Dexcom Share Day 1 looked like this:
At home in New Hampshire when the alarm of my mom rang, telling her to get up, I know her very first move after turning off the alarm was opening the app to see what my blood sugar had been through the night. She saw the steady line of red dots at 60 for the last six hours. She probably gave me the benefit of the doubt that I was tending and aware of this hypoglycemia. Hoping that she would see a rise in the blood sugar while she was in the shower, returned to the app to find that I was still low. Still not wanting to intervene but knowing this was getting a little dangerous told herself, that she would wait until after breakfast, hoping that it would rise, while having an inkling that I was still sleeping. By now my dad is probably up and mentioned something about the low blood sugar. But still, she was hesitant to say anything.
You see, we have this rule that I text her when I wake up and that’s that. That was before she could see the reality of my diabetes “normal”. At this point her phone was still telling her that I was low and this sense of panic she’d been fighting off the entire morning that maybe her worst nightmare was actually coming true, was finally consuming her body. On the verge of tears because of worry, she did something she said she would never do and picked up the phone and dialed my number
In a dorm room in DC, two college girls sound asleep as the sun starts to peep through the shades. Both with a late night of homework last night and packed day of class the following dat. My dexcom was probably alarming, not that I can hear it, and Chelsey just ignoring it because she has been used to it. You see, going low at night had become a norm to me, It is just how it is. I know that when I wake up I just need to eat my breakfast and I will be fine.
I get her call. I look at the caller ID, look at my dexcom, “oh shit”. I knew what this was about. I answered, as she was already apologizing because she didn’t want to annoy me as she felt helpless from 500 miles away, but also relieved because I even answered. I say thank you (because I really was low and I needed to do something about it), good night, shove some tabs in my mouth and fall back asleep and would later carry on with the rest of my day.
So after about a week of having the dexcom share both my mom and I have learned a lot. To explain it best my mom uses the analogy of seeing the spedometer on a car, the car is going fast, but not knowing what the driver is doing or the direction of the car. It can be scary and just leave her wanting more answers.
I on the other hand thought that maybe this technology would allow me to pay less attention to my diabetes because someone else was. But I feel myself needing to justify my every move, even when she doesn’t ask. As if she will look down on me for just trying to be a college student, even at the expense of an out of range BG. Maybe its this false standard of perfection I hold for myself and my diabetes. Because with dexcom share, now, now there is no hiding. When asked about my blood sugars, saying “fine” can no longer mask the harsh reality of out of range blood sugars that I so desperatelywant to ignore. Every missed bolus, every burst of stress, just having hormones, exposes every imperfect blood sugar that usually goes without saying, is now amplified, and not only brought to my attention my by dexcom, but by the sense that I need to provide an explanation to the others who are watching from afar. It makes you feel vulnerable, exposed, that now someone is even watching the amount of sugar in your blood fluctuate as you live your life.
Kerry Sparling says it best. “Maybe, with time, I’ll stop viewing these data [blood sugars] as little dots of validation and instead as information to help me live better.”