My name is Clemma and I am writing about my experience with the Dexcom Seven continuous glucose monitoring system. I live in Minneapolis with my young son and my not so young husband. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 11 years ago, when I was almost 21 years old. I started pumping 7 years ago, first with a Minimed 508, then an Animas IR1200, and now with the OmniPod. Friday, June 29 I hooked up to my newest constant companion, the one and only Comrade Dex...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Demise of sensor #1, and test strips


Yesterday I think my first sensor died. It was a bad blood sugar day to begin with, which didn't help since Comrade Dex doesn't do as well with the highs. After breakfast I went up to the 250-300 range, and darned if I couldn't get it to come down for what felt like hours. Then there was some up and down action, and finally I wrote the day off as a loss.

I had some accuracy issues with the receiver when my sugar was really high, but that's nothing new and I didn't take it as an indication of sensor death. Later in the day, though, I had some long signal gaps, and then a couple hours where it kept asking me for a calibration finger stick. I probably did 4 calibrations before I gave up. About 30 minutes later I did get some more readings, but then it asked for calibration again so I just ripped the darn thing out.

Two points I want to make about this.

First, this sensor lasted just a few hours past 10 days. I am disappointed, I was hoping to get 14, but there you have it. That comes out to just under $6.00 per day. If it had been a 3-day sensor, it would have been just under $3.50 per day.

Second, when I finally admitted the sensor had probably failed and took it out, it was almost 10:00 pm. There was no way I was going to stay up for 2 hours waiting for the new sensor to warm up, so I slept sans Dex, and put in a new sensor this morning. I guess I could have let the alarm wake me up to calibrate at midnight, but for a variety of reasons I didn't want to do that. I hadn't thought of this wrinkle in letting the sensor go until it fails - if it fails late at night you might not realize it, because I don't think it vibrates or anything when there is a signal gap or when it says it needs calibration. Maybe in the future I can learn to read the warning signs of imminent failure, and avoid nights where Comrade Dex doesn't have my back.


Silly me, I thought I'd use fewer test strips once I started the Dexcom Seven. In fact, I used more test strips than normal in the past 10 days. I hope this is because I am getting to know the system, and I need to test more often to learn when it is and isn't accurate. In the past 11 days I have used 81 test strips. I think I've done 4 today (including the 2 for initial calibration of sensor #2), so that's 77 test strips in the 10 days that I had my first sensor. Seven to eight strips a day isn't unusual for me when I'm exercising, but I don't exercise much these days, and I was using closer to 6 per day before I started the CGMS. I hope as I get to know the Dexcom Seven better, the number of test strips will go down, but I guess it doesn't matter too much. Insurance isn't paying for the Dexcom, but they will pay for test strips. Interestingly, the daily cost of test strips vs. daily cost of a sensor that lasts for 10 days aren't too far apart. Funny that so many insurance companies won't consider CGMS coverage, then. Oh wait, did I say funny? I meant horrible, stupid, cruel, and shortsighted.


BetterCell said...

It pobably will take another year before CGMS is "improved."

The Dex System along with their software is of no help to me since I am a "Mac Guy" and do not have Intel capabilities.

awheeler_01 said...

Appreciated your honesty about awful BS days. Not very active looking at Diabetes sites, but my experience is that everyone seems to think it is a piece of cake (or maybe just a carrott) to have normal BS readings.
I am considering Continous Blood Glucose Monitoring. I have had diabetes for over 50 years and I am definitely not an early adapter. Appreciate the post thanks

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