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Finally got the Dexcom working!! A few questions

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by mo779, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. mo779

    mo779 Approved members

    Nov 22, 2013
    Hi all,

    So we received our Dexcom G4 for my DD last week, and on Tuesday evening, tried to do our first insertion and got the "Sensor Failed" message. Gave up on Tuesday, and tried again yesterday late afternoon, and the second sensor also came up with the "Sensor Failed" message!!! Took that one off and tried the third sensor right away, and it WORKED PERFECTLY!! I did call Dexcom yesterday morning to get a replacement for the first failed sensor, will call them today to get the second failed sensor replaced as well. The night was good, and it seems to have calibrated nicely now, showing 6.4 and stable as she sleeps. A few questions for you experts out there:

    1) We did everything the same for all three sensor insertions, so why did the first two failed? Did we just get unlucky? How often does this happen? Are there any tips to avoid this?
    2) How important is it to stay within antenna range during the full 2 hour start-up time of the sensor? Will the sensor definitely fail if my daughter happens to run upstairs and goes out of range for 10 minutes or so during the sensor start-up time?
    3) Can I just "Enter BG" every time I do a manual check? Or should I only "Enter BG" when it asks me to calibrate? I am thinking if I am doing a manual check, why not just punch in the number, it can only help the CGM right?
    4) What do you other people with kids my daughter's age set your high and low alerts at? What is a good low alert range to catch a fast dropping low?
    5) We have the sensor on her lower back/upper hip area. Any other good out of sight spots for young kids?? I don't want it on her arm for now, because I don't want her to be constantly looking at it

    Thanks guys. First full day coming up today with the CGM. Hoping it goes good, and we learn a lot.
  2. nebby3

    nebby3 Approved members

    Jun 5, 2007
    We have had Dex 8 months and have nèver had a sensor fail. Maybe it is a bad box?
    If your dd goes out of range start up May take a little longer but shouldn't fail.
    Our alarms are set at 80 and 160 but my dd is a little older. I know my friend with a 5 yo said they wished they could set the low alarm higher than 100.
  3. MomofSweetOne

    MomofSweetOne Approved members

    Aug 28, 2011
    We've only rarely seen sensor fail. I restarted one in a situation where we really wanted CGM & I didn't have a back-up sensor with me. It worked for about another 12 hours which got us to the point we were able to insert a sensor.
  4. dianas

    dianas Approved members

    Nov 2, 2009
    Make sure that you don't pull up on the collar as you're inserting the sensor. The few times I've had this happen is when I've forgotten to keep my fingers above the collar until I'm completely done with insertion and I've partially pulled on the collar during insertion. Somehow that messes up the sensor and it doesn't recover. Dexcom still replaced the sensors though. A couple times I've had a bad sensor but in the 4+ years I've been on Dexcom it's been rare.
  5. rgcainmd

    rgcainmd Approved members

    Feb 6, 2014
    I copied and pasted something I posted in the past regarding when the calibrate the Dexcom. I've been following these "rules" with excellent results:

    I've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence surrounding optimal times to calibrate, how often to calibrate, and when not to calibrate your child's Dexcom. A lot of the information I came across was conflictual, so I called Dexcom and was connected with one of their CDEs who, IMO, sounded like she knew what she was talking about; she did not sound like she was reading from a pre-scripted "Answers to FAQ" sheet. Following is a summary of the information she gave me. I make no guarantees regarding the accuracy of this information, so proceed with caution and with the knowledge that YDMV.

    A. This is when you should calibrate:

    1. When you are prompted to calibrate by either:
    a. Two red blood drops that appear two hours after starting (or restarting) a sensor OR
    b. One red blood drop (these prompts occur once 12 hours have elapsed since your most recent calibration)

    2. Whenever a meter reading is greater than or equal to 80 mg/dL AND the Dexcom reading is greater than 20% higher than the meter reading or more than 20% lower than the meter reading.

    3. Whenever a meter reading is less than or equal to 79 mg/dL AND the Dexcom reading is more than 20 mg/dL (not 20%) higher than the meter reading or more than 20 mg/dL (not 20%) lower than the meter reading.

    Caveat: Do not calibrate even if prompted to do so by a blood drop if the trend arrow is pointing either straight upwards or straight downwards (one or more arrows). If this is the case, WAIT until the directional arrow is either horizontal, trending slightly upward, or trending slightly downward before calibrating. Be patient; you will not be "timed out" if you do not calibrate immediately after a blood drop icon appears.

    B. This is when you should not calibrate:

    1. If BG (via meter) is higher than 400mg/dL.

    2. If BG (via meter) is lower than 40 mg/dL.

    3. If any of the following appear on the Dexcom screen:
    a. question marks
    b. an hourglass
    c. the antenna icon (receiver is out of range of transmitter)
    d. one or more trend arrows that point either straight up or straight down (horizontal arrow or arrows trending slightly upwards or slightly downwards are O.K.)
    e. no trend arrow(s)

    REMEMBER: More is NOT better when it comes to calibrating the Dexcom. Calibrating more often than when instructed to do so by blood drop icons or when the Dexcom reading is not inaccurate ("inaccurate" as defined by A.2. and A.3. above) will not improve the accuracy of your Dexcom and may worsen the accuracy of your Dexcom readings.

    Anything you'd like to add to this is appreciated, but please do not make negative comments directed at me regarding the accuracy of the information I've posted; as I've said, this information was given to me by a Dexcom CDE who sounded to me as if she had a decent brain between her ears. Some, but not all, of this information is available on the Dexcom website: http://www.dexcom.com/sites/dexcom.c...ney/story.html
  6. mo779

    mo779 Approved members

    Nov 22, 2013
    Thats a possibility, because on my third insertion I inserted and then made sure I wasn't anywhere near the collar, then I pushed somewhat firmly and gave it a few seconds before pulling the collar up. Who knows, I just hope it doesn't happen on the next insertion. Thanks for the tip.

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