I was excited to see a big box from DexCom on my desk when I arrived at work this morning. I had been expecting it to arrive Tuesday. What I didn't know when purchasing the DexCom was that it requires calibration with the LifeScan OneTouch Ultra meter, which I had left at home today. (I have another version of the Ultra--the "UltraSmart"--that I have been using since the Honu Ironman 70.3 triathlon in June.) Lucky for me, my health insurance HMO covers this particular meter (and this meter only, as far as I know), so I will be able to continue to have my BG meter test strips covered by my health insurance.
The DexCom consists of 3 main parts: the sensor, the transmitter, and the receiver. The sensor is the part that is inserted under the skin; DexCom has devised a pretty nifty inserter that makes the procedure painless and quick. However, I wonder if the contraption might be part of the reason that each 3-day-use sensor costs $35. I also wonder if the reason for the insterter has to do with FDA concerns that ordinary diabetics couldn't safely insert the sensor without an inserter already attached. (Recall that Medtronic wasn't able to initially release their CGMS with real-time data because the FDA thought diabetics might not know how to handle so much information.) Never you mind that diabetics are quite adept at handling medical devices and have gone far beyond mastering the simple insulin syringe. But this is just speculation on my part...
At any rate, the second device, the transmitter, snaps easily into place on top of the sensor, and communicates with the receiver, which is an oval-shaped device with a screen for displaying glucose values. It is quite sleek-looking and recharges like a cell phone after about 5 days of use.
Compared to the Guardian RT, the DexCom STS is much less obtrusive, since the transmitter is tiny. From a comfort point of view, I would definitely go with the DexCom.
But the most important test will come tomorrow, after the DexCom has had its 12-hour calibration period. Will the information be accurate, or at least accurate enough to be helpful? We shall see!
I'm just happy I didn't waste a sensor by messing up the insertion!