Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sensor Redux

I feel that after all the rants I’ve posted about this sensor study, I ought to post an update on how I feel now. Two major things have changed. Number one was, I decided since the BG meter they wanted us to use wasn’t accurate at normal-to-low BG, that anytime I thought my BG was in the normal-to-low range, I would use my regular meter and manually enter the BG into the sensor. That has helped a lot with its accuracy. It’s still off, but now it says I’m 95 when I’m 65, not 40.

The second thing is, they’ve come out with a 2.0 transmitter and pump software. I had to go trade in what I’ve been using since Christmas, and start the new ones. This is to help with the long warm-up time, where you start a new sensor and it’s 120 points off for 12 hours. Now it does seem to reach its typical accuracy after about 3 hours.

So is it now at the point where I would use it? Yeah, I’d say so. The catch? My Animas pump is only 2 years old, so even if I wanted this, my insurance wouldn’t pay for it. On the other hand, I’ve gotten really used to being able to see the trends of what my BG is doing. The solution? The day I have to turn this in, I’m buying a DexCom. And keeping my fingers crossed my insurance will pick up at least some of the sensors. We’ve got six months of data to show how volatile my BG is, how I don’t have a hope of controlling it without continuous monitoring. So maybe they’ll pay for it. If not, well, starting in September we’ll be done with daycare, except the elementary before-school care, which is $500 less a month than we’re paying now. We’ll use that. Of course, it would be nicer if we could actually have a savings account, and we’ll have 3 kids to send to college starting in 6 years. But when you think of the possible expense of not having it…

So, for anyone who is planning on getting this integrated pump and sensor, here’s my top 5 tips/tricks/cheats. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, blah, blah, blah, but here’s what I would do were I to keep this thing:
  • 1. Never use a BD logic meter.
  • 2. Be aware – this pump eats batteries.
  • 3. When it claims to have a calibration error, don’t give it another BG value for at least an hour.
  • 4. Unless you’re actually low when you calibrate, check the sensor isig value first. If it’s under about a 9.5, it’s not ready yet. Wait a bit.
  • 5. If it says the sensor is bad, leave the sensor in, and tell the pump you’ve just put in a new sensor. Nine times out of ten that works and the sensor initializes happily and has no problems.
  • 6. That same strategy also seems to work when your sensor has hit the end of its 36-hour life span. Tell the pump it’s a new one, and leave it in. The FDA says not to do it, but they aren’t paying for the damned things.

    At the same time I start the DexCom, I am also going to start trying Symlin for the spikes at breakfast. We’ll see how that goes….

    Christine said...

    Ugh, I decided against Minimed when chosing my pump for several reasons, but one of them was that the Minimed pump uses the BG Logic and my previous Logic experiences sucked.

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the GREAT tips! I'll be starting the RealTime system either tomorrow or this weekend, and it's great to be forewarned about possible pitfalls (like your tip about the bad sensor alarm).

    I will be using my BD Link meter, though, as I have tested it on several occasions against lab results and have always been within 0.5 mmol (9 mg/dL). I will keep your advice in mind though, and if I find any funky readings I'll be sure to switch to my Freestyle Mini.

    I was looking at the version of my pump/transmitter and it says 2.1...should accuracy after warm-up be better?

    How many times did you manually check BG's during the day to calibrate your transmitter?

    (I have a million questions I could ask you right now!)

    Just a note, I have not heard good things about the DexCom. If you search it on google, you'll get hits from people who've used it and not had much success. I've heard it compared to the Glucowatch -- and we all know what a mess that was.

    Isn't Animas supposed to be coming out with a CGMS soon?

    art-sweet said...

    I want to hear about your hike! I'm curious to know where you went as we don't actually live that far from each other...