Sleeping With The Enemy


No, I’m not talking about diabetes itself. I’m talking about the sensor for my continuous glucometer (CGM). I don’t mean to imply too hostile of a relationship between me and my Abbott Freestyle Navigator — most of the time, I love my CGM. Adore it, even. I have no intention of breaking up with it any time soon. But just like a beloved husband who keeps you up with his snoring,* it has certain nighttime habits that I wish that I could change.

The problem, if I really get specific, has to do with the size of its sensor and the relative square footage of available real estate on my body. Try as I might, I cannot find a perfect place to put the sensor. Wear it on my stomach, it falls off when I exercise. Wear it on my upper buttock, it gets pulled off when I get out of the car (and I have to use the words “upper buttock”).  During the day, the best spots are the back of my arm (visible, but relatively convenient) and my outer thigh (usually comfortable, occasionally spurts blood). But nighttime is a different story.

The problem is that I like to sleep on my side, and I like having my arm under my pillow. Both positions mean that I am putting pressure on either the back of one arm, or the outside of one thigh. And it turns out that if you put pressure on a CGM sensor, it gives you readings that are artificially low. No sooner have I drifted off to sleep, comfortably curled into a fetal position, than I start getting a low glucose alarm. I wake up. Shift positions. Glucose readings go back to normal. Roll over. Get woken up by the alarm again. This repeats multiple times per night.

Granted, I can’t really fault the sensor for whatever is happening inside when I lie on top of it (I imagine that, like me, it doesn’t function best when squished). The real problem, therefore, is the size of the sensor, its adhesive, and the limited number of available places to put it. For now, I compromise by sleeping on one side for five nights at a time, then another. But it makes my neck hurt — and also makes me less likely to pay attention to the alarms when something is actually wrong. CGM, I love you — but I still am looking forward to the next generation.

*my beloved husband does not snore, thank goodness.

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