Blog Entries With Tag: Abbott


Posted: Dec 23, 2014

... my new Animas One Touch PING (I think of the game ping pong with that name) insulin pump that I started on yesterday aka Ziggy and his side kick Stardust - the OneTouch meter remote (no more lifting my skirts up to reveal my knickers to the world when I want to do a bolus).  

It will take abit of getting used to how much blood Stardust uses compared to Limoncello - my FreeStyle Lite (who will remain as my standby for days I can't squeeze out large droplets of vampire blood.

I had wanted to change to the Vibe, which has the CGMS option on it's screen which is an extra $200 (the PING is $6,995).  I paid for it on my credit card that is allowing an extra 1 year warranty on it on top of the 4 year warranty you get with the pump (having had previous probs with the 2020 - I wanted to ensure I had 1 extra year more).  I'm one smart cookie aren't I?  Well, you won't think so after reading the following.

Laws here in Canada do NOT allow you to change your mind once you've purchased a pump ... even if the box isn't opened - live and learn - or move to US of A - where you have better consumer protection - from some of the thread discussion I've read on forums.   

So, tonight - it's installing a Dexcom G4 sensor - the transmitter and receiver was given to me by islet cell transplant - who now insulin free (whoo! whoo!)  from Alberta.   I may continue to use it out of pocket once the Christmas present of box of sensors that my Animas rep gave to me (ususallly a box of 4 will set you back $340 for a month supply - cha ching) - runs out.

One thing I am finding out about the Dexcom ... after reading/watching the videos on their site.  They keep on telling you that ... the CGMS does not replace your blood meter ... that whatever your CGMS tell you - that you should go with what your finger prick #BGNow number is.  This is one thing I did not realise when looking into the CGMS.  I knew a blood test had to be done a few times a day - but not some of what I came across at this link.  Therefore, you still have to purchase perhaps as many blood test strips as you had before, in order to stay in a good BG zone.

So, between testing still with the finger sticks as some of us call them - and then to justify the the $7K yearly cost is abit scary (like buying a used car every year as my DH put it to me - men are so practical when it comes to justifying a purchase).   Thank goodness for DTC here in Canada as well, but we have yet to see how much we can claim since I was approved a few years ago ... it's sitting down ... pulling out past income taxes, etc. etc.  aka - we'd rather be sailing - than crunching numbers.  Though my DH says he'll keep on working as long as he has to for affording these items - but the rotten thing is ... he's able to retire next year after 35 years. 

GUILT!!!

Can you tell that I feel so guilty that my DH has to work longer due to my diabetes at times?  That shows you how much someone loves you when they give up their retirement plans for you (his are sailing around the world - but you never know - maybe we'll be able to do it).

So, here's to the next adventure with devices from Animas .... 

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Posted: Jan 12, 2014

I had reviewed/blogged about the InsuLinx made by Abbott and in the forums here over the years – but at the time – I didn’t really know how to use it to its fullest (e.g. downloading the Auto-Assist software  on your PC since  in order to use it 100% you have to connect up via your PC).  So in actual fact – it wasn’t really a true review – and as some of you know – I go in head first (dumb, dumb, dumb) – and HATE READING MANUALS!!!  My beef at the time was that I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the insulin increments to .5.  Luckily a Dmate of mine here in Montreal who saw my Tweet last year – had told me the “how to use it properly”.  At that point I tucked it away as I was planning on going back onto George Michael (GM)  – and went back to my little FreeStyle Lite meter.

Roll forward to December 2013, as I was deciding to take my regular holiday pump break for a month or two or three.   I thought I’d give the InsuLinx a go once again since it has some nifty features that I actually sort of trashed in my forum post above (ouch – can’t take those words back can I?).

Anyway, I "tweeted" about not hearing from Abbott due to a small complaint I have about the visual aspect of viewing the screen in low lighting – even with the battery gobbling backlight feature on.  I heard from fellow Canadian [email protected]_twosix who has had diabetes almost 30 years.  She takes multiple injections like myself – though she tests more than I do (which is good)  – more insight into your overall control (don’t follow my example as an old D-fart girls and boys).

At that point we started corresponding both on/off Twitter (sometimes that 140 character count just doesn’t quite do it for some topics).  She told me she had written a lengthy email to Abbott giving them the pros/cons of their InsuLinx.   We share similar beefs – and hopefully the fantastic email she sent to them about her 6 month test (much longer than my 1 month) plus what she’d like to see improved will be rewarded to users like myself if they take heed.  So come on Abbott respond to Kendra!!!  Or else she’ll take up my other suggestions to get noticed as the squeaky wheel in the fight for diabetes gadgets that work to their fullest!

