I have a love / hate relationship with my Freestyle Libre. At the moment the pendulum has swung resolutely to love again. The Libre is what is known as a glucose monitor. Type 1 diabetics are unable to manage their blood sugar automatically, and must do so manually, usually through drawing blood several times a day. The Libre is a sensor / computer / transmitter stuck on and in my upper arm. It measures blood glucose every five minutes. Every few hours I hold a scanning device close to the sensor, and presto! I have a reading of my current blood sugar level, a trend indicator, and a graph of what my sugar has done for the past eight hours.

What’s not to love!

A tiny stab in the arm once a fortnight easily outweighs about 100 punctures in the fingertips. And it’s accurate too! Well, the first day after insertion can be a little variable, but not always. The Libre’s tiny profile makes it quite unobtrusive, mostly I don’t even know it’s there.

The scanner plugs into a computer and produces a decent set of reports. The information is quite insightful, and gives a good understanding of how the body responds to the many variables that influence blood glucose. The Libre allows me to achieve good blood sugar control. It also allows me to test my thought bubbles, through conducting experiments with a sample size of n=1. Me. Which gets me into trouble with real scientists such as doctor Lai, my endocrinologist. 😂

Diabetes is a disease that is always with me. It’s very much like looking after a helpless little baby. Constant vigilance is required, all the time. The Libre facilitates that. The availability of numbers, warnings and graphs at the press of a button is extremely helpful, but the downside is that it is easy to become obsessed with every little detail. Why is the graph going up? What is my sugar doing now? Am I going low?

Without a Libre I test my sugar by lancing my finger 4-8 times a day. With a Libre I can painlessly and bloodlessly check every five minutes if I want to. It requires discipline not to do that, to relax, to trust one’s routine, and not to be anxious about micro managing this cursed condition.

Sometimes I take a ‘Libre holiday’ for a month or so. But I’m always happy to insert a new sensor into my arm. It’s much like picking up one’s baby from childcare.