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[IP] Glucowatch -- week 1

Received my Glucowatch last Friday, thought I would post a few random personal thoughts on my first couple of days usage.

1) To decide when you want to put it on, you need to subtract 4 hours from the time you want your first reading.  It takes 3 hours to warm up, 15 minutes to calibrate after the warmup and then 20 minutes after the calibration for the first reading.  Sometimes the first reading is "skipped" (more on skipping below) then you have to wait for the next one.   So if you want to go to sleep at 10, and you want to know you've set it up right before you go to sleep, you need to put it on no later than 6 pm.  And when you change the autosensor after 12 hours of readings, then you have to go through the whole warm up / calibration period again.  Annoying, but so much better than waking up at 2 am to do a check.  DON'T EAT OR TAKE BOLUS INSULIN during last hour of the warm up period + 15 minute calibration period or that is all but guaranteed to cause a skipped result because of your rapidly changing BG #s.
2)  My experience so far has been that the readings are much more accurate than advertised.  When I have gotten #s 2 readings in a row that looked weird, I confirmed w/ my One Touch Ultra and each time (so far:  sample size == 4) the Ultra result was within 5 points of the Glucowatch reading.  When my BG levels are rising or falling rapidly, the Glucowatch readings have been reliably 20 minutes behind the Ultra, so those readings are useless for calculating whether you need more insulin or carbs, but great for trending, and figuring out how quickly what kinds of carbs hit your BG.  Of course, YMMV.

3) The Glucowatch is *extremely* temperature sensitive.  To the point that getting out of a warm car into the cold outdoors, or moving from a heated room to an unheated room is sufficient to cause a reading to be skipped.  Likewise having your arm on top of blankets vs below (or jacket on or off).  Any substantial amount of physical activitiy seems to increase the number of skips (either due to temperature changes from skin warming up, or jostling the watch during the activity).  So, don't wear it (or expect a lot of missed results) when you are gardening, picnicking, exercising, or the like.  I recommend not wearing it on the lower forearm at night, because of the temperature issue -- upper arm seems more consistent.

4) Sticky doesn't even begin to describe the adhesive.  Someone from Minimed should look at whatever they are using for folks who have problems with infusion sets coming detached :-)  You have to pull REALLY HARD (think Band-aid times 100) to get it off, and almost no residue is left behind.  If the area you are planning on wearing the watch is particularly hairy you will want to take their advice to shave there first, or you will be extremely sorry.

5) Right now, Cygnus is only sending two weeks autosensing supplies (no matter what your prescription is for) partially because of their inventory, and partially because they have a short shelf life (their initial mfctg run is only good until August).  If you plan on wearing the Glucowatch constantly, re-order autosensors immediately.

6) The alarm is loud enough to wake the wearer up, but not anyone else (except maybe a really light sleeper), and especially not from another room.  If parents are using this for their kids, I would recommend one of those baby monitors to carry the sound from their room to yours, otherwise you won't hear it.  Default alarming levels are 240 and 100. 

I am planning on wearing the Glucowatch constantly pretty much for the next 7 weeks because of erratic BG due to being in the third trimester of pregnancy.  It is expensive -- 2 weeks supplies + watch, shipping, tax, and software was around $800 but so far I am very pleased with the results.

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