“Pump” Up The Insomnia…

It’s been an interesting change in routine, having started a new job last week and being half way through my second week. My wife was just commenting this morning that we seem to have developed a trend where our routine starts by waking up at 5 a.m. early in the week and on that evening, we’re so blasted from our “start of week” that we usually crash shortly after we put the kids to bed. This is followed by getting into the groove later on in the week, allowing us to stay up a bit later and completely throwing caution to the wind on the weekend, which likely leads to our exhaustion on that first morning. But I digress…

As much fun as I’ve been having, meeting new people and learning new skills, adapting my habits at home and getting proper sleep has been the biggest challenge. I’ve often said that technology is really only as good as the person wielding it and how involved they choose to be. But sometimes technology takes it upon itself to be a total pain in the ass, despite the intended programming. I faced just such a situation last night. Now, I know I tend to write these stories on occasion and it seems as though I’m just complaining about my condition. In truth, I write about these things in the hopes that other people with Diabetes will read them and relate to them, maybe acknowledge that they’re not alone in their situation. But anyway, here we go.

Finally coming down to normal

My wife was also exhausted last night, and we ended up crashing just shortly before 8 p.m. I know, I know… We’re like an old couple. Things were fine, we even allowed ourselves a brief snack in bed as we watched our respective streaming services and within the hour, I had fallen asleep. I performed a calibration of my CGM before bed, my blood sugars were normal and I anticipated a full night’s sleep. I anticipated wrong. At about 9:30 p.m., my pump began vibrating wildly. It woke me instantly and I checked what the problem was. “Insulin Flow Blocked. Auto Mode Turned Off. Consider Changing Infusion Set.”

In retrospect, if I’d been smart I would have gotten out of bed and dealt with the issue. But since I had already fallen asleep, I was groggy and pissed at being woken so I did the only logical thing. I jiggled the infusion set at the site on my stomach, acknowledged that it was likely due to my sleeping on it and reset the pump. Resetting Auto Mode involves going through a multi-level menu and turning it on, saving, then going back and providing a BG reading to get Auto Mode to kick back in. Although only a one-minute process, it’s a tedious one to perform when you’re barely awake. I also delivered a bolus to correct the fact that during this “block,” my blood sugars had creeped into the low teens, making me even groggier.

Once I fell asleep, I was once again awoken for the same reason sometime during the midnight hour. Are you kidding me??? Same issue, same error messages. Once again, the smart thing to do would have been to get out of bed and go deal with it, but I managed to acknowledge that I still had about 120 units in the reservoir, which I didn’t want to waste on a set change. I also managed to realize that if the insulin delivery had worked for the past few hours, it had to do mostly with my sleep position and less with the pump itself. I reset everything and provided a further bolus due to being in the mid-teens, and tried to will myself to stay on my back, away from the infusion site.

You can see the slight rise from my snack, followed by a bolus at around 9 p.m. when I was first awoken and how the night went to hell from there.

Just shortly after 2 a.m., the same issue happened for a third time, so this time I opted to leave Auto Mode turned off, make sure I was on my back and go back to sleep. At this point, I knew I only had a few hours left to productively sleep in some given way, shape or form, so I opted for rest over proper blood sugar control. Maybe not the smartest choice, in retrospect. But I stand by it. You can see in the photo above, how the pink drops disappear from the screen, shortly after 2 a.m. This is when Auto Mode was shut off. I also provided a bolus to help treat the fact that I was still sitting at roughly 14 mmol/L.

My alarm went of at 5 a.m. as scheduled and I turned and sat up, with my body protesting in the way it generally does at my age, when I’ve been woken every few hours. I tried turning on Auto Mode once I was standing up, but it provided the same error messages again so I called it quits and sacrificed the remaining insulin units in favour of changing out the infusion set. From the first photo, you can see that I’m slowly dropping back to normal. All I can say is that the Keurig machine in my office will be working overtime, today.

It just goes to show that Diabetes management can be trying and challenging, even during the nighttime hours when you should be able to get some sleep. And don’t get me wrong; I love my insulin pump. LOVE IT! I’ve had the best blood sugar levels and the lowest A1C results ever, this past year. But even with a device that’s as advanced as my current pump, there can still be some user error, issues and corrections that need to be made. And since life rarely cares about one’s plans, those issues can sometimes take place at night.

Moving forward, I’ll need to see about maintaining some infusion sites that don’t involve sites that are pressed against the mattress when I turn over at night. That should be pretty easy; I have plenty of real estate on my abdomen to choose from. But the Diabetes challenge never ends. The high blood sugars, repeated wake ups and required adjustments have left me feeling drained. Just one more day of battling the T1D beast! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a much-needed morning coffee calling my name. ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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