Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

My new best friend

on January 18, 2013

One of the best things that happened last week?  The new G4 Dexcom continuous glucose monitor* (CGM) arrived at my door on Friday.   While it won’t cause the same kind of dramatic improvement in BG control that getting my first Dexcom CGM did almost a year ago, it does bring a certain new level of comfort and convenience to my life.  It does basically the same thing the old one did – provide continuous monitoring of my BG so that I can better manage my diabetes.  But it’s so much cooler looking than the old one and as shallow as that is, it actually makes a difference in my attitude. When you have to live with something 24/9/365, every little improvement is significant.

What do I like about this new model?

  1. It’s smaller and thinner. It fits in the change pocket of my pants – and it basically looks like a 4th generation iPod Nano.
  2. It’s pink. ‘Nuf said.
  3. The screen is in color.  High blood sugar readings show up on the graph in yellow, lows in red.  I didn’t really think that would make much of a difference to me, but I find that when I look at the graph now, I get a better perspective on how much time I spend in range, and how much I’m, well, not.  And it’s prettier.
  4. The buttons are quieter when you push them.  This is actually more important than you would think, since I push the buttons a lot (to enter a finger-stick BG or carbs, or insulin, or exercise….you get the idea.
  5. The battery charge lasts a lot longer and the indicator is easier to monitor.
  6. Instead of just marks on the graph for each hour, the time is given at each mark. This isnIMG_1876‘t a big deal when you are looking at the 3 hour screen, but when you get to 12 and 24 hours, having the times on there is great.
  7. It seems to me that everything on the screen is just sharper and clearer.
  8. More of the times and dates are changeable when you enter data. That means that when I forget to enter something I want recorded, I can do it later and set the time when I actually did it.
  9. The range is further (is that grammatically correct?).  While I had to be within 5 feet of the old model, this one is good from at least 20 feet, and I’m pretty sure it works even further away.  It also picks me up quicker if I have been out of range and come back into range.  I still can’t use it while I’m in the pool – I’ve tried putting it at the end of the pool and halfway down the lane on the side of the pool, but apparently the water kills the signal.  But once I’m back in the locker room, it finds me within a couple of minutes – this is really crucial, since after exercise, I really want to know what my BG is without having to poke my finger.
  10. It is remarkably accurate, especially in the lower ranges of BG (70-100). When I’m under 100, it is rarely more than 5 points different than a finger stick value.  In the higher ranges, it’s not quite so predictable – it seems to keep going up and up and up quite a while after my actual BG has turned and come back down.  Just means I have to be extra diligent about checking my BG before treating a high…..

What would I do differently if I were to design a CGM?

  1. Make the range of the graph on the screen adjustable.  Honestly, how many of us get into the 300s and up to 400 that often? Because the graph goes up that high, it squishes the numbers in the more typical range (40-250).  Most of the time, I only really use half the screen. If it were adjustable, then you could make it whatever is most appropriate to your own life.
  2. The screen would like up quicker when I hit the button. It only takes a few seconds, but when you are trying to be discreet and sneak a look at the screen, say, while you are teaching a Bible study, those extra few seconds can mean that you look like you would rather be somewhere else than where you are.
  3. Move the items on the Main Menu screen. The top two are great, but the third item is Profiles, which I don’t really mess with much once I’ve set them.  But Events (which is where you enter stuff like the carbs you eat, the insulin you give and exercise) is fourth on the list and you have to scroll down to get to it. It used to be on the first screen – much more convenient.
  4. The case is, um, well, less than desirable.  You have to unsnap and flip it down to see the G4.  And it’s black leather.  ugh.  Come on, Dexcom, get some pretty cases with a very simple design so that when I wear a skirt or dress without pockets I have options.  I don’t want to have to fumble with the case just to check my BG.

OK, well, that’s it for now.  Really I love this thing and I am grateful to have the resources that allow me to have upgraded to the new one.  I think every type 1 diabetic should have a CGM (well, and a pump, but that’s a different post) since it really makes a big difference in how well you can control your BG.  Yeah, it’s a pain (sometimes literally), but so totally worth all the inconvenience. And this new G4 has removed a lot of that inconvenience.  Great job Dexcom!

* A CGM works by measuring the glucose in the fluid just under the skin, which is pretty close to BG.  It checks it every 5 minutes and plots those readings on a graph on the screen.  It requires a sensor which has a little wire that goes under my skin to make those readings.  More info than you wanted? Sorry…..


One response to “My new best friend

  1. […] prompts a few more comments about the G4 that I either didn’t observe in my previous post, or that I just forgot […]

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