INPUT event – Truro 5 October 2013

The event started at 11am and Julian and I got there about 11.15am.  We were greeted in the car park by what I took to be employees of Alverton Manor hotel marshalling cars into parking places.  One asked if we were there to test drive BMWs and I said “No, we’re here for the INPUT event”.  He looked blank and shrugged “Never heard of it”.  “Ooh er, have we got the right date?” I said to J, but in the event when we got to the door of the hotel (after negotiating round several BMWs) a big banner greeted us in the hallway announcing the event and pointing us in the right direction.

The room wasn’t as large as I’d thought it would be, and there weren’t that many people attending.  There were about 8 stalls spread around the walls.  I thought, “OMG the talk from Dr Pickup isn’t until 4pm, we’re going to run out of things to look at in about half an hour” (how wrong could I be?).  I spotted my DSN but she was engrossed in conversation with another couple.

Pain relief for children’s injections (and adults for that matter!)

The first stand we visited was run by a lady who has a diabetic daughter.  The device uses natural pain relief by confusing your body’s own nerves and distracting attention away from the injection, thereby dulling or eliminating sharp pain.  It’s really designed for children but no reason an adult couldn’t use one.  A small gel filled pouch in the shape of a bee’s wings is frozen, then attached to the bee which vibrates and the wings are then pressed against the injection site and the dual cold and vibration take the attention from the needle which is then used just under the device.  The lady said that pre-pump she had had to literally sit on her daughter whilst she squirmed and cried before each injection.  Had quite a long chat with her and then moved on to the Animas stand.


I felt a bit embarrassed telling the Animas rep that I’d been offered a choice between their pump and the Roche Combo and had gone for the Combo.  I said that I’d very seriously considered their pump and was attracted by the waterproof design and the CGM facility, but since I don’t swim that often and am unlikely to get a CGM I had finally settled for the Combo because of the blue-tooth meter that calculated the dose and worry about having to fish the Animas pump out of my underwear in public in order to programme it which I wouldn’t have to do with the combo.  I was quite fascinated by one of their meters sitting submerged in a glass of water – it remained there throughout the day so I guess people can be pretty much reassured it is waterproof.

We then moved on to the Roche stand and had a conversation with Emily who was the Rep/nurse who specialises in the Accuchek Expert meter.  She was really nice and offered me a meter there and then, but I wanted to talk to the pump rep Helen who was busy at the time, because as I’m picking up my pump on Weds I wanted to confirm I could use the pump meter with blue tooth disabled until the time I can actually use the pump.

At that time I turned and spotted Mike who was chatting to Laura from INPUT.  So we went over and greeted him and had a nice long conversation with Laura.  Her story was that she had got her pump 10 years ago whilst living in Southern Ireland, when she moved to Northern Ireland they wanted to take it off her.  Naturally she was hanging on for dear life and so her initial contact with INPUT was through that introduction.  She is now a volunteer for INPUT.

By that time Helen the rep for Roche was free so we excused ourselves to go and talk to her.   She was really lovely and showed me all the types of cannula Roche supplied.  I was interested in the Tender Link cannula since Mike had told me that switching to a diagonal set had improved control for him.  Helen gave me a couple of different cannulas to practice with.  We chatted about quite a lot of aspects of pump therapy with the Combo, including insurance, going through airport scanners and what comes in the box with the pump.  I finally left clutching cannulas, Quick Reference guide for the pump and a useful booklet on going on holiday with a pump (Big thank you to Julian who brought his man bag along to carry all my DSF cards and pens, plus the vast heap of booklets and leaflets I acquired throughout the day).  I shall be meeting with Helen again on 19 November when I will be started on the pump.

Spirit Healthcare & their meters (news for T2s)

I then dragged Julian and Mike over to introduce to my DSN.  After that I changed hats and wearing my DSF model visited Spirit Healthcare’s stand.  We introduced ourselves to Caroline Baxter who is the Regional Director.  I said that on DSF I often recommend their CareSens meter to T2s who can’t get their Dr to prescribe strips because the CareSens strips are reasonably priced compared to some of the “big name” strips.  Caroline told us that they will send free meters to anyone who telephones their 24/7 customer support line on 0800 881 5423 and that there is no VAT on their strips + they will send free replacement peripherals such as batteries, cables for downloads, bright coloured skins for the meter (I liked the pink with flowers on) etc.  The helpline is manned even on Xmas day (by the MD if he can’t get anyone else to do it!).

