Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Oh, the (CGM) horror!"

[I'm going to apologize ahead of time for my writing being a little disjointed as a result of my pregnancy brain coupled with the past few days being pretty stressful/crazy!]

Before I got my insulin pump and CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor), I wrote about how scared I was of the humongous sensors for the latter (here & here).  Of course, that fear turned out to be pretty unfounded, as my actual experience was a lot less painful (and dramatic) than I expected it to be.  Since then, using my CGM has been fairly uneventful, other than a couple of slightly painful insertions (though nothing too horrible) and the issue of removing the insertion needle, which is really the hardest part and would go a lot smoother if they were somehow able to lubricate it a little better...Pulling the stubborn thing out while simultaneously trying not to remove the entire sensor is a difficult feat when it involves weird angles and a tiny grip!  Other than that frustration, my ventures with the CGM have been fairly positive.  It's been a great tool in managing my diabetes, and has provided a lot of useful information in setting my basal rates and seeing how different foods affect my blood sugar level. 

Last night, however, I had my first gusher...which really wasn't as bad as it sounds, but was stressful all the same.  I decided I'd put in a new sensor after a few days of not wearing one (or maybe a week or two...I can't remember anything these days!), so I got all my supplies together last night after my bath so I could get it done.  I picked a spot on my thigh, which is my CGM site of necessity these days (since the abdomen is off-limits due to pregnancy, and consequently my hips/"side butt" already get used for infusion sites), and "bit the bullet," so to speak--which means that I get everything ready for insertion and look away before deploying the sensor, an important step once you see the insane speed at which the giant needle is propelled toward your body.

If you want to see a video of the insertion process made by a young girl with diabetes, check out this YouTube video.  The actual insertion can be found about three minutes in.  On a side note, I may try her method of pulling the needle out before sticking the tape down since she says it's "easier"...she looks like a pro!  My favorite part is at five minutes in, when she nonchalantly explains that there "might be blood."  Yes, there might be.  A little blood=normal, no problemo; a lot=no good, sensor no worky.  Kids who deal with this disease are truly awesome and never cease to amaze me with their bravery and "matter-of-fact"-ness!

So, back to the rest of the story.  I pushed the button on the insertion device (which, if you notice in the video, involves a slight delay between the time in which you begin to depress the button and when the sensor is actually released; a torturous time that makes you question whether you really want to go through with the process or not), and after the sensor was properly inserted, prepared to anchor it down for the next several days.  Before I removed the paper backing on the tape, though, I noticed that there was quite a bit of blood at the back of the needle, not at the actual insertion site itself where it normally bleeds.  That, coupled with the unusual amount of pain that was registering inside my thigh, made me decide to remove it and try again with a new sensor.  However, once I pulled the entire thing back out, I realized that I must have hit a vein because it kept bleeding, and bleeding, and bleeding...At that point, I started to freak out a little in spite of myself, because I'm sitting there staring at a growing spot of blood on my leg and nothing to wipe it off with or stop the bleeding, or so I thought.  If I would have been able to take my eyes off the site, I would have realized that I probably had an alcohol swab or sterile gauze pad in the box of my supplies (within arm's reach), but nevertheless, I instead called for my hubby's help.  He handed me a napkin, which I then used to apply pressure to the site long enough to stop most of the bleeding.  After a while, I stood up to go throw the napkin in the trash can, and thanks to all the adrenaline and freaking out, blood simultaneously rushed to my head and to my now-throbbing thigh.  Pain resulted in both places, and I started to get dizzy, so I sat down in the living room floor and put my head between my knees, or as close to that general area as a pregnant woman can anyway.

Upon recovering from the dizziness, I got back up out of the floor and then had to make a decision as to whether or not I wanted to get a new sensor to put in.  After about half a second of reflection, I decided that I couldn't go through the process again after the trauma it caused the first time.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to leave it for another day, and allow my leg (and emotional state) to properly recover in the process.  Today my thigh still hurts, and although it isn't bruised on the outside so far, I can feel a knot under the skin at the insertion site.  For that reason, I'll use my other thigh when I put a new sensor in while the pain and swelling goes down.  Tonight I'll (probably) try again, and hopefully it will go better this time around!


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