Hey! I Need That To Live…

Diabetics tend to build up a collection of tools they need to help manage their diabetes. Around the house I have several BG meters (some of which have probably only been used once) as well as various methods of delivering insulin. What follows is a description of the tools I currently use, and would love to hear some suggestions about better products which others use.

I am lucky enough to have an NHS funded insulin pump. Relatively rare in the UK, insulin pumps are the closest thing we have to actually simulating what a normal pancreas does. Currently I use a Medtronic Paradigm Veo.

Medtronic Paradim Veo

Medtronic Paradim Veo

Yes, I do have a purple pump. My original one was black, but I dropped it a few too many times and eventually the case started to crack and the battery connection died ( I’m surprised it didn’t give up sooner).

As someone who is often worried about BG levels, I am never very far from my BG meter. When I was diagnosed I was given a Bayer Asencia Contour and I’ve pretty much stuck to this brand since – I upgraded to a Bayer Contour Link as it communicates directly with my pump, saving time with BG entry.

Bayer Contour Link

Bayer Contour Link

I’m definitely looking forward to being upgrade again when the new version (Bayer Next Link) is released in the UK. For now I’ll just have to look longingly at the US product page.

Due to my fear of lows, I test my BG rather a lot. Over the past 4 years, I’ve tried just about every different finger-pricker-thingy that I can get my hands on in an attempt to find the one that hurt least when making up to 16 new holes in my fingers each day. Until recently, the Bayer Microlet was the winner – until I got a free Freestyle Insulinx meter through the post. I was starting to struggle tog get blood out of my fingers using with Bayer lancet, but the Freestyle one seems to get more blood out with almost no noticeable needle impact at all – in fact I’ve had a couple of finger pricks which didn’t hurt at all which I struggled to stop bleeding. My fingers definitely appreciate the upgrade.

Lancets

Freestyle (left) and Bayer microlet (right)

The last bit of technology I have is a Constant Glucose Monitor (CGM) from Medtronic. Sadly, these are virtually impossible to obtain on the NHS, so I’ve had to take the path of self-funding to be able to obtain one. It consists of a small sensor that sits just under the skin and transmits a blood sugar reading to my pump every 5 minutes. While not entirely accurate, it is a valuable tool to pick up trends in BGs, as well as catching low and high blood sugars before they occur. This currently costs around £200 for the transmitter, and £55 per sensor, which lasts for 6 days.

Hopefully I’ll manage to get NHS funding for the CGM eventually, until then I’m going to be paying for it out of pocket because I find it so useful.

Which devices do others use? Why did you choose them?

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