Calibration

I have to admit that I have not worn my CGM in too long… and the main reason may sound silly to some of you reading this. But it’s been a frustration to me, so I thought I’d share it.

It boils down to calibration timing. I’ll try to speak in layman terms as much as possible, for those reading this that are not diabetic. 😉

A CGM is a Continuous Glucose Monitor – it is a separate device (sensor) that I insert under my skin that checks my blood sugar every 5 minutes and I can look at my pump screen to see what my numbers are at any time. It also shows it in a graph, so I can see trends, and it also alerts me as to when I’m running too high or too low. Other than the inconvenience of wearing a separate site, it’s a pretty awesome piece of technology.

When I first put on the CGM, I have to wait 20 minutes before it’s digitally connected. Then the two hour “timer” starts to count down to when I can actually calibrate it. To calibrate, I check my blood sugar, and put that number into the pump, and it is calibrated. The “problem” is the timing of the calibration. You have to be at a steady number (excuse me while I lol) and cannot be on your way up, or on the way down. So the best time of day is first thing in the morning when you’re “steady” and haven’t eaten anything for several hours.

But my problem is I wake up every day to babies crying.. So I jump up at whatever time they wake up, and my day has officially begun at that point. And by the time I’ve gotten them fed, and I can sit down, I’m hungry or needing coffee. So pretty much every day I think, “Ok it’s too late to calibrate now because I need breakfast/coffee. So I’ll wait until my 2 hour check and then I’ll put in my pump and calibrate.” I know what I should do is put the sensor in at this point (breakfast) and then calibrate at my 2 hour check, but it seems like something comes up every day and I fail to do that. So then I spend the rest of the day trying to find a good time to put it in .. and it never happens. I have several boxes of expired sensors to prove this 😦

So my question to those of you that wear CGM’s is …. do you have a specific time of day that you always put in your sensor and/or calibrate? I think if I could get in a routine, I could make it work. (Even though I’m laughing at the word “routine” right now … lol)

I am running higher than I’d like most of the day, and I’m going to bed at an ok number but waking up high. So I definitely want to get my CGM back on so I can find out exactly when I’m trending up and adjust my basals accordingly. 🙂

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About Shannon

I am a wife, a mommy, and a Type 1 diabetic (since '92.) I have had two successful pregnancies - one of which was with twins. I wear an insulin pump- - off and on for 17 years; currently on the Medtronic pump and CGM. I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just sharing my day to day stories of someone who lives with this disease every day. My ultimate goal is to raise awareness.
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6 Responses to Calibration

  1. a1conceive says:

    I’m not a mom so take my thoughts with a grain of salt, but as far as the routine calibrating, it only takes 30 seconds so maybe just do it as soon as you get up to the tune of crying babies in the background? I usually do before breakfast and before bed. I usually calibrate at lunch too. I’m probably over-calibrating, but so far I haven’t had any major issues.

    I try to change my sensors over the weekends (I’m on the Dexcom so it doesn’t have to be done as frequently), but I agree, the two hour window is annoying. I’ve found that weekend afternoons after lunch and before dinner work best for me. If that timing doesn’t work out, after work works well.

    Good luck! And let me know about those supplies – it’s no trouble to send them! a1conceive@gmail or you can get me on FB! :o)

  2. seejendance says:

    Huh. I was told DON’T calibrate until at least 3 hours after a meal.

  3. I’m with Laura – I’m on the Dexcom G4, and no one ever told me anything about waiting for meals. I chunk on a new sensor, wait the proverbial 2 hours, calibrate in my 2 startup sugars, and then go. Then I tend to calibrate several times the first couple of days on a sensor, just to make sure it’s got in some good numbers. After that, and once I see the numbers are getting pretty accurate, I get lax and calibrate only 3-4 times per day with a fingerstick reading, and sometimes only when it alerts me it’s time for another calibration (every 12 hours.) I love love love my Dexcom, and love that I usually wear the sensor for 2 weeks or more at a time.

  4. Scott E says:

    I usually put my CGM in at night, because it’s the only time when I HAVE time to do it. (And that 20-minute wait? I don’t do it. After I put in the sensor, I walk to the bedroom to toss the insertion needle in the sharps container, and by the time I return to the bathroom I plug in the transmitter and apply the IV3000. One minute is plenty.

    I let the CGM run through the night on one calibration (and get woken 6 hours later for the next one). The first few hours on a new sensor are always a bit inaccurate anyway, so when I see I’m running somewhat “flat” the next morning, I restart (“Start New Sensor”) it. That way, the “off” calibrations are forgotten and I start fresh with a good number. It’s better than going unprotected overnight and guessing whether sugars are flat or not.

    • Shannon says:

      That’s a good idea… And it’s true for me, too, about the first few hours being inaccurate. I did end up putting it back in this afternoon and calibrated at 6. Had dinner at 7 and CHM showed 160-something but finger stick showed 110.

  5. Kelley says:

    Hi Shannon, I never change my CGM at any certain time of day-usually whenever things aren’t too hectic but I am like Scott, I don’t wait 20 minutes…I connect my CGM to my sensor right after the sensor is in. Sometimes it takes a minute or two for the “light” to go off but it’s not usually too bad-I should say I have a Medtronic CGM.

    Before I got my CGM, I did this online class thing with Medtronic where they talked about all these times *NOT* to calibrate my pump. I find that I don’t really listen to those at all. If there are two arrows up/down or I’ve just worked out or literally just eaten, I won’t calibrate but otherwise I just calibrate whenever I check my blood sugar, which is usually 8 times/day-I think I over calibrate like Laura which I’ve heard isn’t a good thing to do, but overall my CGM is fairly accurate so I haven’t found it to be too bad. I think you need to just take those *rules* with a grain of salt like everything else in a diabetic’s life and find what works for you. Maybe the rules will apply for you, but for me, my CGM is pretty accurate most of the time and I never wait for a calm time to put it in or calibrate.

    Good luck! (Sorry for the novel length comment post)

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