A family living well with type 1 diabetes.

Posts tagged ‘technology’

Verio Cool.

I have had the pleasure of trying out a new meter from OneTouch® — The Verio™IQ. And what a sweet little meter it is.

Upon first glance, it looks a lot like an iPod! Very sleek. Very user friendly, as any meter should be. The display is big, bold and beautiful. Jenna was impressed, as was I. Jenna enjoyed tagging whether her reading was before or after eating. This is the feature that helps the meter determine if there are any trends worth noting; another cool aspect of this sassy little meter! The only puzzler was what to do if the reading is neither. Perhaps a third option to opt out of tagging a reading would be beneficial.

Update: Evidently, there is a way to opt out of tagging a reading. You simply press the go back arrow to return to the results screen or hold down the arrow to go to the main menu. Helps to read the instructions thoroughly. :)

The next feature we liked was how little blood is required to conduct the test and the fact that you can slurp up your tiny sample from either the right or the left of the strip! This proved helpful in preventing test strip waste which is something that makes me crazy. At nearly a buck a pop, the last thing we want is an error indicating an insufficient blood sample. Sometimes this happens when Jenna is doing her own checks. Perhaps she is rushing, being the busy little bee that she is. But Jenna had no problem obtaining an adequate sample with the Verio IQ™.

This meter touts SmartScan™ Technology. It scans each sample 500 times to ensure precise results. I have no idea how it does this in just 3 short seconds but WOW! This is HUGE. We rely on meter accuracy to ensure Jenna is getting the right amount of insulin, and we all know how important proper insulin dosing is.

Besides its accuracy, the feature that really got me revved was the light. This baby has a built in light to help see in the dark during nighttime testing. I didn’t have to hold a flashlight between my teeth! And I could hang up my miner’s hat too ;)

One final note, this meter doesn’t use batteries. It charges via a plug, just like a mobile phone or MP3 player! Very cool.

Over all, I like this meter, Jenna likes this meter and I think its future is as bright as its colour, LCD display.

Disclosure: The OneTouch® Verio™IQ meter was supplied to me at no charge for evaluation purposes by LifeScan Canada Ltd. I was not paid for my opinion. The opinions expressed here are my own (and to some extent, Jenna’s). I was not required by LifeScan Canada Ltd. to mention this product on my blog but it is because I am an active diabetes blogger that I was contacted and given the opportunity to try this product gratis.

Diabetes and Doctors.

I’ve recently found myself in the upsetting position of having to defend the 8 to 12 blood sugar checks we perform daily on Jenna to a pediatrician. It was during a routine check up. An a1c drawn at this appointment revealed pretty darn good control at 7.8. Still, this medical professional felt that checking Jenna up to 12 times a day on occasion, was excessive.

Jenna does not wear a CGM. For those who read my blog but don’t live with diabetes daily, first – thank you. You give a damn. You want to learn more. That’s so awesome! Second – a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is a device that has a sensor which is inserted under the skin and stays in place for several days, measuring blood glucose in interstitial fluid many times throughout the day and night. It is a great piece of technology, but it has a ways to go before it is a consistently accurate and reliable way to monitor blood sugar. We are waiting until the technology improves before investing money and subjecting Jenna to yet another jab and another device to have to wear. In the meantime, regular blood sugar checks are necessary to ensure Jenna is safe. This means we get up every night, sometimes more than once depending on the circumstances, to perform blood sugar checks.

You see, each reading is merely a snapshot. She may be 5.8 at 10:00pm – an excellent reading, but what you may not know is that she is headed down fast because of the insulin on board from that bedtime snack she had or the extra hard playtime when she ran for an hour solid earlier in the day! By midnight she could be 2.1! The only way to know is to check.

I left the doctor’s office that day feeling so many emotions – anger, frustration, annoyance – but the worst, the absolute worst was the self-doubt and shame I felt. I actually let this doc get to me! I questioned whether we were doing the absolute best we could be doing for our little girl. He made me feel like we were setting Jenna up for failure with our diligence. How would she be able to pick up the baton when it was time to hand it over to her? This question was posed to me as I defended our nightly blood sugar checks to ensure her safety. He stated that if it were him, he wouldn’t be able to function on the broken sleep we were getting.

Never mind that I made the valid point that she will not just suddenly, one day, be charged with her entire diabetes management – that it will be a gradual process that has already begun that won’t overwhelm her. No, he felt we were setting the bar too high and needed to pull back. He then went on to assure me that Jenna would awaken if she were to go too low. Absolutely, for sure. Without question.

Now, the whole idea of checking and monitoring is to avoid highs and lows. AVOID them! Not to let them happen and deal with the low when it materializes in whatever frightening form that may take, i.e. seizure, or worse. I DO NOT want to have to administer glucagon, call the paramedics and pray that my daughter survives, all because I needed my sleep. We have survived the past three and a half years getting up in the night to ensure Jenna is safe. We have adapted, just as countless other parents have done. And I happen to know that not all people awaken when their blood sugar drops too low. Tragedies happen only too often. How does this doctor not know this?

