I spent the first half of this week in D.C. for JDRF Advocacy’s Government Day. I have so much about Gov. Day to share and I’ll be splitting it up into three posts next week about the people I was with, the information that was shared, and our time advocating on Capital Hill. But today I have a diabetes tale to tell.
Although I’ve been taking some breaks from wearing my Continuous Glucose Monitor now and then, I consider it non-negotiable when I'm traveling. I often don’t feel my lows until my blood sugar is well into the 40s, so I need that safety net when I’m traveling and sleeping alone. I strategically waited to insert a sensor until the very last minute before I left, hoping to make it last during the entire trip. I hate changing out the CGM when I’m away, but I believe in being prepared so I packed everything I’d need if I had to do a new CGM in D.C. Or so I thought.
I wear my sensor completely taped over with Tegaderm, and there are two reasons why I do this. First, if I don’t I tend to accidentally rip the sensor out in record time. And second, if any water gets under my sensor I end up with big, red welts. Unfortunately, I must not have done a good job with the Tegaderm this time, because it started to peel up. I awoke on Sunday with a red welt and I knew I’d have to pull the sensor and find a fresh spot to put a new one. No problem, right? Wrong! As I pulled out my supplies I realized I’d forgotten to pack one thing. The inserter.
Cue the panic!! Quite honestly, I still find the sensor’s needle to be a scary big-ass harpoon! When putting it on with the inserter it ranges from kinda-hurts to not-bad-at-all, with an occasional holy-shit-that-hurt thrown in there. I’ve heard of people inserting them manually, but it wasn’t something I ever wanted to try.
Of course, diabetes can throw a wrench into the best laid plans, and over the years I've just learned to adjust. I didn’t have my inserter but I knew I needed a functioning CGM, so the only thing to do was to suck it up. I took a few deep breaths. I told myself it wouldn’t be that bad. And I manually plunged the needle into me. Did it hurt? Yup. Did I wonder if I got it in properly? Yup. Did it give me accurate readings for the rest of my trip? Sure did - in fact the following morning the number on my CGM and the number on my meter were exactly the same.
Even after 33 years with diabetes, some situations and devices can seem scary. But the important thing is being safe and healthy, so sometimes I just have to suck it up. And when I do, I can't help feeling a little bit proud of myself.
** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **