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I Dislike My Lying Sensor

January 19, 2014

I’ve had some problems with my Medtronic Enlite sensor. This morning’s experience, though, takes the cake. 

I was awakened by my pump’s THRESHOLD SUSPEND feature going nuts, telling me my sugar was dangerously low. According to my Enlite sensor, my sugar was at or around 59. Groggily, I suspended my basal delivery. 

I woke up again a half hour later as my pump notified me my basal delivery was still suspended. I checked my sensor glucose reading. It read 61. Still groggy, I thought, “This can’t be right.”

I kept it suspended, and a half hour later (when I was again awakened by my pump’s vibrations) I checked the sensor reading again; it still read 61. 

“Stupid piece of sh#*,” I thought, and turned my basal on again. 

I woke up again, this time for good a short time later to see my sensor reading at, you guessed it, 61. I tested my sugar with my meter. My actual glucose was 178, which my pump told me was a little high. 

“Fu#*you, you useless piece of crap,” I thought (but didn’t say, as my 2-year-old son was nearby.

We got ready to go out for brunch in the neighborhood, and took a nice eight-block walk to a nice, new eatery. We placed our orders. We sat down. I entered my carb info and started the Bolus delivery. I checked my sensor reading. It read 321. 

“No way,” I thought, as I hadn’t eaten anything yet. I checked my sugar again. My glucose read 183. 

After brunch, my sensor said my sugar was 283, and rising. When we got home, my blood glucose read 187. 

I’m less than thrilled with this thing. 

On a related Medtronic note, I received an email from a Medtronic customer service rep yesterday, congratulating me on one month of use of the 530g with Enlite system. “As always,” I was told, “please let (name redacted to protect the criminally culpable) know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. She will be reaching out to you again next month.”

I emailed the CSR back, saying I hadn’t heard from (name redacted) since Dec. 4, when she told me she’d be checking in with me before the Christmas holidays. I have no faith (name redacted) will ever contact me again. 

I received a pair of messages from someone else at Medtronic after my last post, but have yet to return his call. I’ll probably call him tomorrow to voice my continued displeasure.

At this point, I think I’d recommend anyone who’s considering continuous glucose monitoring to go with Dexcom. Medtronic has been a nightmare, both in terms of the product’s accuracy, as well as their client relations. 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie S. permalink
    January 21, 2014 11:55 am

    Hi Brian–

    I just discovered your blog. I started on the 530G/Enlite system just before Thanksgiving. (prior to that I was using the Minimed Paradigm and their Sof-Sensors, so I’m not new to pumping/CGM, just upgraded).

    Yes, what you described happens. I won’t lie. In my experience it depends on the sensor. The one I’m wearing this week is unbelievably accurate but I’ve also had ones act like yours above. I will say that with my old pump/sensor, I felt like the readings got more accurate over time–like the sensor had to “get used to me” and how to read me. Minimed has never told me this, it’s just my own opinion.

    Sorry you’re having so much trouble out of the gate–hopefully your experience improves!

    • January 21, 2014 3:49 pm

      Hi Katie. I think my bigger issue is with Medtronic and the bad customer service experience I’ve had. A couple other CGM users have told me about the sensor “learning” situation, too. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Katie S. permalink
    January 30, 2014 11:38 am

    Hi Brian–

    I just wanted to give an update to my comment above. As I said I started with the 530G/Enlite the week of Thanksgiving so it has now been 2 months. The last 2 or 3 sensors I have worn have been MUCH more accurate. In my experience it took about 6 weeks for Enlite to “learn” me. It was frustrating and annoying as hell in the meantime, but I’m glad I stuck with it now. Enlite has earned my trust for now and hopefully it stays that way.

    Good luck!

  3. James E. permalink
    January 31, 2014 12:31 am

    Hi Brian. I have the same issues with my Enlite sensor. The issue has gotten so bad for me that I now temporarily silence sensor alerts and turn off the threshold suspend function overnight on the day I start a new sensor. It’s the only way me or my wife can get any sleep that first night! Generally, it levels out after that first day.

    Though I will say “I am less than thrilled” about the fact that the Medtronic website, my Medtronic trainer, and training material all indicate that the Enlite sensor can be calibrated anytime except with the double arrows down. My experience has been that this is not true and calling customer service for help with the sensor in futile. They are awful (with the Enlite sensors specifically) and multiple times I have received conflicting information from the them. Of course, when confronted with this conflicting information the current rep says the prior rep was incorrect (this has happened to me three separate times).

    Sooo I have resorted to calibrating using the old Sof-Sensor calibration rules. This has yielded more reliable sensor readings for me. Anyway, thanks for the blog!

  4. February 5, 2014 7:06 pm

    Funny I should happen upon this blog post because I’m currently having the same kind of trouble – nothing like having the pump want to shut off when you’re in the 110 range and getting a good night’s sleep sometimes is a real stretch…oh the joys of diabetes technology. Hang in there and hopefully everything gets better for everyone!


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