Search This Blog

Thursday, 24 October 2013

It's Raining (free) Meters

If I'm in a diabetes slump, such as now, there's usually a few things that I have found will motivate me to get back into it. One of these things is new diabetes toys.

I was thrilled to be a part of walk for a cure this past Sunday at Chermside, Brisbane.

The walk of course had sponsor tents set up. I managed to bag quite a few free things: 1 Medtronic drink bottle, 1 Johnson & Johnson drink bottle, coloring & activity books with Lenny the Lion (Yup! Giant kid at heart), Lenny the Lion masks, briiiiight orange Medtronic shirt, Accu-chek cap (which I happily used on the walk!), mini tick-tacks, lollies, water, a squishy purple stress-ball pump and my favourite of the day: A NEW meter! WITH TEST STRIPS!!!

Obviously this prompted me to revisit exactly how many meters I have now amassed in my short career as a diabetic. The answer was 10, although 3 of these are double-ups. 10 free meters. (Hint: never pay for a meter. There is always a way to get it for free). 

I present to you in high definition colour*: 

The history of my meters: A comparative tale.

1st Meter:
My 1st ever meter was the Johnson & Johnson One Touch Verio Standard. 1st meter so naturally I got quite attached. It had no special features really. It had a very dark screen that would light up to a funny green shade if you pushed a certain button for a supremely long time. I have no idea what button that is anymore. Somewhere along the line I managed to collect a 2nd one of these meters, which has never even been turned on.

2nd Meter:
Ok, I did tell a lie earlier about never purchasing a meter. I did purchase this meter, and with no intention of ever using it. I bought it on a full-cash back sale exclusively for the lancing device. It was the Accu-Chek Performa Nano. Looking at its tiny little body, it looks like it would be great for when I walog. But it takes coding, so I dead-set refuse to use it. Too inconvenient. Therefore I have turned it on once or twice to use up the free strips that came with it (rule of D life #1: Never ever waste a test-strip).

3rd Meter:
The Freestyle Exceed. I was given this by my DE on my 1st visit. She thought I was cray cray for still dip-sticking it when I wanted to go ketone hunting. Hence: New meter in my hands. Its great that it does ketones. I would recommend every T1D to keep one at hand just for this function. In terms of glucose testing, its not for me. The testing strips are all individually wrapped, creating a lot of waste. It also takes a ridiculous sample size (although nothing compared to the ketone strip sample size). Last but not least I have taken several side by sides of all my meters, and it consistently shows up as being the lowest reading meter (which some people like). On the plus side, its really pretty.

Basic meter, but it does Ketones, which no other meter does. 

4th Meter:
When I was started on my pump, it was a requirement that I get the Bayer Contour link so I could have my meter 'talk' to my pump. So I ordered several thousand boxes of strips (as you do) to set it up with. I hated it. To put it bluntly. My DE loved it. Ok, I liked the fact it talked to my pump. But I was used to a high-reading meter, and this b*tch kept telling me I was low. All. The. Time. I got fat from this meter constantly treating non-existent hypos. So I scrapped it after a few months worth of use, much to the dismay of my DE, who still tries vehemently to convince me to use it as I never bother to input my readings into my pump. For those who use CGM, I believe it works brilliantly for that as that seems to be what the CGM likes to calibrate to the most. The other downside to the Bayer as well is that pharmacists do not stock the strips so you have to be pretty on the ball with ordering ahead of time.

3.4 on the left - I got hypo numbers very frequenlty with the Contour Link, but never seemed to feel them. 10.0 on the right - this was the highest number I could find in the meter memory. Screen is good with big, easy to read numbers.

5th Meter (and current Meter):
I am now back to my faithful One Touch Verio, compliments of Johnson & Johnson. However now I am using the upgraded version, the One Touch Verio IQ. IQ because its smart and awesome. (Can we tell I am biased?). It reads high, which I love - but this may be a downside for other users who like lower reading meters, particularly children. It has a beautiful colour screen which shows a sun in the day and a moon at nighttime, just in case you wonder why its suddenly dark outside. It has a light-up testing port for those middle of the night checks. It is rechargeable. It has a pattern log to identify low and high patterns at different times of the day. Also importantly the One Touch family have the smallest testing sample of all the meters I have used. It also uses the same strips as the standard Verio so I can carry one of those as a back-up. And I have a pretty decal for it. Seals the deal, obviously. Cons: The lancing device is crap. Swap it for an Accu-Chek multiclix or soft-clix.

See the pretty moon and low pattern.

