LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dexcom G4 Platinum—first impressions, Part 1

Thank God my patient was a no-show. It gave me time to wipe the drool from my chin and rip into the FedEx Priority Overnight box. The one from Dexcom.

Inside: three boxes. One for the receiver, one for the transmitter, and one with a big green numeral 4 on it for the sensors. My Dex G4 Platinum had arrived.

I’d watched the video last night, so I knew the first thing I had to do before I could Hook-up and Head-out was to Plug-in. For five hours into a wall, or seven hours into a computer’s USB port. Don’t panic, that’s just first-time-out-of-the-box charging.

The wall is faster and I’m eager to get started. Plus, to charge on a computer you must first have the next-gen Dex software installed. As I’m at work, I can’t do that. It’s a big no-no to install anything on work computers without the blessings of the I.T. Overlords.

It’s too nice a day to get fired, so it’s plugged into the wall now—sitting on the little table my phone lives on. I’m studying it the way a Victorian scientist might make initial observations of a strange new bug—cautious observation with no touching.

Visually, the build quality shows. It looks expensive, well-made, strong, and high-tech. It’s a small, sleek, thin device. It kinda reminds me of the monolith in 2001 a Space Odyssey. Same proportions. Only smaller, of course.

What’s not to love so far?

I hated, hated, hated, hated the squashed-football look of the older generations of Dexcoms. They were big, ugly, and awkward. Plus, the old ones had a sense of cheapness to them. I can’t really put my finger on what it was. Let’s just say they didn’t scream quality.

But the platinum does scream quality. I got mine in black. I’m not man enough for a pink CGM, and while the blue was pretty, I thought it might be a shade of blue I’d get sick of too quickly. Besides, basic black matches everything in my wardrobe. Still, I’m glad there’s choice.

You’ll be happy to know the G4 doesn’t look like a medical device, either. It’s not pump-like or metereseque. G4 looks more like a consumer-lust electronic device. Something that the company with the fruit logo might make. Maybe a digital music player.

But this is a player for the opera of your glucose.

I set my old Dex next to the new one to compare. Mentally, the old style completely dwarfed the new one. But side-by-side, the old style isn’t really as big as I like to complain that it is. The footprint of the two machines is very close.

The biggest difference is in the thickness, with old Dex being nearly twice a thick. That feeling of thinness is what makes the G4 seem so much smaller. Of course, this isn’t just an optical illusion. Slimmer can equal easier-to-wear. Size matters in every dimension.

The bottom edges of the G4 are smooth and the corners are gently rounded. OK, OK, OK I confess, I’m fondling it now.

Speaking of rounded corners, the new G4 transmitter is more aerodynamic than the old one. Maybe I’ll snag fewer sweaters on it. The sensor and the dental tool from hell that inserts it look identical to the old ones, but be warned: None of the 7 Plus gear and supplies is compatible with G4. I’m told that down the road, we’ll have an easier, faster inserter. But truth be told, even though it looks intimidating, the sensor inserter is easy, is painless to use, and beats the pants off the one from the Other Guys.

I have no problems at all using it to put sensors in all kinds of non-FDA approved places, like on the bottom side of my upper arms.

Which I can’t wait to do. But first, this baby needs a full charge. And there are some setup things to do. The transmitter has to be linked to the receiver. Alarm thresholds need to be chosen. Apparently, I have some different alarm sounds to choose from as well.

Ah. Rats. I see my next patient has arrived. Time to go help someone else with their diabetes. I’ll get back to mine, and yours, tomorrow.


Blogger Leighann of D-Mom Blog said...

I'm drooling!

Q said it looks like a phone and then said it would be cook if a CGM could be used as a phone. (Always forward thinking.)

We haven't ordered yet, but I'll be following along as you give yours a go.

I'll be curious to hear if you think the range is good enough to go from one bedroom to the next (and through a small closet). Maybe 10 feet in total, but through a wall and door.

9:11 AM  
Blogger George said...

Oh man I want one BIG TIME!!

9:12 AM  
Blogger Val said...

Once again you are a few weeks ahead of me in the cool d-tech world. My Dex7 warranty expires in December, so I couldn't really justify paying to upgrade just to get it a bit earlier. I am looking forward to your reviews as always. Pictures of the inserter and transmitter when you get a chance, please?

1:20 PM  
Blogger Laddie said...

So excited that you've received your DexG4 and will tell us all about it. I ordered my upgrade in pink which is definitely a switch from my black Dex7+, my clear Revel pump. and my black cell phone. But I can understand why you chose black....

1:38 PM  
Blogger desertrose said...

I cannot believe I am just now discovering this blog - it is great!! I love reading this! I can't wait to get through as much of it as I can! Thanks for writing this!

6:39 PM  
Blogger Mike Hoskins said...

I've been wanting to wait until my flex account resets Jan. 1 and I can use that, but I'm now also drooling over this and really really want to place my order... will have to keep my cool and keep reading about it here! Thanks for writing this, Wil!!

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing that I don't think was mentioned is that the transmitter height is 'taller' -- it sticks out more. While I like the new model, I'm really disappointed that rather than keeping with low profile on your body, it creates a BIG bump on your stomach. Not good for someone who is fairly small. I'm considering a re-order of my old DexCom 7 supplies b/c it's so much 'taller'. Hard to decide though b/c the new receiver is nice/easier to read.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

The only positive thing I have to say about Dexcom, find another company! I find the Dexcom to be an overpriced, inaccurate, and troublesome device which is undependable. I can count on my device to be 20-60 mg/dl off at a minimum. Dexcom states “That’s Normal” and I should never depend on the reading but should rely on my BG tester readings. To add salt to a wound, the Dexcom Company used car sale staff is just another promise everything and then disappears leaving us high and dry. Again, the only good thing I have to say about Dexcom is … find another company and a better device.

7:01 PM  

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