Recently I went on holiday to America (which was amazing! Florida even in the winter is SO HOT). But, I managed to break my sensor transmitter on Day 2 of a 10 day holiday…… It definitely wasn’t the best of starts.
Primarily I use my sensor for two things, hypos and nighttimes. So usually without sensors I hypo constantly because I drop so fast I bypass symptoms. My sensor usually slows them down by stopping insulin making it easier for me to detect them but of course no sensor = no suspending insulin. The other biggie is of course nighttime. We use it as (almost) a replacement for nighttime testing. Instead of my poor mum waking up every 2/3 hours to check my bloods, she can rely on my sensor to alert her when I’m going out of range.
So when we realised we would have no sensor (so no safety blanket) in a foreign country with hypo-inducing hot weather and unknown food with unknown carbs, we panicked. I’ll admit we completely freaked out.
It was certainly a learning curve. We had to rethink how we bolused for food to prevent lows, use temp basals instead of rely on suspend-before-low and doing everything we could to make my blood sugars smooth overnight. The worst part (for me being 17) was I wasn’t allowed near any alcohol the whole time I was on holiday! That was BEYOND frustrating, no alcohol on holiday?? I’d actually been looking forward to that part of the holiday. But no. Plans ruined.
However. The most interesting thing I found over the week was that I didn’t notice I didn’t have it on. Taking my sensor off had that typical relief of taking a plaster off, but I expected to feel ‘free’ without it sitting on my leg 24/7. But I didn’t. I also didn’t feel like I was missing anything (when I don’t have my pump on it feels like I’m missing a whole limb!). I simply didn’t notice. It was really quite weird. I guess it means I don’t care about wearing the sensor physically, when it’s on it’s not a hassle so when it’s off I don’t notice it being less of a hassle – because it just isn’t.
I also felt more in control of my diabetes which you wouldn’t think. (Bear with me – read to the end. I’m being completely honest here). Because on holiday I had been thinking about diabetes more, I’d been thinking about what my sugars were more often as I had no means of double checking easily. I was having to be more proactive with my insulin adjustments with walking, the weather and everything really. I was having to concentrate on it so much more so I was much more aware of what my sugar was and generally how I was doing. I felt really ‘on it’. I didn’t simply glance at my pump and realise I was 16+ (which happens) or realise that I’d been on low suspend for ages (which also happens) and then act accordingly. I was on it before my bloods had gone out of range. It really felt great to be that ‘in control’.
Yes, it was a good experience to have with it being interesting to compare, I couldn’t maintain that permanently. For one week, I can think about diabetes more and be more proactive with keeping on top of it, but I couldn’t do it every day. So back in the uk with a sensor I fell back into relying on low suspend to react for me and diabetes just became less effort overall. That’s the way I think I like it too, in hindsight. Because whilst I might not know exactly how I’m doing and maybe not feel as ‘on it’ my sensor makes it easier for me to get on with my life yet still have okay blood sugars.
I enjoyed being off my sensor, but it was a relief to go back to it. So I wouldn’t give it up again willingly. Plus I think my poor mum who was up all night every night watching my bloods prefers the sleep that a sensor brings……