You can live for years with highs, but you can be stolen instantly by a low. A few of the medalists were wearing CGMs. And they all mentioned how amazing the technology, regardless of the brand, has become.
I thought about the 37 mg/dl I had while I was asleep.
And in those moments, I realize I need my CGM.