Dexcom G6: Cannot Remove Casing from Transmitter

I’m 72 with poor strength in both hands from arthritis. When it’s time to replace the sensor on my G6 I am totally incapable of removing the clear plastic casing holding the transmitter. I have used a pairing knife and screw driver and it still takes forever (and broken a number of fingernails). I called Dexcom and was told to use a butter knife which was really a failure. I can see and feel the small “lip” to pull down and release the transmitter, but I simply don’t have the strength to pull down effectively. This situation is causing a lot of anxiety.

Does anyone else have this problem? Any hints on a better way other than a knife or screw driver

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@Kathlyn1:

If you watch this short (39 second) video from Dexcom:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TcLDh2EK7uY

Which step is hardest for you?

  1. Peeling the sensor off your skin?

  2. Snapping the clear part of the sensor that surrounds the transmitter?

  3. Pulling the grey transmitter out of the snapped sensor “surround”?

Or all three steps problematic?

It sounds as if you struggle with the snapping part in step 2, but I’d like to be certain before I look for a tool to help …

With that information I will try to suggest some tools that may increase your leverage to make the job easier …

Note: my younger brother has severe RA, so I’m at least indirectly familiar with the nature of the challenge …

Stay safe!

John

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I have a problem with step 2, I can’t seem to be able to pull down and “snap the lip”. It is so small and has no dept to grasp it well. Can’t grasp it nor do I have the strength. I damaged one transmitter trying to pry it out of the casing and Dexcom was so good to send me a new one. Thank you for your help. The lady I spoke with at Dexcom told me they have the same complaint from others on the G6

I tried a couple ideas that might work. I also have a hard time grasping small things.

Using needle nose pliers, I was able to hold the small lip. (Right hand). With left hand on back portion I bent it down, holding pliers firm.

If you don’t have pliers, I tried similar approach using a fork. I put the small lip of sensor between fork tines on right, holding fork handle in hand near end of transmitter. Then pushed down on other side with my left hand. One good push will break it open if you’re able to grasp fork steady without fork slipping from edge.

(Pliers worked better if you have them and able to squeeze them.).

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@Kathlyn1:

What I was going to suggest was a slight variant on @MM1’s idea to use needle nose pliers. What, I think, may be a slight improvement on that idea is something that might be described as “adjustable, locking needle nose pliers”.

And do I have a deal for you …

I am going to test out the tool that I think will work (it is in my garage …) the next time I change sensors. I think that will be on Thursday. If it works, I will ship the tool to you with instructions … no cost, no shipping, and no trips to orange or blue box stores.

If it works, I’ll send you a Private Message asking for your shipping address.

I’ll be in touch after my next experiment.

Stay safe!

John

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I choose number three for arthritis reasons…:wink:

Try an old time pop can (aka beer can) opener, The piece that grabs the lip of the can may grab the Dexcom lip. The other idea is there is an opener for popping the lids of pop cans with the pull tab. Either of this tools may be a good tool for you.

Let us know how you solve the problem. Sharing is spreading knowledge.

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@Kathlyn1:

Tonight was sensor change day for me, so I ran an experiment. Based on @Jay6‘s suggestion to use an old fashioned beer can opener, I altered and simplified my proposed “helper”.

Here is a picture of a paint can opener which is basically a metal rod with a little hook on the end of it. You can find them for less than a dollar is just about any paint store or hardware store. If you don’t want to run the risk of going shopping, send me your mailing address in a PRIVATE MESSAGE and I will send you one … I happen to have two, so it will not inconvenience me in the least.

In the second picture, I have the just-removed sensor (weighed down by a bottle of liquid soap instead of my thumb so that I could take the picture). As you can see, the sensor is hanging over the edge of my bathroom vanity and the hook of the paint can opener is hanging on the clear plastic that surrounds the transmitter. Note: I am not hanging it on the little plastic tab.

To snap the ring, I simply held the sensor with one thumb, grabbed the paint can opener with my other hand, held it so that the beer can opener end of the opener was about 30 degrees away from the vanity (so that the hook grabbed the plastic a bit better) and pulled down until the plastic snapped.

I hope that this may help you with sensor changes … and let me know if you’d like me to send you my spare paint can opener.

Stay safe!

