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!).

Friday, April 03, 2009

Book work

Navigator’s manual, called a “user’s guide,” is a spiral-bound tome, 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches, 21 chapters, and 144 pages long. The paper is a good quality, semi-matte stock, but like all medical device manuals it is a snooze to read. If I had the time, and if I believed for two seconds that anyone would buy them, I’d spend the rest of my life re-writing manuals for deserving equipment.

The manual is well illustrated with photos and diagrams; both in color and monochrome as needed. A lot of time is spent giving long, drawn out, key-stroke by key-stroke instructions for just about every operation you might need to do. It is more of a recipe book than a guide book.

One disturbing thing to me was the approach taken in organizing and dividing up all the critical info. The 21 sections are separated by color-coded tabs that match the spot-ink and page numbers. To my pathetic little brain, hooking up a sensor is one operation. Not so to Abbott. Hooking up a sensor is a three-chapter 27-page process.

Chapter one of this epic (which is Section 5 of the manual) is called “Sensor,” and details how to attach the sensor and the plastic frame that holds the transmitter onto your body. The next chapter is “Attach Your Transmitter.” But wait! That’s not all! The final chapter in your every-five-day chore is dedicated to Calibration. Yikes. I’m just tired writing about all of this reading.

Oddly, each chapter has a section of key terms that are not defined….so….why bother giving us a list?? On the bright side, the manual, while dry, is clear more often than not.

In the interest of fairness I took a look back at Guardian’s manual, and it is no secret that I’m not a fan of Med-T manuals.

Med-T’s User Guide is also spiral-bound in a slightly more comfortable 8 1/2 x 8 inch size. It is on a cheep paper stock. No color, but illustrated adequately. Ten sections and 159 pages. I notice that the Guardian manual has a very extensive index, while the Abbott manual has a rather scanty one. The Guardian guide also features a great glossary of terms, as does Navigator’s.

Both manuals are required to have sensor performance data by FDA. Paging through the Med-T manual, I now appreciate the tabs in the Abbott manual. At first I thought it was a bit silly (real books don’t have tabs, after all). But now I find it is much, much, much faster to find stuff in the Navigator’s manual

I got a couple of quick-start sheets with Navigator. One was labeled “Read Me First.” The front side is nothing more than an illustrated parts list. Call Customer Care if any parts are missing or broken. Oh, and it is Rx only. Guess they’ll send the cops after me. I’d better write myself a script quickly.

The back of this sheet shows us how to get started with the Navigator (Registered Trade Mark!) System. There are ten steps. I like ten steps. Just like the ten commandments.

One. Install batteries.

Two. Set time and date.

Three. Perform a control solution test. (Yeah, sure you will. Right.)

Four. Establish connection between the receiver and the transmitter. See Section 5.


OK. There is no way you could really get started with this Getting Started sheet. It is nothing more than a glorified table of contents.

I’ve long since lost my Med-T quick start guide, I probably threw them out in a huff when I was still pissed off that they chose not to use Hook-up and Head-out which was a Guardian quick-start guide I wrote for them “on spec” that was never used. BTW, on spec means I took it upon myself to do it without being asked. I took a gamble they’d love it, and took the time to write it and submit it to them. I lost the bet. Should’ a known better. Those folks have nooooooooooooo sense of humor. Anyway, I’m sure the quick start sheets Med-T sent with Guardian were similar to Navigator’s.

But to be fair, both systems are intended to come with training.

I also got a couple of software discs, but I’ll save that for another day. My advice. Skim the manual, then shelve it.

Next time we’ll do it. We’ll hook up and head out with Navigator. Or at least hook up….


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