Well, damn! Just shy of three weeks after starting on Continuous Glucose Monitoring with my new insulin pump, I’ve discontinued its use and I have no idea if I’ll be able to get back on it. I’ve already described some of the problems I started out with, using CGM in a post from last week entitled Step By Step, Day By Day… but the past week has been even worse. In twenty days, I burned through a seventy-day supply of CGM sensors. How did I get here?
The first instance is described in the linked post, so I won’t get into THAT one, but even that one gets me to my second sensor on the second day, which should only have happened after seven days. Luckily, the second sensor lasted the full week. I was elated and happy, and just a little bit impressed at how the pump would instantly stop and start delivering insulin based on my blood sugar levels. It wasn’t responding quite as quickly as I would have hoped, given some of there highs and lows I had, but I guess the idea is to get levels to taper off as opposed to just suddenly dropping a high.
But anyway, the third sensor I placed barely lasted twenty-four hours. Two workouts and some hot showers later and the adhesive dried out and the sensor slipped. After about a week and a half I was already on my fourth sensor, which should have lasted me a month! No small wonder that I’ve grown frustrated and have taken a break from CGM.
It seems as though all these little problems, lack of adhesive, faulty sensors, bad sites full of scar tissue, etc… are a repeat occurrence for me. Consistent physical activity, especially long bike rides in the sunny, Saskatchewan heat, doesn’t bode well for CGM. I’ve even tried wrapping band-aids around the adhesive site in an effort to try and keep the site intact, to no avail.
The night before last was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I noticed that the adhesive was starting to lift on the current sensor, which still had six days left before requiring replacement. In an effort to keep from having issues, I added additional bandages to keep the damn thing in place. Next thing I know, my pump gives me a message indicating that the sensor was “updating” and not to calibrate. It was also nice enough to tell me that this process could take up to three hours. Lovely…
When it finally allowed me to test my blood sugar and calibrate, it didn’t accept the reading and told me to wait 15 minutes and test again. I did just that. Instead of accepting the calibration, it once again told me that it was “updating” and not to test. I checked my instructional guides and didn’t find any reference to this. In my frustration, I sit tight and wait for this so-called update.
The pump finally tells me that the sensor is not functioning and to replace it. I blow air through pursed lips and install a brand new sensor. I get the typical message advising me that the warm-up may take up to two hours. It’s almost ten o’clock in the evening and my wife heads off to bed, wishing me good luck in getting my CGM working.
After the two hours, I provided two calibrations before having the damned thing tell me that the sensor isn’t working and to replace it. I’ll admit that I totally lost my shit and tore all of it out. I turned off the CGM option on my pump and installed a leftover FreeStyle Libre on my tricep. I made it to bed shortly after 1 o’clock in the morning with firm thoughts of telling CGM to go fuck itself. But I digress…
It just goes to show that issues with Diabetes aren’t limited to the body. The technology that’s meant to make our lives easier can very much be a problem as well. I have fourteen days on the current FreeStyle sensor, so I’m taking a break. Perhaps once I’ve had a break, I’ll return o it and try with a renewed sense of purpose. For now, it appears that my Diabetic journey towards becoming part machine has ground to a halt. ☯