Comparing the results from GM with the InsuLinx (I have to give it a name eventually don’t I – I mean it’s my BFF?)  made me pretty happy – this time.  After using them side by side for a week prior to my unhooking from GM – the results are pretty comparable - I hadn't been on GM when I'd done my review in the forums last year.  This made a world of difference in comparing the two side by side.  Of course, the suggestions you receive from the meter are dependant on correct programming (best done with medical assistance if you’re new to diabetes).  If you are happy with doing it on your own, like Kendra and myself have done - then great!  You just need the code to access the area meant for professionals (e.g. your endo/GP/CDE).   Originally an RN was supposed to teach me how to use it when I picked it up from the pharmacy - but when she saw I was on a pump - and knew some of the lingo associated with the programming  - she gave me the code (sometimes I think I should have been not so "I know everything" and had her show me through the steps <lol>). 

The amount of insulin required for carbs intake – or correcting a high blood sugar reading were pretty right on because of the matching programs in both of the meter and pump.   It’s like having an insulin pump – without the expense – or being hooked up via tubes, etc.   The only thing is that you can only calculate your insulin dose in .5 increments (whereas with a pump you can do smaller increments).   So far it’s not caused any problems with my going low– that sometimes for someone who is insulin sensitive like myself - can make a big difference.

The few things I find abit annoying about the meter though is the " time out " feature of 15 minutes after you’ve done a blood test (while you sit in the corner after being naughty - wait - I meant to say .. figure out what to cook for dinner - regressing back to childhood - I was an evil child).   If you don’t – then you have to retest if you are wanting to use the calculator to figure out how much to inject.  I hate having to use more test strips or finger prick than I have to.   It’s not happened that often – but when it does - I just get out my calculator or figure it in my sponge brain.  By doing this manual calculation though – I may forget in my haste to take into account the IOB (Insulin On Board) . 

The only thing is with the " time out " – if I do go back to the meter within the 15 minute time frame – the logging of the insulin I take is based on the time I originally took the BG reading in the beginning.  No biggie for me – but for some people – that could be annoying – and not a true reflection of the time factor of their insulin coverage.  Again, for myself, this isn’t a major issue (you should see me with my 3X a day Levemir regime – I don’t exactly take it at 0600 / 1400 (had to think just now – did I take it?? Yes I did) / 2200.  Now in my purrfect world – it would be great if I could log my basal (slow insulin) into the meter as well – so I wouldn’t forget if I took it or not J  So, I just log it into my pretty log book I pick from the Dollar Store.

You can do a weekly review of how you’re meeting your target directly on the itty bitty screen (did I mention I’m an old fart D with aging eyeballs that needs more light, yadda, yadda, yadda).  I have yet to give this a whirl – as I’d not set it up until earlier last week – so I’ll get to see how I’m doing in a few days. 

One thing I know that Kendra had written to Abbott about was entering in your carbs.  It starts off a 15 grams – but for someone who might be eating a meal of say 80 grams – then it’s a bit slow for inputting (or for myself - that 5 ml of raw sugar in my coffee that equals 7 grams).  I had told Kendra that GM has a food data base that you can set up yourself – or download – which many pumpers use.  I personally never used that feature of GM – as I don’t mind entering the numbers in – it keeps my old D fart brain active.  Whether Abbott could put this into the InsuLinx would be an interesting feature – to quicken the time of input.

So yes, it is a little bit larger than the FreeStyle Lite I’ve used for years (Lolita) – but still requires a teeny tiny droplet of blood – that if it’s not enough on the first suck – you can still “fill ‘er up” with more of our vampire juice.

In a nutshell, if you’re Canadian or live in the countries that has the features that Abbot offers in this meter then great - you have it made and it’s well worth giving a try.  Unfortunately, Americans don’t have the exact same thing sad to say, which makes me scratch my head as to “why”?

Squirrel in a nutshell-sorry could not find a cat one :)

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Posted: Jan 18, 2013

So, here’s the deal.  Because of the problems with getting any response from Animas Corporation until Jan 28th (I’ve been switched back/forth from Canada/USA/Canada since the notices came out in Dec) on my out of warranty Animas 2020 pump aka George Michael with the little “minor” glitches with his stopping delivery of insulin.  I’m still continuing to relearn MDI to be prepared.  I’ve done it before (over 40 years prior to going onto the pump actually).   I KNOW I can do it again – despite my griping – but as before –my issues with MDI – has always been my basal rates with Lantus.  I wish I could use Levemir – I could do better – but sadly – last time I tried it – I had allergic reactions to it – and it was like I was injecting water for my basal portion of my insulin coverage.

