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!).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The new girl in town

So I’m having this mid-life crisis. Being a good, patriotic American I knew there was only one solution: I needed a sports car and an expensive young mistress.

But there were three problems with the sports car. One: it couldn’t make it up my half-mile dirt-and-rock driveway that is, to say the least, in poor repair. Our road is so bad that the Jehovah Witnesses don’t even visit and the FedEx guy hates me. The Second problem: I don’t have any money. And the third problem: I don’t have any money.

So without the sports car and the money I don’t really have anything to attract an expensive young mistress either. Graying, broke, middle aged guys just aren’t in fashion right now. Well at least I’m not losing my hair. And come to think of it, I already have an expensive mistress in the form of diabetes, anyway. Although, she’s not as fun as the other kind of mistress would be.

Actually, I always encourage my patients to embrace diabetes for what it really is: an interesting and time consuming hobby. It really is. It gobbles up all your time and money, is mostly frustrating, but highly rewarding when all goes right. It also involves all kinds of technology and math, so I guess it might be a better hobby for guys than for female folk, but….

So just when I’d given up hope on the mistress front, a new girl arrived in town. A California girl at that. (Regular readers can begin to guess where this is going and are starting to salivate.) Yes, today I got two medium sized boxes from our friends at Medtronic.

The first was the familiar cooler box. It’s like one of those trick presents some fool gives you for your birthday. It is a box, in a box, in a box. The huge carton has a very thick styrofoam sarcophagus inside it. The foam must be four inches thick. In the center is a cavity just big enough for the pharos’s heart. Too small for the entire king, sorry. But inside that is another box, flanked by still frozen gel packs. Inside that box is yet another, with a treasure fit for a king, or at least as expensive. A four-pack of CGM sensors. Nice!

The other box was about the same size, and full of many wonderful things. (Apologies to Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter). There were IV3000 dressings, Unisolve Wipes—the very best a man can get—and IV prep. There was a Paradigm Link BG meter with the com cable. Then there was another box. Lime green with an androgynous mountain climber. Maybe a man, maybe a woman. Long hair, sunglasses and an interesting little box on his/her belt. There are also two pics of women. One eating, one sleeping. The box says Guardian REAL-Time Continuous Glucose Monitoring System.

Honestly, I for one, look forward to the day MedT gives one of their devices a two syllable name. Like I-Pod. Razor, Windows, Drano, Pop Tarts. See? You don’t need an entire sentence to convey the message.

I have a new name for this product in mind (collective cringe in California), but more on that later. I open the box and find….Manuals. A thin quick-start guide and a spiral bound users manual. This was a bit of a surprise, I’d heard on the grape vine that the new Guardian had some sort of cool, interactive, online training.

Below the manuals are four sheets of cardboard and then the whole enchilada. Packed snugly in perfectly cut out cubby holes in black foam are all kinds of cool stuff. There is one of MedT’s wonderful little sea-shell transmitters. Small, smart, and re-chargeable. No doubt the cause of countless sleepless nights at DexCom HQ and over at Abbott. There is a belt clip and a clothing clip. A Senserter device I can use as a paper weight. A test plug, and even two AAA batteries. One for the transmitter’s charger, and the other for the main event. I love it when you get batteries with your toys. In the basement of the box is a ComLink device with cables and software.

Oh yeah. Then there is the Guardian (I’m such a tease, sorry). Looks like a MedT pump. No-nonsense ash grey with a green ACT button. Green. The color that signifies full speed ahead. The color of life. The color of lights on a nuclear reactor that say everything is working perfectly. Hmmmm….also the color of money for MedT shareholders.

I’m so excited I could faint.

So I want to share some highlights of new Guardian features from the manuals to wet your appetite (I’ll report in detail on each as I try them out). Four, count ‘em, four different CGM graphs. Three hour and 24 hour like ParaPump; but also six hour and 12 hour to boot. And, answered prayers, you can leave the screen on to anyone of them. That’s right. She doesn’t time out and switch back to a blank screen. That means you can look at your waist and see you Sensor Glucose without pressing any buttons! Hooray!

Ok, so who is the person at MedT that we should all send chocolate and flowers to?

Other mind numbing stuff: you can set different alarm thresholds for different times of the day. What an awesome feature! I, for one, plan to set tighter control limits during the day and slightly more lax ones at night so I can sleep without be harassed by alerts that are not life threatening; while still being a control freak during working hours when responding to alerts is no big deal.

Huh. You can also check your average BG. Now all meters do that, but the number is worthless. It is only the average of when you check. But this would be the average of all the time…. It should even be possible to reverse engineer the math and get a presumptive A1C score. Hmmmmm….that’ll be a fun science experiment three months from now.

Other great stuff: user selectable rate of change alarms. Both up and down. And of course we still have the original threshold alarms.

But I saved the best for last. The most amazing feature. This new Guardian is said to be able to predict the future. No shit. I read it in the manual. This new girl has Predictive Alarms. I know. It sounds crazy. Even scary. Scazy! (Memo to Webster: a new word for you. If we can add “ginourmous” to the official lexicon of the English language, why not “scazy?”)

Anyway, according to the manual I can program how much advance warning I want. Say I choose 20 minutes, the machine will tell me twenty minutes before a low that it is coming.

Will it work? We’ll see. The science is sound. The device can track rate of change, knows your target, throw in a fancy algorithim or two and Presto! Still, it seems more like magic than science. But Clarke always said that a sufficiently developed technology was indistinguishable from magic.

If a couple of years ago someone suggested we’d have a device that could predict hypos we’d have laughed in their face. And then asked to be on the waiting list.

So, my less than two sylible name for the GRTCGMS is: Orcle.

Now the question is, will the orcle give us a clear and true prediction of the futre, or will she give us double talk and mumbo jumbo. Stay tuned, we’ll find out together.

Oh. Wait a minute. Orcle is taken by some itty-bitty computer company, isn’t it? Well that leaves us with Sybil or Pythia, neither or which commands instant name recognition.

Well how about Seeer? Crystal Ball? Tarot? Care to vote or contribute better ideas via comments? You know the drill!


Blogger Christine said...

So does this mean you have to send the parapump back?

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! as a down south southerner from SC...
"HONEY" You have a gift for words and even though I'm a type 2 controlling with diet,exercise and no Dr...
I love that word "Scazy"!! and
"Crystal" sounds pretty cool!
We even have long bumpy driveways here too:D

5:53 AM  
Blogger Bernard said...

Thanks for such an exciting story.

The predictive alarms sounds REALLY interesting. Let us know how those work out for you.

I don't like all the packaging for the sensors. As diabetics we already generate a lot of trash, and now extra each time you order sensors. That's a shame. I do hope they can remove the need for those in a future version.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I love your blog btw. Oh and just so you know... the really nice girls just want a good honest man.... money comes and goes...The last thing you need is a woman who just is after money... even though you don't have any... lets pretend you did. She'd just spend it all on her own sports car and leave you home LOL.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Will, Thank you. I don't want to get all mushy on ya but I got to tell you what a relief it was to find your journal. To hear from you and others who have gone through the same crap as I have and learn about how a pump could affect my life( good with the bad) has completely changed my way of thinking. I am hoping to be on a pump soon. I am a t1 of 16 years. never even considered a pump before now. The past year has been very challanging... That PC for it's sucked. My glucose levels have been all over the map. Recently, I've been having several lows/day. I'm not getting any sleep, I not as productive at work,and I am afraid to go to sleep fearing I might not wake up.Anyway it is great to find a voice in the diabetic community.

9:51 AM  

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