Monday, September 10, 2007

Adventures in Constant Glucose Monitoring

Okay, so I went on Friday to pick up the MiniMed minilink CGMS from my doctor's office. It was basically a loaner for 3 days. I left work at noon and headed, with a friend, out of town to go to my endo's office. My endo is about an hour from my house. My friend wanted to get some shopping in and needed to go to Verizon. I just needed to stop by my doctor's office and get "hooked-up" to the sensor.

I went into the office at about 1:30. This is when the nurse and I had agreed for me to come pick up the sensor. When I got there she came out to tell me that it hadn't been brought back by the last patient and asked me if I could come back closer to 3:30. I told her this was fine. We went to shop for a while & then headed back to the office.

When I got there I will have to say I was a little nervous. I don't really know why, but I think it might have been more "I'm on my way to get my brand new car" nervous more than a "I am getting ready to jump out of a plane" nervous. The nurse actually inserted the device for me. I was kind of disappointed about that, as I wanted to do it by myself, but that was okay. It didn't hurt and I was ready to go in about 5 minutes. Short and sweet. Just like I like my doctor's office visits.

My friend and I headed out to do some more shopping and to look at some things for her upcoming wedding. As we were leaving on store my pump all of a sudden starts beeping like crazy! It was like it had a mind of it's own. I got my pump out and read the screen: "Sensor Error: Sensor failure. Self test. See owner's manual."

You know, that would be my luck. I tear everything up. So I got out my cell phone and called the office back & told them what it said. She asked me if I could come back in. I went back & she looked at it. Studied the owner's manual. Pushed a few buttons. And them promptly looked at me and said, "I have no idea what's wrong. It's never done this before." Gee. How lucky can I get?? We finally got the screen to clear back up. It appeared to be working and she told me to go ahead and leave & if it didn't start working to come back in on Monday and they would try it again.

Luckily, I left and the sensor started working pretty quickly after that. I have no idea, still, what was wrong with it. I don't think the nurse does either. Oh, well.

Overall the weekend was a little crazy for me. I have about a million things to do and part of me become OCD about checking my pump & then testing my blood sugar to verify. For Friday evening, Saturday, & then Sunday morning, the CGMS was nearly 30 points off almost every time I tested. It failed to catch my low blood sugars a couple of times and there were some high blood sugars that didn't show up either.

To be honest, I was starting to get a little worried and frustrated with the whole deal. But then Sunday afternoon it started matching up. It was within 10 points nearly every time I tested. (If you listen closely you can hear the hallelujah chorus!) Then, I talked to someone today who told me that it usually takes them a few days before the CGSM and the meter start matching. This person wears the sensor for around a week at a time.

I have an appointment next week to discuss with my doctor the results of the three day trial. I am going to voice my concerns over the sensor not matching for the first couple of days. But, to be honest, I still want one. I think that the technology is going to keep improving and I think it is still a nice thing to have, especially if it starts matching up withing a few days.

I'm still not sure about the insurance thing. How that will go is still up in the air. I'll keep you all updated on how it goes.


Unknown said...

Well, it makes for a more interesting story, anyway, but I am sorry you had some problems initially. I'm glad you could do a trial of the CGMS. Is it weird to say I'm jealous? :) Nah...mostly I'm happy for you! Hope you can glean some good stuff from the results.

Bernard said...


I'm surprised they didn't let you try it out for longer than 3 days.

When I'm putting a new sensor in I try and do it in the evening and then reset in the morning. Because the first few hours can be very erratic. This way it's generally all settled down by the time it starts giving readings.

I'll be interested to see what you learn.

Wingman said...

It seems like the sensors are still a year or two away from being totally practical - once they match up with the meters in the first hour or two and all the bugs are worked out these things are going to be a massive improvement - but for now it seems like there are more worries than benefits.

Anonymous said...


I am glad you got to try out a CGMS. Because of your blog about living with diabetes, I thought you might be interested in helping out the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) a bit.

We are in the midst of our preparations for the first UN-observed World Diabetes Day ( on 14 November this year, and I wanted to ask you if you would like to help us to spread awareness of this worldwide event and the theme we have chosen for it this year - Diabetes in Children and Adolescents.

It is estimated that over 200 children develop type 1 diabetes every day and there's no question that the disease often hits disadvantaged communities the hardest, and that children in the developing world can die because their parents are unable to afford medication. In many countries diabetes is still considered an adult disease and as a result can be diagnosed late with severe consequences, including death. Even after diagnosis many children experience poor control and develop complications early.

This is why one of our key objectives for World Diabetes Day this year is to double the number of children covered by the Life for a Child Program - We also want to encourage initiatives that can help to reduce diabetic ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) and to promote the sort of healthy lifestyles which can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in children.

A version of the diabetes circle, the icon we used for our Unite for Diabetes campaign has now been adopted for World Diabetes Day and we have produced a number of web banners that you can view and download here

The way in which you can help us spread awareness of World Diabetes Day is to add one of the banners to your own blog, which we would really appreciate.

The UN's World Diabetes Day Resolution (61/225) was really just the first goal of an ambitious campaign that we have been leading. This is the first time a non-communicable disease has been recognised as a serious threat to global public health and we are hoping now to further raise awareness globally of the disease that is predicted to contribute to 6% of the world’s mortality in 2007.

If you would like to know more about the UN Resolution and our plans for World Diabetes Day this year, just drop me a line and I will get back to you with more information.

Many thanks,
Stephanie Tanner
IDF - Communications Assistant