Sadly, I’ve had responses (privately or via FB groups I belong to) from many T1D’s who have been pumping on average 20+ years.  They are terrified to go back to MDI.  They wouldn’t know how to do it – and have asked me how do I know what I’m doing?  I guess in away, I’m lucky that I only starting pumping later on in life, that I “sort of” had a handle on MDI prior to the pump, and with abit of head banging, and if you’ve got a good endo or medical team behind you (sadly, I can’t say I do), then YOU CAN DO IT!  Maybe taking a break from their pump once in awhile – to get back to their roots – might be something that endos should encourage their patients to do – so incase a) they no longer have insurance coverage for a pump; or b) flung into a situation where pump cannot be used for x amount of day/weeks/months – then taking these mini pump holidays is not such a bad thing.  Yes, I know, control may not be as good in the beginning, or it may never be as good as on the pump, but at least you will get over that fear of going off the pump, and with practise, might not mind it so much.  I know I don’t  - it’s nice not to have the tubing, pump clipped on my pants (dragging the waist band down to reveal my knickers).  It’s just a change of pace for me at the moment, relearning how to do (and saving some $$$’s at the same time – since pump supplies don’t come cheap (if you don’t have insurance or co-pays are high), etc.


I’m now into Week 3 – and getting used to it (oh – wait – I have to go check my BG’s – will be back in a sec) … okay – I’m back – BG was 9.9 ml/L (178 mg/dl) – did a correction with NovoRapid (aka bolus to you pumpers out there) – and hopefully my BG eventually levels out to my happy zone of 4.5-5.5 mmol/l (81-99 mg/dl). 

Back to my rambling,  on the pump, I rarely had to do corrections like I’m doing now – since on the pump – you can change your basal rate right away – compared to the 1 – 3 shots of basal insulin that some MDI folks do.  To me that’s one of the great things about the pump – the accuracy of how much you have going into your body for your basal insulin – it can be tweaked per hour – to reflect hormone issues, exercise, etc.  With MDI, once the basal rate is given – bing, bang, boom – you are slave to the slow acting insulin for your basal coverage – that’s if it works properly (like it does for me sometimes – then other times – not so good).  I really can now live up to my Facebook page of The Roller Coaster Ride of Diabetes with what I’m doing with MDI … but … MANY  do it this way, they are fine with what I feel is like being a slave to their condition (since starting MDI – I find I am constantly thinking about my diabetes – with my pump – it wasn’t so much).

The other thing, some MDI folks just don’t give a hoot, and just do the shots without much hoopla over their happy zone range for BG’s (hey, even folks using pumps are the same).    Sadly, or maybe I shouldn’t say this, I like to be in control, I don’t want to lose my eyesight, kidney function, put a strain on my heart due to continue up and down of BG’s, lose a leg due to infection … the list goes on when you have diabetes and don’t take your health care by the horns.  Remaining as stable as possible is my goal in my diabetes control – with as little convenience for my life as possible. 

I discovered after posting on my Facebook wall with the forum post from Diabetes1.org – about having another blood meter with them when they go on holidays – many folks have not just ONE – but sometimes FOUR spare meters with them.  Either it’s due to their 3 year old T1D Johnny Be Good fingers destroying one of the meters his Mum has packed in her bag – or it’s just for sanity sake that incase their regular meter goes on a walk about – they’ve got something to fall back on.  I know for myself, I’m lost without my meter, and would be probably housebound, unable to go anywhere.  That is not me, I won’t let diabetes stop me from doing what I want to do.

I have to admit – I’ve never EVER brought a spare blood meter with me – it’s usually all the insulin paraphernalia that I bring (with the pump – 3X the supplies you would use for the period you are away, insulin and needles, extra BG strips, glucose tabs, spare pump/meter batteries ….).  So, some of their replies back really got me thinking – I should consider bringing a spare meter with me – especially since the FreeStyle Lite I use – I’ve had for over 5 years (one Mum said – “ours only last 1 – 1 ½ years).  I guess  I’ve  been lucky that I’ve never had a problem with the meter – but like the pumps – do they ever need to be recalibrated?  Hmmm.

So, luckily, with the diabetic conventions I attend a few times a year – I have one meter that I know I can get strips for in Quebec  (other meters I have surprisingly enough – when I ask my pharmacist about purchasing strips – they can’t get them for me – or their distributor can’t for one reason or another).  So, this time I will be prepared on my holidays – and maybe I’ll do like other diabetics do – carry a spare one in their bag all the time.  Again, I’m not a big bag carrying type of gal – but I’m learning that maybe I should just swallow my pride, and start lugging more stuff with me – just incase.

