Last night I found myself sitting in a lecture theatre in the studenty-bit of the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh. Surrounded by about 175 other type ones (who knew Edinburgh had so many pancreatically-challenged denizens?) we were about to be introduced to Abbott’s flash glucose testing do-hicky – the Libre.
Apparently demand for the new device had been so overwhelming that the Edinburgh Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes just decided to do mass sign-ups over the course of four evenings. Being just one of those patients demanding access to shiny new gadgets like these, I duly pitched up to the first mass sign up.
After an informative presentation about the pros and cons of the Libre and some handy tips on how to get the best out of it, we were given forms to fill out that would generate prescription update letters to our respective GPs
With the boring admin out of the way, we were given a cool party pack containing our very own Libre and our first sensor! Cor! That’s a far better party bag than the usual paper napkin with a crushed bit of over-warm birthday cake.
With ill-advised haste, I rushed home and gave it a go.
Sticking the 14-day sensor into your upper arm is dead easy; as is connecting it to the reader and your phone. But then possibly the most frustrating thing in my 13 years of diabetes (well, perhaps not quite). You have to wait an hour, a whole 60 minutes while the damned thing does whatever it does, before you can play with your new toy. 60 minutes!! Agony.
Anyway, the hour slowly ticked by; after which I started scanning the sensor with my phone. And then I scanned it again. And again. And again. What fun! I can check my blood glucose (yes, interstitial, pedants) without shoving a few millimetres of cold, British steel into my fingertips. After circa. 20 million-billion-trillion-bajillion finger pricks over the last zillion years the shear novelty of testing without (admittedly fairly mild, but still annoying) pain (but pain all the same) was just so much fun.
So, I scanned again and kept scanning – watching the little diabetes-snake of results graph themselves slowly across the screen. Glorious!
I haven’t actually done anything with the data yet – there’s not enough to see any useful patterns – but all through my first day I’ve been scanning. My wife is getting bored of it already. Co-workers roll their eyes at the fiftieth demonstration of the morning. The phone battery is hovering dangerously at 5%. But still I carry on scanning.
Maybe the novelty will wear off. Maybe it won’t. While I know the Libre has it flaws and downsides, I get the feeling flash glucose monitoring is as big a step change in my care since I got the pump. Big enough to write a blog post about it!