The Hunter-Gatherer (faustin) wrote in iddm_life,
The Hunter-Gatherer

what if you can't trust your BG meter?

I know there's a lot of detail here, but what happened to me is really scary. My meter gave me false readings of very high BG. Because I have learned the hard way that I cannot trust my physical symptoms, I trust my meter absolutely, and gave a big correction bolus. I spent the rest of the evening hypo (barely symptomatic), then tested again before bed, again got a very high reading (465), took another large correction bolus, went to sleep, and the drama began when the gallon or so of diaphoretic sweat got to my wife.

I use a LifeScan Ultra OneTouch meter. (I've had the UltraSmart and the Duo, and promptly got rid of both and went back to the Ultra; I've loved this meter and would swear by it. I've also used Precision SureDose and BD Logic and BD Paradigm Link meters.)

This is the letter I wrote to my endo (I've a great endo and we're very friendly with each other) this morning.

Last night was the worst hypo episode I've ever had.

At 5:27 pm yesterday (Sunday, May 1) my BG meter reported a BG of 439 (I was shocked, I had zero hyper symptoms). I took a correction bolus of 15 units. 40 minutes later, I checked my BG again and it reported 156. I thought That was a fast drop of ~270! I was driving home from Burbank, and hungry, and waiting for my BG to normalize so I could eat. With the 156 reading, I stopped 10 minutes later at In-N-Out for a hamburger. Normally, I take 8 units for this meal. I expected I still had insulin active in my system (I didn't check the actual time, and felt like it had been a lot longer), so I took 6 units, confident it would be enough even if I were sitting still in the car for another hour (I was one hour from home).

I didn't check my BG for another 3.5 hours. At 9:33 pm, I checked my BG, and got 465. Again, I was shocked, I had zero hyper symptoms. But I took a correction bolus of 18 units. Less than an hour later, I fell asleep in bed.

I came conscious to a room full of paramedics, at first I didn't want it to be true that they were here for me & a hypo episode. --- "Oh No, not again!" --- My wife had tried to use the glucagon injection on me (in fact, she had put the needle in me and pushed the plunger, but without mixing the glucagon in.)

My wife had tested my BG twice: at 12:33 a.m. she got "HI", which confused her, and at 12:41 a.m. she got 261. (Which panicked her, as she believed she had injected glucagon into me.)

The EMTs told me they took my BG and it was "less than 20" (no exact number).

I let the EMTs transport me (because my physical symptoms were so severe -- weakness and pain). I tested on the way out, I got BG = 158 at 01:18.

In the ER, they tested my BG with their BG meter and got 67. I did a simultaneous test with my meter and got 400. Nine minutes later, at 2:48, I got 231. Thirty minutes later, before releasing me (AMA), they tested me, with their meter, and got 115.

At home, I tested one last time with my inept-goon glucometer and got 319, at 04:07.

I think when you're unconscious as I was, with (probably) intermittent periods of being semi-conscious, and your wife is screaming at you and shaking you because she thinks you're dead and she killed you --- I think some of that gets through. After the paramedics injected me and before I accepted that I was going through a hypo episode, I thought "so I'm not dead" and "I'm sorry honey".

So here are the BGs:

13:53 BG 228
17:27 BG 436 correction bolus = 15
18:06 BG 156 meal, bolus = 6
21:33 BG 465 correction bolus = 18
24:33 BG "HI" after soaking bed w/ diaphoretic symtoms
24:41 BG 261
01:18 BG 158 after paramedics measured BG <20
02:39 BG 400 ER room tested BG = 67
02:48 BG 231
04:07 BG 319 back at home

Sorry about all the excessive detail, I'm using this email to you to record what happened while it's still fresh. I'm pretty annoyed with this: when you can't trust your physical symptoms, you depend entirely on your glucometer to dose correctly (and survive). So life is going to suck if I can't trust my meter.

The test strips I was using have an EXP date of 08/2005. I thought maybe the test strips were bad, so I switched to a newer package, with EXP = 07/2006, and tested again (no other variables changed --- no control solution, nothing) and again got erratic, high readings.
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