I was given an Aviva Accu-chek Expert handset and have been using it for a little over 4 months now. I wrote a review a month in to the experience with a few reservations, but as time has gone on and settings have been tweaked and refined I've come to love it. It doesn't work perfectly and the bolus advice it provides is not faultless, but when life is relatively steady (and my basal is behaving itself) it has given me whole weeks of astonishingly good BG levels.
Take yesterday as an example: I'd been a bit on the low side the night before, going to bed at 4.1mmol/L (74 for US readers), so I tested at 2.30am to see if my little carb top-up had worked and was pleasantly surprised to read 5.9 (106). I was even happier reading the same 5.9 at breakfast. Left my usual delay between bolus and eating, had some toast and went to the gym. The Expert allows me to adjust breakfast bolus on gym days with a 'health' option, a percentage reduction for 'exercise 1', I've set -25% for the gym and -10% for more general pottering as 'exercise 2'. By lunchtime I was 4.2 (75). Not bad. Now because that's a bit 'near the edge' the Expert automatically deducts a proportion of lunch bolus to attempt to get me to the mid-point of my desired range (4-8mmol/L or 72-144). My pre-dinner test was 6.5 (117). Result! I like to keep an eye on post-meal spikes most days, and tested an hour after eating in the evening to find 6.2 (112). The meal was pretty low GI so I figured it still had a fair amount of carbs to release. Additionally we were meeting some friends for a couple of pints while the kids were out at a club, any rise from the beer ought to be handled by the potential over-enthusiasm of my evening Humalog. My bedtime test was a smile-inducing 5.9 (106).
A whole day and I'd guess I didn't go much above 8 (144) (hard to be sure as I didn't test at the likely peak after lunch). Neither did I hypo, despite a session at the gym. What US CGM wearing pumpers would call 'bolusing a no hitter'.
Now anyone who has read my last post will know that this doesn't happen all the time. When life is a bit more chaotic, when basal-needs change, when overall levels of activity rise or fall those carefully tweaked settings are just a little off. Not much but enough to put you on the glycaemic rollercoaster of guessing, double guessing, highs, lows, chaos and confusion. What US blogger Scott so accurately described last week as low blood sugars, guilt and fear.
After 20 odd years of handling all the calculations and adjustments by myself I'd guess I'd got pretty good at knocking a unit off here, adding one on there to try to match the constant ebb and flow of life and BG levels. Every so often I'd get a day just as good yesterday. What I've noticed since using the Expert though is that these days are no longer a shock. They are not normal by any means, but having been as rare as hen's teeth, I can now find weeks where I get several on the trot.
I'm continuing to experiment with settings for illness, and I clearly need to do a lot more work to handle the wider-scope shifts in routine that caused me so much trouble during April.
There are still a few things I'd change about the Expert, but it's certainly won me round and I'd highly recommend it.