We took advantage of a four-day weekend to head to my parents’ house in Florida. It was about as cold as it gets here in North Carolina, so it was nice to have a few days of sun. Benny’s Dexcom sensor was hanging by a thread when we left on Thursday; after close to two weeks we knew it was coming out any minute. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal but my husband didn’t travel with us.
Since we started using the CGM in December of 2013, Slade is the only one who’s inserted the Dexcom sensor. He does a great job. He’s fast, like all the advice says you need to be, and he and Benny have a routine. It’s to the point that if Slade’s got a late meeting and the Dexcom comes off, we’ll just wait until the morning. It’s a little weird that I’ve never done it, since we’ve always been a great team on the diabetes care for all these years, but it’s working.
When the sensor came off two days into our trip, I didn’t expect Benny to let me put a new one on. And that would’ve been okay. I love using the Dexcom, but we managed diabetes for 7 years without it. To my surprise, Benny said he was ready for me to give it a try. “I’ll set it up, Mom,” he said, helpfully pulling the tape off the inserter and positioning it on his stomach. “You just push the plunger, pull it out and be fast. Like Dad.” He removed the “safety” and looked at me expectantly.
From a purely cosmetic perspective, the Dexcom inserter is one of the most poorly-designed devices I’ve ever seen. It’s terrifying to look at – you either think “giant needle” or “gun.” There’s a reason you can’t find any pictures of the inserter on the Dexcom website. The insertion process is also completely unnatural. The instructions even say, “Your first sensor insertion will not feel natural.” Very reassuring.
There’s a plunger and a collar. You’re supposed to put your fingers above the collar for insertion and then switch and put your fingers below the collar to pull the plunger back up. It’s a bit complicated (and unnatural!) but I love the CGM itself and I know it’s made a difference in our diabetes management.
I willed myself to be calm. “No problem, dude,” I said. “Let’s do this.”
Benny pinched up his skin (which helps) and counted 3-2-1. I pushed the plunger but as I pulled back he shouted, “Mom, you’re done! Stop! You’re going to yank the whole thing off!” I was working so quickly, I had already pulled the collar back without realizing it.
“That was great, really fast! You were even better than Dad,” Benny said as he clicked off the applicator and popped the transmitter into the new sensor. We were done. I did it!
“I have to tell you something,” I said to Benny. “I was really nervous.”
“Then you should always be nervous, because that didn’t hurt one bit.” Benny smiled, “I can’t wait to tell Dad!”
It’s nice to be back on the team. I guess nervous is my secret weapon!
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Doesn’t this look completely natural? Nothing to be nervous about here! (Sensor insertion at 2:00)