New Dexcom G5 for teenager; recommendations for separating out notifications

Hi All! Just got the new Dexcom g5 transmitter for Kennedy’s iphone. She is a little stressed because she if trying to figure out how to turn on and off her other app notifications without turning OFF her dexcom alerts on her iphone 6s. She’s worried about both getting in trouble for having the phone and it taking too long when her teachers tell her to put her phone up.

We DO have in her 504 plan that she can use the phone any time, but she still is afraid of getting in trouble.

I am going to send out an email today to her counselor about this new software to message each one of her teachers about it today. Basically if they see her on the phone the teachers can say absolutely NOTHING to her, as far as I am concerned, PERIOD.

The issue is the EASY way to silence the phone and put it on vibrate is just right at the side of the phone. That’s what she usually does, but we realize this will silence dex alarms, which she wants. So you have to go into your settings and silence texts from your friends that way. It’s not like it’s that big of a deal, it literally takes probably 10 seconds to do. But her experience is when her teachers say put the phone up, taking 10 seconds to change her settings will get her a detention.

There is essentially no way the teacher is going to be able to determine whether she is on the phone for diabetes or on the phone for personal use, unless the teacher is standing behind her, reading her phone, which they sometimes do.

I’d like to hear how others have handled this dex g5 issue for iphone for high school students, what adaptations you have made to 504 plans, AND what you have found works best to not get into a ■■■■■■■ match with your school administration.

Thanks all! Natalie

Sometimes it is impossible NOT to get into a p!$$!ng match with the school. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to choose my battles. (Believe me, I make every effort to avoid getting to the point of battle in the first place with the school, but that’s a whole different story…)

Have you thought about taking some time and physically showing your daughter’s school counselor, staff, and teachers how SHARE works (preferably with your daughter present) EMPHASIZING that, in this capacity, her cell phone is a MEDICAL DEVICE, one she needs to stay healthy? (I’d substitute “stay alive” for any eye-rollers.) The “cell phone as a medical device” approach helped my daughter immensely not to feel afraid to use her iPhone and to be her own advocate when anyone gave her any crap.

If you’d like, you can PM me so we can put our daughters in touch with each other if you think that would help. Hang in there, you two!

I should qualify my response above by stating that, although my daughter and I and her school got past the basic “cell phone as a medical device” hurdle (and it was a BIG hurdle, indeed), I did end up “compromising” (read “caving”) when two of her teachers and the school district nurse (we now deal with the district nurse–again, part of another story) just would NOT lay off us about her Dexcom alarms “disrupting” the class. They were pushing for my daughter to put her SHARE on vibrate (not possible) and wear it against her body (in a FlipBelt or such like) so she could “feel” her alarms. Needless to say, this is where I drew the line and I picked this particular battle. My daughter already wears two medical devices attached to her body 24/7 (her pump and Dexcom), and I was goshdamned if I was going to make her “wear” yet another thing! So I got her an Apple Watch and she now uses the haptic (G_d, I LOVE that word!) feature (instead of audibly alarming, it taps her wrist.) You may be thinking “Hmmmm, isn’t an Apple Watch itself another thing she has to wear?” Yes, you’re right, but she also views it as a cool new toy, and that makes all the difference in the world to me and her! And believe me, I made sure everyone complaining about the alarms knew exactly how much this little device set me back financially and that “I did my part” to keep the peace. Until the next time, that is…

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@NatalieHodge, your post sent me looking for the G5 user guide and reading up on alarms and alerts with the receiver and smart phone apps. I am not using the G5 system yet as I am using up the last of the current G4 transmitter.

My first reading of the guide tells me that the app can fail to alert or alarm (alarm = 55 mg/dl warning) if any of a variety of things happen. This list includes the volume being turned down or the earphones plugged in but not being used. I know how life can interfere with the best of intentions and high school can be an endless series of distractions.

If it were me, and I realize I am not a high school student, I would not rely on the smart phone app to notify me of essential blood glucose data. Missing a 55 alarm is a big deal, a matter of personal safety. I would use the G5 receiver during class time and then turn on the smart phone at other times.

I realize that this may not be an acceptable solution for your daughter and I sympathize with your objection to the unreasonable complaints voiced by the instructional staff. They really do need to tolerate an occasional alarm that could make the difference between an audible distraction and a full blown 911 paramedic class interruption.

I aslo use the Apple Watch. I agree with @rgcainmd that the tap on the wrist is both highly effective and not disruptive to any social situation. Since I’m not using the G5 yet, I don’t get the haptic blood sugar signals, but I understand that the watch can do this.

Good luck with your school diplomacy. I sometimes think the social side of diabetes is more challenging than the clinical side. It seems like adding unnecessary insult to a long-simmering injury!


