Blog Entries With Tag: meter


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: 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: Sep 27, 2010

Well, I’ve been home on terra firma now for a week – and slowly getting back to the work mode.  Sometimes I love being able to work from home, but when you’re not that motivated to work due to missing the life on the high seas, it’s slow to get back into the mood.  Alas, bills have to be paid, so I’m plodding along … slowly.  I also had to proof to my parents that "No, Mike and I did not die".  They thought we had died during our holidays due to the conditions on Lake Ontario (they had seen a newsclip of a 42' yacht going down the same day we were sailing from Kingston, only the cat survived, not the owner Frown ).  So sad to think they thought this, and why the heck they didn't call our cell to confirm is a wee bit strange.

Picture of Wolf Island, Ontario

Wolf Island, Ontario

Just so you know the rest of the holidays after my last blog went well.  This year we experienced cooler / wetter temps then normal for the time we go away, and also everyday was a “high wind warning” for anyone out on Lake Ontario.  I have to admit, after the first stint of crossing over to the US side of Lake Ontario, you would have been blushing at the words coming out of my mouth – Mutiny, Mutiny.  I was not really keen on EVER going sailing again.  Many women I spoke to along the way, when we’d stop in at various ports thought I was some sort of heroine to be going out in the conditions we were going in (see picture of our clinometer below for how “straight” or how we were heeling in the water).  Now, after being able to say I survived the past 3 weeks (and I feel silly writing this)  since I was way beyond my comfort level a few times; I’m now abit more experienced in sea like conditions.  I’m looking forward to our next adventure, which sadly won’t be until next year, as boats are coming out of the water in a few weeks as winter is slowly coming our way here in Canada. 

 

Picture of clinometer (Lev-o-Gage)

I’m now also back on my Animas 2020 pump again.  This was done a few days after we’d had to deal with the bad diesel in our tank of our sailboat and I wanted to be ready for our next stint on Lake Ontario.  Having Salvador back by my side meant I had much better control of my blood sugars then with MDI (multiple dosage injections) – and I also made sure that in the cockpit of Jenna’s Journey I had snacks, drinks, BLOOD METER.  Again, going below into the boat just wasn’t feasible with the conditions we were experiencing, and the one time I did go below, and we got hit by a wave broad side, my frozen shoulder that I’ve had since my mastectomy …. was cured!!! When I had to grab onto something other than a handrail inside the cabin, my arm was yanked so hard, that my husband who was dealing with the conditions at the time outside thought I’d broken my arm.   Arrrh, I’m a hardy gal, and thankfully due to extra love handles on me (fat), with a few bruises I survived.

Captain FatCatAnna on a sunny day

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Posted: Dec 16, 2009

Winter WonderlandI've got Baby It's Cold Out There  - a classic -  playing in the background as I type this out to you.  If you want the full effect of my scribbles below, click on the link, and enjoy the soothing voice of Dean Martin.

We're not getting the cold temperatures that Alberta is getting at present (-37C / -35F tonight for some of them - brrhhhh), but here in Montreal we are having unusually cooler temperatures then we usually do that this time of the year.  Usually February is when we hit the deep freeze of temperatures like this.  Anyone want to buy an island property in the sunny Caribbean with me?

Joking aside, all I know is that tonight, by accident, I left my blood monitor (I use the Freestyle Lite) in the side pocket of my little Smart when I went to see the movie 2012 (excellent movie - despite the critics reviews).  When I came outside a few hours later, to make sure I had bolused for the right amount of insulin for the nutritious dinner of "popcorn" - duh - meter not functioning!  This has happened to me once before, last year, and you would think I wouldn't do the same thing again! Scream!! At least I remembered what I did last time this happened to me, stuck the little monitor inside of my pants (plush tummy area <lol>).   Yuppers, that was the warmest place on me at the time as the theatre for some reason was cold. I was huddled with my down filled jacket on top of me, after pigging out on the popcorn of course!

Fifteen minutes later, the monitor was up and running again, but I seriously have to start bringing a handbag with me (I am not a lover of those things as some of you know),  to bring my medical supplies with me, even if it's for a few hours.  I must learn to be a real woman!

I know one thing I have to look into getting, is another blood monitor, as I only have the one.  That scares me sometimes that my current monitor may go on the fritz, at a time when I can't dash out to purchase another one.  Note to self - talk to the pharmacist  this week to see how to obtain another one, hopefully for free, since I go thru' an average of 10 strips a day ($1 / strip). I should own stock in Johnson and Johnson!

So, take care and stay warm everyone!  Winter is almost here, it starts officially December 21st!!! Ho! Ho! Ho!

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