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!).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fatal flaw?

A great number of folks who’ve tried CGM get frustrated and give up. Why is a bit of a mystery; people tell me “the damn thing isn’t accurate.” Well, the damn things are accurate, but in the real world something is going wrong. At least where the ParaPump system is concerned, I think I know what it is. And the news could be better.

From my own experience in the CGM world of hard knocks I know that calibration makes or breaks you. I’ve found that for the smoothest running and most accurate sensor runs I need to limit calibrations to three per day, all at times when my BG is as stable as it ever is. For me, at least, the best times are when I first rise in the morning. Actually just before that, when I’m lying in bed thinking, ‘Oh God, it can’t possibly be morning yet…’ Then at about four in the afternoon and again at bedtime. I do three ‘cause the system requires you to go every 12 hours and I don’t have two periods of stable BG 12 hours apart. Also, living by the clock that much would drive me insane.

By the time my transmitter kicked the bucket the Girl was running so accurately I could have easily bloused by her. I didn’t ‘cause I’m not an idiot. But it was that good. I figured the next generation would be even better. Wrong. ParaPump has been all over the map and wildly inaccurate the last couple of days. Sometimes 100 or 150 points off.

Reminds me of my first weeks on the Guardian. When I was over-calibrating on storm-tossed seas. Of course, now I know better. But ParaPump doesn’t. All BGs sent from the Link are counted as calibration sticks. No choice allowed. The system is forcing me to take calibrations I know are bad.

Is there a solution? Yeah. But it sucks.

Once again ParaPump makes me choose: ease of BG entry for all purposes (meal, corrections, and calibrations); or a smooth running CGM. Well, duh, the choice is clear. But that doesn’t mean I’m at all happy about it. The software should have been set up to allow you to send BG from the Link Meter to the B-wiz without also sending that info as a calibration stick to the sensor.

I’ve found that if I manually enter a BG into the B-wiz it will ask me “BG to update sensor?” So there is a workaround. If I never use the BD Link, or if I choose to use it and turn off the communication, and enter all BG numbers manually I can whip the sensor into place. Damn shame, although it lets me use any or all BG meters I want. Still, I’m bummed, because I was really getting fond of the BD meter.

So I have a couple of choices. I could only use the BD Link for calibration and for downloading data from the pump to the computer. Or I can use some other meter all together and enter all my BG’s manually; both for calibration and insulin operations. As I’ve never had to do that, even on my CoZmo, it seems tedious at best.

A damn shame to have such an elegant concept smashed on the rocks by such a bizarre programming oversight.

Now we have a system that is no longer a system. Damn, damn, damn and shit too. I loved the fact that all these pieces of equipment were designed to play nice together. This pisses me off the way computer problems do. You know what I’m talking about, right? You call tech support and get a guy in India who can barely speak English, and who tells you it is a software problem, you call the software guy, (also in India, probably in the next cubical) and he says, no, I’m so sorry sir, it must be the hardware…

So the ParaPump plays nice with the BD meter. And the ParaPump probably plays nice with the sensor. For that mater the Sensor and the meter play nice together. You just can’t have all three of the kids in the room together.

Next: I going to tell the pump not to take calls from the BD meter. I’ll enter all BG by hand, damn it, and see if I can whip this sensor into shape. I’m sure I’ll succeed. But I’m still not happy about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this just PROVES that none of those folks at Minimed have ever used the CGM themselves, or they would not have made the mistake they made. I hope those folks are reading your posts, so that if/when insurance finally covers CGM I can get on board with the next gen ParaPump that has fixed this programming oversight.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Chrissie in Belgium said...

Thanks Will! Just let me say I have been reading your blog for ages, way before I started my own blog at . i don't have a CGMS yet b/c Europe is way behind the States in diabetic gizmos! Someday I will have one and with your help maybe I will choose the correct one and learn form your mistakes, so they aren't repeated by me! THANK YOU. I really wouod appreciate if you dropped by my blog. I pose lots of D-questions and would like your input.

5:46 AM  

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