Baby, I got them CGMS Blues

Hmmm… there should be a BB King song in there somewhere

Well, I’ve had the Dexcom CGMS for about a month now and I am of very mixed emotions about it. Here’s my dilemma…

I have found the Dex to be extremely accurate for me. Everyone I have spoken to at Dexcom has been very polite, attentive to my problem and worked with me to get it take care of. Now the bad…

Package arrives with a brand new Dexcom 7+ CGMS. Shiny. Read the quick start and start charging that bad boy up. It looks like it is charging, little battery icon is doing its thing. While it is charging I get in and set the date and time to match my meter. Check on it a couple of hours later and the screen is flashing “Dexcom initializing…” over and over and over and over. Call tech support, who overnites me a new receiver. Not an impressive start, quality wise.

Get the new receiver and go thru the process again, this time it works. All set and ready to lock-and-load my first sensor!

This is one place where the Dex is vastly superior to the MM system. Each sensor has an inserter attached to it, so it is at the correct angle, every time (the MM makes you set/guesstimate the angle before insertion). You never even see the needle, it is all enclosed, The MM needle really is a big scary thing.

Now I attach the transmitter and tell the Receiver to Start New Sensor. Here is another place where the Dex is better. It is only a 2 hour start up. The MM has you test at 2 and then at 6 hours to start it up, you really can’t start those in the evening unless you don’t mind being up until midnite, So you have to do it first thing in the morning or during the day at the office if possible. After the Dex 2 hour startup, it wants 2 blood tests and then you are off.

Oh that first sensor! I was in love! It was dead on, matched my meter within a few points. The MM often seemed like a random number generator at times. I’ve blogged about it before…. Calibrated it twice a day and it was a beautiful thing for the whole 7-day sensor life. I haven’t tried to see if I can get an extra few days yet.

Then the blues begin…

Out of the first 6 sensors, I have had to have 4 replaced. Yes that is a 66% failure rate. And 3 this weekend alone, including 1 replacement they had already sent me. Combine that with basically having a DOA receiver, I am not a happy camper at the moment and may have to return it if it doesn’t start delivering on my expectations.

Of the 4, only 1 has had a Sensor Fail error. Of course, that happened after I had left the house and was out doing errands. Not a big deal particularly except for the fact I tested an hour or so after that alarm and was at a 45. It sure could have been handy then…

The worst problems are when I get the ??? showing up in the status box, 3 out of the 4 have had this problem. The unit doesn’t sound an alarm when this happens so you have no clue that there is an issue. It really loves to do this overnight so basically it just stops. Attempting to restart the sensor doesn’t seem to do a damn thing.

One nite that this happened, I came to from a low. A dangerous one. When I came to, I was basically paralyzed. Knowing I was in trouble, but unable to do anything. I was finally able to get a hold of my pump, but couldn’t operate it. Luckily I was able to physically remove the insulin cartridge from the pump and just had to lie there, drifting in and out, until I could get some tabs in me. This is the reason I have a CGMS!

Other things that are issues:

  1. There is no alarm history. The folks at Dexcom can see them, but there is no way for a user to. So I have no idea if the alarm went off that nite and I didn’t hear it or it had already gone into ??? mode. I need to be able to see everything that is going with a device as critical as the CGMS. They say they are hoping for that to be in the next version, but honestly, it should already be there.

  2. On the MM, you could scroll back thru the graph and see what your reading was at a certain time. The Dexcom doesn’t have that functionality. You have to download the receiver to the Dexcom software to be able to see that info. This is just cumbersome and a pain. This is another one of those usability things that should have been discovered prior to launch.

The Tech Support Manager I talked to today is also a T1 and uses the Dex CGMS with a MM pump, so it was nice to talk to someone who was actually able to understand where I was coming from. They’ve given me a couple of things to try to help with the ??? issues.

First thing, she said that she has better results starting the sensors in the morning than in the evening, which is usually when I do it. They are not sure why, but it may have something to do with how the interstitial fluid can pool somewhat while you are sleeping. So I’ll try that on the next one.

She also said that it might help, but probably not, to keep the receiver closer to me than the nightstand during the night. I always have pockets on whatever I’m sleeping in for my pump so that is no problem to do.

