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, March 27, 2012

My thoughts so far, both negative and positive…

Not that I’m complaining… oh. Wait. Yes. Yes, I am. OK, here’s what I don’t like about mySentry so far:

The super-smooth shiny black surface of the Sentry shows fingerprints and dust. Blah.

The low-tech touch screen is OK, but I’m not wild about it. I think I’d like real buttons better.

The monitor brightness, at its lowest, is still brighter than most TVs.

The various alarms all sound too much the same. And hey, Med-T, why such a limited range of alarm noises? The system has a bunch of cartoon Avatars to choose from that display on the upper left of the monitor to “personalize” it, why couldn’t you have given us a pre-packaged collection of alarm tones to choose from, too? Even the world’s crappiest cell phone (that would be the one I own) comes with 20 pre-canned ring tones to choose from.

Why only one Outpost per system? If the monitor could receive data from multiple Outposts, parents and people with diabetes could be one step closer to having CGM wireless hot spots in their homes.

On the other side of the coin, things I do like about mySentry so far:

It’s loud.

The screen is big. And sharp. And clear. The colors are bold and beautiful.

It’s loud.

The changing color icons and trace screens let me know in a glace both the status of my body and my gear.

It’s loud.

Is recovers quickly from separation anxiety. When the Sentry has lost signal from either the Outpost or the pump, it quickly displays the data again as soon as the pump is in range of either device.

It’s loud.

The “silence alarm” button on the top is easy to use and well placed. During my writing days, when myAssistant is on my desk, I can just tap the top of the monitor when I’m leaving my desk to avoid “searching for pump” alarms.

It’s loud.

I like the fact that the monitor can receive signals directly from the pump, no Outpost required (if the pump is close enough). I like this ‘cause it lets me move the Sentry monitor around the house more easily.

Oh, and did I remember to mention it’s loud?

But I also like mySentry’s unexpected utility. I got involved with mySentry simply as a workaround to the crappy alarm volume on the Med-T Revel pump and CGM system. We haven’t had a chance to talk about it much yet, and we’ll get into it in more detail later, but the whole Revel pump-meter-CGM package is pretty sweet. Oh, sure, I have plenty of nit-picky complaints about it. But overall, it’s robust, effective, and pretty damn user-friendly. I actually like it.

One thing I had worried about was daytime. Going into this, I was freaking out a little bit worrying about how safe I’d be in the day, as the Sentry is really only designed as a night guard dog. But, as it turns out, for my work life, nighttime Sentry easily converts to daytime myAssistant on days when I’m working from home. I think next week, myAssistant may visit the clinic with me, too. But, actually, set to “vibrate” the Revel pump does a pretty good job of keeping me in touch with my blood sugar when I’m awake and away from Sentry, be it working elsewhere, taking a walk on the land with the punk, or driving.

Sorry, I got off track. I was talking about unexpected utility. I love the more readily available real-time info Sentry feeds me during the day. Its ability to help me manage hypos better. The way it reminds me to eat. These are all things I simply didn’t expect to get as part of the package. Icing on the cake, I suppose, but in the long run, features that may prove to be the most valuable aspects of the system.

If I was a more engaged patient, couldn’t I do all those things without Sentry, or with a Dexcom? Maybe. Probably. But ease-of-use is underrated. There’s a big fucking difference between what can be done and what is easy to do. I know when it comes to my fellow type 1s that I’m preaching to the choir, but for the rest of you, let me try to spell this out: diabetes is hard work. Unbelievably, unrelenting, incredibly hard work. And diabetes isn’t our only job. We still have to earn a living. Take care of our spouses, children, families, and friends. Take care of our responsibilities to our communities and to our country and to our churches. We exist on the ragged edge of exhaustion daily, just trying to get though the day with to-do lists from diabetes that never ends, plus all the things that the rest of you have to contend with, as well.

Sometimes it’s enough to make a grown man or woman cry. So sometimes just having to press one fucking button takes more energy than we have to give. Sometimes, just because it can be done, doesn’t mean we have the energy left to do it.

No one who knows me would accuse me of being a lazy man. I’ve got lots of faults, but that’s not one of them. But I’m the first to admit that when it comes to diabetes, the easier that it is, the more likely it is I’ll do it; and the more inconvenient that it is, the less likely I am to do it.

That’s the truth.

And mySentry, acting as myAssistant, is already making my diabetes life just a little bit easier.


Blogger Penny said...

I just wanted to tell you that I've appreciate all that you have written about MySentry. It has been VERY informative. I wish I had the money for a CGM for my 9 year old gal, as well as the money for a MySentry.
Isn't it sad that it all comes down to money?
Thank you for such excellent, honest writing about it

9:55 AM  
Blogger shannon said...

yep, i gotta agree with penny, i've just been catching up on all your mysentry posts and there is a wealth of information. thank you so much for taking the time to write about your experiences!

3:14 PM  

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