Yes, I know, I'm very delinquent in updating you all on my DexCom use. Everybody wants to know if I'm still using it, and what my experience has been. Well now, it's a mixed bag, that's what. By all accounts, considering the tsuris (that's Yiddish for trouble/inconvenience) it's caused, I should've given it up weeks ago. But I can't. I won't!
Reader MikeG summed it up best in a recent comment here:
"(DexCom) is a buggy, first-gen product that takes a lot of work and is often inaccurate... Having said that, ... I would rather go back to 18th century bloodletting than try to treat my diabetes without my Dex. I've also found the cost to be much less than I expected."
My thoughts exactly. So you want to know the specifics on why I continue to use my buggy, still-expensive, and too-often-beeping continuous monitor? (photo courtesy of Insulin Factor)
Well, first off, Mike also points out that in three months, he's only had two hypos (as opposed to 1-2 per week). Bravo! Me too, pretty much. And Mike's A1c has dropped an entire point, from 7.5 to 6.5. He feels he can do many things now that he couldn't do before. Bravo, bravo, Mike! I'm chasing your record here. I can't prove it yet, but I feel that my A1c is dropping. And wearing the CGM gives me a huge sense of confidence; I know which way my BG is going, so I don't have to suppress that subliminal panic when I work out or do other activities that make my BG swing.
As far as the day-to-day, it's a constant adventure:
Let's see, I've jumped in the shower forgetting the waterproof cover patch. Oops! Gets you a "shower spike" reading of 380 and above. Sometimes the unit recovers on its own. Sometimes you have to re-initiate it, as if you were starting up with a new sensor.
I've forgotten the shower patch was there, and walked around half a day with my Dex under a plastic cover. Big OUCH removing the patch after that long.
Some nights it has me just under or over my alarm settings (<70 and >220), even though a fingerstick reading shows that I'm OK, so the Dex keeps beeping us awake. Bad Dex! On those nights, my strategy is to stuff it under some clean clothes in the laundry basket in our hallway so we don't have to hear it all night. That went well, till my 9yr-old asked what that bleeeeeeeppping sound was? Sorry, honey.
Ooh, and here's the big one: remember how frustrated I was trying to calibrate the thing over and over while we were on vacation in Germany? Well, I called DexCom Tech Support when we got home and told them what for. Turns out my unit was part of a "lemon batch" shipped in late June, that had problems with calibration. So they sent me a brand spanking new unit via FedEx a few days later. All I had to do was plug in my transmitter's serial number, and now I'm good to go. Working MUCH BETTER these days, in terms of calibration (less often, and it "takes" the first time) and accuracy as well.
Still, for those who've emailed me asking my advice on getting one, let me remind you: "it's a first-gen product that takes a lot of work." At least the patient software is available now. I've got to get on ordering that, although the extra charge kind of makes me mad.