Talking meters

They have a new range of meters beside their original, there is a new Caresens NPOP which is very small and slim and perhaps more excitingly, for those with visual impairment, a meter which talks!  Plus the instruction manual is in braille.  In an Australian study only CareSens achieved a bias of less than 5% when compared with other leading brands. Unfortunately the talking meter isn’t mentioned on their website at present.

Got needlephobia?

Spirit healthcare don’t forget those on insulin and in particular those with needle phobia.  They have a device which delivers insulin without needles, called the Insujet which is available to fit all UK insulin cartridges.  It seemed a bit complicated to operate, but I’m sure once you get used to it, like all devices it quickly becomes easy as pie.  The advantage, apart from not needing to pierce your skin with a needle, is that the insulin quickly spreads beneath the outer skin, making it easier to absorb.

I also hadn’t realised that they produce needles.  The needles come in 4mm, 6mm and 8mm lengths but all in 32G which is just 0.23mm diameter and smaller than any other needle on the market in the UK.

We moved on to the Injex stand – the Injex device is much like the Insujet in as much as it is a needle free delivery device.  Apparently using such devices eliminates the formation of lumps (lipoatrophy) which can form if you use one site too much.  The insulin spreads under the skin promoting easier absorption and no bruising.  The device seemed a bit more complicated than the Insujet.

I was surprised to find it was 1.15 by this time.  We went to tell Mike that we were going to get a sandwich at this point, thinking we’d get back to the last two stands (Dexcom CGM) and another meter stand after we’d had lunch.  As it happened, Mike was talking to Melissa from INPUT so we got introduced and I mentioned to Melissa that she was very well spoken of by a couple of forum members who she had helped.  Naturally we got into conversation and it was gone 1.30 by the time we repaired to the bar/brasserie to get some food.

It was a lovely day and quite warm enough for us to sit outside on the terrace.  The hotel is a very gracious building and the view from the terrace is gorgeous!   ( A beautifully kept bright green lawn slopes downwards, dotted with mature trees and beds with tropical plantings.  We got chatting to Angela Allison (Diabetes-Power) and her daughter Claudia on the next table, and I’m afraid we never got back into the exhibition!

Angela looks more like a model than a busy mum with a full time job plus coping with 5 daughters who have various allergies including coeliac disease and Claudia with diabetes and coeliac.  It’s a tribute to her that Claudia is such a bright intelligent girl – quite awesome in fact.  Beautiful and lively, she was happily running around with a patch pump on each arm and her own pump under her pretty dress.

Our sojourn in the sun was curtailed by someone popping out to tell us that they were almost set up for Professor Pickup’s presentation.  The professor told us about closed loop systems in various forms and how they are being developed (I seem to recall that in the USA they have already begun using them on volunteers, though they had to stay in hospital for the trials).  He also told us that one pump manufacturer is developing a pump specifically for T2s.  By this time I was feeling rather sleepy and it was hard to concentrate.  Probably high BGs after lunch, the sun and a drink we’d all had over lunch.  We all woke up for the ensuing discussion though.  Lots of extremely interesting points were made regarding ongoing technology and the need for more people to be able to access the present technology.  I made the point that on a daily basis we come across new T1s who haven’t even got the basic knowledge required to use insulin safely and even some long term ones know little about their disease. It’s clear that our local clinic is trying, but is both understaffed and underfunded. Melissa said that their website offers links to online education and really that’s certainly good, but up to now the people who go looking for it are the tip of the iceberg.  The debate was finally closed over an hour later by Lesley Jordan and the room soon emptied as people headed for the bar.

In the evening there was to be a dinner with Prof Pickup and I would dearly have liked to stay for that, but we had other arrangements for the evening.  So we said our farewells and drove home.  I hope Mike can give us the flavour of the discussion over dinner.

All in all it was a worthwhile day and I learned a lot.  Unfortunately it didn’t seem well attended and I did wonder how much publicity it had been given locally.  On the other hand, had there been more people there we might not have had such a good opportunity to have such in depth chats with the reps.

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