OK, so the month of April is coming to a close and it's time for a close inspection of my so-oft-tested fingertips. If you'll recall, I began evaluating the ground-breaking new Pelikan Sun electronic lancing device on April 1 and promised to make a month of it.
Let's start where all good reviews should begin, by explaining the methodology: in this case, utterly unscientific. I simply vowed to use the Pelikan only on my right hand for a month, while continuing to use my regular spring-loaded lancet on the left. Of course there was no exact 1:1 ratio on the number of times I tested each hand, but I can tell you that I preferred to use the Pelikan when I was at home, while mostly using the older model while I was out and about, so that hopefully leveled the playing field somewhat.
The Usability/ Experience
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For me, this product gets a 9 out of 10 on the "feel good" scale. I've never enjoyed (or least disliked) taking my glucose readings than I did having a gadget that keeps you from feeling anything at all. In fact, all I noticed was a quick "brushing" sensation on my fingertip.
Just as with so many other new-fangled diabetes gadgets these days, I did run into some technical difficulties. The first unit I had (which comes in nice, minimal packaging, btw) continually gave me error messages, causing me to waste almost a whole cartridge of lancet needles. But the company was super-responsive and replaced that first "lemon" with a fully functional unit right away.
The Pelikan couldn't be easier to use (unlike the MultiClix, for example, which I sometimes found difficult to advance). It only has three buttons, and two of them are just the up-and-down arrows to adjust lancing depth. I found that I did have to increase the depth a bit over time to get it right -- if you don't draw blood, you've wasted a notch on your cartridge (once it's advanced, there's no going back).
I'm up to 1.3 on the depth scale, yet my fingers are happy. I'm not posting hand photos again because those little black dots have faded on BOTH hands, probably due to more careful lancing on the sides of fingers, rather than on the "pads." But the fingers on my right hand (Pelikan hand) do feel softer and less calloused, no doubt.
The Pelikan is sometimes inconvenient to carry, because of its size, but it's kind of addictive: the more you use it, the more you want to (see below).
The Usefulness/ Efficacy
So did the Pelikan perform it's medical function well? Well enough to warrant the inconvenience and the cost?
I found that I was excited about using it, and still am after a month of obligatory use. In fact, I feel very disappointed anytime I'm in a place where I don't have access to it, and have to use my old "thumbtack" lancet instead. So I test more often, and with more enthusiasm -- which I firmly believe is good for my diabetes care (despite recent headlines).
Yes, it still gives me an occasional error message, but what product doesn't? There were only a few times when my hands got so cold that I had to do a repeat stick, thereby wasting some notches on the $7.50 cartridge ($15 for a set of two, containing 50 lancets each).
I guess what I'm saying is: this thing works well and is totally worth the money if you 1) really hate the sensation of traditional lancing, or 2) are caring for a child with diabetes. I can't imagine any kid who wouldn't be jumping for joy over a switch to the Pelikan.
Yes, $200 upfront plus supplies is quite an investment, but think for a moment about how easily that money might be frittered away on something entirely non-essential. I find that it's true what they say: people tend to spend money on what they want, not what they need.
In the final analysis, here's how I really feel: I'm excited that my Pelikan Challenge Month is over, because now I am finally free to use it on both hands.