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Well, it has been a week now that I have been on the new Minimed 530G pump with the Enlite continuous glucose monitoring system, or CGM.

A few notes so far. I have found that I poke my finger and take my blood sugars nearly as much as I did without the CGM system. The CGM is nice, but can be wildly inaccurate. For example. I poked my finger because it felt like I was getting a low blood sugar, yet the sensor was saying 105. (Normal for a non diabetic is 80-120). Well, sensor 105, blood sugar test 78.  Another night sensor complained of a high of 241. Took my blood sugar, 304.

Also, and this is probably just psychological. The sensor looks disturbingly like a very large tick attached to my belly and taped down.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be able to just look and see where my blood sugars have been trending. But, dang can it be a bit more accurate please? I have discovered that my biggest sugar issues are at night. I’ve been bouncing into the 200-300’s almost every night. Not good for my long term.

FYI. The new pump and sensor set up cost my insurance company $9,400 and change. The new pump was $7k+ just by itself. 4 year warranty and I’m supposed to buy a new one. FYI. The technology is from the 90’s. Gee, it can talk to a sensor though! That’s got to be worth a couple of grand right? Bullshit. My $350 phone talks to my car to my computer to my earpiece to google, the internet, wifi, Bluetooth, gps satellites, and a myriad of other things. For 1/20th the price. . It’s a damn simple pump system with very very rudimentary electronics.  The display is straight out of 90’s pager. I know,  I had a pager with the same display then.

Here is the $100 pager

Old pager

Old pager

versus the $7400 pump

The Minimed 530G insulin pump with the transmitter.

The Minimed 530G insulin pump with the transmitter.

Well, the good news is that I’ll be using the sensor during SEMA in Vegas in a few weeks. My cousin Paul will have a more difficult time killing me off with Yard Long Margaritas.   🙂

So, I’m done complaining for now. It’s a hell of a lot better than taking shots all the time. I was up to 8 a day at one point. Now I insert a tiny plastic needle once every three days for the pump and once every six days for the sensor. Much better hand half a dozen plus shots a day. And much better control.

Now, make the damn thing better and less expensive.

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Well, I received a new insulin pump from Medtronic the other day. I’ve been pumping since 2005 and this makes my 3rd pump. They have a 4 year warranty. Once the warranty runs out the insurance company will allow me to get a new one. So, since my out of pocket maximum had been met, I figured why not.

So. I now have a Minimed 530G insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring system. IE. I have a small transmitter attached to me that sends my glucose levels to the pump.

The Minimed 530G insulin pump with the transmitter.

The Minimed 530G insulin pump with the transmitter.

Mine is actually a charcoal grey color. It’ll be interesting to see what the continuous monitoring shows. Living with Type 1 diabetes is a pain at times, and expensive as hell. But it’s livable, and it can be interesting at times.

So, what’s it like to have an off day as a type 1 diabetic? Well, not good, especially when it sneaks up on a person.  I bet if you asked half the people I work with they probably wouldn’t even consciously remember I’m a diabetic. I try not to live like a diabetic. I prefer to be a normal person that happens to have a faulty pancreas and requires a battery operated replacement.

15 years ago when I was first diagnosed I made the decision that, I would take care of myself, but, I would also live a normal life. I wouldn’t let diabetes rule my life, or lifestyle. Most days me and my spector of death get along. It helps to be a cyborg. Other days, well the bastard gets loose on me. Today seems to be one of those days. More on that in a minute.

My spector has never gotten so out of control that I’ve fallen over, touch wood as my friends in Scotland would say. But, I’ve come pretty damn close a couple of times. Nothing like waking up on the kitchen floor in the middle of the night with half a gallon of ice cream gone and the other half melting in my lap. It’s what happens when my sugars get so low in the middle of the night that I no longer have conscious thoughts and only work on the tiny hind brain still working. I have enough neurons left to save my life, but no higher functions. Eat sugar, eat lots of sugar, do it now, let nothing interfere. I’ve actually growled and mumbled angrily at Roberta in the middle of the night while eating ice cream on the kitchen floor. For some reason ice cream tastes good when I can’t think. Not much else does. Most things get a stong metallic taste that makes me nauseous, but not ice cream, I crave it.

 What I’ve been talking about so far is low blood sugars. Being a type 1 diabetic is a balancing act, and when I fall to the low side it can lead to a quick death if I don’t get control pretty quick. If I fall to the high side far enough often enough it can lead to a slow death of cut off fingers, blindness, and other fun things. If I go far enough high I can fall over and die if someone doesn’t find me, similar to going too low.  It’s my life. It’s what I live with.

So, what does this mean? Nothing to others really. It’s my balancing act, and it’s gone okay so far. I’ve had extreme lows and awful highs, but I’m still alive and have all of my fingers and toes. Well, today happens to be the highest blood sugar I’ve had in 3-4 years. If not longer. 500+. Normal is 80-120. Some people pass out and need assistance in the 400’s. I didn’t even know I’d fallen out of whack until I took my blood sugars a bit ago. I looked in surprise at the meter. Went and washed my hands and tried again. Sometimes having something on my fingers will cause the blood meter to wig out. Not this time. First reading was 506, second was 512. Damn.

First thing I did was pull the current insert from my belly. Put new insulin in the pump and put in a new insert and took a big old slug of insulin. It’s only been 30 minutes since then and taking insulin takes longer than that to get into my blood stream and get my glucose levels to drop, so now I’ll stab my finger every hour for the next few hours to make sure I get things to drop back down without dropping too far. Get myself back onto my balance beam. The biggest danger right now is that I take too much insulin and cause a blood sugar crash. Are we having fun yet?

I know I know. Quit my bitchin. It could be worse. As I type this next to my wife of 20 years as she battles with her demon called Cancer. Believe me, I’d much rather be a diabetic. I’ll die with diabetes, but I probably wont die from diabetes. Roberta can’t say that about her demon. It’s a much more insidious, evil demon.

 

 

 

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