Saturday, 16 November 2013

Bloody Dexcom sensors: live or die?

Now and then I enjoy a little break from wearing my Dexcom sensor.  It takes commitment to wear a CGM 24/7 because even though it is a fantastic tool, with that and the insulin pump attached to my arm, I can look a little 'AI' at times.  It's a family joke that I am slowly replacing my organs with mechanical ones so that I can live forever as a machine while they wither and die, but realistically I can look a little experimental at times.  A few days off here or there, sometimes when things are going well and I rely on it less; sometimes as things head South and I need some 'alone time', can do the world of good.  There is no rule book (and even if there was, I probably wouldn't follow it).

"Ah, shit!"

Halfway through the insertion today I see a pool of blood collecting beneath the transmitter cradle.  It would seem counter-intuitive not to want blood on the sensor, seeing as it feels it should be reading my blood sugar levels, but it's not. The sensor shouldn't really be in contact with any blood, because it reads the glucose in the fluids in my tissue. And from what I've read in forums and support groups, blood on the sensor isn't always a good thing.  

"Please, please let it work, this cost me £50 and I'm on my last one!"

But I've done 'gorey' diabetes more than once, so maybe it'll be OK, right?   It'll be OK, these things are surprisingly tough.

Two hours later the alarm goes, it's time to enter my blood readings. Good news I guess, except that no matter how many times I enter it, I get this confused looking symbol:

A drop of blood and a timer.  

No matter how many times I enter a number, neither symbol disappears, and it doesn't wake up.  So I wait...and wait.

"Please... C'mon... Please..."

I leave it 15 minutes at a time, telling myself that after three hours I'll re-start the sensor giving it another try.  Perhaps the blood will dry.  Maybe if I shower it will wash away from underneath? 

Um, what now? That's new. I've not even seen this one before.  OK, well, 15 minutes it is.  See you in 15.

Fifteen minutes passes and my handset is still giving me all kinds of strange results.  The timer disappears and a 'tick' arrives, but as soon as I enter a new reading, the tick re-appears, as does the other drop of blood.  Meh.  It's pretty much a sure thing this sensor is on its way out, but the £50 note is burning a whole in my mind.  Maybe just 10 more minutes...

SHE'S ALIVE !!!!!!!

And man do I have some work to do to get the reigns shortened again.


  1. And relax. Glad you gave it time and saved yourself another £50.

    1. Talk about tense. Once again the Dex came through! :)