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Posted: Nov 23, 2011

Freestyle Insulinx

After abit of playing the waiting game with Abbott Canada – then being sent over to Abbott USA – I finally have some exciting info for those of you who maybe are facing the same dilemma as I am – not being able to own an insulin pump.  I learned about this product from Marco Bianchi – who is a CDE at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.  I was Facebooking with him at the time to see if the province of Quebec had finally made the pump program for children legit – which it has – yee!haa!. Sadly, the pump program here in Quebec is only for ages up to 18 – and of course – you know me as an old fart pumping D – I’ll be once again writing to Premier Charest to have ALL age groups allowed to participate in the pump program. In the meantime, I’m preparing myself for the worst case scenario – of not having my faithful companion attached to me.  I searched the internet with the product name he'd given me and low and behold  I came across this press release from May 2011. 

I retire in about 5 years and without medical insurance from the work place, owning a pump will be a pipe dream (sorry - $6K is a lot of money – let alone average of $300/month for supplies). Currently I am covered 100% for pump supplies, the pump itself was 80% covered.  I'd written last year about my going on a pump break for 6 months when I went back to MDI (multiple dosage injecting) – so I know I can do alright with being on needles again.  Still it’s the programming functions of the pump for my I:C (insulin : carb ratio)m I:B (insulin on board) - and other little handy things that my pump has a history of.  Well, this device does that - except - no hook up with an infusion set and at an estimated price of $80 - more affordable for me in the long run.

The only information that Abbott USA (many thanks Gayle) and I could find (we were searching online together while on the phone which was a lot of fun – I was finding the info for the rep ) – was to go the the UK website – where you have a tutorial of what this meter can do for you – as well as other useful information (e.g. you can put your fav pic as your background on your pump – guess what I’ll be having on mine – meow, meow, meow). 

The touch screen meter (reminds me of an I-Phone) has just been released in the USA this past week (though you won't find it on any of their website at this time of writing). It has been available in Canada - but sadly - they have nothing at their website.  I'm interested in what my pharmacist  here in Quebec says when I inquire into it on my next legal drug run to them.

So, for now, go to this link, choose UK if you prefer English (the tutorial dude is so hilarious – trust me – you will fall in love with him).  If you prefer  another language just click on the different countries.  I am not sure when the USA / Canada will have the information linked up correctly – but for now – this is the only way I have of finding out more about the device.  Clicking on the Canada link just takes you to a general page – with no info on this product. 

What do you think?  Is this something that could help you better manage your diabetes?  Are you like me, willing to give it a try?  Hope so, I love being the continual revolving door guinea pig for diabetes products!  Bring it on I say, bring it on!!!  Now, Abbott, if only you'd let me have the device for free!!

NB:  Size of meter is 6.07 cm / 2 3/4 " Width - 9.5 cm / 3 3/4" Length - 1.5 cm / abit under 3/4" Depth

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Posted: Apr 9, 2010


Well, finally Abbott has come out of the dark to acknowledge what many Navigator customers have been complaining about over the past few months.  They can't get either the receivers (or transmitters) to their clients who use this system.  Zing - ouch!!!

To read more of their announcement they made today - go to the link that follows - http://www.abbottdiabetescare.com/adc_dotcom/...

I'm bringing this up in my blog today because Kelly Booth who is a PWD (person with diabetes) friend of mine that uses the Navigator.  She told me she was having some problems with receiving her order she had placed.  It appears that Abbott had stopped shipping Navigators (she wrote to me back in mid-March) and she had  not received any in the past 8 weeks!  She needs to use a CGMS due to suffering from many low BG's (she's not blessed like I am, where I am able to recognise when my blood glucose is doing down).  On top of all of this, I was hearing thru' the PWD grapevine that Abbott flunked an FDA (AKA GMP) audit.  Whether this was true or not, it's still scary that those PWD's (people with diabetes) are in this predicament.

 

 
In the meantime, she gave the Dexcom 7 a run for a week (she told me she tried to hide from the rep when he came to take it back). There are many features of the Navigator she says she likes better (e.g. range is further on the Navigator, e.g. 10 feet when you go away from the remote).  The Dex 7 has a range of 5' 1" (her words are "bang, you're disconnected").  It is just as accurate and she actually likes the alarms better on the Dex 7.  She's even now thinking of perhaps going on a pump next as well, and the Dex 7 is supposed to be linked with Animas this fall.

Anyone out there reading this, if you are using the Navigator - how have you been coping with not getting your orders filled?  Have you gone the root that Kelly has done in contacting her Attorney General's website to file a complaint (she had requested a refund of $7,165.00)?

NB
:  I thought I'd pop this in - because I use the Freestyle Lite blood glucose monitor - Abbbot has made a statement saying  "  No other Abbott Diabetes Care or FreeStyle® products are affected by this situation. 
"

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