Dexcom G5: Alerts & Sounds?

Laddie_Head SquareIn September I wrote a blogpost “Considering the Dexcom G5 Upgrade” which continues to be one of my most-read posts ever. My upgrade was free and it was a non-brainer to accept the two G5 transmitters. Because the G4 transmitter that I began using last March was still working fine until now, I have only just begun using a G5 transmitter. I am due to order a new transmitter next week (definitely trying to stock up before I transition to Medicare!)and I am glad to get some experience with the G5 before deciding whether to order a G4 or G5 transmitter.

So far I hate the G5 or at least how it functions on my iPhone 5.*** Maybe one of you canDexcom Sound Menu give me some help. As far as I can tell, there is no way to set Dexcom alerts to vibrate without having my whole phone on Vibrate Only. I find it hard to believe that “Vibrate” isn’t one of the sound choices on the phone as it is on the Dex receiver. But if it’s there, I don’t see it. If I turn off sounds for the Dex app in the phone notification settings, then it doesn’t vibrate either and losing alerts negates the major reason for using a CGM.

I like having a ringtone for my phone and I especially like a ding when I receive texts. So I don’t really want my phone on Vibrate Only. I find the Dexcom alerts incredibly loud and they don’t seem to respond to the volume adjustment of my ringer. I don’t want my day interrupted with diabetes sound blasts and I think that my husband, dog, golfing partners, and hiking friends would agree.

So unless I am missing something, I have 3 choices.

  1. Embrace the loud Dexcom alerts.
  2. Keep my phone on Vibrate Only with the risk of missing calls, texts, and calendar alerts.
  3. Use the Dexcom receiver instead of my phone or addition to my phone with phone alerts disabled.

I am not willing to go with Option 1. Diabetes intrudes into almost every moment of my life and I don’t want it accompanied by beeping, dinging, and babies-crying alerts.

I suspect that I can get used to Option 2 and that is what I am using today.

If I am going to use Option 3 then I should definitely just stay with the Dexcom G4 for my next transmitter with the longer battery life and no drop-dead date. Plus, I thought that the purpose of the G5 was to eliminate the receiver and use my smartphone instead!

So am I crazy and missing something obvious? Or is this another instance of “improved” medical devices taking a step backwards?

***Actually I like the Dexcom app on the phone and the ease of reading data and entering calibrations. But the lack of a Vibrate option is a big issue for me.

Two Life Hacks and a Story

Laddie_Head SquareGoing Home with an Animas Ping/Vibe:  I have been using an Animas Ping pump for over two years and still go crazy with the convoluted menu system. One of the most frustrating things is the lack of an Escape or Back button and I have b*tched about that more than once, twice, ten times, a hundred times. Many bloggers reviewing the just-released Animas Vibe complained about the same thing.

in the Animas Users Group at TuDiabetes, a Norwegian Vibe user with the screen name of Siri (not my iPhone Siri) told me about a shortcut to escape the endless menus of Animas pumps and return to the home screen. Just press the Audio Bolus button on the right side of the pump. Then press the OK button or any key on the front of the pump. You will be returned to the home screen. Siri learned this from her Animas Rep.

With this trick, I will probably save an inconsequential 5 minutes a year, but I will save myself oodles of frustration. Honestly I have to admit that in the last couple of months, I have become so adept with my Ping that I really don’t hate it anymore…. I am definitely looking forward to receiving my Vibe:-)

iPhone trick:  Younger readers of this blog who have grown up texting probably know about keyboard shortcuts. Even I knew about them and had seen the “omg” already programmed into my iPhone and iPad. Because I text like an “old person” and type out exactly what I want to say, I never bothered using shortcuts and never programmed any into my phone. A couple months ago after being annoyed about having to type my email address into so many online forms, it dawned on me that I could use a keyboard shortcut for my email address. Therefore I programmed “mgm” into my phone as a keyboard shortcut for my gmail account.  I set up “mcm” for an alternative Comcast email account. “tgg” enters my blog web address. These shortcuts work on most websites and blogs and save me a lot of error-filled typing.

To set up a keyboard shortcut, go to Settings/General/Keyboard/Shortcuts. Click on the + in the upper right hand corner. Enter your email address as the phrase and a series of letters for your shortcut. One glitch is that a space is automatically entered after your email address when you press the space bar to use your shortcut. That is great for emails and texts, but most website forms interpret this space as meaningful and will reject your address. So after the email populates itself, you may have to backspace before entering your password. Keyboard shortcuts entered on one device automatically show up on your other Apple devices.

If you decide to give this a try and like it, just remember that you learned this from a 62-year old woman. It is never too late for this old dog to learn new tricks!

A Story:  Last Wednesday I hiked in the morning with a group of friends. I came home, cleaned up a bit, and had lunch. The refrigerator was empty so I went to “town” to shop. In the winter I live in the boondocks of Arizona and have a 20+ minute drive to the grocery store. Although I had drunk a lot of water on my hike, I was still thirsty and grabbed a can of carbonated water for the road.

I went to the hardware store, took Abby the Black Lab to the dog park for tennis ball retrieving on grass, and went to Safeway to buy food (low carb of course!). I was still thirsty so stopped by the adjacent convenience store to buy an unsweetened iced tea to carry me through the afternoon.Bud Light Box I grabbed the almost empty can of carbonated water to throw away and gasped as I saw it was a can of Bud Light! I had been driving around town drinking beer. Arizona has no-tolerance laws for alcohol and driving and I think that I would have been thrown in jail had a policeman seen me chugging beer as I completed my errands.

Bud Light in cans is not our beer of choice. I think this can was 3-4 years old and a remnant of the last time my husband entertained Minnesota golfing buddies in our winter paradise. Because I try to avoid Diet Coke, I drink enough weirdly-flavored carbonated water and iced tea drinks that a flat, tasteless beer didn’t register as something I shouldn’t be drinking.

I’ve told this story to many of my local friends. Everyone proclaimed that I was the last person that they would have envisioned drinking and driving at lunchtime. They also swore that they would have visited me in jail. It is a funny story that is actually quite terrifying.

When I got home, I checked my refrigerator’s “canned water” bin and there were no other cans of beer. I wish that I had checked the date on the beer can to see how old it was. At the same time I am glad that this is just a funny story told from the safety of my living room. Because I was totally unaware of what was going on, I have no idea how I would have tried to explain this to a policeman.

Summary: One diabetes hint, one iPhone hint, and a story about drinking and driving. Sounds like a great blogpost to me:-)