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Posts tagged ‘glucose meter’

It’s Just a Blood Sugar Check.

Checking my blood sugar takes less than 30 seconds.  Truly – upcapping the bottle of test strips, inserting the strip, pricking my finger tip, squeezing blood onto the absorption pad on the test strip, waiting the five second countdown of my meter to see the result up on the screen, and then taking the strip out and turning off the meter.

Thirty seconds.

Great.  No big deal.  Easy-peasy, and other rhyming phrases.

Let’s add in the responsive elements.  First, I anticipate the result.

Have you ever had go force yourself to check your blood sugar because you don’t want to see the result?  You know you’re high, so you want to avoid confirming it because seeing that number adds to the emotional failure quotient.  Have you ever forgone checking your blood sugar because you know you’re low, choosing fast-acting glucose sources over the 30 second confirmation routine?  The process of checking blood sugar isn’t just the installation of strip, pricking of finger.  There’s oftentimes an emotional hurdle that needs to be leapt over first, forcing me to attempt to view data as data instead of data as self-worth.

Then I perform the glucose check.

Then I respond mentally.  What is that number?  Do I have insulin on board?  Have I exercised in the last hour or two?  Am I planning on exercising?  Do I need to correct the number, either with food or insulin or exercise, to bring it into range?  Am I okay to leave it alone?

Normal questions like, “Am I hungry?” come to mind oddly late in this hierarchy.

But before the mental response, I respond emotionally.  A blood glucose result of any kind stirs up emotions, even when I try to immediately squash them.  There’s pride built into a 100 mg/dL.  Anxiety built into a 50 mg/dL.  Guilt baked right the fuck into a 300 mg/dL.  This is what keeps me from viewing my data as simply “data,” because every number represents something I’ve done or didn’t do … and I need to remind myself more that the thing I’m honestly not doing is making insulin.  The rest is a basket of beady variables that spill out unpredictably.

Checking my blood sugar is important because it gives me a view of where I’m at and helps me set the pace for where I’m going.  But it’s never “just a blood sugar check.”  It’s more than that.  There’s so much mental and emotional real estate dedicated to a 30 second process.

 

104 mg/dL.

Am I the only one who stops when this number pops up on a glucose meter and thinks, “Damn.  That could be on the meter advertisement box.  I’ve got this.”

Meter box advertisement #latergram

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

(Ignore the fact that I will surely be low, or high, or somewhere not exactly 104 mg/dL in a matter of hours.  But in that moment, I’ve got this.  Actually, since writing my post the other day, I’ve been actively working to spend more time in range and I’m seeing better results.  Averages are tipping back into my favor, and I’m reminded once again how much of diabetes is a total crap shoot and how much is something I can change … and how much those ratios of crap:change fluctuate.)

Missing Meter.

The initial search through my bag was kind of nonchalant.  “Where is my meter bag?”  Bright pink with a smiling bear on one side, it’s a hard bag to misplace, even in the seemingly unending abyss of my purse.

But the flurry of leaving the house that morning to catch an early flight left me mentally snowed-in.  I brought it with me, right?  I know I checked my blood sugar that morning, and I had a clear memory (didn’t I?) of pricking my finger on the plane after we had reached cruising altitude, so where the hell was my glucose meter?  I had it just a few hours ago?

“Where is my glucose meter?”

The search went from casual to frantic in a matter of minutes, when I realized that my meter bag was nowhere to be found.  Not in my suitcase, not in my book bag, not in the rental car.  No memory of where the hell it could be, and all the moments I’ve ever checked my blood sugar on a plane were melting together.  Did that happen today, or had I been working off info from my CGM graph all day long?

Just as Chris and I confirmed that my meter was, indeed, MIA, my Dexcom sensor alarm went off, warning me that my sensor was going to die in two hours.  And the “low battery” alarm went off a few minutes later on my pump, reminding me that it needed a new battery.

“Everything is breaking and I’m an idiot.  I’ve never, ever left my glucose meter behind before.  Ever!  On so many of my trips, I’ve packed an extra meter, but even on the trips where I didn’t, I still didn’t lose my meter!  I’ve never lost my glucose meter before, in like three decades with diabetes.”  I was rambling, but frustrated.  The device I needed most to properly dose the drug I needed most?  Missing.  Data crucial to my safe survival?  Inaccessible without purchasing a backup system.

(And, as luck would have it, I had just refilled my meter bag with a brand new bottle of 50 test strips and a fresh AA battery for my pump.  Reminded me of the time I replaced my car’s exhaust system, filed the tank up with gas, and then proceeded to total the car.)

Thankfully, finding a pharmacy that sold the brand of glucose meter I had strips at home for was easy enough.  (I didn’t want to have to replace the meter, again, when I got home.)  And thankfully, we have the means to purchase a meter and a bottle of test strips without insurance coverage.  But holy shit, I was shocked to see the sticker price for a bottle of 25 test strips.