I was a broken woman when he was finished with me – as broken as Jenna’s pancreas. I never want to feel that way again. And I never, ever want another parent of a child with diabetes to feel that way.

Being a pancreas to a child who’s own pancreas is busted is NOT easy. It is a constant, demanding, ever-changing, exhausting, unruly, scary, unpredictable, 24/7 job. No breaks – no holidays. Any parent who does this – any person with diabetes who does this – deserves respect and support – NOT criticism.

I recently read a quote written by another mom of a child with diabetes that sums it up beautifully:

…I have learned that it is not just about the needles and the numbers –it is about the constant burden of having to perform a critical body function externally . Think for a minute about having to tell your heart when to beat…and how fast. Imagine what it would feel like to know if you slipped for a moment what the consequenc es would be. It can be a heavy weight to bear at times.

Just for the record, I did tell this doc that, with all due respect, I was the parent of a child with diabetes – not him. But I did let what he said hit too close to my heart and I shouldn’t have. It took me days to recover from it. But with the help of my husband, who was furious at this doctor for making me feel so inept, and the reassurance of members of the diabetes online community who validated my diligence and questioned this doc’s knowledge of type 1 diabetes, I bounced back stronger than before. I felt reassured that I am doing the very best I can to keep my daughter safe and healthy and I shouldn’t have to defend what I do to ensure that goal is met every single day and night, especially to someone who doesn’t know what it is like to be a satellite pancreas – medical degree or not!

To the doctors out there: I urge you to tread carefully when you are sitting across from the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, or a PWD. I know your intentions are good, but unless you have a child with type 1 diabetes, or you have diabetes yourself, you can’t possibly know what it is like to do what we do. Be positive, supportive and understanding. But above all, please be humble. Know that each diabetic person’s disease is as unique as a fingerprint and the approach to managing it can be just as varied and individualized. We are all doing the best we can. It’s not easy and some days are harder than others. You are merely one member of a team in the management of this disease; you are not the definitive expert, as hard as that may be for some of you to accept. Also, a little praise goes a long way. A pat on the back for the 7.8 a1c would have been nice.

Luckily, we had a check up appointment with Jenna’s endocrinologist two days later and received the positive reinforcement and validation we so desperately needed. We always have a positive experience when we see Jenna’s endocrinologist – who, by the way, feels that we are, in no way, paranoid or checking Jenna too much. As always, she applauded our efforts and praised our approach. I am so grateful for her.

Tech Support Needed!

One of the many perks of pumping insulin with the Animas Onetouch ® Ping has been the software that comes with it. I used to take Jenna’s pump and meter and snuggle up to my PC, cup of tea in hand, download the data from the past two or three weeks, print off a couple of charts and then pour over the numbers looking for trends. This would help me to determine whether changes to Jenna’s settings were needed. This was especially useful to do the night before an endo appointment. Jenna’s endocrinologist appreciated receiving our package of printed out data. She could easily glance at Jenna’s blood sugars and advise us accordingly.

And then we moved. Our PC is no longer in service and we have jumped ship to Mac. The software that accompanies the Animas Onetouch ® Ping isn’t compatible with the operating system on my Macbook.

And our endo appointment is creeping up fast as well as a pediatrician appointment. I know I could resume logging all of Jenna’s numbers and carb counts on paper, as well as the bolus amounts and the kind of bolus. But MAN! That kind of sucks. Logging numbers is a royal pain in the keister. Ask any PWD and they’ll tell you, logging is a loathsome task. And what makes it so abhorred is the inability to stick to it. It is already a challenge to do all the absolutely necessary steps involved with maintaining this disease — adding this extra step is like asking someone to balance their cheque book. Several times a day. Every. Single. Day.

I was diligent about logging when Jenna was first diagnosed and was on multiple daily injections. But that was before I got a taste of the good life with diabetes software keeping impeccable records for me and laying it all out in beautiful, colourful charts and graphs. Now I always start with good intentions and a brand spanking new pretty journal (the theory being that if the journal is new and pretty, I’ll stick to my logging) but I derail rather quickly, sometimes as early as later the same day. Sad. I know.

I miss my software and all it’s fancy charts and graphs. I miss being able to see trends and make the necessary adjustments to pump settings. I feel like I’ve been trying to manage Jenna’s diabetes with one arm tied behind my back.

I’ve spoken to our Animas rep about it and he seems to think there is a way. But when I call Animas and ask, I’m told that there is a compatibility problem with the ezMax software and Mac operating systems. I’ve been put on a list of people that need to be informed as soon as the problem is resolved, but that was months ago. I have heard nothing.

And my withdrawl is escalating.

Jenna’s numbers have been pretty crazy lately. I sense that some changes need to be made but I have no way of seeing the trends to make these changes. I am getting my pen and paper ready because I know what must be done. It starts with an L and rhymes with dog. But oh, how I loath using such primitive devices. I’m far better with a hard drive, a dongle (what screwball came up with that name, by the way?) and a printer.

I could really use some advice or information on how I can install the ezMax software on either my Macbook or my desktop, if it’s possible at all. Has anyone used this software successfully on their Mac? If so, please tell me how you did it. PLEASE?

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