Tag Archives: Medtronic My Sentry

Throwing Punches

So we’ve made it through our first major illness with diabetes. Medium is just getting over the fever, sore throat, cough crap. But boy did it do a number on his numbers.

It is hard enough to take care of a sick kid who is fighting a virus where there is really nothing you can do but treat his symptoms, but then throw in uncontrollable high blood sugars and, well, it takes its toll…on everyone.

After being the sole on-duty night nurse for two nights, complete with vitals checked, meds passed, ketones checked and correction boluses given, I was looking forward to handing my nurse hat off to my other half for the night shift on day 3. Moments after I snuggled in to my freshly washed sheets and fell asleep, the MySentry alarm went off. “Unable to find pump”. The MySentry is on my husband’s side of the bed. So he “snoozed” the alarm. And then snoozed it again…..and again…..and again. Seriously! I’m trying to get some sleep over here! You can “snooze” the alarm on the MySentry as many times as you want, but until you get off your ass and go in and clear the alarm on the actual pump, it’s going to keep going off.

So, I’m not sure how many times my dear husband was going to let it go off, but after about 5 times I couldn’t take it anymore and I got up and went in to Medium’s room and cleared it myself. I was so exhausted and therefore, so mad at my dear husband at that moment. Have you ever heard of or read the blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat? If not, you should. It’s pretty entertaining. But these are the words that were running through my head as my husband was snoring next to me while I was fuming and trying to fall back to sleep.

It was a stressful week for us all. My husband and I had to take turns taking days off from work to stay home with Medium. Nothing we did to lower his blood sugars worked. And on top of it all, Medium was miserable. And watching your baby suffer and not being able to do anything about it is such a helpless feeling.

I’m happy to report that Medium is feeling better every day and things are getting back to normal around our house.

And I don’t want to punch my husband in the throat anymore…..at least not for now.

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Sleep, Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

Medium had a late basketball game last night. He played well and was hungry after, so we let him have a chicken sandwich and hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s. By the time we got home and counted carbs, it was 9:30. The total carbs for his “little” bed time snack was 95.

He ate his food, took a shower and went to bed.

Around 11:00 I came upstairs and looked at the MySentry which showed his BG was in the low 300’s (can’t remember exactly what it was.) A finger stick confirmation showed he was really 389 mg/dL! What the hell???

This could only mean one thing. Medium forgot to dose.

A quick look into his pump confirmed. The last bolus given was at 6:22.


Two correction boluses, several hours, finger sticks and zero sleep later, he was back in normal range.

I hate diabetes.

I will never sleep again.

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Happy Anniversary!

Seems odd to think of an anniversary of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as “happy”, but we have real reason to celebrate today!  No, we didn’t discover the cure, and no, I didn’t figure out a way to turn back the clock to a time when Medium didn’t have diabetes.  But our lives have been altered, the path of our journey has changed course and we have a new normal, so different things make me happy now. Like Medium having an A1C of 6.8.  Oh yeah baby, sweet! The hemoglobin A1C test is the litmus test for diabetics to make sure they are staying in range.  A diabetic only knows what their blood sugar is when they test it and who knows what it is doing the rest of the time.  The life of a red blood cell is 90 days, so the test is able to look back and tell you what your average blood glucose was over the last 3 months.  A healthy, “normal” A1C is between 4-6.  When Medium was diagnosed and in the hospital his A1C was 11.4 which told us that his average blood sugar for the 3 months before diagnosis was in the low 300’s.  I bought a home A1C kit which had two tests in it and we took one at his one month mark and it had gone down to 8.6 and now at  the 2 month mark it is 6.8.  Now, I don’t know how accurate the home kits are, but most research I have done says they are accurate within 20%.  We will get an official A1C at the endocrinologists office when he goes for his 3 month follow up.  I will probably do a home test before we go to compare it to the doctor’s office test and check for accuracy.  But none the less, I am so excited that his A1C is so good.  It is almost in normal range and that is even with one month of pre-diagnosis, non-medicated blood cells on board!  So basically we are kicking diabetes’ ass, even without a pump!

And speaking of the pump…..that leads me to my next reason to celebrate today.  I found out yesterday that the insurance company paid the claim for the pump! They denied the claim for the continuous glucose monitor but after a few phone calls, I am fairly certain that will be paid, too.  (They only cover the CGM for one diagnosis code and they must have overlooked the code on his script because it was on there).  So we are spending this weekend going through the all the instruction manuals and taking the online lessons so I can call on Monday and we can schedule our pump training.  Woohoo!

