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Dexcom – hacked

The battery in my Dexcom G4 transmitter finally died, after a bit over a year.

Naturally, the only logical next step was to hack it open and look around — because that’s what guys like me do.

That sucker is built solid. A simple utility knife wouldn’t do the trick. 

The serial number always made me chuckle. Nothing wrong with adult sophomoric humor. 

I had to resort to more forceful measures to get it open. 

Finally, it started to give way.

Here’s a first glimpse at what’s inside. 

This isn’t just a plastic housing around a hollow core; this thing is solid. It must be injection-molded to fill every nook and cranny inside of the thing.

Two Maxell watch batteries. (Did you know Maxell was still around? I thought they went away with the cassette tape)

I’ve read that some people replace the batteries in their transmitters, then close them up and they keep on going. I can’t imagine how. 

Here’s where the batteries once lived. I suspect that big piece of copper off to the right is the antenna. 

I tried using my trusty, rusty utility knife to lift up the battery housing, but wasn’t too successful. Bits and pieces of Dexcom flew everywhere.

Finally I separated the circuit board from the molded plastic housing. Those two circles are where the transmitter makes contact with the sensor. 

You can see it better in these photos. 

Those batteries, by the way, got only three stars on Amazon.

When new, they measure 1.55 Volts.

Used, one of the batteries measured less than a third of that (the rated 1.55 volts).

The other was far worse. But this tells me that the batteries are placed in parallel, so the second battery extends the transmitter’s lifespan, but doesn’t offer more power. Not a typical configuration, but considering they are neither rechargeable nor replaceable, it makes sense.

The end.

(This entire post was written on an iPhone, because I was too lazy to copy the photos to a computer. I hope the formatting is OK — apologies if it is not)

Twelve Angry Hemoglobins

I just came back from my appointment with my endo.  I didn’t go in with particularly high expectations, but I still came out feeling kind of low (and I don’t mean my blood sugar).

It all started in a typical exam room when a friendly physician’s assistant came in to check my height, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and all that fun stuff.  Then she leafed through that blue folder with my first and last name on it making sure everything is in order.  Height, weight, BP, BG, pulse properly recorded: check. Eye doctor report: check.  A1C results —

That was in there too.

Then she closed the folder and carried it out of the room.

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Finding Dr. Right

Dr. Frederick Banting, the Godfather of Diabetes Specialists
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

It’s tough to find a good doctor to help manage diabetes.  It’s also tough to know if the doctor you have is a good one.

As of some time earlier this month (I don’t know the exact date) I’ve had Type diabetes for 31 years.  In those years, I’ve had many different doctors care for my diabetes.  Looking back at them, I realize how different each one is from the next.  Some are good at telling you that you’re not doing well (or kicking you in the pants when you don’t).   Others are good at maintaining the status quo: writing prescriptions and keeping track of various metrics (A1C, height, weight) without ever really knowing you.  And every once in a while, you come across a real gem – someone who really can make a difference – who can surprise an old dog by teaching him new tricks.  (Yes, sadly, I now consider myself an “old dog”.)

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The wonderful wizard of eyes

Yeah, I'm cool like that.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about making an appointment with the ophthalmologist.  Yesterday was the day, and the day went surprisingly well.

Making the walk from my house to the office was easy – it took about 10 minutes.  It was also kind of cloudy.  This is good, I thought.  It’ll make my walk home that much easier.  I brought my laptop with me to pass the time.

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Wordless Wednesday: Sugar-free sugar

Since the soft drinks at Fuddruckers Hamburgers are all self-serve,
I couldn't ask the server "are you sure it's diet?"

I took this image about a year and half ago and posted it on TuDiabetes shortly before starting this blog. But in the spirit of Wordless Wednesday, I thought it’s worth sharing it again here.