Tuesday, 20 August 2013

My week on a Continuous Glucose Monitor

Last time I saw my delightful Diabetic nurse, she asked me if I wanted to try out a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for a week to see if I would like it.  I jumped at the chance.

This is a device that looks a bit like this.  This is the transmitter that attaches to your body

I had to have mine fitted towards my back, as she could not find enough flab on my belly to place it there.  It contains a very small needle inserted under the skin.  It takes glucose readings every 5 minutes, and sends these to a receiver .  I was given the Dexcom seven plus, a slightly older model (this is a trial after all).  This sensor lasts for 7 days, after which time it has to be changed with what I can only describe as an implement of torture that looks a bit like an ear piercing gun.  This was fitted to me last Tuesday. Ouch.  The specialist I met was awesome.  A Swedish lady who specializes in insulin pump and CGM fitting and education. She was very thorough and very pleasant, just like everyone  I have met here who is involved in Diabetes.    

So I got home on tuesday, and had to wait 3 hours for it to be ready to take my first blood glucose (BG).  I had to enter 2 into the receiver, it then figured out where I was 

The machine on the left is my BG testing machine, where I have to prick my finger, put blood on my test strip in the machine and wait for a read.  The one on the right is the CGM receiver.  As you can see, there is not much difference!  Over the last week this machine has been giving me pretty accurate (within 30 d/ml) BG.   It does have to be configured 3 times a day with reading taken by a finger prick test, but at least this has encouraged me to take my BG more consistently. It has been interesting to see how things have affected it, like alcohol....

Ideally, I want to be in the green area.  As you can see below, this did not happen often, something like 65% of the time.  Most of my highs tend to be in the early morning.  This is due to something called the dawn effect, and often alcohol.  This is just a sample of the 12 page report I received.  Certainly makes for interesting reading.  

I now have to decide if I want to go on one of these permanently.  The specialist I saw only deals in this, which admittedly, looks pretty awesome.  It is more accurate than what I have been wearing, has a better range ( I can be 20 feet, instead of 5 feet from the receiver, and it will still pick up a signal), and I would even be trained to insert it myself.  I don't have to go on it permanently, I can use it for a few weeks, the take a break.  The transmitter is completely water safe, and it is even safe through airport security.  The only thing is it is on me, like a little plastic bug.  Reminds me a bit of my 3 hospital stays for child birth, and having a drip in my hand.  It is also not very aesthetically pleasing, though most of the clothing I wear cover it up.  People tend to stare at us at the pool due to the volume of our children, this would just give them something else to stare at, lol!!!

The next issue is insurance.  If  we decide I want to go on this, I have a form to fill in for the specialist.  She gets in touch with the insurance company to see how much they cover.  Seeing as they only covered the insertion of the trial monitor, and then only the cost for 3 days (my specialist is awesome, and frigged it for 7 days) but not the cost of the removal appointment (the specialist frigged it under the same cost code again), I am not sure how much they would cover.  You would hope that they would realize that the short term costs well outstrip the long term complications.  But this is an insurance company...

One thing to note..... Not sure I would have been offered this in the UK.  So this has certainly been an experience.  Now I need to go away, have a good chat with Paul and a long old think.....

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