Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's all in the numbers...

First number.

8.2 that's my latest A1c. Down from 10.5! I guess I'll have to go change that on my tudiabetes page. I was congratulated and complimented by the IE. I knew he had a heart, and he said that basically he wanted me to work my butt off so he could feel confident in putting me on a pump. Makes sense, but still it made me dislike him for awhile.

Next Number.

3 or maybe 4, number of days I will be on the CGMS system. Here is the story. First I had my appointment with the IE, we talked shop. Pumps (OmniPod or Animas), A1c, a lipids panel I could "sell on ebay". Then my mom and I left to have lunch. Went back to the office, met another diabetic boy who was a year older than me and was going on the CGMS because he hasn't been waking up during night time lows. We did a little tutorial together. I made him go first, then I went and almost passed out. I am a "passer-outer", everything and anything I get lightheaded. I think it was more the nervousness than pain or anything caused by the actual sensor. I would explain the insertion as maybe a finger prick to the surface of your stomach. A little sting that stays with you for a couple of minutes and then its gone. The tape is worse than anything. It feels all pinchy.

The process went like this, insertion,review removal, start the one hour warm up. I got home the warm up timer went off, I was supposed to calibrate. I washed and alcohol swabbed my finger got a reading, entered it. And got a CAL ERR message, I went through the clearing and re-entering process. CAL ERR again this happened 3 times, I called the help line. The guy told me to wait awhile because continuing to re-enter could cause the sensor to fail. So I waited a bit, and did it again. The rep would inserted it said after every error clear you should check and re-enter but that contradicts what the guy on the helpline said! Ugh! So I just called again and had a more helpful person. She said to just turn it off for 3 hours to get the sensor completely saturated with body fluids (um okay?), then try again. So much for this being an easy process.

Here are some pictures:
The Monitor Shower "Paks"
< Sensor and ridiculous amount of tape.


Donna said...

Wow, I didn't realize there would be so much tape involved with one of these things! I think that might drive me crazy - at least for a while. But I'll bet it's like anything else related to diabetes care, you will probably get used to it quickly. Good luck!

Michael said...

I am surprised with the difference between the newer home use style cgms units such as the guardian rt and the dexcom sts 7 and the cgms you are showing which appears to be the original guardian.

On the newer systems the sensor is much smaller and looks almost like an infusion set. And they use no where near as much tape.

The monitors show "real time" information showing your trends. Not just a number while recording the trends for your dr.

Please visit my blog at My life with diabetes to read about my experiences with two of the newer systems.

Btw I am linking to this article on your blog in my post tomorrow.

Please feel free to reciprocate.

Jillian said...


Unfortunately your link did not work. So I will reply to you here hoping that you will stumble back to read it.

I understand that this is an older system. The purpose of the CGMS study I am doing is to show the doctor my usual trends. Not for me to be able to monitor them all day and try to fix them. Because to tell you the truth if I could see the numbers all day, I would go crazy. The Sensor is actually the same sensor the MiniMed 522/722 uses, except I believe that one is wireless. Oh and about the tape I think the MiniMed rep was just trying to prevent any sort of pulling out or damage.

Michael said...

Interesting about the sensor being the same one used on the 522/722. I was not aware of that, and the one on the 522/722 looks much smaller. Then again it could be all that tape that makes the sensor look huge.

Seeing the numbers and trends is not that confusing at all and it really adds allot to the safety of insulin treatment. They basically let you know if your bg levels are rising, dropping, or staying stable and let you respond to your needs accordingly.

I am surprised that the rep taped you so much. You must have a really active lifestyle.

I wonder why the link I left in code was altered after I posted it.

Anyway the correct link to my blog is

Bernard said...


Congratulations. That's an awesome improvement in your A1C, just amazing.

That is the original Guardian unit. When first made, it didn't even show a number. There was some concern about what patients might do if they knew what the value. I'm not sure if that was because they wanted to collect 'usual' numbers, or they thought people might overreact to the values they were seeing. In now seems kind of silly because (as Michael says) the new units are so much smaller and give you so much more information.