I Need to Know

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Help, Dexcom, help!

Last Friday, we went to the hospital to “try out” a Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor, the promised piece of technology that would put our minds (and my son’s poor fingertips) at ease.

The monitor was property of the hospital, and idealists that we are, we expected our very own shiny new CGM waiting for us when we arrived today to turn it back in.

This has been the best week ever (except for the type 1 diabetes). We always knew, just like the Dexcom brochure says. The brochure that falls out of every hospital folder and welcome packet for the newly diagnosed. We have at least six of these glossy reminders of our parental “point of pain.”

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The Dexcom 5G Continuous Glucose Monitor (which I was hoping to have in my mitts NOW) has alarms for highs and lows, shows trending arrows, collects information on insulin, exercise, and carbs, even a feature for illness! Best of all, you can see your kid’s blood glucose level updated every five minutes – no lancets! – share the information and track it for improved management.

The worst thing about new technology is having to live without it after you’ve adapted – and we adapted pronto. Once that baby was calibrated, we went swimming, bowling, played baseball and karate, and we ate – very mindfully, we ate.

Oh, I still checked him during the night, but it was a hands-off, bloodless affair. One quick glance at the screen, and back to dreamland. I had a much bigger picture of what his blood-glucose day looked like. Gary Scheiner, author of Think Like a Pancreas, compares using a CGM to the difference between driving at night with headlights and without.

The CGM didn’t just appeal to my obsessive nature. People who use a monitor have lower A1C levels (how much glucose or “sugar” circulates in your body). Lower levels don’t just mean fewer headaches, fatigue, or other immediate symptoms of high blood sugar. High A1C levels contribute to everything people associate with diabetes. The dreaded blindness, renal failure, amputations, and artery diseases.

Because there’s ample evidence that taking control of blood glucose improves my son’s overall quality of life, why wouldn’t I want to keep a careful eye on it?

Alas, we went to the hospital this morning, and that was that. We didn’t even see anyone: my husband had to rip the thing off in the waiting room and hand it over.

And now it’s gone. Gone! My son wondered if he had done something bad that he had to give it back. That’s when I realized how attached he was (no pun intended). We still have no idea how long it will take to have our very own. The best I could get from our nurse was that it “could take as little as several weeks.”

So, give us a call, Dexcom. We’re waiting by the phone. Like Marc Anthony, I need to know.

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