Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Chronicles of Basal Testing Continue

So most of you know that I attempted basal rate testing with a Dexcom on loan from Gary Scheiner last week.

I say attempted because last week presented quite a challenge in the basal rate-testing department.

First off, I was running higher than normal most of the time I had the cgm (and several days before) and I wasn’t sure why. The higher than average numbers could have been because my sinuses were causing me major problems, which in turn aggravated a molar in my mouth that needs to be pulled.

The elevated numbers could have been because I was so stressed out about basal rate testing that I actually psyched myself out. Now I can talk in front of an auditorium full of people, no problem. But when faced with the task of fasting and keeping records, I literally fall to pieces.

Or (and this is a real possibility as well,) my higher than normal numbers might have been exactly what my body was doing – no excuses needed. High numbers happen in life.

Anyway, me being the procrastinator that is k2, I put off basal testing for 4 days.

For the first four days I wore the Dex, it was interesting to see my numbers go high and or low right before my eyes. I ran into some technical problems where the screen would “???” or there’d be a graph line that had a blank spot here and there, but for the most part- it was pretty OK.

Unfortunately for me, my trend graphs usually resembled the Letter W or the letter M and that stressed me out big time.

After two false fasting starts on March 29th and 30th, days were I woke up ready to start fasting, but with high blood sugars through the roof! I was finally able to start fasting in earnest on Wednesday March 31st.

My goal was to fast from 1pm until 10pm and I was gung ho! Of course right before noon my numbers started going south quickly and I that fact made me nervous. I ate an extra large lunch and kept my fingers crossed. Just before 1pm I gave myself a tiny bolus and started fasting. After 1 pm my numbers started to rise and again and the nerves set in.

They held steady and didn’t go above 250 – the magic number where Gary said the fasting would end. My numbers started to drop around 4pm, and they dropped fast! At 6:30 the Dex’s alarm went off several times wen my blood sugar was under 80 and I ignored it. Finally, when my number was well under 70, I knew I had to stop.

And that would be the point where I burst into tears- and tweeted about it.

I felt so alone in basal testing. The last time I’d basal tested I had literally JUST switched to the pump and was living with my ex boyfriend – who was many things- both good and bad. But as far as the diabetes and basal testing were concerned- he was a tremendous help. This time around I felt alone and sorry for myself. I’d been through a lot worse than basal testing (HELLO, does 1 in a million ring a bell?) so why was basal testing causing me to not only stress out, but to feel so damn sorry for myself?

Thanks to the support of many on-line friends and off, I realized that I wasn’t alone, far from it~ I had friends all over the world that understood my diabetes and basal test frustrations and who gave me words of encouragement that gave me the boost I needed to pull myself up by my bootstraps and forge ahead.

To my friends and Tweeps- THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

The supportive tweets and emails I received literally allowed me to look at basal testing with a new set of eyes and a fresh attitude. I decided that I’d take a 1-day break and start basal testing again of Friday, April 2nd at 9a.m.

Thursday April 1st was the day I maintained near perfect numbers and achieved Blood Sugar Nirvana. And because I was feeling good about my diabetes, my numbers, and myself, I was excited to start basal testing again the next day.

But on Thursday night I ran into major technical difficulties with Dex. Or should I say that Dex ran into technical difficulties with me. As I was removing my sweatshirt to take a shower, the Dex unclipped from my yoga pants and flew up in the air in what seemed like excruciatingly slow motion. The Dex hovered midair, like the flying saucer from "Planet 9 From Outer Space" (sans the horrific special effects - FYI -WORST MOVIE EVER-but hilarious to watch) before taking a swan dive in the commode!

It was only submerged a split second and I quickly dried it off. All that kept going through my mind was: NO, NO, And NO!!!!! This is Gary’s Dex, not mine. OH GOD- please let it live!! And don’t let it have Gremlin like tendencies regarding water!!!

I grabbed my hairdryer from under the sink and painstakingly dried the Dex and it's innards on a warm low setting for about two minutes.

