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!).

Monday, April 06, 2009

Test strip woes

I was ready to rock. Then a rock fell on my head.

Navigator is out, batteries are in, she is all programmed and ready to go. Transmitter is out, battery is in, she is linked to the receiver and ready to go. I have a sensor package on my desk. I’m doing a last minute read-though of the insertion-and-hook-up processes.

OK. OK. Yep. I think I got it.

I glance ahead to the calibration chapter to double check times and procedures. Then it strikes me. I haven’t read a word about manually entering a fingerstick. With increasing alarm, I shuffle back and forth though the User Guide. Next I fool around with all the menus and buttons. You gotta be fucking kidding me.

It is true. You cannot use any meter to calibrate other than the one built-in to the Navigator’s Receiver. And it takes FreeStyle test strips. The old manual-coding kind. The kind I have no access too. You cannot even turn on the blood sugar testing mode of the Navigator through the menus. You have to stick a OldStyle FreeStyle strip into the port on one corner of the receiver to turn on that mode at all.


We haven’t carried OldStyle strips since FreeStyle light was introduced, what, almost two years ago? Coding errors are the bane of diabetes education. We threw away all the OldStyle meters and replaced them with the self-cal models.

Ironically, and further proof if you needed it that God as a wicked sense of humor, just last month I was given a couple of hundred OldStyle strips which I promptly re-distributed to an Un-insured OmniPod user I know whose keeping alive out-of-pocket. Definitely not someone you can be an indian-giver with.

So I call Charlotte. She’s one of my Peer Educators and she job-shares with Debbie at the private practice clinic I wrote about recently. Charlotte uses a Cozmo pump. In fact, I pushed it through her insurance and trained her on it. As she has Lovelace, she’s able to use the attachable Cozmonitor meter ‘cause they are better sports about letting patients choose the test strips that are right for them. I’m “covered” by Presbyterian who doesn’t give a rat’s ass what’s right for me.

Yep, Charlotte’s little stick-of-gum-sized meter uses OldStyle strips. That means she has exactly what I need in her medicine cabinet.

I whip out my PDA to look up her cell phone number. I dial her up on my circa 1930s rotary phone. Zzzzzt. Click-click-click. Zzzt. Click-click. Zzzzzzzt. Click-click-click-click. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. Click-click-click-click-click. I love the sound those old metal dial phones make.

Hey, ummmm, sorry to bother you, but could I borrow a cup of sugar?

Next time: hook up and hang out.


Blogger Crystal said...

Your imagery cracks me up.
Cannot wait to read more.

Stupid companies trying to monopolize on test strips. Will it ever end.

11:01 AM  

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