Please read my disclosure statement. Bayer sent me a Didget Kit and an extra vial of test strips to try out. The Nintendo DS was our own. The opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was given.
When I saw the Bayer Didget blood glucose monitoring system, I knew I wanted to find out more. It’s targeted exactly to our demographic: the child with diabetes. But more than a gimmick to get my child engaged, I need a meter that is easy to use and incredibly reliable.
We were given the 25 test strips that come with the kit, plus an additional vial of 50 test strips. Results in this post are based on using the meter until we used the first 25 test strips.
When I read the instructions (yes, I read the instructions) I kept wondering what the big deal was about not testing with the meter upside down. I didn’t know if they meant with the meter below her hand and the test strip facing up. I kept thinking that seemed like an awkward way to do it. I realized that they meant that the display is upside down when you look at it when testing.
I hated this.
I am used to being able to read what the meter says while we are testing. In my opinion the test strip needs to go into the other end of the Didget…like every other meter I have ever seen.
What’s the big deal, you ask?
The big deal is that I kept getting an error code and couldn’t figure out what it meant because I was seeing it upside down. You know how an “E” looks like a “3” when it’s upside down?
Or an 802 pops up on the meter and you freak out before you realize it’s a 208.
I have a Master’s degree and I thought it was an 802. Do you think that a first grader will remember to turn the meter the other way?
Contour Test Strips
What I like about the Contour test strips is that you can see the blood going in and filling it up. What I didn’t like was the large number of error codes and wasted strips.
- You can see the blood enter in the test strip.
- Needs only a small sample (most of the time).
- Quick results.
- I wasted an incredible number of test strips getting the same error code.
So that first vial had 25 test strips and I only successfully tested 13 times. That’s almost a 50% failure rate. I don’t know about you, but our insurance only covers so many strips. Not to mention that each time I got this error, I had to lance her tender little fingers again.
I had another vial of test strips, but I was so discouraged that I decided not to use them at that point and switch back to our own meter that uses FreeStyle strips.
When I called customer service (see below) all anyone could ever tell me was that I wasn’t putting enough blood on the strip. But each time I got this error, there was a nice drop of blood that I was trying to soak up. In the end I was told that I would also get this E2 error code if the strip touched her finger and not just the blood.
Now in 2.5 years of testing with FreeStyle test strips I can tell you that we frequently touch her finger. Frequently. And it has never been an issue. Not with the FreeStyle Lite meter, not with the FreeStyle Flash meter, not with the FreeStyle Freedom meter, and not with the OmniPod PDM.
When I was at the 2010 Roche Social Media Summit I mentioned this to one of the reps from Roche and she had never heard of this type of complaint either.
(Here is the explanation of how to properly use the Bayer Didget meter including not touching the skin with the test strip.)
Now I am trying to get my six-year-old to be more self-sufficient with her diabetes care, including testing her own blood sugar. If I, as an adult who has 2.5 years of experience and a steady hand cannot test her blood sugar with this meter and strips, then how in the world can I expect my young child to be more adept at it than me?
If you market a meter to kids, then make a meter that a kid can actually perform a BG test with.
Twice I went to their website to ask a question on chat. Each time I was asked if they could call me. The entire point of live chat is that I am doing three (or more) things at once and if I wanted to call I would have just picked up the phone to begin with.
When I asked for an explanation about the E2 error code, I waited while the customer service rep “researched” the answer. He came back after a little bit with a link. The link? Exactly the page on their website that I originally saw, didn’t give me enough of an explanation, and prompted me to start a chat session.
By comparison, I have called Abbott a couple of times in the past 2.5 years when I have had an issue with a test strip and got an error code. Each time Abbott asked me for lot numbers, expiration dates, etc. Each time I was asked if the error had an effect on her treatment (one time we had an error while at a restaurant and it was our luck that it was the last strip in the vial and we had to guess her BG). Each time I was offered replacement test strips.
None of this happened with Bayer.
Would I use this meter long term? You’ll have to read the next two posts on this meter to find out.
All posts about about the Bayer Didget
- Part One: Bayer Didget Blood Glucose Meter Accessories
- Part Two: Bayer Didget Blood Glucose Meter, Test Strips, and Customer Service Review
- Part Three: Bayer Didget Meter’s Knock ‘Em Downs: World Fair Nintendo DS Game Review (coming soon)
- Part Four: Bayer Didget Meter Review Final Thoughts (coming soon)