Ok. This post is for people without diabetes. We gotta talk about something: beeping and what beeping means for people with diabetes. Why do we need to address this? Because I recently heard the following statement:
“Yeah this woman at my old office had diabetes and her pump was always beeping at her, I think she didn’t take care of herself and had pretty bad control.”
Ok – for all you PWDs, take a deep breath. For those of you without diabetes, let’s unpack this statement a little bit. Insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and regular glucose monitors beep for a variety of reasons. Pumps beep when your insulin reservoir hits a certain level to remind you that you’ll need a refill – soon-ish. CGMs beeps to tell you when you your blood sugar is heading up or down, and that you might want to do something about it. Patch pump systems, like mine, beep at you to tell you that your Pod expires in a few hours. Pumps beep when the battery is getting low. My point here is that ‘betes gear beeps for a variety of reasons, and almost none of them are life-threatening. The only time a beep will tell you about an urgent situation is if your pump is clogged and you’re not getting insulin and you need to change your infusion set right away. Otherwise, beeps are generally used as reminders for folks with diabetes, because we have about 1,000 things to think about every day.
The take away point here though is this: under no circumstances is the amount of gear-beepage related to how well someone manages their diabetes. The audio warnings provided by our gear are in fact tools for better control, and as I mentioned before, help us remember what we need to do when we need to do it. The amount of beeps emitted from pumps, CGMs, and meters never indicate ” how well a person takes care of herself.” So please, if someone you know with diabetes has some hardware that barks alot, keep your beeping comments to yourself about their control. That person knows what the beep means and will adjust accordingly, without any judgey comments about what’s going on with their diabetes.