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Dexcom and Apples

How was your Christmas?

I hope you got everything you wished for...other than a cure. Santa clearly didn't make that happen. Oh well, it's on all the medical researchers out there supposively working to "find" a cure. At least we have family, friends and this awesome T1dCommunity!

I am super stoked my hubby bought me a new iPhone 8 with some accessories and a new wristband for my Apple Watch Series 2.* The only downside was that I had some trouble downloading all my apps to the new iPhone - the most important app being Dexcom. Especially, since we had done a new pump site change on a new area of Coral's body - her belly. Furthermore, she didn't finish her dinner and I knew her blood glucose (BG) was going to drop within the next hour or two even after temporarily decreasing her basal by 90% on the Animas Ping pump. Her BG was 90mg/dL around midnight. Without enough protein and fiber from dinner or any meal, she won't last more than half an hour sometimes. Her BG will continue to drop with that "basal" dripping in small doses from her pump.

Although I'm able to see her BG reading directly from the Dexcom receiver, I wanted to make sure my iPhone 8 was completely setup with the app before dawn. I was afraid I was going to have to pair the transmitter with the sensor again, meaning I would have to stop the current session leaving us "blind" for two hours or more! It takes 30 minutes to pair the transmitter alone and two hours to "warm-up" the sensor. Not something a fatigued mama wants to do at midnight. Thank goodness I didn't attempt that method because the transmitter still wouldn't have been able to complete pairing since it only recognizes the old iPhone 6s. Don't make that mistake!



So, I looked up the Dexcom User Guide direct from the app in the Help tab. For those who don't know, the Dexcom transmitter (gray battery at surface of sensor) can only be paired with one (1) smart device and I'm the Main Sharer. Therefore, I had to delete the Dexcom app from my old iPhone 6s. Within 10 minutes or so, I received a Bluetooth Pairing Request on my iPhone 8. I clicked Pair and the Dexcom app began to work! No spotty signals overnight either which confirms a solid signal or transmission between the sensor to receiver and then, to my new iPhone.

By 2am, I saw her BG trending downwards and soon, Dexcom alerted a "Low." I got up, walked to the kitchen to grab a bottle of Pediasure from the fridge, measured 2oz (4g carbs) with 1oz water, and poured it into a sippy cup. Then, with the sippy cup in hand, I headed to the bathroom to grab her toothbrush and a rinsing cup filled with a bit of water. I whispered, "Milk, milk, sit up, sugar low," and she sat up with her eyes closed as usual and reached for the sippy cup with shaky hands. She grasped it with both hands as I placed my right palm on her back to help her sit up. I encouraged her to drink all of it. Then, she laid back down and I took the toothbrush dipped in water and brushed her teeth. No cavities for this little T1dToddler. I set a temp basal reduction for another 1hr and her BG began to rise ever so slowly. By 3am, I finally fell asleep and woke around 7am to no more Dexcom alarms, just pure instinct or force of habit.

We had Birch Benders paleo pancakes with fresh strawberries for breakfast. I bolused her after she took a couple bites of pancake and ate 1oz of strawberries since her BG was dropping from 70mg/dL around 9am. As I was washing dishes and cleaning up, she leveled out to 145. I told her to go play with her new toys as I got ready to meet one of our dear friends and her daughters for lunch. I turned on my Apple Watch, and soon realized, "Damn, the Dexcom app is missing from the watch face." I had to A) Reset the watch, B) pair it with my new iPhone, and C) Add the Dexcom app as a Complication. Sounds simple, but actually required more steps than most I would like. 

Be sure you have saved your watch data to iCloud prior to resetting it. To pair it with your iPhone, do the following:
  1. Go to Settings on actual Apple Watch - not your iPhone watch app, tap General, then tap Reset. Await pairing animation as shown below. Then, tap continue on Watch.
  2. Select Start Pairing. Hold iPhone over Apple Watch and align within frame on iPhone screen. Wait...patiently. Takes a few minutes. 
  3. Once your Apple Watch is Paired, select Restore from Backup (disregard if brand new watch and select Set Up as New Apple Watch instead).
  4. If restoring from backup, follow prompts and select a backup to restore on your Apple Watch.
Next, I had to do the following to make sure the Dexcom app was still on my Apple Watch:
  1. Go to Watch app on iPhone, select Search tab at bottom right of screen and enter Dexcom. If you're the Main Sharer like me, download the Dexcom G5 Mobile for Watch app. Otherwise, you are to download the Dexcom Follow app for Apple Watch.
  2. Add Dexcom as a Complication - Go to My Watch from home screen (bottom left tab) and click on Complications. If installed correctly, the Dexcom app should be listed.
  3. To add Dexcom to Watch face, tap on Face Gallery at bottom of screen and select a watch face such as Modular that's compatible with the Dexcom app (other faces include (Motion, Photos, Utility, Activity Analog, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse). For those are not the Main Sharer, you may want to look into installing the Sugarmate app for Apple Watch. A fellow T1dmom suggested it today and direct messaged me on Instagram. I love the T1dcommunity.
  4. While in Modular screen, select desired color and set up your Complications. I personally prefer the Dexcom reading to be large as possible. Therefore, I have it placed in the Middle. Scroll down and tap "Set as current Watch Face." You can add more Faces if you wish and swipe left on your Watch to interchange each. You can even re-order the Faces from you iPhone's Watch app in the My Faces screen by tapping Edit. Drag and move Face into desired order.
For further assistance regarding Apple products, please refer to their website here. I am primarily focused on educating those within the Type 1 diabetic community about the Dexcom app and its compatible smart devices.

*Apple accessories at affordable prices found on Amazon:
  • iPhone 8, 7, 6, 6s tempered glass screen protector by TechMatte, 2 pack, $7.99
  • iPhone 8/7 case by Caseology in various colors, $13.99
  • Apple Watch 38mm Stainless Steel Band with Magnetic Closure by Been5le, $14.99. It fits my tiny wrist snuggly and the magnetic closure feels secure - more so than the gold replacement band I bought from another vendor several weeks ago.
As thankful as I am to A) afford the technology that aides in keeping Coral alive and healthy on a daily basis and B) actually know how to use it, the Dexcom app sure needs some updating or at least keep up with Apple's OS updates. Which, unfortunately, is almost every month it seems. I wish Dexcom would also extend the range of the Bluetooth connection past TEN feet. Do they even offer this with the G6? I highly doubt it. The iPhone reaches at least 20 ft at times when there's absolutely no interference. Let's all hope for better diabetes technology (aka "DTech") in the near future. Cheers to closed-loop pumps other than the Medtronic 670G. Yes, there's more coming out next year. I'll save that for another post.

Good night and good glucose to all! If Santa was diabetic, that's what he'd say as he rides away on his sleigh.

Warmest aloha,
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