I take a certain sense of pride when it comes to making good things last longer and boring things last shorter than they’re supposed to. With flower bouquets,hen I’ll weed out the wilted ones just to keep the few perky ones going as long as possible. During TSA checks, I go over the list “laptop, liquids, belt, shoes,” over and over while standing in line at the airport so nothing holds me up when the time comes. And don’t event get me started on road trips – if you tell me that it will take two hours, I’m going to try to be there in an hour and forth minutes. But when it comes to this, I know that the joy my efficiency brings should not outweigh safety.
This is true, too, when it comes to extending the life of a CGM sensor. It’s yet another thing I take pride in, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. I have been known to stretch the FDA-approved seven days to two, three, or even four weeks. Yes, it does eventually become less reliable as time wears on, but that’s the the problem. No, the problem is this (confession time): Apparently, my pride is related more to getting the thing to continue sticking to my body than it is in actually extending the life (aka, usefulness) of the sensor.
I know this because I’ll let a few hours of “???” between week two and three slide if it’s still sticking to my skin well. I may be a little miffed when the question marks show up if the adhesive is still strong – but when I do the math, I usually realize I’m on week three. Even if the CGM consistently insists that I am low but meter checks let me know that I’m around 130, I won’t replace the sensor unless the multiple methods of adhesion I use are letting me down.
This is not good. And it’s definitely not smart. So I’m posting this to introduce my new mantra: it’s a Dexcom, not a “flexcom.” And because of this, I should be more consistent with my sensor changes. Okay – maybe not every week, but it’s certainly something I should consider when I see the first set of “???” The safety net that wearing a CGM provides is only as strong as its sensors, so I need to keep up the maintenance on those to really keep it worth while.