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, March 16, 2012

Sentry on duty, and what I was doing in my office with two women with my pants down

Barbie came today. Blond hair, blue eyes, blue jeans. Barbie bearing a box. Eighteen pounds of goodies, gear, and supplies. In fairness, I named her more for her counterpart, Ken, who all the nurses say looks much like a Ken doll. In point of fact, Med-T Barbie has more letters after her name than her first and last names combined. RN. MSN. CDE. ACNS-BC. Not what your mind would conjure up when I call her Barbie.

She’d come to “train” me on the Revel Pump and it’s CGM; the mySentry unit doesn’t actually require any training. Ironic, as it was the only piece of the system that gave us any trouble at all today, but more on that in a bit. The pump trainer was sent to train the pump trainer, mainly for legal reasons—but to be honest, I was glad for the review. First off, she’s a Med-T pump trainer. I’m an OmniPod pump trainer. There are a lot of differences. Why aren’t I a Med-T pump trainer when almost half my pump patients are using Med-T pumps? Simple, I’m not qualified to be a Med-T trainer. I’m not a nurse. Med-T are sticklers on that point. Or maybe it’s their lawyers that are the sticklers. Either way, it’s not a club I’m allowed in.

Even so, I frequently make changes on Med-T pumps—tinkering with basal rates and carb ratios, changing the time settings twice a year when we jump forward and backwards, things like that. So I know my way around their menus pretty well. But it had been a long time since I’d had to do a rewind, the simple process of putting insulin in the frickin’ pump in the first place, so I didn’t mind having someone hold my hand the first time out. Metaphorically of course, as I still have my pants on at this point.

We started by getting the pump’s date and time set, linked the UltraLink meter to the pump so it could beam blood sugar readings wirelessly to the (registered trade mark) Bolus Wizard, entered my thirteen-step basal program, three-step carb ratios, insulin sensitivity settings, and all the rest of it.

The basics out of the way, and the insulin flowing—well, dripping, I suppose—it was time to hook up so I could head out. Sorry, I couldn’t resist: Hook Up and Head Out was the title of a humorous quick start guide I wrote for an earlier Med-T CGM system years ago. Sadly, it was never used. Lawyers write quick start guides, not writers. Which is why they are so damn dry.

As you’ll recall, I stuck the sensor in my leg last night. So today I found myself in the awkward position of dropping my pants in front of both Barbie and our clinic’s social worker, who I’d invited in for the training. Of course I didn’t think to wear a shirt with extra-long tails. Our social worker is the type 3 to a little type 1 who’s on the other-guy’s pump and the other-other guy’s CGM. I thought she’d be interested in today’s overview as mySentry seems, on the surface at least, to be a good cure for parent-of-type-1 induced grey hair. Or, like diabetes, if not a cure, at least an excellent treatment.

Pants around my knees with two women sounds like a lot more fun than it really turns out to be, but I guess context is everything.

The little sea-shell transmitter’s seven digit code entered into the pump, it was time to get the CGM show on the road. I opened the sensor menu to link the sensor when Barbie clued me into a new trick. “Plug the transmitter in first,” she told me.


I had thought you needed to do that after you the got the pump ready. Cool new tip: when you plug the seashell into the sensor’s hub, the flashing green light signals that the sensor is “wet” enough for use. To be honest, I had that all wrong. I thought the flashing light was the first data packet being transmitted. As I pre-inserted, the sensor was nicely wet and ready. We got the flashes right off the bat, then brought the pump up to speed by letting it know there was a sensor in play.

About five minutes later, just when I was giving up hope, we got the telemetry icon. All was well, and I could pull up my pants again. None too soon.

Next, we got the mySentry out of the box and pealed the thin plastic wrap off of its shiny screen. As expected, it’s heavier than the empty box Ken brought up last week, but not by much. I plugged it into the wall and it glowed grey-blue like Rio’s headrest-back DVD player in the car when a new movie disc is loading. We all leaned forward eagerly to see what was on Med-T TV.

Following the Med-T man-on-a-tetter-totter logo, a happy little music jingle, some software version numbers, and assorted non-sense, we were told it was time for the Sentry and the pump to meet each other. A first date of sorts. Sentry made the first move. He announced that the pump should give him a call.

I went to the Main Menu. Then to Utilities. Then I selected Connect Devices. (Don’t worry, after the first date, this doesn’t need to be done again.) Then I selected Other Devices. Then I turned the Device Option on. Next I choose Find Device. Then the countdown started. 15 minutes.

“I’ll only take two minutes,” said Barbie, with great confidence, although she later admitted this was the first Sentry she had worked with in the field.

Sentry announced that we should press the bottom on the center-right when the pump was done. At least that what we all thought the Sentry said. The actual wording, as I recall was “press >Ͻ once complete” Well, it’s been a long day. I might not be 100% clear on the not 100% clear instructions from the Sentry unit.

So we waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

…and waited…

When the count-down timer reached three minutes Barbie cracked under the pressure and reached for the manual.

The time expired. As did our collective spirits. Apparently, nothing was on Med-T TV.


“Hmmmmm….” said Barbie. “Did you see a little spinning circle when it started?”

Nope. I looked at our type 3. Nope.

“Start the pump again,” instructed Barbie.

I went to the Main Menu. Then to Utilities. Then I selected Connect Devices. Then I selected Other Devices. Then I turned the Device Option on. Next I choose Find Device. Then the countdown started. 15 minutes.

Barbie reached out and stabbed >Ͻ with her long finger and the screen flickered. The spinning circle appeared on the screen. I scratched my head, then laughed. ‘Once complete,’ didn’t mean when the pump was done! It meant when we were done pressing the pump’s buttons!

I predict the Med-T help line will be flooded with calls from distressed parents, surrounded by packing materials, trying to get their children’s mySentries working. Such a simple thing. Perfectly simple, plain English that can mean two completely different things.

And sure enough, with the right buttons pressed at the right time, two minutes later the Sentry’s monitor was flooded with color and information. And what information!

But… I think I’m getting ahead of myself here. Why, I haven’t even given you a proper introduction to the cast of characters involved in this little drama. So that’s how we’ll spend the weekend. Getting to know all the bits and parts of this system.

More tomorrow….


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Context is everything, apparently... :) And oh, the English language. Such fun. Can't wait to read more, Wil.

11:55 PM  

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