Sunday, November 29, 2015

Melting pot of thoughts

It is crazy how quickly time flies. I keep meaning to write a post (or three) and yet time always escapes me. Now that is is the holiday season it would be silly of me to promise a lot more posts to share what all I have to share besides the topic of this post so instead, this will be a melting pot of everything I've meant to share and what I still have to share. Grab a cold one and settle in to read this melting pot. 

Topic One: 

I started a new job in September. I've remained in public relations. As with most of my previous jobs, I was thrown into the fire on day one. Starting in September and having to pull off a huge benefit (the first time thad been thrown) in November causes some stress. The first six weeks or so were tough as I was still navigating the waters and horror stories were floating around about my supervisor. And I witness things which gave those stories credibility. They had hired a second PR person as well who started a week after me. This one was fresh out of college. This one lasted until the Wednesday before the event. The second PR person had taken some time off for being sick and while they were gone is when my supervisor and I settled in and established a great working relationship. Honestly, my supervisor no longer scares me, we joke around and we get along pretty well these days. Yay for that. If you were wondering, we managed to pull off an amazing benefit and are already starting to plan a 2016 benefit. I'm excited about being able to work on it from the starting point to really showcase what I'm capable of doing to help the benefit be even more amazing. Another great thing about the new position is it is in the healthcare industry. Due to my diabetes, I'm definitely invested in healthcare and looking well down the road it is a great industry to put some roots in. 

Topic Two: 

My quarterly checkup with my endocrinologist came early because we needed to make a plan for the family's upcoming Caribbean vacation. Again, I've decided to go off my pump and CGM and return to shots. With MDIs I don't have as tight control but I don't have to deal with my pump during customs and also I can spend as much time as I want in the pool/ocean. One week without such tight control won't kill me. Just calls for lots more testing. And like last year, you know I'll be anxious to return home and get hooked back up to the pump and CGM with a day left of vacation. 

There were also unexpected issues at my visit. As usual, I handed over my pump so they could upload the info from it. Nothing uploaded. My endo asked if I hadn't been using my pump. Nope, I promise, I had been using my pump. She looked at all the settings and everything seemed to be fine. She wondered if maybe it had to do with when I last changed my battery. I couldn't remember when I had last changed my battery but it had been several weeks. Before making changes (I believe CGM numbers from earlier weeks uploaded), she decided to look at the numbers on my meter. Looking at the meter numbers, she decided to make no changes and the changes we would have made could have been bad. She is very concerned with the consistency of my CGM numbers being so off from my meter. Of course, this past week they've been pretty spot on. She is now wanting me to consider switching to the Dexcom CGM. 

That thought alone is freaking me out. I'm loyal to Medtronic. I feel very attached to the Medtronic people I know (they are pretty awesome). I love how the Enlite communicates with the pump. A Dexcom would require extra work (No, I'm not lazy but seriously, there is already so much which has to be done to stay alive if there is something which removes a step or two, yes please). I've thought about all of this over the past few weeks. I think in January after the holidays I'll contact my endo about doing a test run with the Dexcom just as I did with the Enlite. However, I will also plan to wear my Enlite during the same time. Then we can truly compare. What happens after that, I have no idea. 

Topic Three: 

My football team completely stunk this season. Wait. Both of my teams have completely stunk -- the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Chicago Bears. It has been painful all season. But hey, we pulled an upset over Michigan State and we got one win over the Green Bay Packers. Have to focus on the positives here, as limited as they may be. 

Topic Four: 

It is the holiday season. This year it will be different. I have barely earned any time off and what I have earned will be used for our Caribbean vacation (thankfully I negotiated about that before starting). What all this means is I do not get to go home for Christmas. I'm trying to not think about it because if I do, I reach a point of where I want to cry. Crying is not good. My parents have agreed to come to me for Christmas but I still won't get to see the extended family I grew up with in our hometown, I won't get to see my childhood home decked out to celebrate (oh how Mom loves to decorate for the holidays), I won't get to enjoy a real live tree and the usual Christmas day traditions won't quite take place. 

