Archive for 2013

Dexcom G4 Dead Transmitter

My Dexcom G4 transmitter died today, just one week short of a year. I still have one sensor left, so that’s $100 down the drain in itself.

g4_transHappy I got this long out of the transmitter. It’s been the most awesome thing I’ve ever had to manage diabetes!

Living alone for the last year, it’s been a life saver for me in so many ways. I’m pretty sad having to go back to sticking my fingers, and worrying at night about lows. There are now diabetes management changes I’ll have to make to ensure that I’m safe at night. And lots of re-thinking and obsessive attention to management during the day.

My poor fingers will again be subjected to 8-10+ tests a day, or more if there’s a problem. I can’t just have an afternoon at a shopping mall without testing lots. More planning has to go into extra activity, food… everything!

I’m going to miss being able to glance at the CGM blood glucose number on my Animas Vibe and see I’m either ok to keep walking or I have to grab some glucose. I already miss it since this morning!

It’ll be back to very strict, very low-carb because that’s what works best for me. No food after a certain time at night, no matter how hungry I am, so my blood glucose is stable at least 2 hours before bed. Gosh, I’ve almost forgotten how I used to do things a year ago! I was pretty strict, yet still didn’t have as good an A1C as I’ve had for the last year. What a huge change this is going to be! Going backwards, has zero appeal.

I’m pretty much hypo unaware. That can get dangerous! It’s also worse in lots of ways the longer you’re low. The only way around that is to run higher blood glucose and to test often. I’ll have to do that permanently because, as advised, running higher for only a few days brings back the hypo-aware state only for a few more days. Kind of pointless. Running higher is both a long term risk for complications and a short term risk for feeling sluggish and awful. I get that sometimes even at the high end of normal. So a normal range is a bit more narrow for me. I’m sometimes sensitive to higher numbers after all these years.

It’ll be a while before I can afford to buy another transmitter, unless I get one from the USA. Cost there is more reasonable, especially if you know who to buy from. I’ll still have to save my pennies. Struggling financially is a way of life for me at the moment.

Why oh why do we have to pay out of pocket for CGMs in Australia? Medicare where are you? NDSS where are you? Private health insurance, which I pay a fortune for, where are YOU?

Don’t you all get it that a CGM can help keep people alive, can save calling an ambulance for a severe low (and who’s going to call for me if I live alone?), and a CGM, when used properly, can stave off long-term complications that you’ll be paying for anyway. The logic of all these organisations not wanting to fund CGMs, even partially, completely evades me!

Health and peace of mind, in this case, is most definitely for those who can afford it. So is long term health. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that my diabetes management was greatly improved and beautifully fine-tuned by having the Dexcom G4 Platinum for the last year.

Goodbye Dex. You’ve given me a fantastic year of nearly anxiety-free living with Type 1.

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Gluten Free Chewing Gum – Australia

Next month, in November, it’s one year since I went gluten-free. Before that, I always had a pack of chewing gum in my handbag. The other day I realised that I had to do some research. I haven’t had gum in nearly a year!

Hopefully, this will be of some assistance. Wrigley’s, one of the more popular chewing gum makers, state on their website, that the following gums available in Australia are gluten free (and sugar free):

  • –  EXTRA® – Peppermint, Spearmint, Sweetmint, Strawberry
  • –  EXTRA® Professional – Strongmint, Spearmint, White and Lemon Lime
  • –  Extra® ActiveTM- Berry, Peppermint, Spearmint, Watermelon
  • –  ECLIPSE® Ice – Peppermint, Spearmint
  • –  ECLIPSE® Mints – Peppermint, Spearmint, Cool Breeze, Intense, Berry
  • –  5® – Cobalt (peppermint), Electro (spearmint), Tempest (watermelon), Vortex (green apple) and Cirrus (blueberry)
  • –  P.K® – Peppermint, Blue
  • –  Juicyfruit®
  • –  Hubba Bubba® – Grape, Strawberry, Cola

If you are in the USA, a different and more comprehensive list can be found here:

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Medical IDs

Do you have diabetes and wear a medical ID?

Why Wear a Medical ID?

Every person with diabetes – at the very minimum, those on insulin or other diabetes medications – could be in dire straights if something unforeseen happens, while not wearing a medical ID. It’s an insurance of sorts. We all buy insurance, never thinking that something bad will happen. This is no different. It’s a just-in-case measure that might well save your life.

