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Talk to me about Dexcom, please :)

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by momofone, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. momofone

    momofone Approved members

    Jun 28, 2011
    So after just over a year we're biting the bullet and getting a Dexcom. Since we live in Canada and it's not available here I've had to jump through some hoops to get it but we should be started early next week. We've paid for the whole system out of pocket. I'm super nervous. It's really expensive. I'm really hoping we've made the right decision. :confused:
  2. Wendy12571

    Wendy12571 Approved members

    Aug 8, 2007
    Okay, first of all. You need to give the system a month of using it to begin to understand it. Really like pumping it will be entirely frustrating at first. Okay some tips for you.
    1. Do not expect the numbers to be exactly right 100% of the time. I always do the 20% rule. If the number is within 20% of meter I accept the dexcom is on point.
    2. Expect the numbers to be more "off" the first day or two.
    3. I leave the sensors in till they fall out. I tend to know it is a "dead" sensor when the numbers are flat. It will generally say I am low when I am in the 200s.
    4. If you get the dreaded ??? use my 3 try rule. I stop and restart the sensor 1 time then keep watching. If it goes to ???. I restart it right away again. I keep watching it once again. If it goes to ???. I will restart it right away. I then wait usually it will remedy the problem.
    5. I would set your alarms for higher then usual. I would even consider setting it for 200 with a 4 hour window till you are used to it.
    6. Opsite flexifix tape and skin tack are useful for glueing the dexcom site in.
  3. Michelle'sMom

    Michelle'sMom Approved members

    Aug 21, 2009
    Are you being trained or just on your own? Either way, the tutorial on the Dexcom site is good for basic info. You tube has some good videos that show the insertion. My personal favorite is the one by 1 Happy Diabetic.

    For ???s, we move the receiver to another room until we get the out of range signal, then bring it back. It only takes 5 minutes at the most...until it tries to get the next reading.

    Despite what Dexcom says, we have much more accurate readings if we only calibrate when BGs are fairly stable...usually before breakfast & dinner. Unless the readings are way off, we don't calibrate unless it asks. If the readings are more than 100 pts off from the meter, we always restart.

    Also, we don't see the inaccurate readings the first day or so, because we insert the sensor at night & wait until morning to start it. Except for a bad batch of sensors, we've had amazing accuracy.....usually no more than 5 pts off the meter.

    We use Skin-Tac & Hypafix tape (it's a cloth-like tape just like the Dex sensor pad) from day 1. For us, allowing movement in the sensor makes for less accuracy & shorter sensor life.

    It takes trial & error to find the best sensor site. We use arms exclusively, & the right arm gives us the best results.

    If you're just looking for something to alert to highs & lows, Dex is simple to use. If you're wanting to get the most out of it, I suggest reading through the posts in the Dexcom group at tudiabetes.org. The CGM forum here also has some good info. There's a definite learning curve, & what you get from the data depends on how much you're willing to learning about how to use it.

    Gary Scheiner offers a good basic online class at type1university

    And this book has some good stuff.
  4. momofone

    momofone Approved members

    Jun 28, 2011
    Thanks for the link, I've bookmarked it. :)

    I'm assuming that all of this will make sense to me as we use it (restarting, calibrating, etc.) I think we'll find the trends the most useful and hopefully it will cut down on his finger sticks as he's testing at least 12-13 times a day right now. Off to the CGM forum. :)
  5. maciasfamily

    maciasfamily Approved members

    Feb 15, 2012
    Great tips above.

    I only calibrate twice a day (Dex will ask you for a BG check twice a day 12 hrs apart). Once at breakfast BG check and the other at dinner. I will recalibrate if the number is way off.

    For the ??? I don't restart it, but let it come back on, which it usually does within an hour or two.

    We also tape with Hypafix and love it. We can get 14 days out of our sensors. After the 7 day mark when it tells you to change sensor, simply 'stop' the sensor and restart it again. It will take it's normal start up time and keep working. We get our best readings on week 2.

    We also use the arms exclusively. Tried thighs once and that was a loss of a sensor because it gave ??? constantly.

