Friday, February 09, 2007

A Practical Wish List For Diabetics

You know, living with diabetes can, I suppose, be a pain at times. Literally. Every one of us with the disease would love to wake some morning, open the morning paper (okay, well, I'm dating myself on the morning news website) and find the headline that reads:


So far, it hasn't happened.

But I was thinking about all the little things that could make life easier for the diabetic. Things that are seemingly incidental. They aren't major advancements in diabetic care. So here are just a few things I wish were improved.

1. Infusion sets

I'm a pumper, using the QuickSets from Minimed. A couple years ago, Minimed tried to improve upon the QuickSet. I actually liked the improvements...but there were tape issues, and ultimately Minimed went back to the old standby. But one thing that is rather irritating is that you have to change the things so frequently.

So, I'd like to see an infusion set that could safely be worn for, say, seven days or more before the need to change it. Not a huge deal. Just a few more days before I have to jab myself again. (Inserting that infusion set still hurts about 50% of the time for me.) Of course, a side-benefit to the fewer changes is lower costs. Changing out the infusion today means about a box of ten every month. That same box could last 2 1/2 months otherwise.

2. Cheaper blood testing strips

Nevermind about the real-time BGL monitoring. I would be willing to bet that people test infrequently more due to the cost of strips than out of fear of another poke to the finger. Instead of improving those meters, giving us features we really don't care about any longer now that we have the 5-second test, figure out a way to lower the cost of the strips. Most recently, I paid about $42 for a box of 50. That's close to a dollar per strip.

I know why they are expensive. But honestly, if that same box of 50 cost $10, I would test about 4x as much. Last I checked, four times $10 is $ we're stilling close to the same amount. Plus, for those who are struggling financially, it would mean far more affordable care.

3. Insulin that doesn't go bad in the heat

Now that we have insulin analogs that work in 10-15 minutes, lets start focusing on more practical improvements. Like, how about the ability to keep a spare bottle of insulin in the car or in my drawer at work without fear of it going bad? That would be a real advancement in my book. (Actually, this same desire applies to medications in general, even non-diabetic related ones such as the Epi-pen. Do you know how many of my son's Epi-pens we have ruined by leaving them out in the hot or freezing car?)

4. The meter-built-into-a-watch

I'm not talking about anything like that Gluco-Watch thingy from a few years ago. I'm talking about shrinking down that One Touch Ultra meter into the size of a wristwatch. Include in the band a place to keep around enough strips to last the day, and maybe even a tiny built-in poker. I can still place the strip in the slot and poke and apply the sample and all. Just give me a package I can have with me at all times easily without needing to carry around a purse (which looks very strange on a man's shoulder, as you can imagine).

Your turn. What are some of the simpler, smaller things you'd like to see. Not things that would take a huge advancement. Just some practical ingenuity.


Val said...

Hi Ryan - here's my thoughts:
1. Some sort of test kit that takes a unit of insulin and tells you whether it is still active or dead. (Come on, there has to be a better way to tell than injecting it and waiting to see what happens).
2. a finger pricker with a built in flashlight for those midnight tests.
3. a pop-up test strip dispenser so you dont dump the vial out on the bed during said midnight tests.

MileMasterSarah said...

I need a glucometer that has a light that illuminates not only the screen but some of the area around the glucometer as well, for midnight testings! It would also be helpful if the light had it's own button, so I don't screw up the whole test pushing myriads of buttons hoping to get the correct combination for a light to appear.

Megan said...

The flash is great for midnight tests.

I want a better case for the Cozmo pump, and a lot of other things.

A closed loop pump would be nice, or even just one that gave micro-doses of glucagon so I could save myself from lows without eating.

How about a "smart" food scale that could add up the carb content of your meal as you added things on from a food database?

Scott K. Johnson said...

I'm with Megan - I want something that can analyze the food I'm wanting to eat and give me an accurate carb count.

Or how about some way to tell my how many carbs or insulin or BG equivalent is in my gut still digesting, and how long until they are done digesting...

The watch idea sounds pretty cool...

Jonah said...

Yeah to number two!
I want some way to know if the heat has affected my insulin.