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[IP] Meeting the Meter Reps(long)

Greetings all:
    Melissa and I attended her CDE's pump support group last night, where the 
topic of the evening was "dueling meters"! The Lifescan rep spoke first 
giving a very knowledgeable & informative explanation of the differences 
among all the various meters & of course touting the Fast Take as their 
"streamlined/no bells & whistles/ for the person on the go" product. Since 
several audience participants had commented on feeling uncomfortable with the 
fluctuating readings they'd seen on the Fast Take, he spent some time 
addressing that - attributing it most often to "user error" in technique, 
handling, etc. He also explained that FDA standards allow a 20% variation on 
either side of the true bg reading - so that even if you KNEW unequivocally 
that your lab-tested bg was 200, a meter reading of between 160-240 would be 
within the acceptable FDA parameters!! News to me! He also plugged the Fast 
Take into his laptop & within a matter of seconds had all kinds of fancy 
graphs ( 10 different types I believe) displayed on the screen...Melissa also 
commented that the case appeared to have been redesigned from what she'd 
originally seen...
    The second rep was from Accu-Check and he showed us a meter that I wasn't 
aware of - the Accucheck Simplicity which is their counterpart to the 
Precision and Fast Take, as far as size & speed. He also spoke about changes 
in their download software, which is available for $79 as opposed to the $130 
for the Precision software ( forget what Lifescan's was...) Also clarified 
that their new "comfort curve" strips will work in any of the existing 
meters, hence eliminating the need for that huge "hanging" drop of blood...He 
passed around an Accucheck Advantage meter that was just redesigned ( nice 
shade of navy blue trim) that's being offered FREE from Eckerd drugs if you 
purchase strips there (DUH - almost no one in the audience did that!) The 
nice feature of it is that it takes 2 AAA batteries instead of those big 
round flat batteries we used to have to seek out for the old Accucheck.
    The 3rd rep was from Medisense & his work was already done for him, since 
the majority of the 30 or so in attendance with diabetes were already using 
the Precision QID. He did say that you can add additional blood up to 30 
seconds after the initial application if the meter doesn't start counting 
down immediately & that you can bring the strip TO your finger instead of 
vice-versa, neither of which Melissa seemed to have known before....And he 
also mentioned the new Medisense Precision meter coming out early next year 
which will include the capacity to check for ketones through the blood with a 
separate strip, eliminating the need for checking via urine. And he clarified 
that you CAN'T replace the batteries in the QID, but rather when it "dies", 
the company will send you a new one . They're designed to last "4 years or 
4000 tests"...now I know I'm "mathematically challenged" but I think that 
comes out to ONLY 3 tests per day, so Melissa's meter should last less than 2 
yrs at the rate she checks!!..He also said you get a low battery warning 
(ostensibly) about 2 wks before it completely dies, but again that would 
depend on frquency of usage, so be aware!!!
    As always, another excellent, informative meeting - which explains why 
they're always so well attended, and why some of the people we first met at 
the original session in June 1997 are still there. The summer session dealt 
with the effects of exercise & the guest speaker was a columnist from the 
Phila. Inquirer who specializes in exercise topics; and the next meeting will 
feature a social worker (member of the group) who will deal with the 
emotional aspects of coping with diabetes. Family members are welcome to 
attend, but actually last night there were already several "pump parents" 
(like me) in attendance with their kids and some "pump spouses" too....
      Melissa's former middle school science teacher(who has had diabetes for 
41 years (since infancy) and has been on a pump for 3 yrs) made a GREAT 
suggestion to all 3 reps: Have their R&D people work on a way to "illuminate" 
the target area on the strips for applying the blood in the middle of the 
night or in a movie theater....The fact that the Complete is back-lit doesn't 
really help if you can't see the strip! Everyone agreed it would be a 
terrific improvement!
   I'm sure there was a lot more worth reporting, but that's all this aging 
brain can recall....

Regards, Renee (pump-mom to 16 yr old Melissa
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