Have you ever gone somewhere or purchased something to later realize that you weren’t as prepared for the purchase as you should’ve been? Or realized that there was something else out there that would’ve been better? What if you purchased something and years later realized that you weren’t using it properly or to its full potential? While this may be ok for a child’s toy or a simple electronic, it probably won’t fly with an insulin pump or other diabetes tech.
In 2011 there was a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a religious leader, where he relayed a story about a man who had always longed to go on a cruise to the Mediterranean Sea. He saved up money for years until he had enough to go on this dream cruise. Because of his financial situation, he brought an extra suitcase on the cruise with cans of food and boxes of crackers. While on the cruise he would watch others go to fancy dinners and enjoy the many events on and off the ship. On the last day of the cruise, he was asked which dinner he would like to attend, and it was then that he learned that almost everything he had passed on was actually included in the price of the ticket. He realized too late that he’d missed out on almost everything he so longed to participate in.
While not as extreme, I too often have patients who are living far below the privileges and opportunities provided by the diabetes tech available, and often the tech they already have and are using.
Tips before you upgrade your Diabetes tech:
Do your research before you purchase. There are several products currently on the market, and while one product may be good for one person, it may not be right for another. If you don’t know where to start, here’s some great information:
For insulin pumps: https://integrateddiabetes.com/updated-insulin-pump-comparisons-and-reviews/
For Hybrid Closed Loop Systems: https://integrateddiabetes.com/what-is-a-hybrid-closed-loop-system/hybrid-closed-loop-comparisons-options/
For Continuous Glucose Monitors: https://integrateddiabetes.com/continuous-glucose-monitor-comparisons-and-reviews/
Find out what your insurance will cover. Unfortunately, some insurances are now putting restrictions on what they’ll cover for pumps and CGMs. Knowing what they will cover can potentially save you megabucks in the long run
Find out your monthly cost and any programs to help you save. When making a big move, like going from multiple daily injections to an insulin pump, the increase in price can sometimes be big. Knowing what, and if, there will be a change can help you make big decisions and plan for the future.
Start learning about your product before your official training. Once you’ve made the choice and ordered your tech, it’s helpful to start learning about how it works and what you’ll need to do to use it. Most companies have resources online and booklets they send with their tech, that can help make the transition much easier.
Talk to others about tips and tricks. While there’s a lot of bad information on the internet, and I always warn people to be careful about what they hear, there’s still a lot to be said about having a community to lend support and provide helpful tips. Whether it be a Facebook group, or a local friend, asking questions and getting advice can be a great resource.
Continue learning and optimizing the tech you have. Once you’re up and running on a new device, it’s important to continue learning about it and optimizing its features. While a lot of the information provided by the tech companies may be basic, talking to a diabetes educator and learning about more advanced features can help you optimize what you have. Here at Integrated Diabetes, that’s what we specialize in, and would be happy to help!
Be aware of what’s coming out and decide if it’s worth upgrading. There are always new things coming out and better ways to use the tech we have. I find it helpful to stay up to date and made educated decisions as to when you should upgrade and to what. It’s also important to know about programs offered, such as $0 upgrades, or reduced prices for trading in old tech.
Wherever you are on your diabetes journey, knowing how to use the diabetes tech available to you can make a big difference in your overall success with blood sugar control.
Annette Valle is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator who also serves as an English/Spanish medical language interpreter. She has lived with T1D since age 13. Annette has personal experience and is certified to train on all models of insulin pumps, CGMs and hybrid closed loop systems.