The Diabetes Trial

Recently, I took part in a diabetes trial where new technology is being developed. Here's a run down of the current technology I use.

This study is aiming to develop a system that can stop insulin delivery at a particular point to avoid hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). This makes use of sensor technology that can measure your interstitial blood sugar (that's the level of sugar in the fluid in your tissues) and this connects with the pump to tell it what your level is. The technology also predicts what your level may reach, looking at the gradient of your rise or fall.
Simply, the pump stops you from having a hypo and alarms when you do.

The trial was meant to be carried out in two stages, however as I couldn't meet the criteria for stage 1 I don't get to try out this new technology without doing stage 1 all over again. I was fasting from 11pm the night prior and arrived at the hospital at 7am. I'd been wearing a sensor (who I fondly named glitch).

Let me tell you something about glitch, glitch has problems. Glitch thought I was 3.8 when my level was 6.8. Glitch alarmed every ten minutes because it thought I was dropping low. Glitch stopped insulin delivery at one point because it was frightened.
Glitch is $80, lasts six days, is delayed by up to 20 minutes, can be off by 20% and is a waste of money because you have to do your fingerprick tests anyway.

I was also given a trial pump, to replace my normal one for the study, unlike glitch, the trial pump behaved.

I was then given two cannulas, one in each arm to take blood every fifteen minutes and administer insulin and/or dextrose (a substance that raises blood sugar). The target for the first part of the day was to get my levels stable between 5.5 and 7.5 for 90 minutes. It took me 4 hours and an insulin injection to get to the stable point and luckily I managed to stay on 5.6 for the entire 90 minutes. From there I was given insulin to drop my level to 3.3, what they consider a "true hypo". Now this level wasn't my normal blood sugar, it was my plasma level that had to reach this, and plasma readings are higher than normal readings (whole blood sugar).I stayed until 4pm but sadly, my whole blood reached 3.3, but my plasma wouldn't budge from 3.9.

This whole "true hypo" thing, I'm sorry but when my whole blood level is under 4, THIS happens.
I don't know what you think, but I'd say having your lips go numb and your brain fogging over warrants the definition of a hypo.
But no, clearly I wasn't brain dead enough.
The nurses agreed with me, not letting me stay low (under 3.9 whole blood) any longer than an hour (yay for nurses)

Overall, this experience got me over my hypo fears, and I went from almost fainting from blood loss at the start to watching them take blood like a pro by the end. It came to 32 blood collections, an hour of hypoglycaemia, 17 hours of fasting and a lowest level of 3.3, but I'm glad I did it.
The youngest age allowed to do the trial was 13. If they can do it, I've got no excuse.


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