Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crystal CGMS Persuasion

Anyone who loves classic rock from the Summer of 69 knows of the acoustic song Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James and the Shondells, a song that inspires some great groovy relaxation. Historically, James' manager once said that the songwriter was inspired by a reading of several Bible Book passages speaking of a bright future where everyone lives in peace and harmony.

Well, in my never-ending quest for Better Diabetes Control, I've decided that's how I want to live my D-Life - peaceful, harmoneous, without complication. In striving for that balance, I am convinced that the best way to achieve that goal is by using a Continuous Blood Glucose Monitor. I have been pursuaded by recent rocky ups and downs in my diabetes care, and it's time to make the move.

We're talking Crystal CGMS Persuasion, here. Sing it. Groove with it. Be one with the melody of knowing you'll always be aware of where your blood sugar levels are at, and which way they're going. All in the name of tighter control, without the sudden and consequential night-time or any-time Lows.

Recent events in the past week have inspired this new mantra. Last night, I crashed following some night-time new site issues. Higher tests plagued my Tuesday post-dinner period, and two correction boluses over the course of seven hours suddenly smacked me about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. I'd gone to bed at 1:30a, wanting to make sure everything was kosher like a pickle. A test of 237, down from the 300s earlier, offered some assurance it was coming down and I'd be safe enough to sleep. Well, within two hours, sugar levels plummetted and the paramedics were summoned. At one point, I tested at 20 and then within a few minutes, my reading declared. "LO." I don't recall ever having that before. An IV brought me back, and I awoke in my own bed to the sight of six paramedics standing nearby. Luckily, I wasn't out of the house or driving when these crashes came - situations that have happened in the past year of my Never Waging War Against Diabetes. Following this Low, Suzi and I stayed up once the paramedics left and all returned to normal about 4:30 a.m. I Tweeted about the experience, and started formulating a blog while keeping tabs on where my sugars hovered. They fluctuated throughout the day until I came home and just about dinnertime, we had some Diabetic Deja Vu.

I dropped suddenly again. Speech and coherentness blurred, confusing my common multi-tasking talent of Suzi conversation, carb calculation, mentally tallying a grocery list, and observing an intriguing legal issue shown on Law & Order. Suddenly, I knew little and couldn't carry on a conversation or answer a simple question. I felt my level dropping. A test revealed a 47, down from the 79 just shortly before eating my two meatloaf sandwiches. No paramedics needed this time, and I was still somewhat aware of my surroundings. Inhaled glucose tabs and an apple juice box and spoonful of honey brought me up within an hour to 138. Safety. But just to be sure, I kept the Paradigm 722 suspended for a handful of hours into the evening. That was overkill, but physologically needed as reassurance.

It's all enough to make a Diabetic not want to strive for tight control, but rather hold out for higher sugar levels and ensure immediate peace of mind. After all, we're fighting to avoid complications down the road that may happen even with our better control, so sometimes the thought of Here and Now trumps what may or may not ever come to be. You can drive yourself mad with it.But I won't let this deter me. This two-day rollercoaster ride, coupled with situations from the past where I've bottomed out, have pursuaded me to go out on the CGMS branch. Fellow D-Bloggers have shared their stories and spoken highly of it, despite the nuisance of having to find additional Diabetic Real Estate for another infusion site. I am not eager about that, but the benefits and peace of mind of more constant monitoring far outweighs that issue. I have made a decision to go ahead. Luckily, this comes just prior to my Thursday morning visit with Endo Dr. P, whose office has already voiced support in this device-obtaining process. I'd started the process in August after a Low-While-Driving Incident, but decided to hold off until a later time because of insurance changes happening at the time. But now's the time.

I'd like to start with the several-day trial. It will be the Guardian REAL-Time CGM, along with the CareLink software device and the needed sensors. I understand that my insurance company has a policy where you basically have to have tests below 50 mg/dL, a number that in my opinion is arbitrary and a "one-size-fits-all" line of thinking for something that by definition varies for each person. Still, that's the insurance industry decision-maker's call, whether I like it or not. It doesn't matter - I fit the mold, having those too-low results, and the paramedic calls and doctor's evidence to back it up.

So, this will likely happen in January, since we're a week before Christmas and also thanks to that being the time when my insurance deductible starts over. I will start on a trial, and depending on how that goes, decide whether to push ahead for a more long-term committment. The scary $350 pricetag for a 10-pack of CGMS sensors is a daunting part of that equation, unfortunately, and it will all factor into a final decision once that times comes.

We'll see whether that groovy, Summer of 69 tune and philosophy can carry over to 2009 and beyond, allowing that Crystal CGMS Persuasion to win out in hopes of a Diabetic Eutopia of Even Greater Control.

3 comments:

Casey said...

Good luck! I am right behind you in hoping for CGMS in January. I will start the battle then after an insurance change.

I agree that an arbitrary value of 50 is silly. My symptoms start at 70. So, I have to push lower to qualify? dumb...

I hope the process goes smoothly for you!

Melinda said...

I am wanting my son Michael to get a cgms for when he leaves for college in the fall. Our CDE said to get the 10 reading below 50 by finding a 48ish one and testing 10 times in a row : )

Michael Hoskins said...

That 50 number is craziness. My multiple-paramedic encounters, though, qualify me... The $2,500 ER bill from August for a post-reaction hour spent there is evidence for the cause, also. My endo doesn't forecast a problem. But it IS the insurance industry, we're talking about.... Good luck to you both, too!