Dreeeeam, dream, dream…BEEEEP!

July 10, 2012By 2 Comments

I’ve been quiet on the blog front for the last couple of weeks, mostly because I have been letting myself relax and enjoy some lazy summer days (a rare occasion for a person who doesn’t know how to relax).  While things have been quiet on the social media front, I have been reminded constantly how loud my diabetes is.  I am talking about pump alarms. I thought it might be helpful to turn on not one, not two, but every single alarm on my CGM to help me stay within my desired BG range (70-130).  This translates into a non-stop beep-fest.  My husband is so immune to the alarms, as am I, that I could be having a complete low blood sugar seizure and the sirens could be sounding, and neither of us would wake up.  I am aware of the mySentry bedside alarm for the Medtronic pump, but I am also acutely aware of the giant cost associated with it (I believe it’s over $2000).  Since I can in fact feel my lows, and have never needed glucagon, for me personally, the cost isn’t worth it.  I am sure over the next year or so (as I have learned when working for the pump company for many years) that enough determined patients will advocate and rile up the insurance companies to cover the cost.

In the mean time, I am stuck with an array of beeps, buzzes, boops, bops, eeeks, zaps and whatnot.  There’s the lovely elevator of noises that go from meep, Meep, MEEEP! These remind me of an amusement park game, the one where the scary faces climb a pole while you try to shoot them with a water gun; rising until the alarm is deafening (accept the tiny machine on my hip doesn’t have an adjustable volume so I can rarely hear it).  This alarm is just a reminder of “you suck, you let your blood sugar, skyrocket.” I snarl up my nose at this alarm and clear it and just wait for the active insulin to do its job.

The same goes for the low alarm, which always seems to find its voice muffled under my covers at 3am.   I usually don’t hear it until I get an elbow from my husband and then a mumble of “drink your juice” from him.  The worst is when I’m just about to fall asleep and go into REM, and I get slapped awake with a downward spiral of alarms.

Through trial and error, what I want to recommend to my readers who also wear a CGM is to not feel that it’s necessary to turn ON every single alarm.  While the rate of change and predictive alert alarms seem high-tech and fancy, they are often over-the-top and more of a nuisance than anything.  The main advantage of alarms like this are more helpful for young children or for those who cannot feel their lows and need the extra heads-up.  For the general user who just wants to tighten the reins on their blood sugar control, the general high/low alarms will do.  Keep in mind, on newer model Medtronic pumps (I have never worn another brand so I am not sure what they offer) you can adjust the high and low targets for various times of the day.  This is excellent since during the day I don’t need to know if I’m starting to drop below 70, as I can usually feel it, but at night when I’m in lala land it’s helpful to set it for a low target of 80.

For most diabetics, every day can seem like groundhog day.  For those of us who have a love-hate relationship with a CGM, our days may not start with the chorus of “I got you babe”, but instead with a sequence of beeps that basically sing “I need juice babe.”


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Comments (2)

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  1. Andy says:

    Getting nudged to drink juice by your husband. So funny. My daughter can take a glucose tablet in the middle of the night without waking up. She never remembers taking it the next morning. Going to Camp Carefree in 2 weeks! I’m so nervous.

    • Diabetes says:

      Camp is the BEST thing for her Andy!! I think you should even try Clara Barton next year, that place changed my life! You’ll do just fine 🙂

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