Saturday, July 11, 2009

That (*&^* Sensor...

So I went all rebel with the new Dexcom sensor and used it for nine days instead of the company-recommended seven days. In part this was because I'd heard the sensors last longer than the company says it will, and in part because I was freaked out about putting a new sensor again.

Yesterday, my meter told me I was one reading while the Dexcom's reading was about seventy points lower. I figured it was time to (wo)man up and insert a new sensor.

So I gathered the new sensor, an alcohol swab, and the detailed directions that come from the manufacturer. I washed my hands. I read everything over.

And then I started to sweat.

I mean, this is a company I've never dealt with before, so all the terminology is new to me. Plus, I've been manually inserting my Silhouette infusion sets for nine years with my insulin pump. You'd think I'd be comfortable with something new to inject.

But the Dexcom inserter is this big plastic thing with "collars" and "pods". I can't just manually insert it; I have to push on this handle and because I typically do things slowly, I can feel the needle pierce my skin. There are plastic parts that are supposed to break off and then the part that actually sends information to the piece of technology that tells you what your sugars are is something separate that snaps into the part that's just pierced your skin.

I mean, it's a whole new way of doing things for me.

And yesterday afternoon, I was just scared of getting everything inserted properly.

So I swabbed my abdomen, choosing this time to pick the flabbiest part so that perhaps the sting would be cushioned. (Fat is definitely your friend when injecting or inserting something, I've learned). I scrutinized the directions.

I pushed the plunger to inject myself.

It hurt, but not quite as much as it did last week.

Then, oy, WTF. You have to break away all this extra plastic so that the sensor is lying flat against your skin. And when I looked down, part of the sensor wasn't lying flat against my skin. I can't even tell you what it's official name is, but when I saw it, I was like, "Great. I just wasted a brand new sensor."

I called the tech support number for Dexcom and quickly got a nice woman on the phone who assured me that everything was fine as I'd done it. I just needed to slide the transmitter into the part that was on skin. That took another five minutes of anguish when I seriously couldn't figure out why the transmitter was so effing hard to snap into place.

I thanked the woman and apologized for my angst, but seriously, is it this hard for everyone else when they first started injecting these sensors?


Megan said...

Yes! I use the Minimed system, and the first time I inserted the sensor, with a nurse's help, I almost fainted just looking at the huge needle! It didn't hurt going in at all, though. It took a lot to get myself to the point to insert the second one the next week, but I did it and it wasn't so bad. Keep with's so totally worth it and in no time you'll be a pro.

Bethany said...

I've been using the Minimed system for over a year now and I still sweat every time I have to insert a new sensor. It especially bothered me when I was pregnant and my belly was so tight! Ugh! But I agree with Megan (above) - it's TOTALLY worth it!


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