Being an adult is highly overrated. However, I did purchase a fake tree (I am pretty sure my heart broke a little with the purchase as I grew up with real trees). So my home is slightly decorated. I'm frantically shopping for gifts as most will have to be shipped to other places. I'm going to make the most of this but I'm still really sad. I know it is silly to be sad over all this but yet it isn't silly. It also means I won't be back in my hometown until Christmas 2017 which just seems wrong. 

Topic Five

I've rambled quite a bit so this is the last item. Rocky turned 8 on November 12. He is officially a senior canine. Looking at him and watching him run around like crazy, I can barely believe it. He still acts like a puppy. During Nebraska's bye week, I took him for his senior wellness exam. He passed with flying colors. It was adorable when they checked his blood pressure by putting a little cuff on his tail. The vet asked if Rocky is ever not happy. Nope. He has two modes -- happy and sleeping. I'm thankful he is healthy. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Connecting all electronics -- the diabetes edition

Earlier this year, Medtronic introduced the MiniMed Connect. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided to pre-order it. Because why not? I could always return it for a refund, right? 

The price of $199 seems pretty high to try it out but sometimes you have to take a risk. The Connect arrived recently. It has been about a month and a half (I originally wrote this after having it for a few weeks but am just now getting around to posting it).  

The Connect is promoted as a way for our (those of us with  diabetes) team, i.e. parents, doctors, etc, to keep better tabs on our sugars with us. The angle they've promoted is for parents to be able to access the data of their children while the kids are at school or at a sleep over. This is brilliant. I'm sure it would have eased my parents' minds when I was a kid. So, a strong selling point. But for me? Not so much. I'm an adult. I live alone. I'm not in a committed relationship. Yes, I have parents and siblings but shouldn't at this age I be breaking away from them a little and becoming more independent? The selling point of others having access to my data didn't work on me. Also the theory of big brother and everyone being all up in my business does not appeal to me. I love my privacy (despite blogging all about my life). 

What caused me to finally break down and order the Connect? The fact it automatically uploads the data to CareLink, which is something I basically never did. Not intentionally, I just never thought about it. So yay for that! 

I also like how I can just open the app on my phone to check how my sugars are doing or how much insulin is left in my pump or the life of my CGM or battery. All good stuff. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts and more often than not there is not a convenient spot to hook my pump to. So I hook it on my undergarments and off I go. Can we just say it is awkward having to hike up a dress or skirt at your desk when you want to see what number the CGM has because you either a) want to nibble on something or b) aren't feeling the best and wondering if your sugars are going high or low? Also, way easier to read the screen on my phone in the middle of the night than fumbling around to find the pump. 

Overall, I like it. I forget about the app though so I know I'm not utilizing it nearly enough. Is it worth the $199? For me, probably not but I wont' be returning it because a) it is too late and b) I have hopes for improvements of it as I'm sure they will improve aspects of it, particularly with the app. 

Here are things I wish Medtronic would add to the Connect (or really, to the App) to make it more enticing to all people to use:
  • I want to see more than the past 24 hours. Yes, I could log into the CareLink app but it never accepts my user info and it is annoying when you have to log into several apps. Also, being able to look at more than a day could help me become more proactive in managing my diabetes and spotting trends. I don't log into CareLink on the computer and take hard looks at my uploaded data. It would be nice to look at several days of data as I test my blood sugar and think "Hmm...my blood sugars seem to be running high in the morning. Has this been a recent trend""; 
  • I want to be able to add notes. Yes there are apps you can do this in but they don't communicate with the MiniMed Connect app. Plus, it is best to simplify things and not have to open up several apps. So to put the notes in a different app you have to manually enter your blood sugars. Anything and everything impacts my blood sugars. When reviewing numbers, it would be beneficial to see notes on if something was potentially impacting it. That info could lead to a much better understanding. I would love to put in notes such as:
    • Starting a new job so my routine is changing;
    • High stress because my football team is stinking royally;
    • Bad infusion site; and
    • Guessed wrong on the carb count when eating out.
It is things like those which would make the device more appealing to me as a party of one. Overall, it is a great device and I see lots of benefits to it but for me, a single person on their own, it doesn't add much to the table besides being yet another device to lug around. I need to get better at accessing the data on my phone. I still out of habit pull out my actual pump to look at the CGM info and to see how many units of insulin are in the pump.