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, November 07, 2012

Play it again, Sam

“How long can you wear a CGM sensor? you ask. Before I answer, let me ask you: Are you asking me how long they are FDA approved for wear; how long people are actually wearing them; or the maximum time one could theoretically be worn?”

--Beyond Fingersticks

A Dex G4 sensor is FDA approved for seven-day wear. How long you actually can wear it is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish altogether. And frankly, how long most CGMers wear their sensors is directly correlated to their poverty index. The poorer you are, or the poorer your insurance is, the longer you wear your sensor.

That said, as bad as my insurance is (no choice of test strips, not enough of the ones they will cover, and—no shit—they will not pay for my insulin) they at least do cover my CGM sensors, and my copay is a big fat Zero. As I also have sensitive skin, I’ve been wearing the Dex sensors the FDA-approved seven days. Besides, it’s convenient to have a sensor change day on the same day every week. It’s easy to remember, and I can do my two-hour warm up when I’m not on the road.

But I only have one box of the new G4s, and I want to stretch my review as long as possible, so I decided to reboot the first one and see how things went.

Now somewhere in my head I had the idea that you needed to pop the transmitter off of the Dex Seven sensor and re-set it to run a sensor a second time. And that was going to be a problem. You can very easily remove a Dex transmitter from an implanted sensor; you just need to pull both the wings at the base of the transmitter off to the side simultaneously. But that takes two hands. And as I’m wearing the sensor high up on my arm, my two hands can never reach the sensor unless I’m in a horribly disfiguring accident.

But either I had it wrong, or something changed along the road, because two days ago my Seven Plus expired. To double check what I was in for, and to compare the two systems, I told it that a new sensor was in place and it booted right back up again—with no other action on my part. But that didn’t mean the new G4 would be so accommodating. I’d better have a plan in place. I was going to need a partner in crime.

The G4 reboot would happen at work, as I inserted the first G4 sensor at the clinic, rather than on one of my “safe” days when I’m home writing. Realistically, that meant recruiting one of the nurses to assist me.

First thing in the morning I plopped myself down next to one of our RNs at the nurse’s station. Hey, wanna get half-naked with me? I asked her.

An arched eyebrow. Dark eyes studying me intensely. “That depends on which one of us is half-naked, and which half you’re talking about,” she replied in a deadpan voice. Then a hint of a giggle escaped. I guess they’re all used to my sense of humor at this point. Can’t get a rise out of any of them.

I explained my problem. “No problem,” the nurse told me, “call me when you need me.”

Later in the morning the little girl tugged on my belt:

And after lunch, the stoplight turned red and the flow of blood sugar information screeched to a standstill.

I navigated to the main menu and selected “start sensor.” The warm up screen and the green count-down pie logo appeared. And that’s all there was to it. Kinda anti-climactic.

Two hours later I was in business. Now, how long—and how well—she’ll run beyond seven days I can’t say. Yet.

But if your poverty index requires you to stretch your sensor wear, you can do it with a couple of button pushes. No help from a nurse needed.

Pity. I was kinda looking forward to getting half naked with one of my favorite nurses.


Blogger Sandi said...

Glad it still works the same as the Dex Seven. We always get 2 weeks out of ours.

By the way - I've been told that the transmitter should never be removed while wearing the sensor because it increases the chances of the wire breaking off in your skin.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Yup, that's how it's always worked.

I guess I am really poor because I like to see just how long my sensors can last.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Jonah said...

Good thing too, because the one time I tried to take off a transmitter while wearing a sensor (because the receiver had broken and I was sent a new one but needed to look at the back of the transmitter to put in the transmitter number) it was really difficult and I really irritated the site in the process. Lesson learned: always keep a written record of your transmitter ID so you don't have to take it off and look at it to put the ID into your new receiver.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Laddie said...

So glad to hear that the Gen4 is as easy as the 7+ to restart. I find I get my most accurate readings from about Day 3-Day 10, so I always go for a second week although my insurance covers sensors 100%. I hate when I pull out a sensor that is working well and then the next one is a dud.

I can't believe that your insurance doesn't cover insulin but covers sensors. Maybe they figure that if you don't get insulin, you won't live long enough to use the sensors.

2:32 PM  

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