Dexcom Seven Plus: First Impressions.
So far, so good.
Last night, I installed my first Dexcom Seven Plus sensor. "First" might be a bit of a misnomer, because the sensors that actually go into my body are still the same as the ones I used previous. I have a new transmitter (the little plastic part that clips into the sensor housing) and a new receiver (the external device), which are the pieces that have been upgraded.
For me, I've put this new sensor on my left thigh and after the initial pinch, I was good to go. The hardware on the Seven Plus works almost exactly like the old system, with a two hour calibration period, same sensor insertion devices, and the same general gist. What's new is the software inside the receiver.
When I tried out the Minimed system last year, I liked the fact that the MiniLink had rate of change arrows on the CGM. So when I looked at my pump, I could see my blood sugar graph and could also see if I was plummeting or rising quickly. I was sorry that Dexcom didn't have this option before - but now they do. The new Seven Plus has those rate of change arrows, and you can also set an alarm to BEEEEEEEEEP (if you want) when you're rising or falling too quickly.
And regarding BEEEEEEEP!s, there are more beeping options on this thing, too. You can set an alarm for a high, low, rise rate, fall rate, and sensor out of range (i.e. when the cat takes off with it in the middle of the night and you don't realize it until you wake up without it). There are snooze alarms for the high and low levels, so I have mine set to BEEEEEEEP! at a low and then give me 30 minutes to correct and climb, instead of beeping its head off every five minutes for hours. (Nice.)
Another feature that's been added is the ability to add "events," like exercise, food, insulin doses, and health info - much like the One Touch Ultra meters. I've been consistent so far with entering this info (read: it's only been 12 hours with this thing attached, so I'm in a bit of "new device euphoria" and I have no clue if I'll stick with being so tuned in), and if I can keep up, it will make the records from the Dex pretty comprehensive.
The software is pretty good this round, able to download information from past sensors, instead of just the most previous one. I took some screenshots of the software and gave my notes on Flickr, because honestly, I'm not terribly techy and writing on and on and on and on ... zzzzzzz ... and on about software upgrades could make me yawn my face off. Overall, the software is good and tracks what I need it to track and if I was able to make my patient profile avatar into a picture of Siah's head, I would. You know it.
Overall, I like the upgrades. And the upgrade is universally available to all Dexcom users (EDIT: It's available immediately to all new customers. Existing ones can get it in May. I'm not sure why that is, but if anyone from Dexcom is reading and wants to leave a comment, please do!), but I don't know the details of insurance coverage and cost. I am glad that Dexcom is willing to push out new options as they become available, instead of waiting for a full device overhaul. I'm hopeful that the next round of developments will help reduce the size of the sensor and the receiver.
I'll let you know next week how a few days worth of experience with this system feels, but in the meantime, feel free to check out my Flickr photos of the Dexcom Seven Plus. If you have questions, I'll do my best to help. (Keep in mind: I'm slightly clueless.)
Now I'm heading to work in this snow squall (WTF?) - what is that about? I thought today was supposed to be the first day of spring?? More later!