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!).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hidden treasures

“Transmitters either use those “button” batteries, rechargeable batteries, or are a sealed battery/transmitter package guaranteed to last a certain time period. This last style requires you to buy a new one with it runs out of juice.”

--Beyond Fingersticks

The map is tattered and yellow, the edges burnt. But the directions to “X marks the spot” are still clear. You press the button twice. Scroll down to “settings,” press again, then select “device info.”

Here be treasure.

Of course, without the treasure map, you’da never found it in a million years. Hidden in this backwater alcove of the receiver’s menu is the day and time your inserted the current sensor, and the time of the last calibration fingerstick.

It’s not quite as helpful as Med-T’s menu that tells you when your next calibration is due, but it’s better than nothing, and you can work it out from there yourself, if you have to.

Interestingly, the same screen also shows the status of the transmitter. Mine says the six-month transmitter is “OK.” That’s right, like dragon flies, dormice, house ants and voles, Dex G4 transmitters have lowered the bar in the wrong direction. They are the shortest-lived transmitters in the seven-year history of real-time CGM systems.

Hmmmmmmmmm….. But no indication of just how OK it is. Does the transmitter really report its full status? Will that change to “So-so” and later, “Kinda Crappy?” And is this the real deal, or not, in the first place? Is it really reporting signal strength, or did a six-month count-down timer start automatically the first time I booted it up, like the stupid check engine lights on my car that turn on at set mileages on the odometer? I’d expect that kind of nonsense out of Med-T, but not from Dex. But we won’t know for six months.

According to the 210-page insomnia-curing User’s Guide that came with my G4, one week before the transmitter gives up the ghost, the receiver is supposed to give me a low transmitter alarm. I’m to call Dexcom Sales Support as soon as possible and order a replacement. You just know I’ll be snowed in with no hope of being reached by a FedEx truck for a week when that happens.

But what happens in this status screen? Does it quietly change to “not OK?” Will it later morph into a battery icon showing how much life is left? I don’t know, and the User's Guide is moot on the subject.

Maybe we’re missing a corner of the map, after all.


Blogger Jonah said...

That's a big deal! The absence of the last cal time and the when I inserted the sensor is one of the things I find most frustrating about wearing a dex 7+ because I have no frickin' clue when it's going to time out until that 6 hour warning comes up. And do I need to take my meter with me, or did I calibrate just two hours ago? I don't remember!

9:28 AM  

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