Ten things

I

A few months ago, I asked an older gentleman working at Home Depot for help finding detergent for my power-washer so I could do some outdoor cleaning. After showing me to the appropriate product, he asked if that was an insulin pump on my hip. He told me his doctor was pressuring him to get one, but he is resisting and using shots (just one type of insulin, he wasn’t sure what). He has lots of lows as a result. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I asked if he was Type 1 or Type 2. He told me he didn’t know. That makes me sad that he’s being pushed to use this kind of advanced treatment without even being told what it is he’s treating. I feel there aren’t enough doctors who explain the condition before jumping to the treatment, and if doctors spent more time making sure patients understood, everyone would be a lot better off. (BTW – that detergent bottle is still sitting in the garage — unopened).

II

A few weeks ago, I was at a water park and saw a kid, maybe eight years old, with a QuickSet on his upper arm (tubing and pump disconnected) and a Dexcom G4 on his belly. He was with his parents and seemed a bit shy. After some hesitation (on my part), I approached him, reached into my pocket, and decided to show him my pump (without the official hashtag). He didn’t care. Rather than express some sort of connection at seeing someone else with an insulin pump, I think he was ashamed that someone proved his paraphernalia was noticeable. He then put on a life vest (I got the sense it was to cover everything up, not to help him with buoyancy) and went towards the water. His mom and I chatted briefly, then we parted ways. I learned that if someone is uncomfortable with their diabetes-stuff, pointing it out may not always be a good idea.

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Have you seen me?

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I removed my old CGM sensor this morning before my shower, and planned on inserting a new one afterwards.

Only, my inserter has gone missing. I tore the bedroom and bathroom apart trying to find it, and… nothing. (But there’s a lot of clutter, it still could be hiding somewhere).

And you can’t put these things in manually. So right now, I’m flying blind without a sensor.

It’s terrifying.

I can’t state enough how terrifying it is, even though I lived for decades without one, and lived to tell about it. But times are different, and my level of control is tighter.

Looking back (all the way back to yesterday), every one of those thirteen vibrating alerts that grabbed my attention was a cue that I’m drifting. Those rumble strips* are the reason I took action and ended up steering my trends in a (relatively) straight line.

Without them, I might crash.

*”Rumble” strips are those indentations on the shoulder of a highway which cause a car to buzz and shake when a driver drifts out of lane. I first heard the metaphor of CGM thresholds as rumble strips from SixUntilMe’s Kerri, but she heard it from someone else…but I can’t remember who. I’d like to attribute proper credit, so if someone knows the source, please leave it in the comments. UPDATE: Gary Scheiner is the genius who came up with the metaphor. Thanks, Kim, for the credit and the link!

The spaceships have landed

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Alternate title #1: Photos are the lazy blogger’s best friend
Alternate title #2: Out with the Medtronic, in with the Minimed

In all honesty, though , I really do like the new packaging.

How to build a better Enlite

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post on How to build a better insulin pump, based on the Medtronic Revel. Since very little has changed from the Revel to the 530G, those wishes/recommendations still apply. But now that I’ve had some time to play around with Enlite, I’ve got some wishes/recommendations on how that can be improved upon as well. My reason for posting this is simple — if nobody knows, nothing will change; but if someone (or some-two, or some-many) makes noise, it’s more likely to be heard. With the goal of being taken seriously, I’m keeping my recommendations somewhat simple and realistic.

* * *

The new Enlite and Enlite “Serter” are a vast improvement over the predecessor. In nearly every way. That goes without saying.

When I first saw the Sofsensor, I concluded that this must have been designed in-house by Medtronic, and not by Unomedical, the Masters (and manufacturer)-of-all-things Infusion Set related (and whose website appears to be out-of-commission at the moment).  Medtronic’s first CGM lacked the characteristics of something being designed by the Masters.

Enter Enlite. It’s better, and it took into account all the feedback received from Sofsensor users. It, too, has been designed in-house. And  sadly, it too lacks some of the characteristics of something designed by the Masters.

Let me be clear: I do think the Enlite is a good product, and this in no way is meant to be criticism worthy of driving someone away from using it. My reason for writing it is so that Medtronic – or perhaps another manufacturer – can learn something and make improvements the next time around. My hope is that they’ll take a look at some of the “little things” that can leave a big impression. And maybe, just maybe, the current product can undergo minor improvements while still being the current product.

Allow me to explain.

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A weighty decision

Dx-on-dischargeWhen I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I took one insulin injection a day: a little bit of Regular and a little bit of NPH mixed in a syringe before breakfast. That quickly shifted to twice a day: before breakfast and before dinner.

I had a glucose test kit that stayed in the school nurse’s office. In 1981 (1st grade, diagnosis), it was a urine test, in 1991 (11th-12th grade) it was a blood test. But it was there, not with me.

The only thing I carried around with me everywhere I went was a little box of Sun-Maid raisins, in case I felt low. Or maybe a roll of Life Savers, which always ended up permanently stuck to the paper wrapping (and each other) ensuring I had plenty of fiber with my low BG treatment.

At some point I switched to blood tests, first by holding the strip up to a  color chart, and later by using a big, clunky meter. I took it with me on family outings, but I don’t remember ever taking it to school. All I took was the box of stale raisins to treat lows; or maybe a roll of Life-Savers, inseparably stuck to the foil wrapping and each other.

I don’t ever remember carrying a meter with me in school. In 9th grade, I had a late lunch period and consistently went low during my biology lab period before. But I fought through it like a champ chump, traveling light.

I can’t remember if I carried a meter with me to class in college. Twelve years later after diagnosis, I was still on just two injections a day, each was a mix of Regular and NPH, taken before breakfast and dinner, with the Regular dose on a sliding scale that increased with my blood sugar. The scale matched the intervals on the old Chemstrip color chart: 180-240, add 1 unit. 240-300, add 2 units. 300-400, add 3 units, and so on.

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