What’s the Buzz All About?

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Many mornings over the past few months, I’ve conveniently forgotten to check my blood glucose when I wake up. I bolus for breakfast—a bowl of cereal or a couple of chewy granola bars—but I’m unable to correct for my blood glucose with the insulin pump because I don’t know what my blood glucose level is. It wants me to correct if I need to correct. I lie to my pump. I don’t know my numbers.

I tell it “Yes” when the screen defaults to “yes” for a correction bolus and enter my target of 120 mg/dl. I must be close to that. I mean, come on: my morning blood glucose is usually within 20 points of where it should be. It has been for most of the mornings these past 10 or 11 months. Why would this particular morning be any different?

Then I think the same thing the next morning, and the morning after that the same rationalization plays out in my head. Pretty soon…

Many evenings over the past few months when my insulin pump’s alarm buzzes to remind me it’s time to change the infusion site and reservoir, I’ll set the snooze for a few hours because I tell myself I’ll change it when the alarm sounds again. But I don’t. I’ll push it through the next day. Maybe even into a fifth day. I don’t see any sores where the sites are. I don’t have any hard spots near the infusion sites. The insulin looks fine.

And I tell myself I will only do it this one time; next time I’ll change the site and pump when the three days are up. On the nose. Next time I’ll move the site a little farther from the previous site. The problem is, I have my favorite infusion-site locations and I tend to overuse them a bit.

And then the next time rolls around, three days from the previous site change. Snooze. Snooze. Cancel. The next day, or two days later. “Next time,” I tell myself…

Many weekend afternoons I’ve been working in the yard and started to feel those warning signs that everything I’ve read tells me I can’t rely on. Low-blood glucose warning signs: I feel them. Most of the time.

But yeah, right: That’s not healthy. I’m deceiving myself. I can probably only be close to right in predicting where I’m in my blood glucose numbers about 50% of the time. At best. Not a good way to play it. A bit unsafe long-haul. But should I run inside and get my test strips and lancet? Should I stop what I’m doing when I feel fine (just a bit into the feeling of slightly low blood glucose—a feeling I could describe but which most of you know anyway)? Do I go inside? Do I check? Nope. I slug some Gatorade, or some orange juice, pay attention to how I feel, shrug my shoulders, and keep on going…

Many times at work lately, I’ve been struggling with a problem and tried to figure out how to solve it—staring at a computer screen, running through different ways of approaching the dilemma at hand—when my pump buzzes to remind me it’s been two hours since my last bolus. Eight buzzes. Annoying buzzes. The first set quits and a minute or so later the second round.

And then the third. And the fourth.

And then I hit “OK” and cycle back to the home screen. Without checking my blood glucose. Without knowing where I’m at…

Why am I doing this? Am I getting lazy? Has the newness of Type 1 run its course? Maybe. Maybe this is the beginning of a long-drawn-out nosedive into self-management neglect. Complicationsville.

It could be. Some of you might say, “I told you so.”

I sit here tonight typing away (and backspacing, deleting, rewriting a bit). I have only the sound of the refrigerator kicking on and the trickle of water from the fish tank in the next room to keep me company. It’s a quiet night, and I can hear the tune “What if?” all around me.

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