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.