The screen showed my graph but it looked a bit strange.

Then an alarm went off and the dex shut itself off. I tried recharging and it turned back on.

I decided to let the Dex run out the battery completely (I’d planned on recharging Thursday night while I slept anyway) and let the battery drain. I’d recharge it on Friday morning.

I didn’t get much sleep Thursday night because I was stressed about the fact that I might have committed crimes against both society and the cgm.

Cut to Friday mid morning when the Dex battery finally drained. I recharged it and called Gary after lunch.

Gary: Hey Kelly, what’s up?

ME: Gary, I have to be honest with you- I think I might have killed your Dexcom. Northing like blurting out the truth when you've screwed up BIG TIME~

Gary: OK, what happened? Sidebar: Gary was cool as a cucumber and very nice about it.

Me: It unexpectedly took a swan dive in the commode during a sweatshirt removal procedure.

Gary: was it submerged?

Me Yes, for like a second. GARY I’M SO SORRY.

Gary: It’s OK Kel; did you try drying it with a hair drier?

Me: Yes, and I let the battery drain afterwards and now it’s recharging.

Gary: It’s OK Kel; it’s going to be OK. Let it fully recharge and go through it’s warm up and see what happens. I’m more concerned about your sensor. It’s been in a long time.

Me: If I broke the receiver- I’ll pay for it.

Gary: Stop worrying Kel, everything is going to be fine.

So I calmed down and waited for it to finishing recharging and warm up.

Late Friday afternoon I started to see a trending graft and I breathed a sigh of relief – life was good, the sun was out, I hadn’t committed murder! Can I get a Hallelujah from the D congregation please!!!

And then the graph disappeared and the following words flashed on the screen.


Yeah- I definitely picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!

Tune in for tomorrow's show, where Kelly and Gary discuss trends, graphs, insulin absorption, consistency in snacks and the time travel continuum~


Val said...

you know, it really irks me that a $20 cell phone has a little rubber plug over its open holes and the Dex does not!

I've never dropped mine in the commode though - now I'm going to be paranoid about it. (I did put Number Two Son's brand new ipod through the washer AND dryer once - luckily visiting friends stuck it overnight in their son's hearing-aid-dehydrator-thingy and it came out fine).

BTW my dex lines look like Charlie Brown's tee shirt or the EKG of someone having a heart attack far more often than it looks anything like the textbook "your BG should do this" line...

I ought to basal test too but keep putting it off. Congrats on doing yours!

The Piquant Storyteller said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karen said...

I have to be honest with you - I think someone is trying to tell you NOT to basal test!! Could more things go wrong?? However your last sentence gives me hope. It sounds like some stuff actually went right and you had a great discussion with Gary. Can't wait to hear all about it!!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Oh man! What an experience! I think I kind of agree with Karen. The stars are not lined up right or something.

I got a grin out of the W's and M's on the graph - I am SO much the same.

Gary is such a great guy. I'm glad the Dex survived (I would have been nervous too!), but I'm sure Gary would have been real awesome about working something out with you.

The Piquant Storyteller said...

You reminded me of when I screwed up calibrating the Mini Med trial sensor right before my appointment to return it. It was a snarling mess and by the time I got to the parking lot the screen said "Bad Sensor" which totally cracked me up!

Try not to stress the basal testing. I know it's easier said than done. Maybe don't even plan on a day to do it. Trick your body and just do it!

What do I know? The only time someone told me to do basal testing was when I was pregnant. It was my endo's nurse who I only talked to the last month or so of the pregnancy. I didn't do it. Who makes a pregnant diabetic fast??? Good luck. You have more support than you realize.

Sara said...

I'm not sure I have ever successfully basal tested during the day. The only time I have been able to pull off a full test has been at night. At least I know those rates are good!

George said...

Oh Kelly Kel I am sorry you had all that drama. Stress makes my numbers skyrocket and I stress about so much that I always seem to be high.

take it easy my friend.

p.s. loved the Airplane reference.