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    « The Day for D-Blogging | Main | Dumb Diabetes Mistake »

    Falling Out With My Pump

    As a dentist, I often joke that I need to get on well with my assistants since we spend more time working closely together in the same room each day than most people spend with their partners.

    Given that I spend virtually twenty four hours a day, give or take a shower or two, attached to my pump and CGM, it's obviously pretty important that we get on well too.

    Fortunately I have a great relationship with all the girls at work, which makes my working environment more fun and less stressful than it easily could be. And most of the time I have a great relationship with my pump. Together we do a good job at keeping my blood sugars in check as much as possible. But for the last few days I've been suppressing a strong urge to hurl it at wall.

    Mostly it's been minor annoyances. A bunch of CAL ERROR alarms that were my fault anyway, for trying to calibrate on the rise or fall. My pump frequently leaping out of the pocket of a particular pair of trousers that I love. Peeling adhesive around the edge of a-day-and-a-half old Quickset that caused itchiness that drove me to distraction.

    These are all little quirks of living with a pump. They irritated me more because we spent this weekend away in Brussels, and I didn't want diabetes, or my pump, spoiling the fun. A bunch of little quirks together also lowered my tolerance or any further problems, and yesterday they came.

    We spent an hour or so on the outdoor ice rink in Brussels. Towards the end of the session, the CGM alarmed to tell me I was low. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I tested and the meter said: "Hi".

    That most unfriendly of greetings when it's coming from a blood glucose meter. I checked again.


    Damn. We'd eaten Tartiflette with an unguessable number of carbs, and drunk Gluhwein that is sweetened differently in every recipe. I could have got it way wrong. I dialled in an enormous correction as we began to snake our way through the crowded Christmas Market.

    As we walked, I couldn't  help but wonder how I got so high. I hadn't eaten or drunk much and I'd been very active.. Something wasn't adding up.

    I'd taken a big tumble on the ice where my pump had flown from my pocket and hit the ice with an audible crack. I'd been too busy getting back the wind that had been knocked out of my to check it over properly. As I pulled it out of my pocket to look again, I noticed what wasn't right. The tubing was coming away from the reservoir. Again.

    This was the second time in two months. And I was really, really angry. I put the previous episode down to re-used tubing, but this tubing was brand new. I started a new reservoir, with new tubing and a new infusion set before we left home on Friday morning. That was only just over 48 hours earlier. Tubing is meant to last at least three days. And here I was faced with the prospect of changing the whole thing in the middle of a freezing market. I was unsure if any of the huge correction had got in to me and I definitely didn't want to overdo it so I'd end up with a massive low blood sugar whilst on the Eurostar back to London. Not to mention that the CGM had been telling me I was low just minutes before I tested Hi. I've never had a discrepancy so ridiculous before.

    I was angry enough that I felt like tossing the pump into the nearest garbage bin and leaving it there.

    I didn't, of course. The CGM aligned itself only a short while later and fortunately I came down gently and we made it back to London without further catastrophe. But the pump and CGM were definitely in the dog house.

    I might have forgotten all about it though, had the CGM not decided to try and make amends for the missed high. In the middle of the night I was woken by a high alert that said "Above 22.2 mmol/l"

    Come again?

    That was the actual text of the alert. I hadn't had a previous alert which put it into snooze mode, which meant I'd jumped from below my high threshold to this level in one go.

    Sure enough, the reading 5 minutes earlier was 4.8.

    Blood sugars can move fast, but 4.8 to 22.2 (86 to 400) in five minutes? I don't think so.

    When I tested, I was actually 4.1.

    I have no idea what caused the silly spike, because when I checked the ISIG it was around six. From experience, I know high numbers don't have ISIG values that low, and more confusingly the ISIG didn't drop when it fell back in to line, which it did without re-calibration. The sensor spiked two more "Above 22.2" alerts today and in both cases the ISIG did not change from where it was shortly before.

    I'm concluding that I have a temperamental sensor, and I have terminated my relationship with it, much as I terminated the relationship with the dodgy tubing.

    The pump has been given a second chance, without its naughty sidekicks, but it's been warned to be on its best behaviour otherwise it may just be meeting that wall.

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    Anyway It was very good to go through your post. As educational as actually. I thank you to guide doing individuals much more mindful of achievable challenges. Fantastic stuff as typical.

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