My Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor sensor didn’t expire until tomorrow, but I actually changed it out last night and am starting it this morning. This may seem silly. Most people who use Dexcom try to get more days than the recommend seven out of the system, with stories circulating around the Diabetes Online Community world about sensors lasting up to 14 or 15 days. I’m not one who tries to squeeze life out of my sensors. I probably should be. It would save me a little bit of money if I was able to only use two or three sensors a month instead of four. But really, I’d much rather have more accurate senors and sensors that stick and stay stuck without causing a rash and frivolous scar tissue around my sensor site.
The sensor I had in until yesterday was OK, but it was typically giving me 20-30 points off of my fingersticks. That’s not bad as far as sensors go, typically the range of error is 20 points either way. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
Typically I allow sensors an overnight “wetting” period in order to get more accurate readings on the first day. I had problems with sensors failing prior to this practice. I also typically get “off” readings on the first day until the senor is fully calibrated. Now, I’ve got a 19 hour drive ahead of me tomorrow and Thursday as I head to Utah to start my internship at Dinosaur National Monument. I’ve done drives without Dexcom many times, but testing while driving is dangerous and frequently stopping isn’t quite ideal on long drives (it just makes them longer!). So the senor needs to be fresh enough to last but have been working long enough to be relied on for accurate readings.
One lost day of a sensor seems like it’s not very much, but in all actuality when covered by insurance it’s two dollars, and when paying out of pocket it’s almost 12 dollars. This is why when a sensor fails early for me, I usually wait the days in between then and when I would have started my next sensor to start a new one and rely on finger sticks those days. CGMS technology is very wonderful and has helped me very much in my care, but it kind of scares me that I’m getting too reliant on this technology.
We always have to plan ahead with diabetes. The CGMS has to be working at the right time. We have to have enough sugar with us, enough insulin, enough supplies. Impromptu can sometimes be difficult. I’m learning this this week since I’ve had only a week to plan for a six month endeavor. Planning ahead is always important, but sometimes it’s really hard.
Tomorrow bright and early my mom and I will leave for Utah. I’ve got some fantastic guest blogs lined up for the rest of this week, so be sure to check them out!