Things I would like to see

30 07 2008

As I use all this diabetes technology, I can see a number of things that I think need improvement.


  • A secondary high alert.  I see 2 options with this:
  1. One alarm could be set at 160, then another one at 220 (just for example).  So you would get notified when you went high, then notified again if you went really high.
  2. One alarm set at 160 (for example).  But then, if you stayed above 160 for an extended period (user-configurable), it would notify you again.
  • Different ranges for day/night.  I hung out at 130 all night last night.  This isn’t high enough to trigger my high alert, but it’s not really acceptable for overnight.  I could manually set my ranges before I go to bed and when I wake up, but that’s a waste of time.


  • Super bolus option.  I am currently doing a workaround which involves taking the basal-as-bolus via the “fill cannula” method.  As far as I can tell, the insulin given that way is not calculated anywhere in my daily totals.  Given that they can do combo boluses, super boluses aren’t really that different.

I would think that these things could be easily implemented with some software updates.  They’re small changes, but would make a big impact on my overall quality of life.  Got any other ideas?


In my sleep

28 07 2008

It happened with Lucy and now it happens with Charlie:  I am capable of turning off my alarms in my sleep.

With Lucy, I was able to go through the history logs and see that I confirmed an alert, even though I don’t remember waking up and doing it.  However, with Charlie, there are no history logs regarding which button you pressed and when.

I’m not that concerned about low alerts because even if I manage to sleep through the initial vibrate alert, there are follow-up beeps.  Or, if I snooze the initial alert, there is the built-in 55 mg/dl automatic alert that I believe cannot be snoozed.

However, I am disappointed with the high alert.  It will vibrate when you go above your set level, which is fine.  But, after you snooze/cancel that little vibrate, IT DOES NOT NOTIFY YOU AGAIN.  So, let’s take a little example which may or may not have happened last night.  😉

Let’s say I went to bed with an excellent blood sugar and a stable trend.  Then let’s say I woke up to go the bathroom at 3am and find that I am 292 for NO GOOD REASON.  How come Charlie didn’t wake me up?  Because I managed to hit the stupid “c” button in my sleep.  I had been above 250 for a good 3 hours and I didn’t even know it.  Laaaame.

There are some happy points to this story, though.  No ketones and I was able to correct/super-correct down to a normal blood sugar by morning.  And I have to think of the alternative.  In a life before Charlie, I wouldn’t have found out about the super high until before breakfast.  A full 4 hours later than when I actually discovered it.  That’s 4 more hours I can live with a reasonable blood sugar.  Thanks Charlie.

The words I use

19 07 2008

What is that thing on my arm?

11 07 2008

Like Kerri, I wear my Dexcom sensor on my arm.  I have found this to be the most out of the way area that’s still comfortable.  Most of the time, it’s hidden by dress shirts or T-shirts.  However, yesterday, I happened to wear a little cap-sleeved top that displayed Charlie to the world.

Needless to say, I got asked about “that thing on [my] arm.”  I took the opportunity to explain what it was.  My usual speech goes something like this:

It’s a sensor for my continuous glucose monitoring system.  It checks my blood sugar every 5 minutes and I can see the results on this graph. (At which point, I click on the receiver and show the graph)

This seems sufficient for most people, but I do get some interesting follow-up questions/comments.  One woman said “oh, I’m so sorry”.  She quickly asked about something else, so I didn’t get to respond, but there’s no reason to be sorry.  I may have diabetes, but it’s very well managed.

Another woman asked if I had it “really bad” because I have this sensor.  I find this to be the most common response.  I politely explained “Not really.  It’s just that I plan on getting pregnant in the near future and this will help me stay under control much easier.”  This is also a sufficient response most of the time, but this particular woman made an interesting comment.  “Yeah, when you get pregnant, you can get that other kind of diabetes.  Gestational diabetes.”  I know I should have corrected her, but I was too busy laughing to myself.  While technically, I would have diabetes while I was pregnant, it’s still Type 1.  It doesn’t transform itself into gestational.  I did comment, though, that my aunt had gestational diabetes and she managed to have 3 kids, so I think I’ll be okay.

