I love Dex. He has become a security blanket that will need to be pried from my cold, dead fingers in 40 years or so when I kick the bucket. If I walk to the bathroom and forget the receiver at the couch, I feel momentarily lost until a number takes the place of the out-of-range symbol in the upper right corner. I mindlessly scroll through the trend graphs and pat myself on the back for a job well done or, maybe more commonly, quietly contemplate the presence of a tsunami on the screen. There are times when Dex keeps me up all night with his constant wailing at me, insisting that I drink a juice box or bolus a unit or two of insulin, making me want to throw him at the wall.
Regardless of any momentary emotions I feel for Dex, I am constantly amazed at how far technology has come in the last 20 years of my D-life. My first glucometer was the size of an old-school game boy, required me to squeeze out every last drop of blood in my little fingers, and, after counting down for 60 seconds, would show an error for having been bumped ever so slightly. Now, while I do still check my blood sugar with a glucometer multiple times a day, I rely more and more on my handy-dandy CGM to track my BG constantly.
The Dexcom is a platinum electrode sensor that measures the level of glucose in the interstitial fluids and transmits the raw data to the receiver. The receiver is then calibrated with blood glucose values obtained on an old-fashioned glucose meter (well, not as old as the one pictured…). And, for me, this process often results in some very useful data.
I am no expert, but I imagine that this translation is a simple stoichiometry-type calculation, basically just translating the values using a simple conversion factor. (Is my math nerd showing?) But sometimes I wonder… On what planet does a simple conversion take the 94 mg/dL and 96 mg/dL values, that I entered during my calibration this morning, and conclude that my blood sugar must be 90 mg/dL?! Dex is doing some pretty creative math here…
I love technology, but I certainly don’t always understand it.