Monday, October 4, 2010

Bad Transmitter, Bad Timing

Last week I wanted to put a sensor on.  I almost always (if I remember) insert my sensor the night before to allow it to get settled in my body overnight.  I attach the transmitter in the morning and start it up.  I find I get far less errors the first few hours the sensor is on when I do this.  When I insert it and start it up straight away it sometimes takes hours of dealing with calibration and bad sensor alarms.  I, unfortunately, don't wear a sensor 24/7 as I'm sure I (and other Canadian DOC'ers) have made it clear that CGM supplies in Canada are almost always out-of-pocket expenses.  I had a sensor on a couple weeks ago and it took a good 12 hours of alarms before it finally started functioning.  Even then, after 4 days the readings were all over the place and totally wrong so I removed it prematurely.

ANYWAY...  I put the sensor in overnight, attached the transmitter in the morning and then proceeded to deal with the "BAD SENSOR" alarm incessantly.  I would go to start the sensor and within 3 minutes it would inevitably alarm me.  I turned it off and on a few times and just kept being persistent trying it every hour or so and continued to get the bad sensor alarm.  I mean, I REALLY wasn't prepared to throw a brand new sensor out (at $50/each).  I finally called Medtronic Friday night.  I was on the phone with them for an hour.  They kept walking me through the same process over and over and over again.  Eventually they asked me to plug in the transmitter tester (I always wondered what that little piece was for, glad I didn't throw it out).  In the end we determined that it was not in fact the sensor that was bad it was my transmitter. 

Those bloody transmitters cost $700 in Canada and it's all out-of-pocket.  My transmitter was purchased in January of this year.  They only come with a 6 month warranty which leaves me with no options.  Its sad that a piece of expensive equipment like that has only a 6 month warranty.  I won't argue though but that doesn't mean I'm not angry.  I'm more just feeling defeated than anything else.  I have a handful of sensors that expire this month and buying a new transmitter is sort of out of the question right now as my life is not conducive to equipment troubles.  Bad timing.  I need the sensor data the most right now to help me regain some sort of control over my management which has been utter shite lately. (Read last two posts)

I can't help but feel a bit helpless.  Why did my transmitter only last 9 months?  It makes me a bit weary nevertheless of purchasing a new one.  I'm really beginning to feel powerless.


  1. I'm surprised Medtronic won't just send you a transmitter. It's clearly not your fault the transmitter went bad, and they're not going to be able to sell you any sensors if you don't have a working transmitter. I would call your local Medtronic rep, if you know who that is, and let them know that they are losing a customer, a customer who may eventually switch to a competing brand. Pump, pump supplies, sensors, etc. Every diabetic means a lot of money to Medtronic, much more than $700.

  2. I agree with the comment above, I would recommend calling your local medtronic rep for assistance. As well, can you call your CDE and ask if she has either some supplies that have a longer shelf life (do a trade) or she has another patient whom you could maybe trade with? This way you aren't entirely throwing your money down the toilet.


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