Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fantasy Diabetes Device

Post 4 for Diabetes Blog Week

I will try not to get too fantastical here. (Fantasy device? Easy, a new pancreas impervious to immune system attack).

I will admit, I am pretty much living in the stone age when it comes to diabetes devices. I have a meter (actually like ten meters, but that's only because I never turn down free stuff). And I have insulin pens. But that's really as far as my diabetes supplies go. I don't even have a cable for my meter (who has a hundred bucks lying around to buy a little tiny cable?). Compared to the many hot-wired pump and CGM wearers out there, I might as well be a neanderthal. It's not that I don't want all these fancy instruments, it's just that I am comfortable where I am, at least for the moment (and I really, REALLY hate squabbling with the pharmacy and my insurance company). But, that doesn't mean I still don't dream about my fantasy device...

First, this device would definitely have to erase the need for test strips. I hate those little, tiny pieces of paper. They cost a fortune, they get everywhere, and they are impossible to handle when your blood sugar is crashing and your hands are shaking like crazy!

Second, it could definitely not involve any kind of typical sensor. I have had the pleasure of wearing a CGM a few times for a clinical trial I was in. The first time, they put it in me the day before I left for the Bahamas. With the help of some waterproof tape (wrapped around and around my torso) I was able to keep the sensor in for a grand total of four days. The second time I had to wear one, I sweated through the tape within hours of getting home (packing and moving in the summer is never fun). Again I had to resort to wrapping myself with athletic tape, but the senor still slipped out on the third day. And the last time I wore one the sensor errored-out three hours after I got home from the clinic. Those little senors just don't like my zero percent body fat and corrosive sweat glands.

Lastly, this genius little fantasy device needs to integrate the carb counting aspect of the disease. With all the recent advances in technology, I'm guessing a machine is way more accurate in predicting how many carbs are in the plate of pasta the waiter just dropped off than I am (especially if it has wifi). And wouldn't it be great if it kept track of your meals and how many units you need for each of them?

So this, after much deliberation, is my fantasy diabetes device: a tiny sensor inserted under your skin completely (think something like the microchip between your dog's shoulder blades) that continuously sends blood sugar readings to a small wireless device you can carry in your purse or on your belt. This sensor is so advanced that you never have to calibrate it or replace it (so long test strips!). And this little device has the power to calculate carb info on your meal just from a picture. And it will calculate the insulin needed for you, too. While we are at it, lets just say this little device connects wirelessly to a small device implanted in your abdomen that automatically releases insulin into your blood stream and bolusses on command. Of course this little device would never need to be changed or refilled because it makes its own insulin constantly by some awesome feat of science...

Ok, so it got a little fantastical.

My sensor hanging on by athletic tape on day 2 of  the Bahamas vacation (it made for a great tan line).

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