Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thar She Blows . . .

Usually putting in my CGM sensor isn’t that big of a deal.  Okay, I’ll admit it did take me about a year before I didn’t need to stop and psyche myself up before insertion because the needles is like a freaking whale harpoon and apparently even after 30+ years of diabetes jabs I’m still a baby.  But by now, I’m over the harpoon fear and I don’t think anything of launching said harpoon directly into my . . . .  blubber seems to be the correct word to carry out my whale harpoon metaphor.  *sigh*

whaleLast week I inserted a new CGM sensor right before leaving for Friends for Life.  It was no big deal, until I pulled out the needle.  Holy Thar She Blows . . . . blood squirted out like water from a blowhole!!  I debated pulling the sensor, but the bleeding stopped so I attached the transmitter, taped the whole thing down with Tegaderm as usual, and that was that.

But that wasn’t actually that.  Because somewhere along the way the bleeding started again.  I got out of the shower one morning and saw a lot of blood beneath the Tegaderm.  I debated pulling the sensor completely, but I didn’t pack a spare with me and Pete was nervous about me going sans CGM for the rest of our trip.  I was a bit nervous too, considering I’d been having some pretty low lows without symptoms.  Besides, the ugly bloody mess gave me the perfect excuse to opt out of a trip to the pool with Pete in the muggy unbearable Orlando heat . . . . . I was quite happy to nap in the air-conditioned room so my gruesome CGM didn’t scare any innocent children.

When we got home, the first thing I did was remove the icky sensor.  No, wait, the first thing I did was snuggle my little cat for about an eon . . . . . but next was the yanking of the sensor.  I was not prepared for a repeat Thar She Blows, but that’s what I got.  I have never had a gusher like this one.  I can usually tolerate the sight of my own blood, but this time I got a little dizzy as I watched the puddle form on the floor despite clapping my hand firmly over the spot where the sensor had been.  Pete had to come help me because it was quite a while before I could take pressure off . . . . eerrrr . . .  my blowhole(??).  And I’m still sporting the ugly bruise on my leg.

Things I’ve learned from this experience?  If a sensor gushes like a whale’s spout upon insertion, it’s probably best to take it out and try again.  And when you blog about it, you  might not want to pick an analogy that casts you in the part of the whale . . . . .


  1. Ow! That totally sucks. Yay for Pete! I have to say, you are the nicest "whale" that I've never met. ;)

  2. I had one of those gushers when I removed an old infusion site at work (it was really painful and my BG was high, so I had to change it). Somehow, the blood managed to not get on my work clothes, and the mens room bathroom had plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, and water to clean up the rest of the mess. You'd think that the bleeding would've stopped after a few days...

  3. You make me feel so much better about my own baby-ness with stabby things. I thought to myself (while psyching up for a Dexcom insertion), "Geez stop being a baby about needles, you've been stabbing yourself for almost a year."

  4. After a year, deep breathing is still necessary when inserting the harpoon.
    I've only had one sensor gusher. Dexcom replaced it, which I thought was quite nice.

  5. My goodness, you really do have a way with words. I'm trying to talk my daughter into using a cgm as that road test is just days away, so I hope you don't mind that I won't be sending her your link today. Looking forward to dinner next week!

  6. Sorry to hear that happened while you were in Orlando, Karen. I know you had a great time there, despite the CGM experience. I have used a Dexcom for more than a year, and have not had a gusher. I did have another bad experience though. When I pulled the old sensor out, the wire type insert stayed in my body. That was more than a year ago, and I suppose it is still in my abdomen. It is important to pull it out slowly on the same angle that it entered your body, without bending or twisting as you do so. I was so flustered at the situation I accidently threw away my transmitter. It was in the little pile of stuff along with the tape that was holding everything down. We never found it, and I had to buy a new one. UGH!

  7. LOL!!! Bean had a bleeder once, thankfully not a gusher, but we yanked it and moved to another spot right away.
    You totally should have asked for a sensor...we (and I'm sure lots of others!!) had extras!

  8. You forgot to mention whether this particular sensor was accurate or not. Among the wearers of MM's CGM (I am one of them!) we tend to say that if a sensor is bloody, it tracks even better than usual. However, if it continues bleeding long after insertion, it won't work well at all. For the past year, I have found that my MM CGM is working better than ever. The other day I inserted one (I choose manual insertion, and insert into my buttocks - my preferred area) and it bled like the dickens. I phoned MM and they said to pull it out, put it in its bag, and they would replace it. Also - since you were at the CFL conference (which I have attended myself) you might have asked if someone there (or even Medtronic, at their booth) might have had a spare sensor for you to use. That's what I would have done. I always travel with extra sensors. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading your blog post!

    1. Ah, you are absolutely right!! This sensor, in plain English, was crap as far as accuracy was concerned. It did occur to me that it was because it was a bleeder. I've also heard (but I'm not sure how true it is) that dehydration can cause inaccuracy, and I know I didn't drink nearly enough water while I was away. So I'm not sure what factors played into the inaccuracy, but it may have been both.

      I probably should have mentioned something to the Medtronic people at the conference - great suggestion. I didn't feel right asking anyone else for a sensor, and when someone did offer me one I said "No thank you". I have a funny complex about asking for favors, and those sensors are expensive so I would hate to trouble anyone for one of theirs.

  9. BLOWHOLE! omg you're hilarious! sorry this happened but bonus on getting out of pool duty!

    btw, remember that weird rash you and i got on our lower legs last year at ffl? i got it again this year, only worse! how about you?

  10. Ouch! I haven't had that happen yet with the CGM (*knock on wood) but I have had a few bad bleeders with my infusion sets.
    And I also still have to psych myself up to insert the CGM needle .. even after 20 years of poking myself with sharp needles. :/


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