Like a G6?
We upgraded our Dexcom system a few weeks ago to the G4 Share. Why, you may wonder, didn't we go straight to the newest Dexcom system, the G5? And what's the difference, anyway?
Here's what we learned about the distinctions between the two:
-The G4 Share sends data from the transmitter (worn on my daughter's body) to a receiver (within several feet of the transmitter). The receiver has a screen on which the data is viewable, and it alarms for high and low blood sugars. The receiver then sends data to a paired smartphone (in this case my daughter's). That phone, in turn, can be set to send data to other smartphones (in this case, mine and my husband's).
-The G5 Share sends the data straight from the transmitter to a smartphone, bypassing the need for a receiver. There is an option to have the data go to a receiver instead, but it cannot go to both places. From what I've read,the distance over which the G5's transmitter will send its data is shorter than that of the G4's transmitter. The share part works the same way, with the option to send data on from the primary smartphone to designated recipients.
Here's how we thought through our decision:
-My first consideration was that I didn't want my daughter's phone in her room at night. The temptation to text, stream Netflix and/or scroll through Instagram would be entirely too great. Because of it's reportedly shorter transmission range, I wasn't confident that the G5 transmitter's signal would reach through the wall to the adjoining bathroom or hallway. And even if it did, I had another issue:
-I didn't want my phone in my bedroom at night. Much to the chagrin of a few of my friends, I'm known for putting my phone 'to bed' by 9:30 p.m. If I were using it for Dexcom alerts I would not only need to leave it next to the bed, but also leave the sound on. This wasn't appealing if we could continue our current practice of using a receiver with a longer signal instead.
-We then began to consider where else my daughter wouldn't or shouldn't have her phone, even if it were part of a medical device. It would be hard to carry a phone during gym class. What about marching band practices and competitions? Theater costumes don't often have roomy pockets. The size and simplicity of slipping a much smaller-than-an-iPhone Dexcom receiver in a pocket or clipping its case on a waistband seemed much more convenient in these situations than finding somewhere on her person to stash the phone.
-The receiver emits a unique series of vibrations and/or beeps to alert its user of low or high blood sugars. This would make it possible to be alerted of, and to address, a problem even if the receiver were silenced and tucked deep and irretrievably in a uniform or costume. Two vibrations for high, three for low, four for very low.
-The receiver's information seemed more quickly accessible. The receiver is usually clipped to her waist band or in her front pants pocket. At the push of one button to wake up the screen, she can see her current number, a trend arrow, and a three hour graph. With the phone, there would be the process of locating it in her bag, unlocking it, opening the app and then being able to see the data before putting the phone away again. More steps would make it harder to be surreptitious and more likely to get questioned or looked down upon for using her phone inappropriately. Was it worth the extra conversations and dirty looks?
It was a tough decision, mostly since my inclination is usually to go with the very newest technology, but I'm convinced we've made the right choice for our family at this moment. Now we can stop thinking about it until we have to decide whether we'd like a G6 or a G6.