I do not go to great lengths to hide my diabetes (Lucy and Charlie are always on my hips, my sensor is often clearly visible, I test my blood sugar when/where I need to, etc), but it’s not something I ever flaunt or actively bring up in conversation.  I usually wait until someone asks, then I give a clear and simple answer.  Hopefully I’ve helped some people understand a little more about diabetes and the technologies available.

5 years ago…

11 07 2008

My “official” diagnosis anniversary isn’t until tomorrow, but today was the day that I first tested on my grandpa’s meter and it said “HI.” 5 years ago today is the day that started the biggest change in my life.

Since my 4 year anniversary, I have come a long way. I’ve seen 2 A1c’s below 6 (5.9 in Dec and 5.6 in April).  I found a great endo/diabetes center.  I participated in the sussy circle and got to know other diabetes bloggers. I got my butt into gear and got a Wii Fit.  I hooked up to a Dexcom, which I affectionately named Charlie.

My next A1c is in August, and I hope that I will continue my streak of sub-6 results.  I also want to meet other Type 1 diabetics; it seems like it would be so awesome.  And someday, I hope to start a family.

Back in business

8 07 2008

My new pump (Lucy 3.0) arrived yesterday and I hooked it up right away.  Luckily, I had downloaded my settings to my computer recently, so I was able to pull those up and program Lucy very easily.  Since I still had Lantus in my system, I set a 10% temp rate (the lowest it goes without being 0) and just used Lucy for meal/correction boluses.

In the comments from my previous post, Jillian said that she had a slit in the same spot as I did.  This concerns me because Lucy 3.0 does not have this slit.  As such, I don’t think it is a design element, and I’m pretty sure it makes the pump not waterproof.  I wonder if other people have the same thing, or if we just happened to crack our pumps in exactly the same place.  It does seem like a likely stress point that is easily cracked.

Another random interesting thing is that the touch bolus button on Lucy 3.0 looks very different.  The new button is much bigger and has a white circle on it (instead of being just black).  I find it interesting that they would just randomly introduce a new design element without really mentioning it anywhere.  Of course, Dexcom now has the Open Choice System, and that’s not reflected on their website at all…

Anyway, Lucy and I have been reunited and my blood sugars are once again more predictable and under control.

I’m sorry, Lucy

5 07 2008

I should have paid more attention.

Click to see bigger.

That water you see on the screen is actually on the inside.  If you need to take a break and cry, I’ll wait.

I was very excited to finally go to a pool on the 4th of July with all my gear.  I packed my all-plastic clip for Lucy so I could wear her underwater.  I had to leave Charlie at the table, but it would only be for 1/2 hour or so.  I swam, I played, I had fun.  I got out of the pool and Lucy was VERY unhappy.

There was water all inside the screen, she said there was blockage detected, she was beeping like there was no tomorrow.  I thought I had done everything right.  What I didn’t see before I jumped in the pool was that little tiny crack above the o in Cozmo.

I disconnected and called Smiths Medical.  They’re shipping me a new pump, but since it was Friday (and a holiday), the soonest I would get my replacement is Monday.  *sigh*

Luckily, I still have Charlie to keep an eye on my blood sugar.  The data I get from her is almost more valuable than the freedom I get from the pump.  I know given the choice, some people will choose their CGMS over the pump.

I didn’t have any Lantus on me since I was out and about.  But I did have a syringe and a vial of Humalog.  GiR and I quickly ran to Walgreens before the pharmacy closed and grabbed another box of syringes (because reusing syringes hurts).  I managed doing “basal” injections every 2 hours until I got home.  Doing 1.5 units in a syringe is HARD, let me tell you.  But, with Charlie, my numbers looked great all evening.

I took my first shot of Lantus in over a year last night.  I went with a straight conversion of what I usually take as basal in Humalog.  As in, my Humalog basal comes to about 15 units, so that’s what I took of Lantus.  It might not be enough, but better to run a touch high than low.

I’ve still got some Humalog pens, so I’m using that for meals and corrections.  So far, it’s been manageable, but I miss the granularity (.35 units? not with a pen or a syringe!) and the IOB.  But, it’s only for a few days.  Then on Monday, I will get to meet Lucy 3.0.