I neglected to tell you all that I’ve been outfitted with the new DexCom SEVEN wireless continuous glucose monitor. I’m on Day 4 today, and so far feeling rather ambiguous about the whole affair. Which is a little unfair, because this version definitely is better than the original. It’s just that I’m still a little disgruntled from my first experience. Allow me to explain:
I wore DexCom’s STS three-day-wear CGM unit for five months last year, from June through November. (Oh why, oh why, Dear Lord, do these opportunities always pop up right at the outset of bathing suit season?)
I was extremely excited to try continuous monitoring, probably with rather unrealistic expectations for something so new and tentative as to be approved for “adjunct therapy” only. This means, of course, that the FDA is warning patients not to base their insulin dosing or other therapy decisions on the CGM data, due to its indeterminate accuracy. Ugh.
Anyway I was an eager and devoted CGM user despite the numerous inconveniences:
1) requirement to calibrate multiple times/day using the OneTouch monitor, which requires a VERY BIG blood drop that must be loaded onto the test strip in one fell swoop — or you’ve wasted a strip
2) need to schlep around yet TWO MORE diabetes devices (the DexCom & OneTouch) plus cable to connect them
3) necessity to keep the unit “in range,” i.e. very near my body in order to get readings
4) an unclear screen that kept defaulting to this: “- – -”, so you never knew whether the thing was calibrating or had just pooped out
5) not waterproof, meaning you had to use plastic covers to the tune of $1 apiece for every shower, bath, or swim. The patches also irritated the skin somethin’ awful
6) loud alarms that cannot be adjusted or silenced
7) accuracy issues! The unit CONSISTENTLY read me as too low overnight even though I was in the 80-100 range, therefore the unit would CONSISTENTLY beep loudly and wake me up at night for nothing
Sometime in the middle of last November, I’d just had it. I did get some good “trend data,” but not worth the inconvenience day-in and day-out with no end in sight. (I’m probably the only fool who wore it so consistently anyway)
So now I’ve been offered the chance to try DexCom’s new 7-day-wear version, which purports to solve many of the issues with the old edition. First off, it’s waterproof. Hallelujah for that! No more uncomfortable patches necessary.
It also has a nice clear “status window” in the upper right-hand corner, so you do know if it’s calibrating, searching for a signal, or perhaps pooped out. That helps me warm up to the unit a little.
This one’s supposedly much more accurate, but I haven’t seen heaps of evidence for that yet. I’m still having problems with issues #6-7 above, and even had to toss the unit out into the hallway last night for the sake of our REM and our marriage.
I’m also still bothered by issues #1-3 above. I don’t like to wear the Receiver hanging off me (it’s wireless for a reason, for goodness sake!) So I keep it in my purse. Every time I go upstairs and said purse is downstairs, or vice-versa, we lose contact. Ugh.
It’s a quality of life thing, ya know?
Anyway, I’ve still got 3 days on this one and then 3 more sensors to go, if I choose to continue. I know my endo will want me to gather as much trend data as possible. ‘Cause that’s where the value of CGM really rests right now.