My Minimed rep was meeting me at the dLife offices after work to hook me up with the Medtronic Minilink and I joked in an email that he should hoot like an owl upon arriving so that I would know he was there.
Around 6 pm, my cell phone buzzed. The message left was not someone saying, "Hi, Kerri. [RepName] from Medtronic calling," but instead, "Whoooooooo! I'm here."
That's the mark of someone who's on my level, that's for damn sure.
After exchanging grins, we settled ourselves at a table at a local coffee shop and laid out our drug paraphernalia on the table. The box of CGM sensors, the MiniLink transmitter, the insertion device, and our respective glucose meters (my rep is also type 1) littered the table. Conversation flowed easily as he set me up with the MiniLink.
"Okay, so now we're ready to place the sensor." He loaded up the inserter with my first MiniLink sensor.
"Great. Let's pop that in on my arm."
"Inserting a sensor at a coffee shop is a first, that's for sure. But in the arm? This is a series of firsts for me."
With a little help and almost no pain at all, the sensor was inserted and the transmitter connected. (I didn't have the opportunity to take pictures of the actual insertion, but I will do a photojournal for the next sensor I use.)
After the first three hours, the pros and cons were beginning to show themselves.
PROS: The sensor is small - about the diameter of a quarter (maybe a small bit bigger) and about three stacked quarters high. It's on the back of my arm and is pretty low-profile. It's also water-proof, so no crazy-sticky shower patches that leave red rings on my skin for days. The MiniLink transmitter, like the Dexcom, takes two hours to fully calibrate when you first put the sensor on. (This term is called "wetting," which I think is revolting. My rep and I called it "percolating." Much less icky. And hearkens to coffee, which I need desperately. I'll explain why in the "cons" section.)
This sensor also works in tandem with my Medtronic 522 insulin pump, so I'm toting around one device instead of a receiver and an insulin pump. It also is able to calibrate using any glucose meter, so I could continue on testing as usual, using my One Touch Ultra2. One hub device is a huge selling point for me.
CONS: The transmitter is floppy and needs to be secured against my skin with a bandaid to keep it from coming loose or dislodging the wire. This is the biggest con for this transmitter so far.
HOWEVER: This frigging thing kept me up all night long. After being instructed that the CGM results are about 15 - 20 minutes behind my actual blood glucose (i.e. the CGM says 100 mg/dl, my sugar is actually 80 mg/dl or thereabouts), I set my low glucose alarm for 80 mg/dl, assuming my number would actually be close to 60 mg/dl once the alarm sounded.
Thanks to my vigilance with my overnight basals and the fact that they're set with precision, my numbers run close to 90 mg/dl all night long. Due to this tight control on my overnights, the low glucose alarm went off eight million times last night. That was issue one.
Issue two involved another alarm - this one reading "Bad Sensor." Unfortunately, this alarm went off at 2:53 in the morning and I was not going to wake up again just to reinstall a new sensor. So, against the advisement of my Minimed rep, I manually told the pump that I had installed a new sensor and recalibrated it. It reset its timer for the two hour calibration, thus waking me up again at almost 5 am.
Then the low glucose alarm went off again at 6:15, because I was 79 mg/dl.
(Note to self: Kerri, set the low glucose threshold at 65 mg/dl, for crying out loud. Or you may never sleep again. Seriously. Every time the thing went off, you groaned, the cats howled, and Shoes most likely plotted revenge. Raise the threshold. Do it now, you silly girl.)
I have not slept well, but it's obvious that my numbers hold tight and steady throughout the night. I'm hoping last night's escapades were a fluke thing and that a little tweaking will have me living in relative harmony.
I'll have more on the technical aspects of this device throughout the week, but for now I'm going to check my number - ah, 113 mg/dl on the Link, 99 mg/dl on my OneTouch - and get another cup of coffee.
I am MiniLink. :)