Dexcom G4 Share for a Child with Type 1 Diabetes

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Managing type 1 diabetes in a child goes far beyond what’s visible to the naked eye, which is why parents are crazy about the new Dexcom G4 Share technology. If I could invite you inside my brain for a day, a week, or a month you’d begin to understand its complexities – but I can’t do that, so I’ll try my best to elaborate.

T1D is constantly changing; it’s like a cat chasing a laser beam – just when you think “I’ve got it!”, it moves.

Image result for kitten chasing a laser beam

At breakfast we may be celebrating a blood sugar victory of 99, thinking “it’s the start of a good day”,  just to be sideswiped by 280 a few hours later at school. All of this turns us into a “what the hell” parent as we take a few deep breaths and dive head first into recovery mode.

We take out the mop on diabetes: bolus insulin, change basal rates, push fluids, check ketones, and start trouble shooting – is this a growth spurt, the start of a cold or some wonky unexplainable weirdness at hand? Perhaps insulin was missed this morning, there’s air in the tubing or the pump site is kinked or pulled out – and consider if the pump might be out of insulin. D-parents are always on the sharp end of the stick whether it’s 2 p.m. or 2 a.m. – it’s a tiresome process that’s fraught with worry.

The “what if’s” have been easier to predict over the past few years with Dexcom’s technology, but the process continues to need endless amounts of human intervention.

Dexcom G4 Share

T1D, CGM, Dexcom G4 Share, diabetes, G4 platinum

My daughter’s Dexcom G4 Share view from my iPhone

Thankfully, Dexcom has been working hard to alleviate some of the diabetes ‘invisibles’ for us. Over the past few years, my daughter and I have been glued, or should I say taped, to our continuous glucose monitors (CGM’s). The most recent addition to this CGM is Share Bluetooth technology that’s built into Dexcom’s G4 PLATINUM system.

See my review of the Dexcom G4 Platinum System which goes over the in’s and out’s of the base system.

T1D, CGM, Dexcom G4 Share, diabetes, G4 platinum

 {image cred – Dexcom}

Regardless of having to lug around the receiver, the new magic found in Bluetooth CGM tech allows us to share real-time glucose values via an iPhone or iPod.

This technology feels like it was dropped from heaven – seriously.

The true beauty lies in the fact that I can see my child’s blood sugar from school, at basketball games, at the movie theater, from the park, at sleepovers – basically from anywhere she is and I’m not. It’s also super handy when I’m in the exact same location as she is. I can roll over in my bed and peek at her CGM on my iPhone in the middle of the night, a much better option than tripping over all the stuff on her teenage floor, or kicking the bed frame with bare feet in the dark – which is a win, in and of itself.

Share tech means that I can watch “real-time” from my iPhone when my daughter’s running for 2 hours straight at basketball practice. I can bust out “eat” in sign language from her toddler-hood years across a crowded gymnasium. You get it – it’s a constant flow of valuable information that was once hidden between blood sugar checks.

sign language, diabetessign language, eat, type 1 diabetes, CGM

 

Share stops me from sounding like a broken record all of the time – “What’s your blood sugar?”

Diabetes Stalker

That being said, I’ve heard kids tell their parents: “You’re stalking me”. Yikes – that’s quite an accusation, but certainly good feedback to keep in mind as a parent. Ownership of data and privacy are touchy subjects – even for kids; at the end of the day T1D is everyone’s responsibility, however, crossing the line of privacy invasion plus parental intervention can equate to exhausted and frustrated kids.

Balance isn’t just for yoga, it’s for diabetes too.

Establish how you’re going to use this newfangled thing together and come up with a plan. If both parents are incessantly texting a kid that they’re low or high plus their personal equipment is alerting them, they’re going to burn out like a cigarette butt.

Remember, they were getting this data and probably doing just fine identifying and treating their diabetes before you were added into the picture as a ‘full-time stalker’.

The D-Drawbacks (because nothing is perfect)

  • Leaving Bluetooth turned on all of the time plus incoming alerts definitely takes it’s toll on your battery life.
  • Your child has to have 3 things on them to make this work – The sensor, receiver and an iPhone.
  • The receiver and the phone have to be charged for the system to be working – remember we’re talking kids here.
  • Be prepared for your phone to alert you frequently, which may increase parental worry.
  • Share is another input source that causes constant checking and hovering; you may begin to wonder how you ever lived without it, but looking at it constantly isn’t healthy either.
  • Alarms cannot be managed from a phone; to silence an alarm you have to use the receiver.
  • It may turn you into a larger than life helicopter mom/ dad.
  • The “No-Data” reading on your phone may drive you mad. You may look when your kiddo is at PE, in the bathroom, at recess or anytime they leave their Dexcom G4 Share and phone more than 20 feet away from themselves, there will be breaks in data flow.

The drawbacks are minute compared to the positive features of the Dexcom G4 Share. It’s simply amazing to have this technology as an option; I can only imagine how this would have impacted me as a parent when my daughter was diagnosed at age 5.

By years end 2015, we should be seeing the FDA’s approval for CGM readings to go straight to an iPhone, skipping over the current receiver in hand – I can’t wait for that! I’m thinking of getting the Apple watch to wear when I’m riding my bike long distances for the convenience of looking to my wrist for my CGM readings.

The Dexcom G4 Share has been a welcome addition to my daughter’s diabetes repertoire; we’ve found it to be an incredibly useful tool. It’s peace of mind to know that something else has her back when we’re not looking.

 

Comments

  1. Karen Joseph says:

    A very interesting review! It’s especially helpful to read about the downsides for a balanced viewpoint — Thank you! This has been a subject of great interest to my family as my son is in his teen years and gaining more independence. The upcoming CGM that will deliver data straight to an iPhone is a very attractive concept that will likely bring us on board. These advances and the choices that we have are a welcome development! I, too, would have loved to have had this technology when my son was diagnosed at age five. The family conversations will definitely continue!

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