I have never been happier to do a finger stick to get my blood sugar levels-ok, 2 of them-than at this moment! After 21 hours of being without my Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM), there are 2 things I know for sure:
1. Dexcom is amazing. Their customer service is top notch.
2. I have become quite attached to my Dexcom.
Before I go on with the story, let me fill you in on all of this Dexcom business. There are 3 parts: 1. a sensor which contains the wire and adhesive piece that attaches to the skin, 2. a transmitter which snaps into the sensor once it is attached to the body and 3. a receiver, the piece shown above, that displays as close to "live" blood sugar readings as possible. These 3 pieces of equipment have lowered my blood sugar levels significantly in the few weeks I have had them. Love. The receiver displays a low number and a high number (determined by me and my diabetic educator) and it alerts me when my level is outside of these ranges. An arrow also shows how my blood sugar level is trending (is it going up? down? holding?). Another perk is that this information can be shared to my phone and up to 5 others' phones. So, my hubby can check the app and know what my blood sugar level is. He can also be alerted to highs and lows. SO COOL. The Dexcom has to be calibrated approximately two times a day so I stick my finger for blood and use my glucometer. Then, I enter the blood sugar level into the receiver. So far, the sensor and my glucometer's actual blood sugar reading have been very similar. Nice!
On with it...When I received my box of Dexcom goodies (see my prior post, Mama Always Said Life is Like a Box of Diabetic Suppies!) it came with 5 sensor packs, each to be changed once a week, and a small, grey transmitter that is reused several times until the battery needs to be replaced. My diabetic educator put the first sensor/transmitter combo on. A week later, after watching the how-to video, I put the next one on. Let me tell you about this experence: it was like a medley of the game Twister and a vampire blood show. Throw in some wet skin adhesive (Skin Tac...amazing!) and it was like the scene from Christmas Vacation when Clark is all sappy and sticking to the magazine pages. Anyhoo, I digress....
Time passed and the receiver alerted me that it was time to put a new sensor on. I am new to this process so I watched the video. Again. Thumb here, collar here, Skin Tac applied in a donut shape, blah blah blah. When you start a new sensor, it takes 2 hours for it to begin showing blood sugar readings. This passing of time is shown in a pie shape. The problem came when the pie disappeared after 20 or so minutes and an hourglass appeared. The dreaded hourglass became worse when the words "Sensor failure. Replace sensor" showed up. Whaaaaaat?! Oh no. Not only did it take every iota of concentration-and some flexibility-but my supply was quickly dwindling. Not to mention having to impale myself. Again.
I am so fortunate to have become part of a T1D women's support group, the Diva Diabetics. I reached out to them for advice and they quickly came to my aid. They reassured me that this was not uncommon and to call Dexcom. And, yes, I would need to replace the sensor. So, I stretched, checked the wind, and prepared to put on the new sensor. The pie appeared! Yay! But wait, so did the hourglass. BOOOOOO! Another fail. The emotional trauma of this experience left me exhausted and because of the time, I went to bed knowing that I would call Dexcom first thing in the morning. I did not like the feeling of going to sleep without my CGM. Boy, did I get used to it, or what?! Each night, I set the receiver on my nightstand and I plug the lil fella in to charge. Creature of habit.
The next morning, I called Dexcom. AMAZING! So supportive and willing to help. I spoke to a customer service representative who took care of the business-yes they will replace the 2 sensors that failed. Then I spoke to a patient care specialist who walked me through the 3rd sensor (and my final in this batch) application, just in case it was operator error (aka ME!).... When the personal wrestling match was over-again-I held my breath and the pie appeared. And the antenna symbol which had been missing during the last 2 attempts. Victory! I thanked the specialist and hung up. YAY! Back in business! But wait...it took longer this time, but the hourglass appeared. And the words of doom: SENSOR FAILED!!! WAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
I called Dexcom. Again. Luckily, the phone conversation was just as pleasant as the first. During a frustrating and puzzling time, this is extremely important. After 3 sensor fails, they agreed to send me a brand new transmitter (the brains of the operation). In fact, they shipped it overnight, along with the equipment needed to properly insert it. I opened all of the packages and I laid all of the pieces on my bathroom counter. Eerily, it looked as organized as an episode of Dexter. I called Dexcom. Again. I should of put them on speed dial. Anyhoo, we walked through the steps of changing the receiver's serial number and they wished me luck.
I went through the now-familiar steps of putting on a new sensor. I clicked the transmitter into the sensor and hit the START NEW SENSOR option on the receiver. Then I had to wait.... I had an antenna. I had a pie. So far, so good!
I was in my kitchen when I felt the receiver buzz in my pocket. I was somewhat nervous to see what the receiver's screen would show me. Fortunately, through one squinted, fearful eye, I saw the 2 familiar red drops indicating it was time to enter my blood and calibrate.
VICTORY!!! Sweet victory. My sensor was back in business. And so was I.
Thank you, Divas. Thank you, Dexcom!