Diabetes FAIL

On Thursday night, I had the perfect storm of diabetes device failure.

It was the last night for the infusion set on my pump. I wear the Sure-T so they are pretty reliable. Plus, with my DexCom CGM I can tell when there is an issue long before it becomes a big problem. Famous last words.

I woke up some time in the early morning and checked my DexCom receiver (if I wake up unexpectedly the first thing I do is always check the receiver). I saw a message that I had not seen before “Sensor Failed.”

I thought it was odd, but in my sleepy stupor I didn’t think too much of it. I restarted the sensor, rolled back over, and fell back asleep. When I woke up with my alarm clock, the screen had the same error message. The stubborn person I am, I tried restarting it again while I got ready for work. It shortly failed again, and I knew I had to give up on it.

It was then that I remembered I hadn’t checked my  blood sugar yet.

not a good morning

Not the highest level I’d ever seen, but not something I wanted to see first thing in the morning. As I changed the infusion set on my pump (something I was scheduled to do anyway), I noticed that my stomach didn’t feel quite right.

I headed to my bedroom to search through my diabetes closet for my ketone meter. I have never had anything other than normal results when I test for ketones. Other than at diagnosis, I cannot actually remember ever having ketones before.

That is why I was so surprised when this number came up.

evil ketones

And here is the chart:


To put it mildly, even though the ketones were not that high, my body was not a fan. It was a tough morning.

Once I started to feel a little bit better, I got on the phone with DexCom. Because the sensor lasted less than 7 days, I knew they would replace it. Plus it was time for me to reorder my monthly supply. Actually, it was past time. The failed sensor was the last sensor in my supply.

On the phone with tech support, we figured out why the sensor failed. Here is what a sensor should look like. Keep in mind I wore this one for 17 days.

what it should look likenormal sensor

This is what the failed sensor looked like. When I took the transmitter out, a few extra pieces had detached and came with it.

sensor failsomething is missing

I had never seen anything like it before, but when I headed online I saw similar pictures from some friends (Lorraine, Sarah).


So that was a tough day, but something that I could fix within a few hours. The bad news came in the conversation with DexCom.

Because of the holiday, the replacement sensor is not going to make it to me until at least Thursday (almost a week later). And my insurance has decided to change their ordering procedures for the third time in a year so the request will have to be submitted to them and I won’t even hear anything about the progress until Thursday – and they could deny the claim for new sensors all together.

I keep trying to remind myself that I went without sensors for many years and that most people with diabetes go without. But right now, it makes me nervous not to be able to rely on that continuous information.


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