As much as I love, cherish and adore my continuous glucose monitor, I have to say there has never been a piece of diabetes kit so expertly designed to mess with your head. My pen, pump and meter combined have never provoked such a wide range of emotions as my CGM. In one day I can go from ecstasy to blind rage, all provoked by one tiny little machine. Here are just a few of the emotional responses it provokes:
Celebration. You wake up in the morning and the graph looks like you’re dead. You’ve been a 5 all night, one single flat line right across the screen. You celebrate sheer basal brilliance.
Comfort. You’re a 3. You’ve finally admitted that it might be a good idea to acknowledge the low and actually eat something. There’s something very comforting about seeing the numbers start to climb again on the screen. It happens very slowly, 3.0, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6 but they give you hope that things are moving in the right direction and that a second bottle of juice would be overkill.
Convenience. You’re just getting on with your day. A quick glance at the CGM shows that all is well with the world.
Reassurance. You’re going to sleep, on your own. You can see you’re a 6, you have no insulin on board and you’re holding flat. You know the CGM will alarm if you drop below a 4. You’re reassured and sleep well.
Irritation. There is little more irritating than having a smug little machine remind you that you’re high, when you know you’re high, you’ve been high for several hours and no amount of insulin is bringing it down. There’s no need to go on about it. That’s why I like the “alert silence” setting so much, it’s the CGM equivalent of “yes, I know, now shut up”.
Fury. The machine alarms to tell you you’re 17, when you really weren’t expecting that at all. You’re torn as to where to direct your fury. First you shout at the CGM because there’s no way in this world you can be a 17 and it is obviously making stuff up. Useless piece of junk. Then you check on your meter and that says you’re actually 16.5, so to be fair to the useless piece of junk it was pretty spot on. So now you have to admit you were wrong and split your raging fury equally between your useless pancreas, your brain which seems to have lost its ability to play at being a pancreas, and the rest of your body because no doubt there’s something going on in there that caused the 17 in the first place. Aaargh!
Never has one machine provoked so many emotional responses in so little time. It’s only because it’s delivering great results that the thing hasn’t been pitched out of the window before now.