John

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Most paint stores (dealers - Home Depot, Lowes, Mennards, etc) give these away free. Ask.

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My wife has rheumatoid arthritis. And while she doesn’t have to deal with my G6 (other than hearing it beep) she has done pretty well using pliers etc to help her with some particular tasks.

The magic for bending the clear plastic away, I might think, could be to hold the transmitter +sensor at the narrow with pliers, and use the edge of a table to grab the lip of the clear sensor casing and bend it back.

Again, it’s all about that 90 degree force to bend it back.

Some small “nippy cutters” giving strategic cut at the bending point of the clear casing might help too.

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Some people remove the transmitter while it’s still attached to their body as part of a sensor restart procedure. In this situation you can’t break the holder as you would when changing a sensor because the transmitter needs to be reattached after about 15 minutes. In this case you can pop the transmitter out of the holder by sliding a test strip or thin piece of plastic in the slot between the holder and the transmitter. Very little force is required. You could do the same thing with the sensor off your body.

I don’t do this very often as I rarely restart sensors, but maybe someone who does this more often can provide better instructions. I know there are many people here who do this routinely.

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Different folks are affected by arthritis in different ways. My wife’s rheumatoid arthritis has made holding even a pencil very difficult for her in any normal way. It’s not a matter of strength, but that several important finger joints are essentially frozen. So a lot of things you and I might think of doing as easy, like picking up a guitar pick and sliding it in between the sensor side and the transmitter, are difficult for her without extra tools or without using a completely different approach to holding something.

As an example, a usual faucet handle is completely impossible for her to grasp. However a different style (one with a long paddle to push or pull) works very well.

When I had frozen shoulder a couple years ago I myself developed a little bit of first-hand appreciation of the limits others might have. I tried to learn to put on a T-shirt when I couldn’t lift one or the other arms above my head. In fact the solution I went for eventually was to not wear T-shirts but instead get button-down shirts which I could handle. At same time, my wife can’t handle buttons at all.

I’m thinking the OP has some particular angle that is impossible for her to push or pull at. You and me would probably use our thumb as a fulcrum where the sensor bends, and an edge of a finger to grasp the lip and pull it down at a right angle. But others have different unique limitations that require more cleverness. I’m optimistic the bottle-opener technique could work!

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John, you certainly do have a deal for me! Thank you for your generous offer. If you let me know which needle nose plier’s brand and size work for you I can order a pair from Amazon and save you the shipping.

Thank you for your suggestion. I did try a fork once but it didn’t work well for me.

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Sounds like a good removal process. I will give it a try the next time I change sensors. Thank you.

@Kathlyn1:

I actually haven’t tried the locking needle nose pliers. But, for me at least, the paint can opener worked quite well. It is also lighter, cheaper, and with nothing to adjust.

Here is a link to one at Lowe’s:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Warner-4-5-in-Metal-Paint-Can-Opener/3032230?cm_mmc=shp--c--prd--pnt--google--pla--133--painttools--3032230-_-0&placeholder=null&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhorTicHX6gIV0sDACh34Qw7eEAQYASABEgJpAPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

As you can see, it is only at $0.58 cent item.

On Amazon, I can see nothing less than several dollars.

As I indicated, I have a spare … and would be happy to send it to you if you send me a Private Message with your mailing address.

Stay safe.

John

There is a simple and cheap tool almost made for this job - it’s a 0.5mm plastic guitar pick! The .5mm thickness is perfect to slip into the holder and they are a fair size to hold and manipulate. They are easy to purchase from Amazon or eBay but if you live in the UK I have a few spares and could probably send one to you.

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I use a used Blood Glucose test strip to remove my cgm. The trick first is to find the right place to insert it but if Kathlyn1 is doing this off her body, it is much easier. I just insert straight down on each long side and keep inserting until I feel it hit a tiny bump. It will pop up on one side. I know the spot now though. I found the youtube videos not helpful because most did not show the exact place to insert. The insertion was covered by their hand! Trial and error works though.
I make sure I keep a couple used strips in my meter case.

The original poster, @Kathlyn1 is not trying to do a restart. She has removed both sensor and transmitter from skin. She has difficulty bending back the sensor (plastic casing), to remove transmitter for use with next inserted sensor.

True, but the restart process requires removal of the transmitter from the sensor, which is what the OP is trying to do.