LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spider Webs

Once again, way up on my isolated hill in New Mexico, I am connected to the world.

CareLink only exists online. Not sure why. They are probably conducting some sort of secret research on our BG data. Who cares? If you can’t trust MedT, who can you trust? Think about it, they already know you are diabetic.

So now that I have a cable, I go to the CareLink site. What did I use for the fen’ username and password when I signed up for the cable the other day? Was it D-Stud? SuperBetic? Oh yeah, I used ************

You really didn’t think I’d tell you my password did you? Like all other Americans I use the same one for email, bank accounts, ATM card, suit case combo….

Turns out I need to download a Java plug-in, whatever that is. I’m told it will take a few minutes with high-speed and 45 minutes for dial up. God help all who only have dial up. We pray for your sanity tonight.

I wonder what this new software will be like? It can’t be worse than UnSolutions that Guardian used. No, seriously, it can’t be worse. That was the sorriest excuse for software I’ve even seen…. My Sinclair computer in 1980 had better software….

Well that took a while, but Java is up. I got a momentary heart attack when they told me at CareLink that I needed a serial connection….. Nooooooooooooooooooo! They sent me a USB! The calmer side of my head prevailed and I soldiered on. Worked out fine, much like the PAL download, but slower. More data or my crappy internet connection. Or both.

You can now go to reports, or log book. I went to reports. Oooooooo, there are a bunch of them! Gotta go explore!

Well, there are a dozen different reports. Here are the ones I think are the coolest and most useful:

Sensor Daily Overlay. This gives you a midnight to midnight graph of blood sugar. You can pile seven days of traces onto the graph. Each one is a different color, and in addition, the software adds a dashed line for the average. Makes it really easy to look for trends. It also includes a statistical analysis of excursions, both high and low. The breakdown shows you not only the number of each, but the duration. Very cool. They also have a similar graphical report broken into meal times you can specify. You can also specify the pre- and post-meal study period. This report is called Sensor Overlay by Meal.

Daily Summary. I like this one, but it is not quite as nice as the similar snapshot in the Co-Pilot Software the other guys make. This is more like an early Windows knock-off of the Mac operating system. Still, you’ll use it a lot. There are three strips. Along the top is your sensor trace for the day, that bizarre Amazon-river-from-space view of what your blood sugar was doing on a given day. Overlaid on that are fingersticks and alarms. The middle strip is the Insulin Delivery pane. It shows the pair of Mayan pyramids that represent the steps of my basal rate. Vertical bars show bolus insulin, the taller the bigger. The bottom pane shows your carbs. Just small blue (of course) dots. There is a carb scale of 0 to 150 along the side. They “graph” your carbs. This is the place where Co-Pilot is better, they use ever larger circles to mark the size of the carb load. A huge meal looks like a nuclear explosion on the Co-Pilot chart. Very easy to interpret. That said, once you train your eye for the CareLink graphs you can quickly take in the interplay between carbs on the bottom, insulin in the middle, and glucose on the top. Some useful stats litter the bottom of the page. If you printed these out every week and sat down with your food log….

There are also Modal Day by hour and time period reports, and a Quick View Summary that shows you trends.

I’ve only just begun to explore these reports, but they seem a huge improvement over my last experience with MedT software. There is a lot of data, and it is presented in a way that is useful, helpful, and possibly powerful.

Now I want to raise the bar (further proof that it is impossible to keep us D-folk happy). This software is passive. All it does is display data. What about a software that actually does something? What about a software that helps us analyze the reams and reams of data that continuous sensors produce? Why couldn’t the software see that I took a correction bolus at 3am that didn’t work and suggest a new correction ratio based on the data that might work better? Why couldn’t it study our basal patterns and suggest fine tuning? Why couldn’t it tell us which carb factors seem to work and which don’t?

Why couldn’t it?


Blogger jessica said...

And they say you don't need math after high school.

8:28 AM  

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