The great CGM experiment concludes

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05/24/2011

Last week, I commented on how high-maintenance the CGM could be but on Friday afternoon, as I was getting ready to leave my office to drive to Borders, I was thinking "I should check my blood sugar before I get behind the wheel." Then I realized I didn't have to. I simply checked the CGM, saw that I was in a safe range and was able to just get up and go, like a normal person (albeit, a normal person with a data chip). If you do not have diabetes, you have no idea how wonderful that felt.

That night, during my bookstore shift, I scooted up to the registers at one point to help out but when I got there, the CGM buzzed. My blood sugar was headed to the danger zone. I had no idea, and probably wouldn't have for several more minutes, at which point it would have taken longer to treat the low. Plus, I got out of register duty.

In fact, by the time Elaine the CDE pried the device out of my hands yesterday morning, the CGM had become second nature to me. I found myself going to check it several times yesterday afternoon, forgetting we were no longer attached at the hip.

At the dr.'s office, we printed out the data, seven sheets of 24/7 glucose trends. (BTW, while Elaine was down the hall downloading the data, I peeked at my file: my missing records look like they might still be missing). Turns out, I do go low (or near low) most every night, usually around 3 a.m. That's probably causing a morning rebound at breakfast. That means, rather than take more insulin at breakfast, which is what I normally would have done, I will take less insulin at bedtime. We are making a few other tweaks as well, but I won't bore you with the details.

The takeaway: This was an amazing way to problem solve, in a way that old fashioned log keeping (and, in all honesty, guesswork) simply cannot. If I were training for a marathon or something, I would probably get one for myself, although I do think the device could be smaller.

This experiment also really underscored what it means to be proactive in healthcare, rather than reactive. That's something that HME providers have long understood, and it's something that I hope insurers and lawmakers (Medicare excepted) are beginning to realize.

Theresa Flaherty
Type 1 diabetes, 11.5 years