Saturday, December 01, 2007

A short Guardian review

I've had a couple of requests for a review on my experience with the Guardian, so I thought I'd give you a quick run down.
Positives:
* This must go first because it seems most important. My A1c dropped from 7.4 to 6.8 in the month I wore the unit. I was shocked. This is my lowest Aic in my lifetime, except maybe the time when I wasn't diabetic :-). I think the increased awareness of postprandials was a large part of the drop.
* I like the size and weight of the receiver. It wasn't too annoying to carry it and my pump. I do think the weight and possibly the size would change with a pump and CGMS in one.
*The 3,6 and 12 hour graphs. The 24 hour was too small to be of any use. The others were helpful for seeing trends for that day.
* The sensor was not as big and bulky as I thought it would be. It did not bother me 85% of the time.
*The fact that the software was online, so I was not tied to one computer all the time.
*For the most part, I was happy with the receiving range. It did seem to vary and I'm not sure why. I found most of the time I could set the receiver on my bed and walk around my dorm room with no problems.

Negatives:
* I've written several times before about the accuracy issues I had before. I won't go into too much details again, especially since I think there might have been extenuating circumstances (see below). The highlights include missing almost all lows (it caught 2 in a month. I assure you I had more than 2 lows that month), not seeing highs as high as they actually were and random times where it was 150 points or more off.
* I was not happy with the support I received from Minimed. In several cases they refused to answer my questions. Not the impression you want to leave on a potential customer.
* I wish it would show more than just the current day without having to download it to a computer.
*Speaking of downloading- they seriously need a new cable! I could not use my laptop to upload data because it did not have a serial port. Quick annoying.
*Finding sites for the senor and my pump sites did start to get a little tricky. The sensor sites healed slower than a usual pump site. I could not really use the pump and the CGMS on the same side, so it did not take long to run out of real estate. I was not brave enough to try the sensors on areas of my body other than my abdomen.
* The sensors just shut off at the end of the 72 hour period with no warning what so ever. I found this annoying. I have enough things to remember thank you very much.
*There were times the sensor did bother me. The biggest of these were during exercise. There is nothing holding the transmitter portion to the body. When I exercised and when I showered it seemed to flop around a lot.

Those were the things that stick out in my mind. That being said, I am going on another trial in a few weeks. I met with the nurse educator who runs the program at my endo's office when I returned the unit and we sat down and talked. She was upset that I did not get the support I needed from Minimed, and wanted to try and correct the situation. She contacted the rep for the area, and he wanted the days and I times I called and said he was going to look into it. He also wanted me to try it again if I was willing. This time I have his number to call with problems, so hopefully I can problem solve with him and have a truly good experience. I'll keep you updated!

3 comments:

felixk said...

Hi Jen,

two or three little things:

- Sensor life can be extended beyond three days by reinitialising the sensor.

- I overtape the transmitter with a large Tegaderm or (my preference) a chunk of Opsite Flexifix (smae type of dressing, comes on rolls 4" wide).

- Cable: You need a $10 USB-to-serial adapter from your local computer shop.

Cheers,
Felix.

Jen said...

Felix,
I do extend the sensor life, but there is a gap in coverage then. I would like to be able to choose when that gap is.
I might look into getting an adapter for my next trial, if it doesn't come with the unit this time.

felixk said...

'llo again, Jen --

Gap in coverage? With the MM722 (which I use, I don't have a Guardian), the gap is inexistent for "soft" restarts. For a "hard" restart (when, after seven days, the sensor must be unplugged from the transmitter and reconnected), I agree that the 2-hour gap is an annoyance.

Re USB-to-serial: I have a drawer full of the things. If you have a "safe" address that you are comfortable handing out, I's be happy to mail you one; drop me a line at felixk --at-- microsoft -- dot-- com.

Cheers,
Felix.