The folks at Dexcom have been very pleasant, even when I’m expressing my frustration with the sensors and lack of alarm history. I really hope that this can work out, I really need a device like this, esp since the cats just aren’t much help with any of this stuff. Worthless little s***s lol

Well, we’ll see what happens

Today’s snarky comment: What do you mean Baylor beat Texas? Next you’ll be telling me that man-made global warming isn’t real

Oh man. I hope they get it together because I am ready to dump the MM one. That scary freaking needle is enough of a reason besides the inconsistant readings.

take care my friend.

Thanks George, I really hope it will work out too. The accuracy of this device is so much better than the MM, now if it will only work…

We have had some issues with sensors lately as well. As a result, Caleb has taken a leave of CGM for the last couple of weeks. The good news is that from the months of information that DexCom provided, his numbers have been absolutely great - better than ever. I have been able to learn so much about his settings and reactions to food, etc. I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall though - any day now.

I believe it really helps to keep the receiver in bed with you. Caleb’s was ??? at night when it was on the nightstand. It was as if it went to sleep when he went to sleep and woke up when he woke up. I don’t even think it’s proximity because it is not closer to him now. I feel (and I am probably completely wrong) that the transmission works better through the soft surfaces of the bedding than the hard surfaces of his windowsill or nightstand. I know - it’s crazy, but this is my warped belief. :slight_smile:

Thanks Lorraine

The info is definitely worth the trouble. I was able to get my last A1c of 5.8 with the crap info I was getting with the MM, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this will help.

I tried it clipped to my pocket last nite and it still worked this morning, so maybe that is part of the issue. Never got an out of range alarm or anything. It really does need an alarm for the ??? tho

Yes - that’s a good point. You have no clue that the “???” is there unless you’re looking and that’s hard to do when you’re sleeping!

I tuck it under Caleb’s pillow or in the Navy suit of his buddy, Talon, which sleeps next to him. Maybe you can take a trip to Build-A-Bear soon and get a husky of your own! :slight_smile:

hmmm… I think my unicorn might get jealous if I was to bring a husky in to our bed…

Oh, scott. I’ve had the same sorts of problems. I’m pretty sure that Dexcom had a bad batch of sensors. The last four I’ve used have lasted the full week (except for the one I decided to roll off in my sleep, it lasted 5.5 days, thanks arm site). I think if you just keep going things will get better. Plus, you’ll be used to them, your body will be used to them, and things will just be more in sync.

Thanks Sara Jane, I’m hoping so too

When I first started using the Dex, I was plagued with the ??? readings. I figured out why pretty quickly: I was using my abdomen, which (frankly) had been badly scarred from using the MM CGM. Once I started experimenting with other, fresh sites, I got fantastic results. My current favorite is my butt. I place it 1-2 inches below where the waistband of low-rise jeans would be. It doesn’t interfere with my clothes, and I’m not sitting on it at all. I don’t feel it even when I’m laying down because of the natural curve of my butt (no fat ass jokes, please ;-))

The first day of a new sensor is always wacky, but since I started using this site, I’ve yet to get less than 10 days out of a sensor (except for two Failed Sensor incidents, which were promptly replaced by DexCom. I agree that they’ve probably had a bad batch of sensors because they’re not even asking a lot of questions when I call to report a failed sensor).

Trust me on this one - give the butt a try!

Oh, and I LOVE your snarky comment.

Thanks for the tip, Shannon

I’m not going to be able to use my butt simply because I live alone and would not be able to reach around there well enough to get the sensor inserted.

This whole thing is just frustrating because I just started using it and have had an inordinate amount of quality issues. If I had been on it for a while I don’t think I’d be as cranky about it, just annoyed

I guess that means that your arms are out of the question, too :frowning: How about your thighs? Any site other than abdomen?

Believe it or not, I can actually handle the butt insertion on my own (all you dirty minds, move along . . . ). It’s not always the prettiest of insertions, but it works.

My abdomen isn’t scarred, yet anyway. I never used it for MDI and have only been pumping for about 15 months. I used to use the MM on my upper thighs which seemed to be the best place for it, so that’s a good idea to give that a try

Good luck!