Monday, July 17, 2006

The Temperamental Dex

Jack put in his 3rd sensor on Saturday. Two hours later he calibrated it (one finger stick from each hand), and started getting readings. But a short while later, he said that he felt low. The Dex showed 146. A finger stick showed 46 - ouch. The rest of the evening didn't fare much better, with huge discrepancies between The Dex and Jack's meter. We have a couple of hypotheses for this: (1) It takes a while after a new sensor is inserted for the readings to stabilize. Jack's heard that it sometimes takes a sensor a day to get the most accurate readings. (2) His BG was wildly fluctuating (most plummeting down) during the period after the calibration. But increased finger sticks & inputting that data into The Dex drastically improved readings.

By 11pm that evening, he wasn't getting any readings at all. Nada for 3 hours. So he restarted his session and the calibration process (yeah, it woke me up at 1am to demand those 2 finger sticks). Since then, it looks like it's been ok.

The Dex does lose contact every now and then, notably at night. Jack keeps the receiver on his night stand. Is is possible that when he lies on top of the transmitter the signal is lost? Supposedly the signal should easily traverse sheets/blankets/mattress. Ah well - this is still no worse than not having The Dex...

How The Dex Affects My Responsibilities

Last night I woke up to its vibration and nudged Jack so he could check it. He looked at it, then turned around and went back to sleep. So then I was left in the dark, wondering, "Did he consciously decide to ignore the alarm, or was he just groggy from sleep and just fall back asleep? Should I get up to check it myself and nag him to get juice/bolus, or assume he can take care of his own regulation?" Hmm - what a conundrum. Bad spouse that I am, I just turned around and went back to sleep.

This morning, he said he'd expressly ignored it because it showed 79, but the line was pretty steady. Then we looked at the data, and it showed a dip into the 50's, and a subsequent rise into the 80's. So it was ok this time, but he should probably have had a little juice.

Since The Dex, I've felt my responsibilities lighten a bit. Jack is *mostly* alarmed by it when he's **about** to go too low, so takes action then. As opposed to finding himself in a state where he is no longer able to make decisions. We've had many less situations when I'm nagging him to drink juice, although it does still happen. Sometimes his BG plunges so rapidly that The Dex isn't quite caught up yet (my hypothesis).

Money Money Money

Believe it or not, our monthly expenses have decreased since Jack's been on The Dex. He was able to use his first sensor for 6 days (the insertion site hurt by then) and his second for 10 days (probably could have gone longer, but the tape holding the sensor came off). Even if we had bought the system at full price, we would have recouped the money in about 4 months. So all in all, a savings!

The Dex (not including transmitter/receiver):

- $35/sensor, 1 sensor/8 days (average) = $131.25/30 days
- $0.90/strip, 2 strips/day = $54.00/30 days
- Total for 30 days: $185.25

Without The Dex:

- $0.90/strips,14 strips/day = $378/30 days
- Total for 30 days: $378

9 Comments:

At 17/7/06, Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

I think it's great that you two can work with the system to get the most from it, rather than being very frustrated at it (which probably does happen too...).

But the ability to have some ideas on why it's not giving accurate information, and working to make that situation better is the key to productive information.

I think that the cost issues that you summarize at the end will play a big role in getting the insurance companies on line with covering the sensors. At first glance, the sensors seem so expensive, but looking at it against the retail cost of strips, it's a whole different picture.

 
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