I know it has been a while. I’m looking for some feedback from the group. Last year I switched from Medtronic pump and CGM to Tandem tSlim2 and DexCom system; upgraded to the G6 in February. I have generally been pleased, with only glitches. This past week, I have had two separate, but very annoying problems. First, the G6 alerted for low battery on the transmitter, followed about 12 hours later by “critically low battery”. The transmitter was new on June 4, so called DexCom; tech support couldn’t figure out why, but said they would replace transmitter and I should return it so they can trouble shoot. That was Wednesday; on Friday I received a sensor which had been overnighted; Saturday I received a return kit for the failed transmitter. It is now Monday and no transmitter, and as far as I can tell, it has not been sent. Therefore, no CGM since last Wednesday; I’ll call them shortly. Second issue: on Saturday I noticed that the pump which I only need to recharge every 5th day even when using CGM needed to be recharged after 2 days (showing 10% battery). I fully charged it. Then this morning, not even 48 hours later, it alarmed again: battery at 10%!! Since there was no CGM functioning during this time, there was no insulin delivery suspension/delivery restart activity through this time period either, only drain on battery was delivering basal. Has anyone out there had similar issues? I’m finding myself really annoyed at these apparently unrelated problems occurring in quick succession. Is it possible one of these issues caused the other? Also, I use basal IQ, haven’t made the switch to control IQ.
Ohhhh gee Dagmar @dagster1 it sounds as if you have suddenly been jinxed! I don’t envy your situation.
To me, it sounds as if someone at Dexcom hit a wrong button for replacement of your transmitter - I don’t think that I would have waited so long to alert Customer Service to its error. I hope by now you have called and DEMANDED the fastest possible service.
The Tandem pump issue is very worrisome. I’ve been using a t-Slim now for 18 months, and never had an issue like that; just last night, I mentioned to my wife that the Tandem pump appears to have the best battery of all electronics I’ve used over the years. What did Tandem say about this?
On a slightly different issue that I’ve discussed with Tandem - about two weeks ago, while I was out-n-about on a long exercise route, my insulin pump gave a message “LOST DATA”. Everything appeared to shut down. After a while the insulin began pumping, but I’m not certain if rates were correct.
I spoke with Tandem shortly after this happened and was told my pump had a serious error and appears to have self-corrected. it will be replaced if this happens again. SMALL COMFORT. All “history” was deleted, and is now being restored day-by-day.
How frustrating! I had a transmitter issue and they sent me the replacement, a new sensor, and a return label - all in the same box. It sounds like they are waiting for you to return your transmitter first, which is absurd. I’ve always found Tandem and Dexcom very helpful with any issues. Perhaps your rep can expedite things. BTW, I have a prescription for Freestyle Libre in case I’m ever in a jam, which is rare. I do have to pay higher out of pocket but since it’s a backup and not needed often I don’t mind.
As for your battery - if you don’t have an injection backup plan in place call your doctor right away, in case the battery empties out. You’ll need some long acting insulin if you don’t have it already and guidelines on how to use it along with your bolus insulin, and what to do when you go back on the pump.
Hi Dorie and Dennis,
It has taken me multiple phone calls to both Tandem and DexCom, but here is the update: Tandem was very helpful, uploaded pump information to them and they called me back a bit later with the only suggestion relating to the pump searching for the failed transmitter. I did as they asked; next day, issue still ongoing. Uploaded again: no obvious reason for drainage of battery. They immediately decided to replace the pump via overnight delivery. Arrived , programmed and working. Dorie, I have been using a pump for about 25 years now, making from Medtronic to Tandem a year ago. I have no problem injecting every 4 hours or so, calculating basal and bolus, on the rare occasion I’ve had to do that (most notably when I forgot to disconnect when swimming). I use the Contour next meter when necessary. I doubt Medicare will pay for the Libre, since they are balking at paying for the test strips - they say that since the G6 does not require calibration, I have no need to test! Seriously! I’m currently getting around that by getting them under the pharmacy plan. Now as to DexCom: I have spoken with them multiple times, and they can’t explain why the transmitter wasn’t sent. I asked them to overnight it to me. They told me FedEx hadn’t generated a label yet, but since a package needs to be readied for pickup by DexCom, that makes no sense, and no, they can’t change it now. Long and short of it is that it might arrive tomorrow or Saturday.I do think the G6 sensor is more accurate than the Medtronic, so I’ll have to stick it out and hope this was an aberration. Thanks for your input; I am so grateful this forum and the support I get.
