4:30 a.m. BUZZ!! I grab the Dex groggily. High. Over 200. Mmmmkay. Since I'm awake anyway, I stumble to the toilet, turn the light on in there, and give myself a shot to bring the sugars down.
As I climb back into bed, my husband asks me if I am low. I tell him no, it's high this time, and settle down. Then it occurs to me. 'This is a new sensor. I should double check that high with my meter.'
119. I just administered enough insulin to drop me 100 points and I'm at 119???? Well, that can't be good. In fact, it could be really, really bad.
So I do what I need to, I eat some carbs. (Doesn't everybody bolus at 4:30 in the morning for a little snack?) I recalibrate the Dex. I remind my husband where the glucagon is in my nightstand, just in case. I settle back in bed, but I know the rest of the night is pretty much shot when it comes to any actual sleeping. My husband tells me "I'm awake with you" and I love him for it.
My friends, it's moments like these that make the FDA balk at the artificial pancreas. My Dex is accurate most of the time. I would guess that it's close to 90%. I mean, there was the time when it said 276 and I was in the 120's, but I knew that one was screwy - it had ??? right before, and while I don't always 'feel high' (insert random drug reference here) I would have noticed a 276. And it's not always accurate on exactly HOW low I am, but it's definitely a warning that I didn't have before, and one that I love. Plus, the fact that I can remember these anomalies shows me how rare they are. If I was saying 'every day this sucker messes up constantly' things would be different.
I've only had it for a month. I reserve the right to change my tune. Your diabetes may vary, of course.
But if an artificial pancreas thought you were at 276 and started dosing enough insulin to drop you over 140 points when you aren't even at 140, the lawsuits are going to pile up like a lazy person's laundry. (Not that I would know anything about those piles.)
So, the question is, is it worth it? How accurate does it have to be before it becomes available? When do the benefits outweigh the risks? Everyone has to answer that for themselves. Again, I reserve the right to change my mind, but at the moment I say, YES it's worth it. Bring it on. Severe lows and highs are ALWAYS a risk for diabetics. We know it. We hate it, but we know it. And while my precious Dex messes with me sometimes, the thought of going back to random finger pricks to manage makes me want to vomit. Increasing our quality of life and our ability to manage is always a good thing. (Of course, if the artificial pancreas kills me, I might feel differently.)(But I would be dead, so I probably wouldn't care.) (My family would, though.)
Plus, I don't see the option of shots or pumps going away. I think the AP would just be another option for patients who want it. Some will be too scared to take it. Others will jump on it. Others will wait and see. Others might go back and forth. We're good that way.
So there you have it. I survived the Dex misreading something, and it got me thinking. I now know why they tell you to double check before you treat. I mean, I knew that before, and I typically do check, but it's very difficult to be responsible for my actions at 4:30 a.m. Live and learn.