We spent the evening with some of my oldest friends (they aren’t old, I have just known them for a LONG time).  One of the families lives out of town and the other family lives about 25 minutes away and we just don’t get together very often.  There are 8 kids between us and they are all between the ages of 5 and 12, all boys except one girl.  The kids all had a great time together and Medium was right in the mix, hoopin’ it up having a great time.  And I couldn’t help but get a little choked up watching him.  Because while we still have a long road ahead of us and a lifetime of managing this disease, I took comfort in seeing just how far we have come in 2 months and watching Medium having a normal, happy Saturday night with friends.

But I still hate diabetes.

Me and "My Savior".

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Alarm Clocks, Finger Sticks and Fear

Yesterday I got my new iPhone in the mail and today I got Medium’s insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and My Sentry in the mail.  And I’m not sure which I am more excited about!  Ok, I do know.  I am much more excited about Medium’s pump (although the iPhone is going to help me manage his diabetes, too with apps that I couldn’t get on my android phone).  There are basically three front runners in the world of insulin pumps.  The Medtronic MiniMed, the Animas Ping, and the OmniPod.  We eliminated the OmniPod right away because we felt like it would get knocked off too easily with Medium being so active.  So we met with representatives from both Medtronic and Animas.  Both of the reps we met with were very nice and knowledgeable about their products and there were features on each that we really liked.  But ultimately we decided on the Medtronic, mostly because we really wanted the continuous glucose monitor which, if you choose to get it, integrates with the pump.  Animas doesn’t have the CGM, instead it is compatible with the Dexcom CGM, but then Medium would have 2 devices to keep track of, and the Dexcom is not FDA approved for use with kids.  We have heard that even though it is not FDA approved for kids, sometimes you can get your doctor to prescribe it and your insurance to pay for it, but that seemed like a headache waiting to happen.  And having worked in the medical field for 10 years now, I trust Medtronic as DME (durable medical equipment) company.  But probably the biggest reason that we went with the Medtronic is the “My Sentry” device, or as I am calling it the “My Savior” device.  I am trying really hard not to get overly excited and get my expectations set pie-high in the sky, because it may not work the way it is supposed to.  And it is so new (it came out the week before Medium was diagnosed) that I can’ t find any customer reviews online.  But the concept behind it is AMAZING!  http://www.medtronicdiabetes.net/products/mysentry  Basically how it works is this. Medium wears his pump and CGM all the time. The My Sentry device remotely monitors his blood sugars, in real time, and then alarms on a device that we can have on our nightstand.  So when he is sleeping and his BG goes low, his pump will alarm and it will alarm on our device also.  No more setting my alarm for midnight and 3 am and then going in and poking his fingers and saying a prayer while I watch the count down on his glucometer until the number pops up.  If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can just look at the monitor and it will tell me his BG.  The CGM reports his BG every 5 minutes.  OMG! What peace of mind!  Can you imagine???

While all diabetic parents worry about long-term health effects of diabetes on their children, probably the number one worry is nighttime lows.  When you and your child are sleeping, who knows what is going on with their blood sugars and if it goes too low and he doesn’t wake up……..well, you get it.  Up until now the only choices we had were to pray and leave it in God’s hands, or get up two or three times a night and check blood sugars.  Unlike many families who have been doing this for years, we have only been doing this for two months, but I can tell you it is exhausting.  What if we just took a night off and turned off the alarms?  We would never forgive ourselves if something bad happened.  Risking your child’s life for a few hours of sleep, seems awfully selfish.  But thank God somebody is working on the technological advances in the tools that manage diabetes while others are working on a cure for the ugly disease.  Cue, My Sentry from Medtronic. My big worry is that it will not be as accurate as we want it, or need it, to be and will therefore render itself useless.  And then not only will we have spent $2000 on it (insurance doesn’t cover it) but worse, we will be back to alarm clocks, finger pokes and fear every night.

But here is the real kicker. We will have to wait and see how accurate it is, because we can’t get a straight answer from anyone at our insurance company about whether or not we have a six month waiting period for the pump and CGM to be covered.  So we had to order it and then wait for a claim to be generated and if it turns out we do have a waiting period then we will have to send it all back, or pay for it out of pocket.  So here in my front room with me sits $10,000 worth of life-saving medical devices and supplies and they have to stay in their little boxes until someone in a suit sitting in a leather chair in a corner office in a 50-story building, ten states away, says it’s now okay for my son to have an easier, less painful and more accurate delivery of his life-saving insulin. Really? I wonder if it was the suit’s son?  Make no mistake, I have made every phone call, sent every email and filed every piece of paper that I can at this point to get an answer, and I already know what my next steps are if the claim is denied.  But for now, I will have to wait to find out if My Sentry really does turn out to be My Savior.

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