I’m all hooked up and back at my desk working. It’s not quite midday as I start writing.
Hooking up to the new Animas Vibe, considering I’ve had an Animas 2020 all this time, was a breeze. Some new features and safety settings are immediately obvious improvements.
The one that I like is that you can accept the suggested bolus and off you go. Not that the old way of dialling up a suggested bolus ever bothered me, but the new way makes it faster. There was some safety built into the old way. You do have to press two buttons the new way – a different kind of safety.
For me, accepting a bolus suggestion is part of trusting my pump and the complex calculations it makes… ones that I couldn’t possibly make as well as it does. Or I can change the suggested bolus if I’m about to trek through a supermarket or take the dog to the park. These are decisions I’m used to making on the fly, and are just as easy to enter into the Vibe as it was on the 2020.
The Dexcom G4 Platinum Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) is truly awesome! There’s a sensor which officially lasts for 7 days; a transmitter , which sits on top of the sensor, and an optional receiver. Because the Vibe acts as a receiver, I didn’t purchase the G4 receiver.
I’d already read everything I could get my hands on about the Dexcom G4, so I vaguely knew what to expect during the training. I honestly thought it would be a huge, complicated procedure that I’d never remember, but as usual, the Animas rep made it easy and seamless for me.
G4 Sensor Applicator
Ok, confession time… when I came to actually pressing the plunger to insert the sensor, I chickened out. But that’s just me. Considering how needle-phobic I’ve been in the past, it was a natural reaction to the unknown.
I now know I’m not going to have any trouble with the next one (or if I do, I know who to call!). And really, there was nothing to get all anxious over. Now that I’ve seen how it’s supposed to work – I learn best visually, by example – my confidence has been restored. I did everything but pushing the plunger to insert the sensor.
I will write more about the sensor later.
There’s a startup time of 2 hours for a new CGM sensor. At the end of the two hours, you’re asked to enter two glucose readings from your blood glucose meter to “calibrate” it, which I’d already done at home and by the time I started writing this post. I’m good to go!
The CGM sends its data to the Animas Vibe, wirelessly. Data then gets converted into a graph which you can see on one of the screens on the Vibe. That screen, the CGM Trend Graph is accessible through the Vibe’s menus or via a one-button press (the contrast button), with your last sensor-measured blood glucose level in the upper left corner. The one button method is very handy for a quick look while you’re doing a million other things.
CGM readings are taken every 5 minutes. Over 24 hours, that’s 12 x 24 = 288 readings with only one required finger stick for calibration every 12 hours. All of the data is presented in a rolling graph that you can see instantly! Impressive!
The Sensor and Transmitter On Me
Accurate tweaking of basal insulin, and all other correction settings, is made possible and oh-so-easy with the Dexcom G4 CGM. Seeing what your blood glucose is doing with so many readings makes the Dexcom G4 Platinum the bees knees in end-user blood glucose measurement for me.
Trends… that’s the buzz word when it comes to CGM technology. What is your blood glucose doing over any given interval in time – 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours? These are the graph viewing options. Going up, going down, staying steady? It’s so much easier to see what’s going on when readings are taken every 5 minutes rather than every hour or two or four.
The Dexcom G4 will alert you to trends, according to your settings. It will alert if blood glucose is dropping too fast, dropping past an acceptable number or, similarly going high.
The CGM has a reading range from 2.2 mmol/l to 22.5 mmol/l (39.6-405 mg/dl). One would hope never to regularly get to those extremes because alerts (and therefore correction opportunities) would sound long before. Of course there may be exceptions.
You also have opportunities to see trend patterns. One random event isn’t something I’d do anything about (other than eat if I’m low or give a correction if I’m high – always confirmed by a meter test), but the same out-of-range event at about the same time over several days would probably make me examine if it’s my basal, corrections, or boluses for food at that time.
A trend towards a low is lovely to catch before that low goes on for ages, unnoticed, and when recovery takes so much longer. You know, that hit by a bus feeling that takes ages to resolve if you’ve been low for a long time had haven’t noticed.
Both the Vibe and the G4 can upload their data to www.diasend.com. While I’ve been doing that for ages with my Animas 2020, I will eventually register these two new devices and upload data. The way the data is presented at Diasend is invaluable for making decisions, either by me or by my diabetes team, who can log in and see what’s going on with me if they wish.
From peeing on sticks 30 years ago (an inaccurate way of measuring blood glucose), to this – two pieces of amazing technology on my belly! It can only mean one thing… tighter, better and easier control of blood glucose, and a new generation of incredible technology in Australia.
Stay tuned for a report on my first 24 hours.