Thank you for the update @dagster1. Thankfully you have plenty of experience behind you handle things. I rarely go off pump and always have to refresh my memory when I do. I hope your experience is better in the future.
I’ve been using the Dexcom 6 for 5 days now -so far so good. here’s question for ou: Each sensor is wrapped/sealed in plastic with it own insertor. Am I to throw away this inserter when done??? It’s well made heavy-duty plastic that looks like it should be used indefinitely! Medtronic’s inserter is a permanent piece of equipment. It seams insane to discard it after one use (surely , they could have figured out a way to make the sensors insertertable into the inserter…).
Also, what tape do you like to use, when needed, to hold down the sensor as the days go by? It’s been great for 5 days, but today it’s beginning to catch on my shorts a little. I need to get the extra tape and want to pick a good choice.
Hi @TJC. I find a product called Simpatch (pink below) which I use over a Sticky Patch shield (blue below). I believe the shield comes in white as well as blue, and the patches come in a variety of colors, with and without a strap. Check Amazon and eBay.
I too am a convert from Medtronic; love the accuracy of the G6 but have similar thoughts about the inserter. As far as I know, there is no way to reuse them. I toss them in my regular trash - there are no needles or batteries in it. It does seem quite wasteful. I’ve used several overtapes. A clear one made by Lexcam was decent and usually lasted the 10 days, at least in the winter. I have not yet tried the ones Dorie shows in her response. This summer I have been using the DexCom overtape. It has worked very well in our hot, humid climate, holding up for the full 10 days. You can get it from the DexCom technical support team and it is free. Since everybody has different skin types and preferences, you may need to experiment a bit. Do keep us posted.
Fortunately Terri, I haven’t needed to use tape to hold on my G6 sensors, and I’ve also stopped using IV Wipes when attaching the sensor. What I do, is to wash the area, WITHOUT SOAP, and rub it dry with a heavy towel just before inserting the sensor. Soap, washing jell, shampoo all interfere with adhesion.
The “no-tape” is my usual, however because I didn’t want to tear-out a sensor this week that had been on for only five days, I extended my old sensor to last 15 days; I was having some heavy magnetic therapy for which my pump, infusion-set, glucose sensor and transmitter had to be left in an anti-room to prevent permanent damage. For the old sensor, on the 10th or 11th day, I added some clear surgical tape - DexCom will supply you with over-patches, upon request.
I totally agree that the throw-away inserter is a horrible waste. I’ve mentioned this in a few product surveys I’ve been requested to complete. The G5 was less of a waste, but still significant - especially in this household where we recycle/reuse as much as possible.
Check with Dexcom to confirm this, but a while ago I mentioned to Dexcom that I was having some sort of radiation procedure, and they said they send replacements for those. I wish I had known before - I had gone through some scheduling acrobatics to set up my scan for the time my sensor was due to run out!
Thanks Dorie, I never thought to call Dexcom about that. I had just thought that the rigid Medicare rules would not recognize my need.
Turns out, I was able to out think the the dexcom formula that shutdown the sensor at 10 days. Thing worked well for 15 days.
Hi Dennis and Dorie,
This is really good info. I knew I couldn’t have the pump in CT or MRI rooms, but didn’t think about the sensor. Did you just remover the transmitter from the insertion site?
Along this same vein, I have extend the life of a sensor by 10 full days with maintenance of accuracy three times now. It turns out to be quite simple: at the end of first 10 days, after it alerts to signify end of sensor, turn off bluetooth; remove transmitter from site (use credit card or similar to pop it out). I place in microwave for extra shielding but this is probably not necessary as there will be no signal without bluetooth. Set timer for 16 minutes. Attach transmitter, turn on bluetooth and set new sensor with same code, start new sensor. I have found it gives me reassurance to have an extra sensor on hand for those unexpected failures. And since Medicare doesn’t recognize the need for that…
I had an shoulder MRI several years ago. I had removed my Dexcom - sensor and transmitter - and brought a fresh sensor to insert afterwards. I was using a handheld receiver at the time and left that in a locker outside the radiation area with the rest of my stuff. I guess I was wearing a gown, but since it was an upper body test they let me wear my pants. I made myself as comfortable as possible and concentrated on tuning out the banging, when I feel something in the area of my hip - a sort of pounding. ? I was able to move my arm (the opposite of the one they were scanning) so I could feel around - and discovered I had left my pump in my pocket!!! I could and probably should have pushed the “panic button” but for whatever train I let the test continue. Thankfully my pump was fine afterwards, but I would not recommend leaving it on!