“Forty five dollars?  For 25 test strips?  That’s bananas!”  I said the pharmacist.  “How do people afford these things without insurance coverage?”

She shrugged.  “They don’t.  They buy the CVS brand and the strips that go with that one.  Most people don’t pay for the top tier strips out of pocket.”

“But the accuracy is …”

“It’s what it is,” she said.  She finished ringing up the meter and strips (and AA batteries for the pump), bringing my grand total up over $100.  For a meter, 25 test strips, and batteries.

“This is the price for maintenance,” I said to Chris.  “For the stuff that keeps me healthy.  I can’t imagine what the cost would be to do more than “maintain.'”

After reuniting with a glucose meter, our trip continued on without issue.  But throughout the rest of the week, I thought about having access, and having the financial means to replace things I accidentally lose, and being grateful.  I thought about the Spare a Rose campaign and how far $5 goes.

This holiday season, I’m more grateful than ever for more things than I realized.

(And when we came home on Friday evening and I went into the bathroom, I saw my glucose meter sitting on the bathroom counter, halfway hidden underneath a hand towel.  Never again!)

 

Shake It Like a Bottle of Test Strips.

I can’t stop – I shake that stupid bottle of test strips EVERY SINGLE TIME before I open it.

 

 

What, you don’t?!

Verio Sync: Second Impressions.

[Second Disclosure Verse, Same as the First:  I have received the Verio Sync meter for review prior to the full US launch. I was not asked to write this review.  Opinions shared, for better or for worse, are mine.  Typos, too.]

It’s been about five weeks since I started using the Verio Sync, and after getting over the initial “eh, the screen isn’t as nice as the Verio IQ,” the transition was smooth.  The meter performs similarly to the Verio IQ, but it does have some potent perks.

Ahem.  Potent perks:

  • The battery life on the Sync is better than that of the IQ.  I think.  I actually haven’t seen the “low battery” icon yet on the Sync (except when the meter starts up after sticking a strip in, so I at least know the meter has a low battery icon).  With the IQ, I was charging it every five days or so, and it only lasted that long when I would manually shut the meter down after testing (holding the button down until the meter screen went blank).  The Sync turns off automatically much faster.  For now, I charge the Sync when I charge my Dexcom, which is every five or six days.
  • The syncing feature of the Sync doesn’t drain my iPhone battery as much as I’d thought, because I don’t leave the Bluetooth feature on my phone enabled all the time.  I enable Bluetooth as needed, uploading the results once or twice a day instead of every time I test.  This helps conserve battery on all fronts.
  • As a PWD who has always struggled with logging blood sugars, the app for this meter is awesome.  Not because it does anything truly remarkable (it doesn’t fly, and it doesn’t make me fly), but it does what it’s supposed to do:  automagically sucks my blood sugar results from the meter and loads them into the app.  For someone like me, who struggles with making the time to download meter results, this is extremely useful.  At a glance, I can see how things have been going, and it’s powerful motivation for me to either continue on the same path or to change the course of it … blood sugar-wise.  (See also:  things have been good the past few weeks, so lots of green on the graph.  But back in mid-December, there was more red up there than I’d like.  Something about keeping the green as the dominant color serves as incentive.  In other news, a bell just rang and now I’m craving a snack.)
  • I also saw some of my first pattern alerts crop up, which were more common with the Verio IQ.  Tagging doesn’t seem to be tied to “I ate” or “I didn’t eat” but more to time of day, seeing as how manually tagging blood sugars is a feature that was removed for the Sync.  (Again, this didn’t affect me much because after about four months with the IQ, I turned off the tagging feature.  It frustrated me that I could only be a “full apple” [before meal] or a “bitten apple” [after meal].  I needed a third icon for simply “not eating.”)

  • Another powerful bit of information for me is the ability to see my 14 day averages portioned out by time of day.  Again, being able to score at-a-glance information about when my blood sugars are in range, out of range, and free range (read: bonkers) is very useful and helps me make tweaks as needed.
  • I do not like swapping one feature for another, though.  The Ping meter had the ability to send results straight to my insulin pump, and I was to remote bolus using the meter.  The Verio IQ and the Sync do not.  And as I mentioned before, the Sync seems like an aesthetic step back when compared to the IQ.  I really wish glucose meters, as they are improved, didn’t take features away as they moved forward.

But, as previously mentioned, it seems accurate.  So far, it’s matched very well with the results I’ve seen from my Dexcom G4 sensor, and it’s also lined up neatly with the results I’ve seen from hospital-grade lab work (A1C draws).  Bells and whistles are nice, but accuracy and dependability reign absolutely supreme in this house.

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