The new insulin pump (Minimed 522) will be here by Friday. And since I've already met my deductible this year (back in May I think) it will be 100% covered by insurance. Bill from Minimed called to get my shipping address and we talked about how I also want to get the continuous glucose monitor sensors (the ones that cost $35 each or so).
Bill: "No problem. You just need to send me 30 days worth of your blood sugar results and have at least five times when it's gone below 50mg/dL." (As a reminder, the normal non-diabetic range is 80-120mg/dL.)
Me: "And if I don't have readings that have gone that low?"
Bill: "Well, just compile what you have and we'll see."
I then started transferring my readings from the blood meter into Excel. I have a cable at home somewhere that will do that for me (I think) but I wanted to get them sent to Minimed as soon as possible. As I transferred more and more numbers I realized I hadn't seen a reading in the 40s yet.
In the three months of test results I went through, I only found three times my blood sugar dropped below 50 and was recorded on the meter. Even the time when I was sitting on the floor** and thought I would puke? That was only a reading of 58.
Ironically, my blood sugar was probably in the 40s this morning around 5:30am. I woke up in a sweat, realized I was low and stumbled to the cabinet. I chugged my bottle of Sunny Delight (31g of carbs) and stumbled back to bed, hoping the shivers would stop soon so I could fall asleep. When I woke up this morning my blood sugar was a very respectable 113. My sugar was probably in the 40s a few hours before, but I didn't need to test. I knew it was low and based off the panic I felt, I knew it was really low. I don't need to spend $0.75 on a test strip to tell me that.
But apparently I should. In order to justify the CGM sensors, I have to have perilously low blood sugar readings documented for the month. What I found instead was that my blood sugar has been disturbingly high at least once a day for weeks. It's appalling. 244, 182, 360, 257. The more I recorded those numbers the more the patterns set in. In the month of November my blood sugar only dropped below 50 once but rocketed over 200 32 different times. I can't go 24 hours without my blood sugar doing something insane. It's embarrassing.
Really, that's the part that bothers me. In order to justify my sensors I had to fax my diabetic dirty laundry to the insurance company. It would be like insurance not agreeing to pay for depression meds until you faxed them copies of your journal entries about how much you hate yourself. On the one hand you hope your journal entries are cringe-worthy enough to merit them paying the $350 a month for sensors. But on the other hand, it's a little hard to face right there in black and white.
I called Bill before I sent the fax to tell him I didn't have a lot of low blood sugar readings because I don't normally test then. He said this was just a first step and that with the number of high readings in my log may convince them to cover the sensors. He reassured me that even if it was initially denied once they get a letter from my doctor it's almost always covered. I hope that works or I'm printing these blog posts and sending them to Anthem.
** I insisted that Rich take a picture of me when my blood sugar was low. I've become kind of insane about documenting things, and that irrationality was in full force with low blood sugar. Rich took the picture because I asked but he hated doing it and I may as well have asked him to punch me in the face. Part of me wanted to upload it to Flickr's Diabetes Made Visible group and part of me wanted to delete the image forever. So anybody but Rich, feel free to click and look. Diabetes isn't always pretty.