Battery Blues

Between this post and the one from a couple of weeks ago, this blog is rapidly turning into one in which I bemoan the battery life of my diabetes devices…

The fact of the matter is, though, that I’ve definitely had my share of battery issues lately. The Omnipod DASH problem was resolved (rather swiftly), thanks to the folks at Insulet. But now it’s my Dexcom transmitter battery that’s acting up…and resulting in a whole lot of lost data (and even more frustration) for me.

If I can’t have a working pancreas can’t my diabetes devices at least have everlasting batteries?

It all started about a week and a half ago, when my Dexcom app notified me that my transmitter battery would be expiring in 3 weeks. That was to be expected – Dexcom transmitter batteries last 90 days, and according to my records, the one I’d been using was for sure approaching the expiry date.

What I didn’t expect was that the waning battery life in my transmitter would trigger multiple false blood sugar readings and periods of no readings whatsoever. At least I think my transmitter is to blame – I hadn’t experienced any issues with sensors from my last shipment and the app usually never experiences errors like this unless there’s a problem with the sensor and/or transmitter, so logic led me to conclude that my transmitter was simply losing reliability as it came closer and closer to its expiration.

My workaround was to do finger stick checks any time I was untrusting of my Dexcom, or whenever it was giving me a “no readings” alert. Plus, I’ve got a fresh transmitter ready to be activated once this one stops working, so it’s not like I’ll be without a Dexcom for an unbearable length of time.

In spite of that, I still thought this was worth talking about here on the blog because 1) I can’t remember if I’ve ever had a transmitter fade so dramatically in the last 3 weeks of its lifespan, 2) it was an exasperating situation and I needed to vent, and 3) I’m wondering if this has ever happened to anyone else before, and if there’s a workaround.

At this moment in time, I’m not quite sure what a feasible solution would be besides ripping a sensor off prematurely and sticking to finger stick checks for a few days until my annoyance ebbs…which is exactly the strategy that I decided to go with. I’m definitely looking forward to new transmitter time…

5 thoughts on “Battery Blues

  1. The fading G6 transmitter issues have happened to me as well. I also get annoyed with the transmitter because it seems like it struggles to communicate with my Tandem pump and the Dexcom app on my phone if I’m sleeping the wrong way (even when the transmitter is new). The fading transmitter problem will disappear when the G7 is FDA approved. Hopefully that will come soon. Each G7 sensor comes with its own 10-day transmitter, so you will never have to worry about the lifespan of it. It is very frustrating being woken up in the middle of the night not because I am hypoglycemic, but because I’m sleeping on one side and my devices can’t communicate with the transmitter. This doesn’t happen when I’m awake and it’s not a distance issue.

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      • The G7 is also going to be significantly smaller than the G6. With its own mini built-in transmitter, each sensor will be roughly the size and shape of a Quarter. I have also heard that the sensors will only take 30 minutes to start working instead of the usual 2 hours. That will be nice. Looking further into the future, there is more than one company trying to develop a watch that measures actual blood sugar non-invasively using radio RF waves. If you Google “Movano” and click on “Investors” on their site, they recently announced the completion of a study. Another watch in development is called the GWave made by an Israeli company called Hagar. The GWave product received breakthrough status by the FDA last Thanksgiving. Hagar claims that it is 95% accurate at measuring blood glucose levels which would be a big improvement over the delayed interstitial fluid glucose calculations we currently get from Dexcom or Medtronic. A watch would also (hopefully) not require supplies because there is nothing going under the skin. Hopefully, the technology pans out. If an insulin pump is getting real-time CGM data from your blood instead of your subcutaneous fluid, it has the capacity to be much more reliably autonomous.

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  2. Call Decom and immediately insist on a new transmitter. Oh, I get angry when they put in hard stops but are not willing to replace even one day before it is supposed to be replaced. If it says 9o days, I better get 90 days. No compromises, ever.

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    • I’ll have to see what ends up happening! Aforementioned transmitter is on its last week of life right now, and so far – no problems with blood sugar readings. Maybe it WAS the sensor’s fault after all…

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