Dexcom trial: A mixed bag

Today is my first day on the Dexcom trial. And it’s a mixed bag.

I inserted the sensor this morning. It took a little help from my husband, because I put it on my upper arm and we couldn’t figure out how to detach the applicator portion from the sensor pod. After a bit of fumbling, we finally figured out that we did not have the transmitter latch all the way down against my arm, so the pod would not release the applicator. Once we figured that out, it came a part easily enough.

The actual insertion was not too bad, although I did feel it. I think I would get better at it with practice, though, so the pain issue is not a big concern. The applicator really helps with this. It is kind of awkward, but once you use it once or twice, I think that you probably get pretty good at it, and it helps get the sensor at the right angle, keep it going in straight, etc. An added bonus is that it sort of hides the REALLY long inserter needle from you. Now, about eight hours after insertion, I can still feel the sensor under my skin, but it is not too bad. Occasionally I will turn my arm just right and it will pinch a bit, but mostly it just sort of feels like an infusion set.

The sensor pod and sensor are pretty low profile, but being the klutz that I am, I managed to get it caught in both my sports bra and my shirt sleeve this morning when I was getting ready for work. The tugging was a bit uncomfortable, but the adhesive held firm. I imagine you get used to having the thing attached to you, though, and automatically compensate during these sort of maneuvers.

The bad news is that it has been pretty inaccurate all day. It has been off by as little as 10 mg/dL (this was nice, but unfortunately fleeting) and by as much as 50 mg/dL. The worst part is that it is constantly buzzing to tell me that I am either low or dropping, even though my sugar has been primarily in range. I even changed the low alert to 70 (the default is 80,) but this has not really helped. I have been calibrating quite often in the hopes that this would help the sensor find the right level … this seems to be helping a smidge.

Another con is the size of the receiver. This thing is huge, and I am struggling to find a good place to stash it. You might remember from my maternity clothes post that most of these clothes do not have good pockets and certainly don’t have waistbands. So it is difficult to find a place to attach the receiver. Also, the receiver itself does not have a clip, so you have to use the case if you want to clip it to something. The case that came with the loaner that the Dexcom rep sent me for the trial absolutely wreaks of cigarette smoke, so I am not using it. Instead, I am carrying the receiver around with me, leaving it lay out on my desk, or tucking it into my sock (although it keeps trying to pop out.)

Perhaps the best part about the CGM is the trending arrows, which tell me if I am heading up or down and at what rate. I’m finding that this helps me decide when to test and treat. That is, if I am heading up or down fast (one or two arrows straight up or straight down), I will test and, most likely treat with either insulin or food. This is helping me treat before I get too low or too high.

All-in-all, I am not sure how impressed I am. It is still early, but, as I suspected, the inaccuracy is downright annoying. I’m definitely going to ride it out, though. Maybe I will get used to it, or maybe it will get better. The main goal here, of course, is to stay in range more often. After this trial, I will have to compare my BGs during the trial to my pre-trial BGs and see how they look. If I was able to stay in range more often, than maybe it is worth both the investment and the annoyance, at least during the pregnancy.

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2 Comments on “Dexcom trial: A mixed bag”

  1. Kathy Says:

    I know what you mean about the inaccuracy. After the 2nd day mine usually evens out but it is rarely spot-on. Still I agree, the trending arrows are a godsend. You might want to try turning the low alarm farther down, I actually leave mine disabled completely and rely on the default one (55 mg/dl). Most of the time you’ll catch a low long before due to the trending arrows. Sometimes at night I’ll reset it to 70 or 80 though. I use the high alarm a lot (unfortunately) but it really does help keep me in range.

    I wear mine on my upper arm a lot and find it a good spot, abdomen not so much. Thigh works too but I usually catch it (painfully!) on my pants a couple times, usually in the night or first thing in the AM before I’m fully awake. Yow 😦

    Good luck!

  2. Autumn Says:

    I find I get the best readings in the back of my thighs or my lower abs. The extra prego weight around the hips works nicely too but I find that the waistband from my pants tends to tug at it. Everytime I put it in my arm it’s off by 20-50 points. Plus I sleep on my side so anything in my arms just annoys me.
    I also find that if I do calibrations about 15-20 min apart for about an hour then the Dexcom gets in line with my meter faster. Good luck on finding the site that works best for you.

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