Hey, folks. I’ve had my continuous glucose meter for a little over two weeks now; just installed a new sensor puck on my right arm after two on the left.
I have to say that this is definitely an experience that has been worth it. Knowing that I can wave a piece of hardware at my arm and get a number that has minimal lag compared to a capillary stick has been enlightening, and honestly, helpful for me to work on managing my diabetes.
Before I pucked up (ha!), I would take my meds if I thought about them, and felt like I probably needed them. This is bad: we’re not always the best judges of our own health. Thinking Gee, I’m tired. Well I didn’t sleep a lot, have an energy drink to compensate. isn’t as good as checking, and seeing that my blood sugar has been high for hours, days, longer. OF COURSE I’m tired! My body’s fighting to process all the carbohydrate shit I’m giving it and not paying attention to what it NEEDS.
I’m now that much more accountable for my health, and maybe one day, I’ll really get my diet dialed in to keep things in check along with the medicines.
As it stands, I can now take my meds, and get the better idea of what dose I need for insulin instead of just guessing at it. This is producing fewer swings from low to high, which makes me frankly feel much nicer.
That leads me to thinking, “Why is it that CGMs aren’t standard issue for type 2 diabetics at this point?”
Thinking about it, if you have a newly diagnosed diabetic that you’re getting into the flow of what to do, make it easier for them to understand their health. Telling someone that they have to stab a finger FOUR TIMES A DAY for the rest of their life on a new diagnosis can put them in a bad head space. Are they going to do all those finger sticks? Yes, for the first week or so. Then they’ll grow quickly weary of it because the sticks hurt, or because they aren’t seeing changes, or any number of reasons.
Lessen the pain that comes with their new burden, and they’re more likely to be compliant diabetics, compared to non-compliant diabetics. Yes, this means the doctor’s office might not see them quite as often, but it also improves the continuity and quality of care: you might see the person because they got very sick from something else, and it threw them out of sorts. You’re then treating an illness, instead of constantly triaging a badly managed permanent issue.
The sad, but true bit of this? I’m saying that last chunk from personal experience as a diabetic for over a decade.
I knew what diabetes was. I helped my mother and my father with their treatment in the 1990s and 2000s. I knew about the fingersticks. I knew about the insulin injections, the pills that gave you the trots, the exhaustion, the thirst. All of the woes that came with having a problem processing your own insulin, or not producing enough of it, I was familiar with it.
It’s just one of those diagnoses that you wouldn’t wish on another soul. It’s a lifelong illness that doesn’t necessarily make you look sick on the outside, but is shredding you to bits on the inside. So when you hear the ER doctor tell you, “Your blood glucose is 610 mg/dL. Congratulations, you’re diabetic. Please tell me you did not drive yourself here…”
The world drops away, and all you can hear is the rattling of chains as you’re tethered to a permanent diagnosis. We don’t have a 100% end all, be all cure for diabetes available to us.
What we do have, though, is a beneficial technological advance, making it much easier to monitor and treat a lifelong disease, and I am thankful for it.