6th Meter:
I honestly don't know why I have the Freestyle Insulinx, let alone 2 of them, given that I have a pump. The only reason I own them that I can think of was that it supplied a days worth of free test strips with each one. For non-pumpers or people wanting to transition to a pump I think its well-worth harassing and haranguing your local rep for one. It has an in built bolus Wizard (which does need to be set-up by your Healthcare professional) for tighter control and easier carb bolusing and corrections. It reads fairly high, similar to the Verio, so I have actually used this as my meter on one day when I forgot to charge my IQ. An exciting feature for this meter is the touch screen, helpful for the touch-screen generation who probably no longer understand what real buttons are. You can also customize your background image, and keeping stuff personalized can actually be a motivator for me with diabetes (see my One Touch IQ above).

Touch screen with a bolus wizard
7th Meter:
This is the 1st time that I rue the fact my sensitivity is set on my IQ. I got my Accu-Chek mobile on Sunday at the Walk for a Cure and love it! ALL IN ONE! It totally helps that I got 50 free test strips too. Its just...handy. I threw it in my bag today when I ducked down to the shops and that was amazing not to take my whole kit. I was slightly annoyed when I turned it on earlier to check a reading without wanting to test that this process (turning it on) forces a new test area to rotate in, and therefore you lose a test, which can be a waste of money. Maybe I'm doing it wrong though. It is big and clunky, but the soft-clix lancing device which is nearly painless. The strip film is a lovely feature because its vastly reduces strip rubbish. It is now my dedicated in-car testing meter. :)

 In-built test strips. Big display, but a big meter too.

*May not necessarily be high definition. Or colour.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Leave your Diabetes At Home

I haven't written in a while. I couldn't. I didn't have the words to express how I felt. About diabetes. About how frustrating it can be. About how sometimes, it feels so hopeless to just continues on. About the ways it can impact on your life.

I have been PISSED OFF. Even that doesn't quite cover it.

I think it started with Japan. It started with the lows. It started with the highs. It started with the heat, with the nearly-full vials of insulin I threw away. It started with the more-than-regular set changes. It started with waking up all night for many nights with exercise induced lows. It started with cursing and blessing CGMs. It started with trying to do it all, do everything and get everything from Japan that I wanted to, but couldn't because sometimes diabetes elbowed and shoved its way to the start of my 'attention' line. You can't chastise diabetes like you would a rude customer who butts in ahead of you for service in a store, because diabetes can do so much worse than swear at you if you tell it to wait its damn turn.

I really can't forgive diabetes for Japan. I just wanted a trip away. Just a trip away. With Type 1 Diabetes, you can never have a trip away. It comes with you everywhere.

I did the right things. I had so many doctors appointments in the lead-up that thats all my diary consisteted off. I took an ENTIRE carry-on suitcase full of supplies, when I really could have used that space to smuggle back Pikachu. I bought CGMs, I wore CGMS. I planned.

In the end, it doesn't matter what you plan for because diabetes doesn't work to plans.

I think I broke at about the 15 day mark, in Nagasaki. When I went from 11 to 20 within 2 hours after yet another vial of insulin gave it up, exasperated in the heat. When all I wanted to do was go for a walk in the gardens. But I had to do a crazy tram dash back to the hotel to get some cool insulin from the fridge and lower my BGLs, get rid of the insane high headache and extreme nausea.

I couldn't forgive diabetes after that. I turned my back and played the 'I can't hear you' game until it prised my hands from ears and screamed straight into my face that I had yet another BGL of 20-something to treat. Which was about twice daily.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Japan. I had a ball. But the 3rd wheel of diabetes was not at all welcome.

I'm trying to pick myself back up now. I went to my educator's appointment on Monday with not a single reading written down. I hadn't saved a single BGL into my pump. I was wearing a sensor so my educator could at least look at that. She normally wears a happy face when she sees me. On Monday she had obviously visited the Happy Mask shop in Hyrule Castle Town and traded it for something much sadder.

I told her that I wasn't feeling particularly kindly-inclined towards my diabetes and I did't want to think about. She made lots of mumblings to herself and then changed my basal rates. Which I knew needed to happen, but I was too cranky to think about it.

Then to seal the deal that she wasn't happy, I was sent home with basal testing. Which I never do even though she's been asking me to for a year. While I'm cranky at diabetes, the last thing I want to do is starve myself for hours for it. But I had made the mistake of taking my boyfriend along because I was jealous that other betics sometimes have their support people with them and I never have mine, so I agreed to let him come. So he is trying to enforce basal testing. Not happy Ashleigh.

Working hard on becoming tolerant of Morty again, but I feel this may take awhile.