I’ve almost always worn a medical ID. Apart from diabetes and the fragile 24/7 management that no stranger can do as well as I do, I’d prefer someone get in touch with my endo and CDE before they decide on any insulin doses. I’d also want someone to know that my insulin pump copes with my basal very well, but to reduce it a bit if I’m stuck motionless.

I have a laundry list of allergies, other medical conditions, and in particular a horrible intolerance to a very common drug used in anaesthesia. I need to know that if I can’t speak for myself, something else will. All of that and more just won’t fit on a little ID tag.

Medical ID Options

Sometimes I’ve bought generic medical IDs and had them engraved. Sometimes I’ve just bought the ID part and made my own jewellery to go with it. a few years ago, bought a beautiful, delicate silver bracelet from Etsy, which surprisingly lasted several years, considering it was so delicate. My IDs have been varied and in many different styles, but they could never hold enough information.

While there are some incredibly cute IDs out there, I don’t particularly want an ID to look like a pretty piece of jewellery that no one will think to look at. On the other hand I don’t want anything engraved on my forehead, so to speak.

Most of the 24 hour call IDs are inappropriately expensive!

The Brand I Chose

Along comes RoadID, a very clever and relatively inexpensive concept! I’d read about it a while ago and decided it would be my next medical ID.

While partially targeted at anyone who’s on the road – cyclers, runners etc, it’s also marketed as a medical ID.

RoadID ships worldwide – at a very reasonable cost. Apart from the clever designs and concept, the inexpensive shipping and local first responder (ambulance, police etc) access phone number (in Australia) is definitely icing.

Original or Interactive

The ID part that is engraved is just the beginning. There are two kinds if RoadIDs – “Original” and “Interactive”.

You can purchase an ID that just has a few lines of your information on it (Original), or you can buy one where more detailed medical information is held on the website (Interactive).

Each Interactive ID has a serial number and pin on the back. Cleverly, the serial and pin are not on the front – someone has to turn it over to get these numbers. As long as you’re wearing it, no random person can get the info as long as you’re conscious! If you’re unconscious, you clearly need help immediately. Doesn’t matter who gets the information, if they can’t help!

Any first responder (police, ambulance etc) can either log into the RoadID website or call a local number. They then have access to your medical record and emergency contacts,  your own identifying information and more. For example, my information has a note that I have a dog at home and who to call to take care of the dog if I can’t.

With the interactive ID, you create as much or as little info as you want on the website, and update it anytime. The cost of the data storage – US$9.99 per year. Way more than reasonable!

norm_interactiveHere’s a photo of the difference between the regular RoadID and the interactive one. (A better one is on the website.)

Emergency personnel will need the serial number and pin of the RoadID before any information is available. I don’t know any first responder these days who doesn’t have either a mobile phone, internet access or access to someone else at the base who could call!

It could save very valuable time, and averts the risk of inappropriate treatment.

The Original Concept

From the RoadID website:

Road ID was created on the concept that active people should wear ID as part of their gear when participating in outdoor activities. It was started by a couple of guys who began to wonder “why in the heck don’t we have ID on us when we go out for a run or a ride?” We looked at our dogs, they had ID. But, if we had an unexpected accident, while running or cycling, we would be in bad shape – nobody would know who we were or who to contact. That freaked us out.

What I Bought

roadid_slimI bought a Slim Wrist ID in black with a spare pink band. I also bought the medical alert badge (a red caduceus) that goes to one side of the tag.

I don’t like anything tight on my wrist, so I opted for the large size, and wasn’t disappointed. It’s not going to fall off. It’s incredibly comfortable, and I barely notice I’m wearing it. So while I don’t have a huge wrist, the large is perfect. Do take measurements if you order one, and decide whether you want a tight bracelet or a loose one. Some are adjustable, some not.

The ID Tag and the small medical alert badge can easily be switched to another wristband of the same type. I’m sorry now I didn’t order more colours!

There are several different designs – something to suit everyone, even kids. There’s even one for the ankle! There’s also a Free RoadID app, which I’ve downloaded for my iPhone.

If you’re looking for something a little different with a very effective concept, head on over to RoadId.

Read and watch the RoadID story.

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Animas Insulin Pump

I've had an Animas Insulin Pump since June 2009. I absolutely love my pump and I love the wonderful people at Animas (AMSL Australia).

If you are even remotely thinking of getting an insulin pump, please feel free to contact me and ask me why I love mine and what a huge difference it's made to my life.

There are also lots of posts here to give you similar information.