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!).

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Royal Visitor

Joe College stuck his head around the corner of my office door. “All clear, or are you with a patient?” I waved him in and spotted it at once. That style-killing belt case with the funky bonus strap could only be one thing. Oh my God! Another Dexcom G4—in the wild—in the flesh!

Hey, I pointed to his waist, you got a G4 already! I pulled mine off my belt and flashed it at him like a government ID badge.

The rep’s smile faded a megawatt or two and he sighed. “One of these days I’ll surprise you and get something before you do.”

Probably not.

He’d been wearing his for two days, and so far, was pretty happy. Naturally, we compared notes. And the first thing we talked about wasn’t accuracy, or range, or alarm volume, or sensor life, or the control layout—but color.

The color of the receiver.

“Obviously,” said Joe College, who’s got that athletic team-type-1-look that makes the rest of us look bad, “I couldn’t go with Tickled Pink.” (No kidding, that’s the official Dexcom name for the pink-colored unit.)

Me either. But I’m glad it’s an option. In fact, I personally know two girls who’ve ordered pink ones this week. One girl is six. The other girl is forty six. Tickled Pink. Universal chick appeal.

Personally I ended up choosing black, called Classic Black by Dex, as it matches everything, and I was afraid I might get sick of the blue. If I could have had any color in the world, what would it be? African Safari Khaki. Why? Because devices just don’t come in shades of tan. It would be both different and subtle. Hard to notice.

Anyway, of the three we have to choose from, my visitor decided to take a chance on:

“It’s not quite the color I expected from the website,” he said. “What would you call it?”

Hmmmmmmm….. I held his receiver in my hand, bending it back and forth to catch the shafts of light pouring in through my office windows. It’s blue. But not any blue you’ve ever met before. Dex calls it Ocean Blue. I’d say it’s not quite Superman blue, too dark. Not quite royal blue, too cool. Not quite navy blue, too warm. Not quite storm blue. Not twilight blue. Not blueberry blue. Not Egyptian blue or even ultramarine blue. I think if you set your mind to rich midnight indigo, you won’t be too disappointed. It’s not so vibrant as it looks online.

For fun, we compared Dex Ocean Blue to my meter line up, and it didn’t come close to any blue ever used on any blood glucose meter before. Ever. Which is pretty amazing, as blue seems to be the number one color for meters. Well, blue and silver.

I snapped a pic of the two Dex cousins together. Joe College noticed that the color shifted on my digital camera. He shot a pic with his iPhone and the same thing happened. So this magical Dex G4 color changes when you shoot it, and Lord only knows what your monitor’s profile will do after that.

Still, if you’re on the fence between the blue and the black, I can tell you this. My black shows fingerprints something fierce. The entire front of the receiver, except the big round button, is as shiny as an iPad, which is completely unnecessary, as the screen is not touch-controlled. I noticed Joe College’s Ocean Blue G4 showed fingerprints less than my Classic Black one does. Something to think about.

But after color, we talked about accuracy, range, alarm volume, sensor life, and the control layout; right?

Ummmm…. No. Next we bitched about the case and speculated on what the fuck the extra little strap-loop is.

What would work better? Joe College slipped his Animas pump off his belt and dis-engaged the heavy duty metal clip. Having used an Animas pump only ever so briefly myself, I tend to forget that they make the best pump clip on the market. He held the clip to the back of the receiver. That would have been the perfect solution. Just the machine and the open air. Vertical like I love it. Nothing to unsnap. No clear vinyl to make it hard to see the screen. No layers of leather making it hard to press the buttons. No looking like a dufus with a sunglasses case on my belt.

Too bad Dexcom didn’t think of that as an approach, or as an option. In theory, you could use industrial-strength epoxy to glue a clip onto a receiver yourself, but I’d be a nervous wreck: It might fuck up the machine; or it might fail and you’d end up at home at the end of the day with a clip on your belt and the receiver nowhere to be seen. Ack!

“It’s not so bad with my work clothes,” Joe College told me, looking at his case sadly. As a pharma-type person, Joe College wears a rather citified wardrobe not typical of northern New Mexico. Think pin-stripe pink dress shirts and dark grey suit pants, accessorized with shiny shoes. If I didn’t have diabetes radar for pumps and CGMs, I’d never have noticed the Dex case on his belt. After all, its slick black leather and shiny black button snaps give it an urban look. Joe College set the case down, “But I don’t know what I’m going to do the rest of the time. Maybe I’ll try carrying it in my pocket.”

Now pockets are fine for what I call “reactive” CGM use. You wear the sensor. Carry the monitor. If it squawks at you, you do something about it. But if you’re a “proactive” user (or are currently in pro-active mode, we all tend to go back-and-forth) you’ll want to be looking at your machine more often and having it out on a belt is hard to beat.

The Dex case is functional, and I’ve actually gotten rather fond of it, at least until I catch a glimpse of myself in a bathroom mirror, or see my reflection as I pass by a window or glass door. Then I really hate it because I can’t stand the way it looks. Even the same case in a tan leather would be better for my wardrobe. I mainly wear pale browns, tans, and greens. Desert pastels. A black case really stands out with this color palate. It says, HEY LOOK AT ME!


Of course eventually Joe College and I got to accuracy, range, alarm volume, sensor life, and the control layout.

And then, as my visitor was set to leave, I realized that our cases were both on my desk. Whose was whose? One was a bit scuffed up and my uncharitable thought, as I put his Ocean Blue G4 into the damaged case, was how on earth did this guy manage to scuff up his case so much in two days? But when I tried to put “mine” back on my belt, the clip was tight. I realized my mistake and switched the cases.

I’m the one with the scuffed-up case.

I’m generally pretty careful with gear that keeps me alive. I have no idea how I did this:

But it probably doesn’t say much for the enduring quality and longevity of the stock G4 case. Hopefully the third-party accessory makers will be rolling out product soon.

And maybe they’ll make one with a rotating clip in tan leather or African Safari Khaki.


Blogger Sara said...

I am annoyed that the choices are pink and blue. I am guessing some executive thought
girl = pink
boy = blue

Who says girl is pink? What I wouldn't do for a nice purple!

11:38 AM  

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