Serendipity and nagging finally paid off! If only I were talking about the lottery, but alas... Still, it's close enough to winning the jackpot: Jack is hooked up to the DexCom CGM! I have to give kudos to the DexCom rep who jumped through hoops to make this happen in a timely and cost-effective manner.
For insightful and detailed experiences recounted from the user's view, read Amy
's and Matt
's blogs. My observations after 1.5 weeks of living the The Dex:5-minute interval data is good:
- I have a much better idea of what Jack's BG is doing. Because: (1) he keeps gleefully telling me every ten minutes (ok, so this can get old), (2) I can check for myself if he's asleep, and (3) we see trends. This last point is crucial. Is it increasing? Is it decreasing? Now we know! As Amy wrote in this month's Diabetes Forecast, we're watching a movie instead of only looking at snapshots.
- And yes (contrary to official recommendations), Jack's based his treatment on its data, and prevented
countless highs and lows by:
* Reacting to The Dex's alarm when he exceeds his limits (80-160)
* Doing analysis of long-term trends (e.g. because he was consistently high at 4am and low at 8am/1pm/5pm, he's changed his basal insulin delivery around those times to great results)
* Monitoring in real time the effects of sleep, insulin, food, and time of day. It's much easier to adjust the regimen on-the-fly.
- It's easier to put things into perspective. Before The Dex, Jack became livid when his BG went far out of range (e.g. 350). But then we looked at this whole week's worth of data, and it only happened once. It absolutely helps to keep those spikes in perspective.
- Jack says he "loves it". I think he feels he has much better control, and that he isn't dealing with his diabetes with a blindfold on anymore.
- It's pretty fun to look at that line, especially when it's flat-lined around 100 for the past three hours!5-minute interval data is bad:
- We've had a couple of bad nights when The Dex has vibrated and yelped several times during the night. Well I guess that's good because it helps with the BG treatment, but bad because I get no sleep (couple that with baby & toddler interruptions, and I'm looking at 1-hour sleep intervals). Also, Jack's such a heavy sleeper that The Dex wakes me up, and then I have to wake him up. Nevertheless, I'll take a few sleepless nights over BG readings of 230 or 39.
- Jack can get rather obsessive about the readings. Yesterday he was in the 50's before, during, and for 2 hours after dinner. For some reason, being able to see the unusual trend real-time really worried
him. But I calmed him and it all resolved itself nicely (again, thanks to being able to see the trends).
- It's not going to keep the BG within range all the time. Because shit will happen. The BG will plummet and shoot up, despite the alarms, trending lines, and analyses. All we can hope is that it'll happen less often.Could be improved:
- We have noted, as have others, some inaccuracies in the readings. But we've been lucky, I guess, because the differences in The Dex's readings and Jack's meter haven't been more than 20 points off. e.g. Yesterday The Dex's reading was 49, and his meter came in at 67. Is 20 points a lot? IMO, it's acceptable because it's coupled with the trending data.
- We're still waiting for the software to be approved by the FDA (although the Dexcom rep and Jack's endo have it).
- Data display on the receiver could have been better designed.
- The transmitter is not waterproof! They've got "shower patches", but it still makes me nervous. We went swimming last weekend, and I swear that I saw some water in the patch, but Jack says it was ok.Finally...
Lastly, I can't prove this of course, but I firmly believe that Jack's had fewer extreme lows and highs, and less fluctuation from the norm. Yesterday, I sent Jack and the baby out for a walk, without my internal alarms going off. How about that?! And low and behold, Jack even grabbed an emergency source of glucose before he set off. Is it my imagination, or has he become more responsive & responsible over the past week?