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, April 17, 2007

Dark clouds on the horizon

(to a tune you all remember from a long time ago….)

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
The Minnow would be lost; the Minnow would be lost.

What? Didn’t any of you watch Gilligan’s Island when you were kids?

The sensor is NOT behaving and I’m getting pissed off. I had my Guardian running pretty damn smooth at the end. ParaPump is giving me dejuavu of the bad old days when I first started on the CGM and had a lot of accuracy problems. Only difference is that now I’m smarter. Both Guardian and ParaPump use the same sensors. If there is trouble a foot, it is in the receiver, ‘cause I know the sensors really do work. But why would a newer and presumably superior unit be worse than it’s forbearer? I got so frustrated today between the wildly insane opinions of my BG that ParaPump was offering me and her mousey quiet alarms that I tried to hook up the girl to the new tiny transmitter. I was thinking I could maybe beam data to both units and run them side-by-side to sort out what is going on. Alas, although the transmitter ID numbers have the same number of digits, it is clear that my beloved garage door opener isn’t taking calls from this sexy new transmitter.

I guess that means that all original Guardians in the field are destined for retirement. (Taps playing mournfully in background.) There is also a new Guardian in town, though I’ve not met her yet. Saw her picture, she looks a heck of a lot like ParaPump. Twin sisters, it would seem, with just slightly different makeup.

So back to this BG debacle. I’ve got high alarms going off (when I can hear them) when the fingersticks say A-OK. I got fingersticks revealing lows when the ParaPump says I’m at a perfect 110. My blood pressure is going up…well, thanks to the ACE inhibitors for my kidneys, my blood pressure seems to stay down pretty much no matter what, so it is more correct to say my metaphorical blood pressure is going up.

Then, quite by accident, I discover what I believe is the root cause of the problem. It seems that all BG fingersticks taken by the BD Link Meter and beamed so slickly to the ParaPump are counted as calibration sticks. I’m hugely depressed. I had assumed that only finger sticks that I piped in through the sensor menu would count as calibration sticks, but I tested the premise today by checking the next Cal Due time on the sensor status menu and then taking a routine finger stick from the home screen. Then I checked the sensor status again. Next cal due 12 hours. Damn! Based on my experience, if you stick to a small number of calibration sticks and do them only in calm water, the sensor is pretty accurate. If you give it sticks when things are changing rapidly you are asking for accuracy problems. Of course when we most need to do fingersticks is when there is trouble. So it looks like any rapid change sticks or meal sticks or whatever are going to mess up the sensor. I guess I could only use the BD for Calibration…but that kind of sucks….nice feature is that you don’t have to manually enter all of your BG data. For that matter, if I did enter a stick manually would it also go straight to calibration too? Does that mean I have to choose between the bolus wizard and the sensor? Arrrrrggggggggggg!

There has got to be a way to turn this off! The best running sensors are one’s that only get three fasting finger sticks per day. The last fingerstick in the world you’d want to use to calibrate a sensor is just before you eat. Or when your sugar is surging up or down. Basically all of the times you’d want to use a meter for a fingerstick, right?

It seems too stupid a flaw to possibly exist. No one in their right mind would develop an integrated system that forced users to apply bad data, right? I will do more research, and God help me, call the help line if necessary to get to the bottom of this, then I’ll report back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two ways to deal with it - the way that you are probably supposed to, and the lazy way (which I use).

First I'll mention the lazy way - use two meters, one to calibrate and one at other times (not ideal but it does seem to work).

The other way is to either turn the send of on the meter or the receive off on the pump. (Turning the send off on the meter is easier - just hold the on button down (as you would for setting the time, but keep holding it. The next option is the send). When you want to calibrate, turn the send back on.

With either of these methods, you need to enter the reading manually (with the bolus wizard). You will then be asked if you want to update the sensor.

I would rather they changed it so that it would ask you if you want to use the transmitted reading as a calibration but, alas, that does not seem to be in the near future.

7:41 AM  

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