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!).

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Why you should keep a skeleton (or an embalmed body) in the closet

The Snap has twice the brains of any other pump in the world because it has a memory chip in the controller and a non-volatile memory chip in each disposable body. There was some practical reason for the body chip, and I don’t recall what it was, but the upshot was that Asante engineers had some spare memory space on it and decided to put it to smart use. Each disposable pump body downloads and stores the controller’s settings the first time they snap together.

What good does that do us?

Well, let’s say that you get a wild hair and decide enter one of those trash-TV ultimate fighting competitions. Hey, it could happen. You step into the Cage of Death and get beat to a bloody pulp in 45 seconds while the crowd goes wild. Unfortunately, you put up such a poor defense that the fight is really too short for good TV, so while sitting on your head, your opponent uses up the extra time by ripping off your pretty blue Snap pump and crushing it in his teeth.

Once you get home from the hospital, you find a FedEx box waiting for you. Inside is a Get-Well-Soon card from the friendly folks at Asante along with a replacement body, this time in Red (because the Black, Pink and Green ones aren’t available just yet). But now you have a problem, being in a body cast and all. And with nine out of ten fingers broken, how on earth will you program your new controller?

Easy-peasy. You get the skeleton out of your closet. Take any dead, used body and plug it into a brand new controller, and you have the option of transferring all of your settings to the new controller. Bada-bing! It’s done. In a Snap.

Of course, if you saved the dead body from day one and dicked around with your settings a hundred times since, your new controller won’t have the current settings, so you might want to be sure to save a new dead body every time you make a serious change in your basal rate or other settings.

Other than self-inflicted stupidity (that’s how I would define being beaten to a pulp on national TV), when else would this feature be useful? Well, shit happens to pumps, even the best cared for ones. Pumps get lost (gasp!), slammed in car doors (horrors!), dropped from roller coasters (oh crap!), cooked in microwaves (oops!), and eaten by sharks. Hey, I bet that’s happened at least once. And pumps, like any other man-made device, sometimes just crap out for no apparent reason. Just like any other pump company, if your controller bites the dust, Asante will quick-ship a replacement to you. But instead of spending hours keying in all your settings into the replacement pump, while mentally beating yourself up for not making a copy of your pump settings the last fourteen times you changed them, you’ll be on your way again with one snap.

Oh. Wait. I’m sorry. That would be two snaps, actually.

You’ll need to snap on the dead body to get the settings moved over, then you need to pull the dead one back off and snap on a new body with fresh insulin onto the newly programmed controller before you’ll be ready to rock and roll.

I like this feature. I’m sick of having to program pumps on tiny screens with little buttons. We seem to be moving backwards in this regard, as the old Cozmos and the first gen Med-T Paradigm pumps could be programed on a PC and the settings then transferred to the pump. Now I confess, on the Cozmo in particular, transferring the data was a pain in the ass, as the infrared reader was a bitch to line up to the pump. (You could always recognize Cozmo pumpers at diabetes conventions because of the bruises on their foreheads from banging their heads on their desktops.) But it still beat the hell out of scrolling through menus and trying to remember what you were doing.

To be fair, the t:slim is quite brilliant as on-pump programing goes, but nothing beats doing it with a mouse and keyboard on a screen with acres of landscape. Well, nothing beats it except not having to do it at all, which is pretty much what Asante has accomplished here, thanks to the unique architecture of their system.

Another forward-looking aspect that’s related to this memory transfer is that it appears that Asante isn’t the kind of company content to let dust collect on its shoes. They’re already talking about the next generation of controllers. The features of the next controller aren’t public knowledge, but we can presume that Novolog and meter compatibility, along with computer downloading are all high on the list. They have, however, announced that if you are a Snapper you’ll always be able to snap-up a next-gen controller for a hundred bucks any time there’s an upgrade. Well, I think they actually said it would be $99, as marketing people think we are stupid enough to believe that 99 dollars sounds soooooooo much cheaper than 100 dollars. And they may be right; there’s a reason gasoline is sold in 9/10 of a cent increments. We can’t get insulin pumps to deliver accurately, but By God a gas pump will if there’s a tenth of a cent to be made.

Now, we could argue all day about whether or not a hundred clams is a fair price for an upgrade, but one thing is for sure: once your credit card runs and the new controller arrives, getting it ready to rock and roll will be a snap.

Tomorrow: Real math; because engineers don’t know any other kind.


Blogger George said...

Slick idea. I wish more things, besides insulin pumps, did this sort of backwards transfer of data.

11:12 AM  

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