Apologies in advance for this really very dull, slightly ranty post on the intricacies of the user-interface on the Medtronic Veo.
I've been having a fairly turbulent time with the old 'goalpost chasing' diabetes game recently. For a month or two my BG averages were climbing... then I hit a patch of a few more lows than usual. At the same time I was in the run-up to my first ever Pump Clinic (which is tomorrow, more on that later) so I was preparing with a few basal tests. These confirmed what I knew already. My basal requirements had shifted. Again. Actually it seems they had shifted several times in opposite directions, and I was still playing catch-up.
This is nothing new of course, it happened to me all the time on MDI too. Before I came across the technique of 'basal testing' I would have attributed these chaotic readings as 'diabetes randomness'. These days, when meal doses and corrections start misbehaving for no apparent reason, a basal test is often my first port of call. With Artoo by my side I have the wonderful ability to quickly try a general raising or lowering of basal even before I have the opportunity to run a proper, detailed basal test. Illness is another time when these Temporary Basal Rates (TBRs) really earn their stripes. For a period of a few days, you might need 10%, 20% or 30% more basal than 'normal'.
For a period of a few days.
I'm not sure what the fine folks at Medtronic think people will use a TBR for, but it doesn't seem that they have considered that option. Well some of them clearly have, because you can set a TBR for up to 24 hours on the Veo. But... Inexplicably, someone decided that the pump should 'warble' at you every hour, day and night, that a TBR is set. If you set it to vibrate it makes several long buzzes. If you set it to short bleeps it's a series of three little 'pips'. Day and night. 24 hours a day. To tell me something that I already know. I have taken to wrapping Artoo in bubblewrap overnight to try to save Jane's sleep (I can sleep through anything, Jane is not so lucky).
It gets worse.
That pip-pip-pip is the only warning sound I get. If I glance at the pump screen there is a hollow circle too (I'll come back to that), but after, say 12-48 hours of illness/TBR you phase out the hourly pip-pip-pip during the day. If during that time you got a 'no delivery', 'low reservoir' or other alarm you would not even think to check what it was because your pump is just intermittently bleeping through the day anyway.
Now continuing with illness as an example... during that time you might generally need more basal, so you set a TBR at 120% for 24 hours. Then you do some activity (gardening? alligator wrestling? route march?) which in your experience usually needs a basal reduction. So now you want set a different (lower) temporary rate for a few hours, then return to your 120% TBR for illness (are you still with me at the back?). What you really want, is to be told when the TBR finishes, so that you can take action then and readjust. But your TBR will end with not so much as a bleep or warble. Nothing. The only time I want Artoo to tell me about a TBR (preferably with a different sound to the more 'serious' alerts) and he stays entirely silent.
The TBR chime is SO unhelpful. It contributes absolutely nothing to the pump user, and actually can potentially obscure/conceal a 'real' alert. I have no idea what is it doing there.
To add insult to injury, however loud those TBR warblings seem to be at 3am, they are pitifully quiet during the day. As a back-up notification on the Veo, there is a hollow circle at the top of the screen that tells you that an 'alert' condition exists. If it's very serious (eg the pump is in Suspend and no insulin is being delivered) this circle is filled with black. This means that at a glance you can see if there is any kind of problem with pump delivery. Very useful you would think... Sadly, again the overlap between 'alert' and 'condition' lets Artoo down. I can choose between up to three basal patterns. Currently I have them set for 'weekend' (waking later) and also for roughly 120% of normal which seemed to be where I settled during the holidays when gym visits fell away. When I'm on 'normal' I can check for the end of a TBR (or another alert for that matter) by looking for the cicle. But... the hollow circle is also used to show 'different basal pattern'. So basically during any weekend or holiday period the circle shows all the time on Artoo. And is therefore useless.
Now don't get me wrong. I think the Veo is a brilliant piece of kit. It is very easy to use and superbly intuitive. Oddly that makes these very strange/illogical/unhelpful UI decisions even more irritating.
So please, please, PLEASE! Medtronic, when you revisit the next version of the Veo: No pointless hourly TBR twittering (or at the very least make it optional so users can turn it off overnight). A different alert sound to identify the end of a TBR. A tiny 'A' and 'B' in a corner of the screen to denote alternate basal patterns. Oh, and the option to increase the volume of alerts so that they can be heard outside of a monastery/library setting would be very helpful too.
Tch! Some people are just never happy :)