Regarding keeping the sensor in place: I use IV Prep pads, which have just the right amount of adhesive along with the normal alcohol, to help my Tandem t:slim infusion set stay on. Works like a charm. So I decided to do the same with my Dexcom when I got it. Now, you don’t want adhesive in the spot where the sensor goes in, so I apply the pad AROUND the insertion site, leaving a tiny space for it. To make sure I’m on target, I take my old sensor, trace around it on my desired skin location with a thin Sharpie, then avoid the center of that outline when I wipe with the pad. There’s still plenty of area with adhesive, and my sensors never even start lifting up around the edges, which they used to do after 10 days before I tried the IV Prep solution. Give it a try!
Hi, regarding the Dexcom inverters: Agreed, it’s a lot of material for a single-use device. My guess (only a guess) is that Dex may have made some decision to “goof proof” the insertion by having the sensors pre-loaded into the insertion tool.
As far as recycle, we make an attempt … I use the blade of a screwdriver to pop the used inserted in half. There is a seam between top and bottom, you can pop it open with a well-placed screwdriver. Then I remove the needle assembly, it pulls right out, and put the needle assembly into our Sharps collection container. Then I pull out the remaining metal (the spring, which is a metal coil ,and another small metal tab), and put these separated metal parts and the rest of the plastic parts into our recycle container. I hope that the metal bits, at least, will be recycled. I’m not too confident on the plastic due to its odd shape and unknown composition, which may not be useful in the recycle stream. But I hope at least the metal can be saved.
Recently my Tandem X2 went from 85% to 4% battery right after plugging it in. Per Tandem, my pump was “battery jumping.” I was instructed to leave my pump plugged in for 30 minutes. Issue resolved, and pump was back to 100% power. No other issues since. i use both dexcom and Comfort IQ.
I just wanted to add to this conversation that in the 6 or 7 years I’ve interacted with Dexcom, they have been excellent . . . until this year. I haven’t had any screw ups as bad as what you described, @dagster1, but I’ve noticed several times when I’ve called them that the people aren’t as helpful and the process just isn’t as smooth as it used to be. (Like instead of overnighting a replacement sensor for one that broke, it took a week for it to get to me. Thankfully I had another I could put in right away.)
My only guess for the issues with Dexcom is Covid. (Because we can blame everything on Covid, right?!) But in all seriousness, I only started getting annoyed with Dexcom after Covid hit, and it has made me wonder if they are just low-staffed or something. Anyway, hopefully they pull it back together and meet that high bar of customer service, etc. that they had before.
To add another option, I used to use Tegaderm, but that only gets me about another 24-48 hours of stickiness now. What works amazingly well for me is Skin-Tac. I have a bottle of the stuff, and it works wonders. Before I had the G6, I could leave a sensor in for 3 weeks.
I clean the area with an alcohol wipe, apply Skin-Tac, wait for it to dry, and then put the sensor on. I’ve never had to worry about avoiding the actual insertion spot; Skin-Tac has never messed with my readings. It comes off with alcohol, but it’s super sticky so you just have to be careful not to make a mess!
Yes, one of the things we tried was leaving the pump plugged into the charger for a full 30 minutes after it was at full charge. Unfortunately that did not solve the problem, as that same night I had to get up and charge it at 2am (it was 10% then). Tandem did overnight me a replacement pump and this one is working well, retaining good charge on the fourth day.
A couple of comments. I ended up calling DexCom again when I could not find the return shipping label anywhere; spoke with a different tech. Her immediate response was that it was quite likely that it it had not been included in the shipment and said that happens quite frequently. She emailed me one. I was a longtime Minimed customer, and remember that their customer service took a nosedive when they were acquired by Medtronic. Fortunately, they did show good improvement after a period of time. Let’s hope this just a COVID 19 blip for DexCom.
I do also use SkinTac and find it quite helpful. Tegaderm tends to give me a rash, but the DexCom over patches don’t so they are my current go to patch. I have managed to extend the life of my G6 sensors by an extra 10 days three times now, and those patches have held snugly - in a humid climate, and with pool use. Thanks for your input.