Just over three weeks in and I am so excited that we started using the Dexcom CGM.
(Don’t know what that is? There’s a good explanation here)
First impressions? We love it. A CGM gives copious amounts of data, which is incredibly useful to a person with diabetes. It also alarms when BG is going too high, something we’ve been struggling with this year. We adjusted every single basal rate in November and were seeing better numbers before the Dexcom. Now, though, I’m excited to react to a 200 instead of a 275 or even higher. Of course, we’re also very happy to have an alarm for lows.
I’m impressed with how well it stays on. No issues at all with it coming off so far. We started while visiting my parents in Florida and Benny spent a lot of time in the pool. That was a problem with insets in the past, so I was prepared for it to come off (“just make sure you dive for the transmitter!!”). Even with 4 days of swimming for several hours at a time, it stuck fast. We use Skin-Tac as a prep but, so far, no tape over the sensor/transmitter.
I am disappointed that I can’t use the receiver on my night stand, or anywhere in my room. It’s just too far away and even near my door is out of range. When we realized that, we hoped Benny would keep it with him while he slept, but we spooked him the first night out. We set the high threshold too low the first night (before the CGM was really calibrated) and it alarmed three times, waking him up and freaking him out, before I just turned it off.
(My cousin is reading this and laughing. Her son with type 1 recently started on the same CGM. She left me a voice mail that I didn’t listen to that first night. What did it say? “Set the alarms higher than usual. It will alarm more than you want, before it’s calibrated.”)
Benny puts the receiver it back on his belt with his pump first thing in the morning. He likes the alerts set pretty tight – the noise doesn’t bother him during the day. We’ll eventually get the receiver back in his room – someone needs to hear the alarm if he goes low.
I’m also disappointed with how big and scary the inserter is. So far, Slade has put the sensor on Benny. I’m going to call my educator and see if she can spare an inserter for me to practice with. This part is harder than we thought it would be. After six and a half years on a pump, I guess I thought he’d be used to all the
stabbing insertions. We don’t use numbing cream for the inset any longer and, when he needs to, he does them himself. But the CGM needle is larger and seems to hurt a bit more.
The second insertion was pretty stressful – Benny almost decided he didn’t want a CGM anymore. But he toughed it out. The third change went better; he really likes having it and this was his call all the way. I’ve been asking him to think about a CGM for two years. I thought he was set this summer, but at our August checkup, he said no. I didn’t bring it up again, but in November, he told Dr. V he was ready. I’m glad I didn’t push, I can’t imagine how tough the sensor changes would be if he wasn’t on board.
What else? Right now, we’re asking Benny to wear a compression shirt when he plays basketball, just to protect the two sites from bumps, etc as much as possible. He’s pretty active so we’ll see how that works out. As usually, there have been some unexpected glitches (that first night, last week’s lost receiver scare) but overall I’ve been thrilled with this transition.
This is goofy, but I’ll share. We do a lot of nonsense singing in my house. If someone says “I hear music,” I have to sing “but there’s no one there.” We did a lot of “Baby it’s cold outside” last week. Now I keep asking Benny, “What does the Dex say?”(ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding) and Slade likes, “Calibrate, calibrate, dance to the muuuuusic.” We are so embarrassing.