The pancreatically challenged have a virtual army of people right around the world looking at ways to improve our health, our lives and ultimately make sure that the thousands of pounds a year required to keep us alive goes into their pockets rather than their competitors.
In order to get their grubby little mitts on my hard earned taxes, these people are squirrelled away in meeting rooms and labs, brainstorming, researching and testing to create what they hope will be the next killer app when it comes to diabetes. They’ve done some marvellous work over the years which has really helped me to be a better pancreas but I fear I might be a little ungrateful sometimes for all their efforts.
There are many diabetes related things I’m not willing to apologise for but when I think of all the long hours and late nights that must have gone into developing some of the diabetes tech features that I blithely brush to one side, I do occasionally feel a little twinge of guilt. Here are a few of them…
Blood glucose meter makers. Bless your little cotton socks, you try so hard. You’re in a competitive marketplace where the slightest new gizmo might make you stand out from the crowd. And I can see it now, that moment when a slightly sweaty geek in product development came to the big bosses and said, “I know what will change the world, we’ll make it so that people can download their meter results onto computer. Then they can analyse them to their heart’s content.“ And the big bosses said yes, great idea, go for it. And I would have said the same. Sadly, I just seem to find too many other things to do with my life and the layer of dust on the download cable just gets thicker by the day. Thank you for your excellent idea and all your hard work in making it happen, sadly, I just don’t really get round to using it. Sorry.
CGM creators. I know you claim I’ll get better accuracy if I use your predictive alarms to tell me I’m going to go hypo soon rather than waiting for the alarm to go off to tell me I’m about to hit the floor. But really, I can only cope with so many vibrations per day, and your predictive alarms send me over the edge. It seems I’m doomed not to get the best out of your tech. Sorry.
Lancet labourers. With my dubious “change the lancet on bank holidays” approach to life, I fear I’m not really taking advantage of your super smooth needles that have been filed down with a unicorn’s tail and coated with gnat’s eyelashes to ensure a silky smooth entry into my skin. Plus, I don’t think you’re ever going to get rich from me. Sorry.
Pump producers. That must have been a long session when you all sat down with coffee and donuts and tried to work out the crucial features for an insulin pump. You did a fabulous job, I like my pump a lot. But, I’m afraid your alarm functions will always remain on the virtual shelf. My pump squawks enough in one day, the thought of asking it to irritate me if I haven’t bolused by a certain time or done a blood test for several hours is frankly not an appetising one. It’d be like having my own diabetic wife sitting on my belt, nagging periodically throughout the day. Really, that’s not for me. Sorry.
Glucose tablet generators. I can imagine the meeting now. We’ve seen a gap in the market – diabetics at risk of falling over hypo need easy to carry, super fast acting hypo treatment that is unpleasant enough no one would be tempted to scoff it as a naughty treat. Solution – powdery, orange flavoured rectangles in handy pocket sized packs. Which pancreatically challenged type wouldn’t be delighted with this. I fear too much of a good thing as a child has left me with an aversion to what I know is a very sensible hypo treatment. I shun your specially designed, super effective product in favour of Fruit Pastilles. Sorry.
But don’t be disheartened all those people out there producing products for paralysed pancreases. I like your work. Don’t take it personally. My washing machine – which we know I understand more than my own diabetes – has 16 programmes on it but I only ever use 3. My mobile phone is so clever it can practically live a life of its own yet I only ask it to do the basics. And my microwave has numerous settings that are cast aside in favour of my preferred method of “nuke it as quick as you can”. So, apologies for casually dismissing some of your best work, don’t take it personally.