Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Dexcom G4 trial

I'm a glutton for diabetes related gadgets and new bits of kit, but more than that - I am always desperate to seek out new technologies that will help the management of my type 1.

Unfortunately the NHS doesn't share my belief in this, and as such things like CGM systems are very hard to get funding for. I could choose to self fund a CGM system, and it is something I am thinking about (and only something I can think about as my parents have offered to help me out with the costs), but it is really, really expensive.

I have the Animas Vibe pump, which is only avaiable on the European market at the moment. It has Dexcom integrated into in, and uses the latest sensors - G4.

I told my rep a few months ago that I was thinking about self funding, but I wouldn't be willing to pay out for the system before trialling it. So, she agreed that I could borrow a transmitter and have a free sensor for a week.

I went to the hospital on Monday to meet her and my DSN. My rep insisted that we needed to do the insertion in the presence of a health care professional, and I also suspect that it's because my team (who I am new to) haven't had anyone use a G4 sensor either. So - it all worked out well in that my DSN learnt some stuff and I got a sensor!

Only...the first sensor failed. We put it in, it began its warm up, but 30 mins in I got a 'sensor failure' warning. No sweat at that point, we just restarted the sensor. This happened a further 2 times before my rep decided it must be totally dead, and called Dexcom to report it.

I was really disappointed to be walking out the hospital with the sensor connected, but these things happen. So my rep said she would get a replacement one sent to me the next day (yesterday). I was out of the office all day but I swung by on my way home and as expected, the sensor was sitting on my desk waiting for me!

I wanted to put it in ASAP, but I was also wary of rushing it and not doing it properly. I caught the bus home, which felt like it took forever. I needed to go for a short run so I promised myself I'd put the sensor in as soon as I got back from my run - amazing how quick I got out the house with motivation like that! I did 2.69 miles in 30 mins and came home sweating like a pig. I had a bath and then put the sensor in.

Worried I would do something wrong, I did it all step by step, following the instruction manual. Whilst it does have a fair few steps to it (stick it on...remove transmitter key...push in sensor...pull back inserter needle...squeeze sides to release inserter...put transmitter in transmitter in place...remove key that clicks transmitter in...) they all flow pretty smoothly.

I was worried it would do exactly the same as the last sensor, but thankfully not! It picked up signal within a couple of minutes and I was able to see the large bar 'counting down' the 2 hour warm up window almost straight away. After 2 hours it prompted me to enter a BG, and 10 mins later I put in another one. And that was it! It started sending data!

I spent probably an hour just sat there, looking at it every few minutes. It was so cool! I watched myself fall, over a couple of hours, resulting in a hypo. It also woke me up in the night when it picked up a hypo, and I don't think I would have woken for that otherwise.

Speaking of the alarms - they are not as loud as I hoped they would be, but I am a fairly light sleeper, so I did hear all of them. I wore it around my waist last night so that it was close to the sensor, but tongiht I might try it clipped to my tshirt collar - a bit closer to my ears, and not tucked under my quilt!!

It picked up a hypo I had in the night, only 3.3 but I honestly don't think I would have woken up for it if the sensor hadn't alarmed. I wake up - or rather can't get to sleep - with most hypos, but I'd gone to bed really late so was pretty tired and conked straight out.

It also picked up a hypo just before I left for work this morning, and had just alerted me that I'm rising quickly. I've just done a finger prick test - 11.3 - and sensor says 12.5. That's the furthest out it's been so far, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it just gets better - I hear that after the first 24 hours the readings start to be much closer to finger prick tests.

C'mon little Dexcom, c'mon!