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 29, 2012

Practice makes perfect

Like a Marine recruit who has to strip down his gun and put it back together time and time and time and time again; I’m getting pretty damn good—and pretty damn fast—at programming Revel pumps.

Unlike my beloved near-extinct CoZmo, or even the Revel’s predecessor, the Revel pump has to be programed by hand. You cannot use your computer to help you, and the old Paradigm Pal software is gone and doesn’t work with the next generation. So no more programming Med-T pumps on a computer and uploading (downloading?) the settings to the pump.

Each and every tiny setting and option has entered via the pump’s keyboard one item and number at a time. Each step of the basal pattern. Every IC ratio. All the insulin sensitivity ratios. The glucose targets. The max bolus. The CGM alarm thresholds, rate alarms, predictive times. The alert type. The low reservoir warning. The CGM transmitter code. The code numbers to the linked meters. All the settings of the bolus wizard. The calibration reminder times, and all the rest of it.

But I’m fast, fast, fast, fast, fast after all this experience. I bet I can do it in under six hours now.

OK, that was a joke. It takes 15-20 minutes if you’ve done it four times in the last month. If you’re rusty, give yourself a half an hour.

And when all is said and done, you still have to “marry” the mySentry system to the pump. My poor Assistant. Four wives have left him in a little over a month. The guy’s gonna get a complex or something.

You would think that all this pump programming would earn me a Doctor of Pump Programming, or that Medtronic would at least make me, at a minimum, an Honorary Medtronic Pump Trainer.

(Remember: Not a nurse = Not a pump trainer. Ever, ever, ever.)

Pump five is now on-line, and the line is hooked to the diabetic (that would be me). The insulin is flowing. mySentry tells me the battery is strong, the calibration is current, and the sensor is good for three days. A green board.

“What the hell is wrong with the Sentry?” demands Debbie, coming into the room.


I look at the screen. All icons green, just like they were a second ago. What are you talking about, babe? It’s working fine.

Debbie points her elegant index finger at the Sentry monitor accusingly, “Then how come there’s no trace line?”

Sure enough, my current blood sugar shows at the bottom of the screen, but the trace is blank. Oh. It’s a new pump. It was just born. It has no memory, I told her. The trace will start showing up pretty soon, but all the alarms are online. He’ll squawk if there’s trouble.

“Ah,” said Deb. “OK then. Well, here’s hoping the fifth time will be the charm.”


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