Thursday, August 6, 2015

Transmitter Timelines

I wrote a few days ago about the fact that my Dexcom transmitter battery was on its last legs. Rose had alarmed early on Saturday morning and screeched 'low battery, replace transmitter soon' to which I muttered 'great timing' as I headed off for my morning brick workout.

Rose's alarm went off at the beginning of a long weekend which means that I could not order a new transmitter until Tuesday. Which meant that the earliest it would arrive would be Wednesday - five days after Rose's alarm.

I've only had to replace my transmitter once and, that time, I had already ordered a new one because I was worried that mine would die and didn't want to be without. These things are supposed to last about six months but when you consider that I've been using the Dexcom system now for 20 months and, until Saturday, had only replaced the transmitter once, I'd say I was doing quite well.

So my problem was that I had no idea how long I had once Rose alarmed. Hours? Days? Weeks?

I called Animas first thing on Tuesday to order a new transmitter. My old one, up to that point, was still working fine.

While I was on the phone I asked them how long I had once the alarm went off.

The person on the other end hemmed and hawed for a few moments before saying 'we really just don't know so you should order it as soon as you get the warning'.

"As long as it's not the Saturday of a long weekend' I replied.

On Wednesday morning, Doug and I went out for an early morning bike ride. It was rather cool out which is notorious for draining batteries. When we returned home I saw that two alarms had gone off. Basically I was told that my transmitter had completely died but, not to worry, my pump was still delivering insulin (whew!).

I removed the transmitter and, with a rather large feeling of guilt, tossed it into the garbage. It had lived a relatively long and productive life but the thought of tossing something that costs $700 into the trash is rather nauseating. Thankfully I have coverage but I am still very aware of the cost of these things and do my best to drag them out as long as possible.

I headed off to work with my glucometer in my purse. After almost two years on a continuous glucose monitor, I was flying blind and might be for a few days depending on how long the new transmitter took to arrive. Instead of being able to see my blood sugar every five minutes (if I want to) by looking at Rose's screen, I was back to relying on feel and hourly finger pricks. Not nearly as reliable.

Around 11am, Doug texted to say that my new transmitter was sitting on the kitchen counter. Thank heavens! I can of course survive with only a glucometer but I've come to rely on the reassuring presence of a continuous glucose monitor and I felt vulnerable without it.

I'm all connected again and ever so grateful for all my cyborg parts. Hard to believe that I once refused to consider an insulin pump or a CGM. Now I can't imagine life without them.

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