Disconnecting my CGM

Type 1 Diabetes Blog

Disconnecting my CGM

I’ve learned from experience that getting diabetes hardware replaced while abroad is difficult. It’s possible, but the process of getting it done usually creates a desire to bang your head against a wall.

To avoid this altogether, I try to be extra cautious with my insulin pump and CGM when I’m traveling. I triple check it to make sure it’s in a safe place, and am conscious of excessive heat or cold around these devices.

But a recent trip to the Galapagos presented a new challenge. It started on our second day, during an afternoon snorkeling stint. I felt a weird fluttering sensation on my stomach and looked down to realize my CGM sensor was coming loose, and the edges of the adhesive were moving around with each water current.

I didn’t want it to come off, so I found myself holding the sensor and transmitter with one hand while I tried to swim with the other. Needless to say, this was a little too much active diabetes management while I’d rather be focusing on the sea creatures.

When I got above board, I took a closer look. The adhesive was not fully loose; it was just kind of frayed at the edges. But with the water currents, it was enough to make me nervous that it would rip off in the water. I was happy to replace the sensor as those are meant to be disposable and last 7 days. But I was worried about the non-disposable transmitter (the piece that clicks into the disposable sensor part), which costs something like $500 to replace. And I wasn’t too keen on having to ship anything to an international location.

So I considered my options: I could “install” a new sensor to get a better adhesive. But with five more days of snorkeling excursions to go, it would probably be lose again in another two days.

I could just periodically check my CGM sensor while in the water…but if the adhesive did dislodge, the transmitter would probably be on the ocean floor before I realized.

Instead, I decided to try something new: each time I got in the water, I left the CGM sensor in place, but I unclicked and removed the transmitter itself. When I got out of the water, I simply clicked the transmitter back into place. With the Dexcom system, removing the transmitter forced a two-hour calibration period each time I reconnected—but I had peace of mind knowing that the value piece of the CGM equipment (the transmitter itself) was on the ship and safe.

I’m curious if anyone has done this as well? The system worked out well for me, but I’m wondering if there are any cons I did not consider?