Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Drive a Car and My Home is Protected by ADT

I like analogies.  And stories.  I have always liked stories.   The best days at work start with an engaging story about . . . well, what happens at work, stays at work. But I digress.

I think that using the common to explain the uncommon is one of the best tools of communication.

When I decided to start using the pump, I was super excited. But I had a few people say, "Oh, your diabetes must be REALLY bad now that you have to use that."  (My diabetes is already considered the bad kind to some because I have to take insulin in the first place).  My response is always that an insulin pump is just another form of transporting insulin.  Some people have a working pancreas, some people use needles or insulin pens, I use a pump.  It's like needles are a bike and a pump is a car (mechanized).  Neither one is good or bad - they are both different ways to get to the same place.

So, when I started thinking about using a Continuous Glucose Monitor, I had to figure out how to explain it without using the words "interstitial fluid" because I can't even explain that one.

I posed the question: "If you were living in an unsafe neighborhood and your home was prone to break-ins, what would you choose to monitor your home? Would you rely on a camera that takes still shots every 3-4 hours, or would you want a video camera that gives you a moment-by-moment recording?"  The answer is almost always "video surveillance"!

Essentially, a CGM tests sugar levels in fluid every 5 minutes and fills in the blanks between my finger tests.  A CGM is not accurate enough to stop poking my fingers, but assists greatly in seeing trends regarding how I react to exercise, certain foods, or may even answer the questions "Does taking my insulin 15 minutes before a meal really matter?" and "This chocolate covered caramel cheesecake can't be that bad for me, can it?"  It could also alert me when blood sugar is bottoming out or going sky high by indicator arrows that show me when my sugar is rising rapidly, staying steady, or dropping rapidly.

Blood sugar test from fingers: I know where my sugar is right now.  I don't know where it is going or where it has been since the last time I tested.  I just know where it is right now.  I can use my intellect, and years of thinking like a pancreas to guess where it might go (based on my exercise patterns or food intake) - but I am human and I get stuff wrong.

CGM:  I can get an idea of where my sugar has been and where it is heading.  I can also see how fast it is moving*. I can confirm with a finger test when necessary.

Piggybacking on the previous post, I usually test 10 times a day to try and get an idea of what on earth my body is doing.  Knowing and correcting my blood sugar level is a major way of protecting myself from complications and improving my quality (and maybe quantity) of life.

All that to say - with my deductible met, and a team of super helpful suppliers, I am making steps toward becoming fully bionic.  My CGM is ordered and on it's way.  I am a little hesitant to have one more device to wear but hopefully, like the pump, it will improve my control and be worth the extra baggage.

Waiting in breathless anticipation . . .

*In a perfect world, technology works perfectly. Granted, a CGM is flawed - sometimes throws out a false alarm, may not read consistently - but, heck, even blood sugar meters are acceptable by the FDA if they are within 20% of the actual blood glucose level.

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