About a year ago, I ordered a Bayer Contour meter; the little kind with the USB plug built right in. When you think about it, it’s actually sort of amazing just how unusual it is for a blood glucose meter to have a built-in ability to connect to a computer. The last meter I had used before the Contour was a OneTouch of some kind. It was very accurate and all, but there was simply no way for me to download information from it. When I ordered the cable for that meter, it arrived with an outdated serial port that none of my computers actually used.
My reasons for changing brands and moving to the little Contour were (1) the USB drive and (2) the fact that my health insurance had some weird deal with Contour where they would cover the cost of the test strips with a mere co-pay - that’s $40 per month as opposed to $120 or so with the OneTouch meter.
Oh, also? There’s no test strip coding with the Contour.
Anyway, so I got the Contour. I plugged it into my laptop, and the computer crashed. I downloaded new software for the device after rebooting, and tried to sign up for an online account and tracking program. I never really got anywhere with that - I kept getting login errors, and I finally just gave up. Let my doctor deal with the meter’s charts.
But then, I started noticing some real weirdness with my blood sugars. Highs. I’m on a low-carb diet (and I take Metformin), but I’d find myself with fasting sugars of 200 and post-workout readings of 250. This went on for months - and I would often notice that the Contour USB meter would give me highly varied readings. I’m talking about readings of a range of 150 points or greater - within three minutes. The first reading would be 275. I would freak out, retest… and get a reading of 200. Test again, reading of 150. Test again, and the next reading was 180. Test again? 99.
That’s a pretty big goddamn range of blood sugars there - what if I was still on insulin? Two years ago, if I had had a reading of 190, I would have given myself two or three units of Humalog. But what if my blood sugar was actually 99?
After a while, my readings were getting higher and higher, and staying that way even after multiple testings. I concluded that I was, in fact, becoming a type 1.5 diabetic - this does run in my family. I contacted an endocrinologist. I had tests run. I braced myself for a life of insulin dependency… again.
The results came back with an A1C of 5.2. My doctor was thrilled. My mom was thrilled. My husband was thrilled. I… was confused.
My GP prescribed a new blood glucose meter. Every reading with the new meter has fallen within a normal range. My endocrinologist was shocked when I told her just how untrustworthy my Contour had been. "But so many of our patients love it!"
Maybe it’s a good meter - maybe I just got a bad one? I did check the Consumer Reports reviews, in which the Contour USB came in last as far as accuracy goes. Has anyone else had trouble with this model?