I harsh on the complications associated with Diabetes a LOT, and usually with good reason. There’s a whole bunch of shit that usually happens when a person has Type-1 Diabetes, especially if it’s uncontrolled. Even when it IS controlled, there can be a number of obstacles that keep you from having a smooth day, night, sleep or whatever. I’m ridiculously grateful for the miracle that is insulin pump therapy, but I would be lying if I said that I don’t have days where I’d like to throw the damn thing across the room. A week ago was one of those nights…
My pump has a number of nifty alarm functions built in, designed to alert me in the event of an extreme high or low blood sugar level and asking for calibrations every twelve hours. For the most part, I can control these alarms through proper blood sugar control and by making sure I perform my calibration tests at proper twelve hour intervals that don’t include the 8-hour period that I try to sleep. But there are certain conditions where the pump will pester me, even when it shouldn’t.
If my blood sugars are level for too long, an alarm will go off because the pump is wondering why there’s no variation. BG is required. If the pump hasn’t had to provide micro-bolusing for four hours or more, an alarm will go off. BG is required. If my blood happens to be running a touch on the higher side and the pump has had to micro-bolus for too long, an alarm will sound. BG is required. If I roll over in my sleep and happen to put pressure on the CGM sensor, it’ll interfere with the signal and BG is required. Are you shitting me, pump? Really?
So my point is, how many of those alarms do you think take place while I’m sleeping? It’s a genuine issue. Sleep escapes me at the best of times… One of the disadvantages of having ADHD, OCD, PTSD and a host of acronyms too annoying to get into. But the Diabetic equation just makes it all that much worse. On the night in question, I had a request fro calibration in the middle of the night. This usually doesn’t happen, if I’m organized enough. But since I had installed a new sensor, the 12-hour cycle started at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. So… 3 o’clock in the morning came a’calling!
Calibration is worse than “BG required,” because you can just enter the sensor glucose for “BG required.” But a calibration request actually gets you out of bed to test with an actual glucometer, which really sucks in the middle of the night. I did the calibration and went back to bed. All’s good, right? Two hours later, “minimum insulin provided for 2.5 hours. BG require to continue on Auto Mode.” Fuck you, insulin pump. Just keep doing your thing.
At 5 o’clock, the damn thing tells me that “BG is required.” No reason. No explanation. What the hell!? I ignored it until it became an audible alarm and entered the sensor glucose. At 6 o’clock, the same damn thing happened. Entered the sensor glucose again. Damned brutal. My alarm (actual alarm) went off at 6:30. So I got about four hours’ sleep before my pump started going all “Russian Sleep Experiment” on me.
My point to all of this, and maybe it’s just my day to be bitchy about life, is that despite the beauties of technology there are always some downfalls. This is DESPITE the benefits I’ve seen in the last year in relation to insulin pump therapy. But technology is only as good as the user who controls it. There are still some ups and downs that I have to deal with, but I’ve come a long way from the brick-shaped glucometer I had in 1982, or the one-a-day BG test and multiple comas. All things are relative. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get some sleep… ☯