Nan, a 67 year old retired teacher with Type 1 diabetes who wears an insulin pump, came into to see me after getting off work from her part time job with an interest in a “trial run” of the latest DexCom G5 and Libre CGMs to see which the best fit was for her. I shared with Nan my recent experience with the DexCom G5, as a diabetes educator who does not have diabetes; I felt it essential to have an experience wearing DexCom G5 and Libre. This hands on experience provides me with an informed dialog beyond the basic information I read in those product brochures. So having had a couple of weeks of wearing the DexCom G5 it was now time for me to experience the Libre.
Getting it On
I must confess “getting connected” to any CGM is a bit of encounter for me! As my husband pointed out, it may be primarily because I do not read directions and my lack of technical abilities to use devices in general. Attaching the sensor to the backside of my upper arm was much easier than I had anticipated. There’s just a few simple steps….attach the sensor to the applicator, place the applicator on my arm, and press down on it to secure to my arm. To finish the sensor initiation, I scanned the reader over the sensor. Now, I had to wait 12 hours before I was able to get my glucose reading. I did much better with this sensor application as compared to the DexCom G5 sensor. However, I prefer only waiting 2 hours rather than 12 hours to see my glucose value.
Scanning My Arm
I absolutely loved getting to “scan the sensor” on my arm with the hand held reader. For the first few days, I found myself “scanning” my sensor numerous times a day. It gave me a strong sense of comfort especially, when I had a low and high glucose (for someone without diabetes). The reader advised me to do a finger stick to confirm the value before making a treatment decision. While I enjoyed not having to do finger stick calibrations twice daily, I was questioning why one CGM system would require twice daily finger stick calibrations and another would not. While I know that the product brochure clearly explains the need for or lack of need for blood glucose calibrations, I am curious as to how this can be. About six days into the wearing my Libre, my “scanning” frequency decreased significantly to just a few times per day.
OOPS! – Forgot I Was Wearing It!!!
I am not exactly sure why I forgot I was wearing the sensor just before the end of my 10-day experience, possibly due to it being on the backside of my upper arm rather than my stomach in plain sight, or not having to do a finger stick calibration? I honestly did not remember the sensor being on arm until I ran into something that almost pulled the sensor off my arm. Obviously, the novelty of “scanning” wore off for me. While I could easily see how my blood glucose trends on my cell phone with the DexCom G5, I wish the Libre afforded the same opportunity.
Back to Nan
After Nan’s experience of wearing DexCom G5 and Libre, she opted for the Libre for numerous reasons including: arm versus abdominal, no finger calibrations and scanning with the reader. Working in unison, Nan and I learned that 1) calling ahead to make sure the local pharmacy either stocks or can order the Libre sensor kit; 2) utilize drug savings cards (i.e. Georgia Drug Card-may need to activate before going to pharmacy) to decrease out of pocket costs; and 3) it’s best to go through a medical supply company if you have Medicare.
As a person with diabetes who may be interested in a CGM, inquire with your diabetes educator, endocrinologist or primary care provider to see if you could have a “trial run” wearing each of these CGMs to see which is best for your lifestyle.
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