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!).

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Power to the people

“If you have a rechargeable system, you need to have both your charger and a wall socket handy when you get into trouble. Pine trees don’t have power plugs, as one of my Native American patients discovered when she and her boyfriend went camping in the wilderness. She had packed her power cord but it hadn’t occurred to her that there would be nowhere to plug it in.”

--Beyond Fingersticks

One of the things that pissed me off about the Dex Seven Plus was more a matter of philosophy than a functional real-world annoyance. Back when it was first FDA approved, we had the first ever seven-day sensor with a receiver that could only make it three days without recharging. WTF?

It really wasn’t that big of a deal to plug her in while I was sleeping every three days, but it still bugged me. It was the principle of the thing. A seven-day CGM system should be able to run seven days. Right?

Naturally, with the addition of a color screen, I had very low expectations for the G4 in this department. Given how quickly my iPod runs through its battery, I had expected the G4 to be even worse than the Seven Plus. I expected to be charging it’s skinny little ass every two days.


On day seven my battery icon was still at half-mast.

Of course, I know that batteries are fickle. As they age they lose their ability to keep a grip. And temperature affects them. And they are affected by how many times we turn the device on. And a host of other crap.

But out of the box, the new seven-day system from Dexcom will last for more than seven days.

The universe is in harmony.

But of course, we d-folk are never satisfied and endlessly curious. I got what I wanted, a receiver that lasted as long as the sensor. My wish granted. But instead of rejoicing, I immediately wanted to know just how long can it last?

I decided to keep driving. To wait for the metaphorical “low gas” light on the dashboard.

And on day 10 after the first charge, around noon, the little girl tugged on my belt and said:

And of course, I didn’t have the frickin’ charger with me. And I was surrounded by pine trees.

(Picture dark clouds of doom on the horizon. The wind rattles the windows. A streak of lighting shatters the night. Trouble is coming.)

How far can you drive a G4 with the needle on empty? Luckily for me, as it turns out, well over 10 hours.

Oh, and speaking of charging, the charging cable is s-h-o-r-t. Super short. I’ve seen licorice ropes longer than this cable. Both Dexs (or as my wife calls them, your curvy girlfriend and your skinny girlfriend) sleep between our pillows at night—old habit from the days of limited telemetry range between the transmitter and the receiver. I used to charge old Dex where she lay, about every three days.

But the new cable wouldn’t reach skinny girl where she slept. Damn.

Now understand, I have the world’s smallest nightstand. And not only is the landscape limited, but a lot of stuff lives there at night. The infernal Nano meter, with its lovely FastClix lance, and giant test strip vial; my insulin pen; my iPod with the insulin tracking software; two bottles of Dex4 save-your-ass glucose fluid; a skinny jar for collecting used test strips; and of course a clock and a lamp.

I had to move things around a bit to make room for skinny girl with the rest of the nocturnal diabetes tools.

Anyway, first thing this morning I checked her screen. Not one lost dot. Despite my usual turning, spinning and trashing about in the night, she never once lost telemetry. Not exactly a scientific test of the boasted-about new range, but a good omen at the very least.

Power in distance. Power in time.

Power to the (d)people, indeed.


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