OK Guys, here’s an update, K did figure out how to set her regular texts to vibrate and leave on her g5 alerts, she was just frustrated last night about having the notifications, because she feels like the time she has on her phone is the only time she has to NOT think about diabetes. We had it crash, and she’s noticing a mild battery drain with the bluetooth, BUT we are going to try it again for the next couple of days, I am almost wishing we waited till her finals were over because she is feeling a little overwhelmed, but her last a1c was 8.6 and she is already showing an average of 175 which correlates with an a1c of 7.1, so there is absolutely no question that her numbers are going to be better on this thing. She has said she wishes the notification says the ACTUAL number, not that " your blood sugar is high" or your blood sugar is low" etc… she want " Your blood sugar is 350 " or whatever the number actually is.

I have heard through the grapevine that g5 doesnt work on the apple watch YET, so I’m going to keep looking for an update on that. Perhaps it will on their next release.

Also good meeting with the school, they are actually all just incredibly amazed that this technology even exists, and since EVERYONE has a loved one with type two diabetes, they are really intrested in it. It’s really just a couple teachers that are a problem and we are going to deal with it. I basically went around showing the software to everyone who would take a look at it, so I think that is going to be an effective way, SHOWING how it works and just getting more and more people in our camp. Her counselor is sending out an email today which will include some screen shots, so they can understand how it works. I was CLEAR that under NO circumstance will ANY teacher take her phone away from her, period. Even if she has a proven offense of texting a friend during class, they STILL can’t take it from her. That is her fear right now. Speak softly but carry a big stick, right?

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Ha ha, clearly your school does NOT understand how 504 works. 504 law states that YOU are telling THEM what to do, rather than the other way around. It has taken me YEARS to really learn how to position myself when dealing with the school. There are certain among administration who get it and certain who don’t. In my experience you just have to find the ones who “get” 504, then go from there. I’m so glad she’s liking the watch!! I think we’ll adjust to this new thing, then once I catch wind of g5 working on the apple watch, maybe we’ll consider an upgrade. I have to keep in mind she can only take so much of the mental energy to CHANGE what she is doing at a time. I always let her know about the new tech, then just ASK her " do you want me to get you the blah blah blah? "

According to @mikep, the Apple Watch works with the G5. The wearer must use the Follow app however, rather than the Share app to get the alarms. I understand Dexcom is working on restoring that function to the G5 Share app. The G5 with the Follow app does give you the haptic tap on the wrist function, if I understand correctly.

I’m a middle school teacher and a type 1 Diabetic on a Dexcom G5. I found this feed looking for advice about my G5 since the alarm kept going off while I was teaching and it was causing disruption for the students since I couldn’t silence it or lower the volume. You think the teacher getting mad when a phone alarm goes off… imagine a classroom full of 7th graders when the the teacher’s phone goes off - oooooooooh… and then it happens a few times a period.

As a teacher and diabetic I just want to get my thoughts out there.

I worry about the way you’re approaching the situation with the school/teachers. As a teacher, I know how frustrating school bureaucracy can be and how this can be difficult to manage for a diabetic. I went through it growing up in public school myself. But I also felt the sting of your comments towards the teachers at these schools.

My read of the situation in which the teachers thought the alerts were disruptive is that they were indeed disruptive. Warranted, but still a loud noise in the classroom. However these adults don’t understand the situation properly or even what to suggest to make a disruption less obvious so they are left simply stating the obvious, that it is a disruption.

As a teacher whose class is disrupted by his own dexcom alerts, I have tried to make accommodations to my own issue by changing the tone so it is less intense or blocking off the speaker of my phone so that I can always see/feel but not hear the alert as loudly. My fear for these teachers is that they’re afraid to make any suggestions to help improve the situation of your child’s class because you see the 504 as telling the teachers what to do and therefore can’t make a suggestion. A 504 is agreed upon by parents and administrators, it is not just you telling them what to do. If it is in the 504 that they can’t tell you to put away the phone, then they darn well shouldn’t tell the child to put the phone away; but if the phone beeping is a distraction to a class, then you and the teachers should meet to find a solution, rather than looking at it as these teachers better not tell my child what to do! The teachers are likely intimidated by diabetes and don’t know how to help.

I apologize if this comes off in any negative way, I suppose it has turned into more of a plea from a teacher. Please don’t assume ill will or confuse ignorance with idiocy. Give teachers the benefit of the doubt and work with them to better understand diabetes and how the dexcom works while still being willing to see if there are things that your child can do that can still let her feel safe.

So just a note re: the Dexcom issue—what I do when I sleep is put the phone on airplane mode, then manually turn back on Bluetooth, leaving the volume on. Only thing that goes off that way are Dexcom and alarms, and I’m fine with turning off the phone/internet while I sleep (and probably is fine for her during school). It’s less ideal if you want to be able to still get calls—I really wish the Do Not Disturb feature were more customizable so you could set contact exceptions AND app exceptions, and then I’d use that instead. Maybe in a future iOS update…