Old School

The Dexcom sensor died on Thursday after a long and helpful life.  We took a day and a half off and put a new one in on Saturday.  This one showed a variety of timer and blood drop symbols much more often than it showed any actual numbers.  The actual numbers it did show were often up to a hundred points off.  After 24 hours of trying to settle itself in, the ominous 'sensor failed' message appeared on the screen at 6 p.m. Sunday.  We decided to wait another day or two to insert a new one.

So essentially, we've been without Dexi since Thursday morning.  Aside from a post burger and fries restaurant high on Saturday night, the numbers have looked pretty good.  Granted, for all I know, she's been spiking to 400 and then dropping down just in time for a finger stick.  But that seems unlikely.

What I do notice is this: we're doing things more thoughtfully and intuitively.  This has its pluses and minuses. Today I'm intrigued by the pluses since they seem so much more unlikely.

While those Dexcom arrows are often helpful, I just as often find them to be misleading.  If I wake up at 2 a.m. to a 189 with a diagonal down arrow, I'll roll over and go back to sleep.  If the alarm goes off on a Dexi-free night, I stumble to the bedside, sort through the blanket and stuffed bunny pile to find a hand, check her blood sugar and see 189 staring back at me, I'll correct it.  Correcting it is much more likely to be the right thing to do.

Without that graph and those arrows to guide me, I find myself considering more of all of the other information available to me before I make decisions.  I think more about insulin on board, what particular foods were consumed, what she's been up to for the past couple of hours, what the next couple of hours will hold, and what things looked like yesterday and the day before around this time.

She checks her blood sugar more without the Dexcom.  During a regular school day, this only means one or two more tests.  But on weekends we've come to rely on a quick glance at Dexi now and then, often only checking at mealtimes.  Waiting for alarms to sound prevents us from catching problems sooner than later.

I love the safety net aspects of the Dexcom. I've come to rely on its information as a major part of diabetes decision-making.  But it's intended to work in conjunction with all the other tools we already had in our toolbox.  This week has been a good reminder to continue to use all those skills we worked so hard to hone in the 11 years before Dexi appeared on the scene.  They're actually quite handy.

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