Once upon a time, another Dexcom sensor died a very honorable death, after working dutifully for over two weeks.
“Do you want to replace it right away or take a break?”
“I want to take a break!”
I don’t blame her. It must be annoying at best to always have bionic devices attached to your skin. Devices that itch, poke, click, beep, vibrate, wail, scream, get caught on things and draw curious and puzzled looks from strangers When things are relatively stable we go along and let V go without Dexcom for a couple of days. We’ve been enjoying a period of relative stability, so what the heck, let’s do it with one less device.
At first the silence is a little unsettling. Why is it so quiet? Is it out of range? Did the sensor die? (Oh yeah, it did, and we took it off. DUH.) The lack of data is also unsettling. What are the in-between numbers? Is she going up or down? Do we need to be checking more often? What do we do at night – do we get up to check or let it be if everything is OK at bedtime? (We settle on the latter.)
About a day or two into it we settle down. The absence of alarms is lovely. I don’t bring the phone to my nightstand at night because I have nothing to monitor. We relax a bit and go more by feel. We are asking more often “Are you feeling alright? Are you feeling low?” but we are not acting hyper vigilant. Things continue to remain relatively stable. V has her highs and lows but there is nothing out of ordinary.
A few days later V has a pretty bad low during swim practice. By bad I mean 39. She feels absolutely nothing, but we check her at least every 30 minutes and catch it during that routine check. She is feeling OK and after treating the low she is able to get back in the water 15 min. later. That night she asks to put Dexcom back. “It would come really handy in the pool!” “No it won’t” I remind her. It does not work when submerged in the water, and even if it did she would be out of range most of the time. I find myself almost talking her out of putting the sensor back because I am now realizing that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a break from all the alarms and constant data mining. I pull back. It’s her decision. She forgets about Dexcom and we continue with the reprieve.
Few more days pass uneventfully and without a dire need to have Dexcom re-attached. But that time comes sooner that later. V needs to do fasting labs and we need to closely monitor her numbers. She is also about to go for a sleepover to her grandparents. Putting Dexcom on becomes non-negotiable. Immediately we are thankful to have it back because it helps us to keep V’s numbers stable before her labs and we get the labs done on the first try. (As a sidebar, what a pain it is to do fasting labs for a diabetic child. We have to figure out how to keep her closer to 200 overnight and the morning of so that she does not crash. If we have to treat we cannot do the labs.)
Having access to the data again and being able to act more proactively vs. reactively is a welcome change. We did miss it after all. But we almost didn’t.