The Diabetes Project

Hi readers!!!  So I am really excited about this post.  This past week, and even right now I am doing something that is not only educational for me, but helps me put myself in my patients’ shoes.

I am currently wearing two diabetes devices: 1) a Dexcom CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor), and 2) an Omni Pod Insulin Pump (mine is filled with saline).

Since these are two things I will I will be using a lot at work, this will not only give me first hand experience of what my clients will go through, but it also helps me master each device.

I will be wearing other devices, and will update my blog when I have on other devices.  

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Remember- the insulin pump I’m wearing IS NOT FILLED WITH INSULIN!!!!  It’s filled with saline.

I had both devices placed on me on Tuesday of last week.  I was nervous about both because I’m a baby – and I don’t like needles, I don’t like being poked- yet this is something I do ask my patients to do multiple times daily.

***Reality check***

So what do these devices do???

The CGM does exactly what the name implies – it continuously monitors your body’s glucose.  There is a small transmitter has a teeny tiny cannula attached to it – that sits below your skin and monitors your body’s interstitial glucose.

The way it works is the transmitter that is on your body – it continuously gives you real time readings – these readings are sent to the receiver – the slim Dexcom black device.  The Dexcom CGM has about 9% margin for error- which is pretty amazing – so far it is the only device on the market in the US that has this margin in the single digits.

I do need to test my blood sugar (by poking my finger) twice a day to calibrate the CGM.  It needs to be calibrated because capillary blood glucose (finger stick) and interstitial blood glucose are somewhat different.

Personally what I have noticed – after having the device on me for now 5 days- and calibrating twice daily – when I text blood sugar – it is amazingly close to what the CGM is telling me – (within +/- 5 mg/dl) so that’s huge – additionally – I also get low blood sugars on my runs….
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For people with diabetes- the CGM also indicates what direction your blood sugar is going in – for instance are you at 120, and heading south (meaning you want to have a snack before you workout), or are you at 120 and heading upwards.  The caveat is – the transmitter and receiver need to be within 20 feet of one another to effectively communicate.

This is huge for people to have insight on what is going on with their blood sugars.

The insulin pump- the Omni Pod.  This is an insulin pump that is one of a kind – there is not anything like it on the market now, at least in the US.  It is a wireless pump.  It has a chip in it – think computer chip not Lays chip.  🙂 That communicates with it’s corresponding PDM (personal diabetes manager).  Each time a new pod is put on it is sync’d with the PDM.  The PDM is where the doctors and diabetes educators – put the clients’ settings in (for how much insulin they will need).

With this pump – you are truly wireless – you can shower with it on, – you NEVER have to disconnect in the way you may want or need to

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When putting on a new pod insulin is injected into the pod and the pod is on for 72 hours at a time. The PDM does not need to be “near” me the way the dexcom receiver does. I can leave it in my purse or my desk drawer- I just need to remember to take it out at a meal time- at which point I would input my blood sugar and carb gram I’m about to eat.

So for each meal and snack I would check my CGM receiver to see my blood sugar and then I would enter the amount of carbs I was about to take in.

I slept fine with these on, took baths, ran, did my normal stuff- and these did not bother me in the slightest.

This allowed me to put myself as much in my patients’ shoes as I could- feeling the way it does to keep track of multiple devices and be connected to two devices at the same time.

I know what my patients go thru- IN THEORY, as I help guide them navigate. This gave me a mere “taste” of what life can be like and how demanding and even stressful it can be. Additionally I traveled this past weekend, and I did not have an extra Omnipod- for someone with diabetes this could have been very stressful as it would involve either packing an extra insulin pen, or phone calls to get an extra omnipod or a pen from a local pharmacy- that would ideally be able to pull my original prescription.

This experience allowed me to gains first hand mastery of these devices but again, it also allowed me to walk into a more personal realm and be able to describe what it would be like wearing these and additionally allowing me to get a small walk in my clients’ shoes.

I look forward to giving my back a break from multiple devices but also trying out other devices – which of course will be on the blog.

4 thoughts on “The Diabetes Project

  1. sarahdudek80 says:

    This is really cool. I just met a little 6 year old yesterday who is Type 1 and has a pump. I was amazed at how her sitter can control everything from her phone. So incredible what technology has done.

  2. seePhu says:

    I think its great you are doing this! For my nursing classes, so far i had to be an elder patient and i did have to wear an ostomy bag. Definetly gives you a new perspective

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