I’m sensing some trouble
Hi loyal readers (if you’re still out there)! Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Life has been crazy lately…I’ve worked more than I really care to think about, and there’s just so much going on that I’ve barely had time to comprehend it myself, much less write about it.
So anyway, I’m over a month into using the Medtronic CGM sensor. Overall, I really like it. Although the accuracy of the data isn’t yet at a point that I completely trust it, I have found the extra information is definitely helpful in controlling the blood sugars. In fact, when I’m not wearing the sensor, I feel like I’m “flying blind” without knowing which direction my sugars are headed between meals, before exercise, etc. On the whole, I haven’t had too much trouble with the sensors, but today has been a bit of a battle. I started a new sensor this afternoon, but was never able to get it off the ground. I had repeated “Lost Sensor” alarms and tried restarting the sensor several times, but never was able to get to the calibration stage. Finally I gave up and yanked the sensor out, feeling like I had just wasted $10. I started a new sensor and seemed to be off on the right foot this time, but my happy thoughts were soon dashed a few hours later. After finishing a run, I looked at the pump to find out the sensor said I was at 200 mg/dl and rising at a “double arrow” pace. I didn’t feel like I was high, so I checked with my meter and got a result of 94 mg/dl. WTF? I didn’t realize this at the time, but the sensor site was bleeding pretty heavily, so I suppose it’s possible that the fact I looked like an extra from Smokin’ Aces could have affected the accuracy of the sensor. I cleaned things off during my shower and restarted the sensor yet again, so we’ll see if things get better from here.
All of this sensor trouble has reinforced the thoughts I had after watching the news story on ABC news last week about the “artificial pancreas”. Unless I misinterpreted the graphics in the video, the components of this “closed loop” system were essentially the same sensor and insulin pump I’m using, with an additional device to bridge the communication between the two. To me, that part doesn’t seem that complicated – it’s really just a series of calculations, not unlike what the Bolus Wizard function already does. In my opinion, the biggest hurdle to such a closed loop system is the accuracy of the sensor technology. Although I’ve certainly seen some benefits from the information the sensor provides, I feel like there are still some huge improvements that need to be made before we can rely on this technology for dosing decisions.
While the thought of an artificial pancreas is enticing at first listen, it’s still not a cure. No matter how much we’re able to make the different technologies communicate with each other, there will always be a human component as long as there are electronic devices to be managed. There will always be sensors and sites to change, calibrations to be made, and batteries to be changed. Truth be told, this just seems like a band-aid (albeit a technologically advanced one) to deal with the disease, not a solution to the problem.
Ahh, feels a little better to get that off my chest. Hopefully I’ll have something more for you again soon, and if you’re lucky, maybe it will be a little less Debbie Downer.