    There is also a facebook group called Dexcom that has been helpful to me.

    Hope you love it as much as we do!
  6. AmyMCGS

    AmyMCGS Approved members

    Nov 11, 2008
    We use Mastisol glue to hold the sensor on. My daughter never had problems with her pump sites, but she finds the Dex to be very itchy. We were going through a lot of sensors at first because she would scratch, they'd fall off, and we'd have to put in a new one. We've tried numerous tapes, wipes, etc. The Mastisol has been a huge help.

    For us, the numbers are sometimes within five points of a finger stick, and sometimes they're forty points apart. Most often, it's within a 5-15 point range. It takes a while to get used to the idea that the numbers will seem "wrong".... remember the Dex measures interstitial fluid and then calculates it to give us a number similar to the number we get from blood. It's confusing at first, but eventually you'll see patterns and it will click for you.

    We put DD's receiver in a hard plastic bowl with a baby monitor on her night stand so I can hear it at night. (The bowl is to contain it-- we found that if it was vibrating it would jump off the night stand!) We found that the alarm/vibrating does not wake her at night.

    Like someone else said... it will be frustrating at first, just like a pump, but it's such a great tool that it's totally worth it. Good luck! :)
  7. ecs1516

    ecs1516 Approved members

    Dec 11, 2007
    We only use backs of arms. Sometimes you might get a whacky sensor on the the first day will go up and down like it doesn't know what is going on. I just keep calibrating it no matter if the arrows are moving. Eventually the numbers get close or the sensor will die. Usually the first happens. If not then Dexcom will replace. I always restart sensor at end of day 7 for 7 more days. We use Hypafix tape to help keep it on the second week. Opsite is good too.
  8. pianoplayer4

    pianoplayer4 Approved members

    Feb 13, 2010
    Not sure if anyone else has said this, but the best advice I got before starting the dexcom was don't calibrate when the dex is really close to your meter.... like less than ten points difference... because for some reason this skews with the accuracy

    Good luck! you'll do great, I didn't get any formal training either and it was fine, the first insertion is a bit scary though...
  9. momofone

    momofone Approved members

    Jun 28, 2011
    Thanks so much everyone. Should be here early this week. I'm hoping I made the right decision though. I could have gotten a G4 as well from the UK (which would be "our" units in Canada) but I got scared off because I was concerned about warranty issues and the time it would take to process them with sending stuff back and forth to the UK.
  10. selketine

    selketine Approved members

    Jan 4, 2006
    I can't compare the 7+ to the G4 but we're happy with the 7+ and I'd buy it again.

    I also tend to calibrate when BG's are stable = probably just used to having to do that when we had the Navigator and it required it almost. I also tend to calibrate in the morning when he gets up (after he moves around a bit) and before he goes to bed - which are fairly stable times.

    I haven't seen a problem calibrating if it is close to the meter number - it does sometimes change it to something like 5-10 points different - like it didn't want to be exactly right - LOL!

    It is easy to use. The biggest problem I have is getting my fingers at the right place on the inserter so I don't pull out the needle the same time I'm pushing it down (you don't want to pull up on this one piece while plunging the needle - it makes sense in the instructions.

    I also agree to either turn off the high alarm or set them really high (maybe even 260 or higher) with a long snooze time cause you don't want to be notified of a high every 30 mins when you've already corrected and can't do anything about it- ESPECIALLY in the middle of the night!

    I have a tall but slim (not wide) plastic container that I set a baby monitor into the bottom and set the Dex on top at night. The Dex can't slide off the top of the monitor cause the container is too slim. Then I cover that with a couple of blankets and set it beside his bed. This is enough to wake us up if the alarm goes off - at least it wakes up my DH.

    Good luck!
  11. MomofSweetOne

    MomofSweetOne Approved members

    Aug 28, 2011
    Does the Dexcom not allow you to set the intervals at which it realarms for highs and lows? I would miss that. I change the interval of how soon I want to be realarted to highs between two and four hours depending on the situation.

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