Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Sunday night I ate a semi-late dinner. I typically eat no later than 7:30, maybe 8:00. Sunday I got busy and wasn't really hungry. Most times like that I would just skip the meal altogether.

This time, I didn't. Instead, I ate around 8:30. I bolused and by bedtime (around 11) I was clocking in fairly well in the mid 100s with some insulin still on board.

I have had problems in the past with not hearing my CGMS alarms at night. Typically it gets to the point where my pump has started vibrating. But, still, it wakes me up.

Sunday night, I didn't have such luck. Or better yet, my "luck" included me turning off the alarm every time it went off, and never doing a thing about it.

This is what my sensor alarm history looks like:

11:35 pm - 172 (I have my high alarm set at 170)

12:34 am - 242

1:35 am - 252

2:34 am - 190

3:35 am - 198

4:34 am - 228

5:35 am - 258

6:34 am - 212

My Insulin Bolus History shows no action was taken until I was awake at 6:00 am. I tested and was in the high 100s. I corrected and continued about my day, hoping for a better grasp on the blood sugars. Sadly, that didn't happen. I chased highs all day long until I began rage bolusing and bottomed out at around 3:00 pm.

However, my rage bolusing is not the subject of this post. My lack of action on the high alerts is my problem. I vaguely remember hearing one alarm. All the others I must have turned off in my sleep.

So far this has never happened to me before. My concern is what if it had been a LOW alarm, instead of a high alarm? That could have been bad. Very bad. I got my CGMS partly because I live alone, and I like the security.

So, I guess this is a call to MiniMed: Make the alarms louder. Or give us the option to make them louder (for situations like this).

Cause, maybe if they were louder, I wouldn't turn them off in my sleep without really waking up.


Stacey D. said...

I have a worse habit of hearing the alarms overnight and still not doing anything. I know this is horrible and I'm honestly trying to stop that but I hate being woken up!! I think having the option of louder alarms would definitely come in handy for some.

Unknown said...

thatsomething i do all the time. it really bites! i think it would be a good thing to have louder alarms. or like with a low have it beep and vibrate after midnight.. or whenever you sleep, that vibrating wakes and scares me sooo bad! pts for u for reconizing a bad thing tho! i know im doing bad stuff but it doesnt change anything..come 2 am and its beeping unless i feel low im hitting ACT lol

Allison said...

I hear them and I still just turn them off without looking at them because I know which buttons to push. Louder alarms does not always equal action. LOL!

SarahK said...

I have to agree, even though I'm using the Dexcom. I have actually learned to sleep through my alarms, so I don't know about them, which negates most of the reason I got the CGM. Both companies need to look at this and make some changes!

Bernard said...

Even with the Dexcom I have trouble hearing the alarm at times.

You could try these approaches. First put the CGM under your pillow, then it alarms close to you ear. That often works for me.

The other approach is to put it on your nightstand. If this is made of wood it will amplify the alarm and may wake you up.

I think all CGM companies should give us a lot more flexibility with alarms.

Cara said...

Bernard, I have the MM CGMS, so it's attached to me. I usually wear it on my pants waist, but I can't hear it under the blankets. I tried (when using the longer tubing infusion sets) to put it closer to my head, but then it doesn't pick up the CGSM, which I have inserted in my thigh. :(
If I had a dexcom or a navigator, I think it might be easier. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I had this same problem last night!! I didn't hear any of the alarms and didn't wake up until it was vibrating. My husband can usually hear them, but he slept through it too. :( I wish I had a tip to give you but I'm having the same problems.

Nancy said...

This is my problem with Medtronic's CGMS, too! A week ago, I went to the Chicago Diabetes Expo and discussed this issue with Medtronic and with Dexcom. It doesn't sound like the Dexcom's alarms are much louder, but since you don't have its unit tethered to you, there are options. The guy I was talking to suggested putting the unit in a jar of coins, on vibrate, so that if if alarms, it shakes the coins in the jar.

I think I'm going to try switching to Dexcom as soon as possible, for various reasons. Their sensor is smaller and easier to put in, they have greater accuracy... etc.

Unknown said...

I'm just like Stacey. When I'm SO SLEEPY like that, it just seems like SO MUCH work to accurately bolus for a high like that.