Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changing it up

A lot of people find buying a little D-something helps with burnout. A cute meter case, a new medical ID,  blue nail polish for Fridays - whatever works as an inspiration to get refocused on the disease. Well, I'm totally that kind of person, and have been searching for my source of inspiration...and, while $25 in new lipsticks from Rite Aid was a nice boost, it was more of an "Ugh, this weather is terrible and I feel new-mom schlubby" kind of kick than a "Woohoo, let's lock you down, dirty D!" one. 

But my search got a little nudge in the form of diaTribe's Issue #41 in my email inbox yesterday. Their test drive this month was meters, and now I'm nursing a little crush:

I think Steve Jobs would dig this puppy.

I know a few people in the DOC have had the opportunity to test drive this (Kim at Texting My PancreasKerri at Six Until Me, and Stacey at Girl with the Portable Pancreas definitely did, and I'm sure there are others out there, too). I noted with interest when I read their posts, but I was truly clobbered by Adam's description:
When the meter discovers a pattern following a test result, it immediately flashes a message. For instance, I received one that said: “Low Pattern – March 16, 12:30 pm. Looks like your glucose has been running LOW around this time.” After I selected “Get details,” the meter displayed the past glucose results associated with the low pattern.

To me, that sounds like a Dexcom-level analysis - rapid feedback showing patterns in your numbers without any number-crunching done by the person who's testing. How rad is that? I know I struggle with getting my info downloaded, logged, and interpreted. I feel like a glowing success if I manage to do it once a week! Having this more consistent feedback would, I'm sure, mean me paying a lot more attention to something that happens day after day...and actually changing things to accommodate that.

Truthfully, I'm THE MOST in love with another meter they profiled: the Telcare.

I would do bad things for this meter.

Automatic upload of glucose results! Fancy-pants iPhone app! AND IT TALKS TO YOU LIKE HAL:
The meter also gives the user constant feedback on testing averages and trends through an innovative communication feature. Following a test result, the Telcare system analyzes a user’s data and sends customized messages right to the meter. Some examples that I received included: “Adam, you have completed 90% of your targeted tests this week and your glucose is within 20% of target,” (cool!) “In the past 7 days, your pre-meal BG average is 118 mg/dl,” and “Your average BG today is 106 mg/dl.”

At the core of true nitty-gritty diabetes management is lots of little changes over a long period of time that yield huge results. I'm convinced that having a meter that provided this sort of instant feedback would be a game-changer for me. And I'm sure they'd be better than my current OneTouch UltraLink. (I mean, how could they NOT be? Sometimes I think a Magic 8 Ball would be an improvement in accuracy.)

But - the inevitable "but" - what about insurance? Right now, all my strips are completely covered. My meter was free, as I got it by prescription. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the newer meters and the required test strips are either a) completely uncovered, b) covered unfavorably compared with my current UltraLink, or c) require so much hoop-jumping that even if it's possible to get it with an appeal (or twenty appeals) the sheer effort  involved isn't worth the trouble. Not to mention the little negative interior voice that says "And you could achieve the same effect by logging and downloading your information, you lazybones."

And isn't that the rub? A lot of our gizmos have bells and whistles we covet but aren't really necessary. Not like insulin is necessary. Or glucose testing is necessary. But our job as PWDs is daily management of a chronic condition and that's a freakin' long row to hoe. Forever is a really, really long time. So every little bit of equipment we get our grubby little mitts on, every little log innovation or carb counting trick or diabetes shortcut we come across, helps us keep our focus and do our jobs a little better.

Sign me up, then. Put me on the list for the next fanciest meter (my heart belongs to HAL!), the most tricked-out CGM, the shiniest pump. I need some inspiration, and I'll take it wherever I can get it.

Right after I call my insurance company, of course.


  1. I did not get a OneTouch Verio_IQ sent to me, but I bought it and some test strips. I love the lit-up port, the tactile test strip and feedback, but Telcare has me with all the auto-connectivity to my iDevices and web. The other meters, while new still only use the Windows Platform, but Telcare required no specific platform. One can access the logs and chart on any web-browser if one doesn't have an iDevice. Only thing about Telcare is sometimes it takes quite a while for the meter to connect to a cell network. If it doesn't, your time and all is not UTD.

    Insurance and the meter companies need to get a grip. ANY testing is better than NO testing, but patient compliance also depends on ease of use. I am buying the strips for the meter(s) *I* like, in hopes that insurance will cover them soon.

  2. I want a new meter now. My ultra mini is getting old even though it still does the basics.