So my Libre 2 journey finally begins. I tried to make sure I was going to be ready, but I wasn’t sure how the first sensor was going to go.
Dexcom G6 almost always had a sting when inserting, but it was almost always brief. The applicator has a button that fires the spring loaded needle so it’s pretty easy to do. But there was always a flinch. I rarely had any other issues.
The Libre 2 has a completely different insertion system. Dexcom was really good about hiding the needle, and I actually went through multiple sensors before I learned about the needle. Libre 2 does not hide the needle. Once the package is assembled, you have an applicator with a needle in plain view. This makes it super intimidating.
You have to press the applicator into the site. This made another level of intimidation, and I hesitated heavily. However, I slowly pressed until it fired, and, well, it was a non-event. There was no sting. It was just plain done.
Dexcom changed their applicator for the G7 to be in this style, which likely coincides with their technology change, so clearly this is a superior setup. Libre 3 continues this. So no matter what I choose in the future, I think this will work pretty well. I believe both Libre 3 and G7 have simplified the applicator in order to reduce waste.
All of these systems require activating the sensor and a warm up period. I was looking forward to the shorter warm up for Libre 2 versus G6 (1 hour versus 2 hours). However, activating was a bit of a challenge.
Normally, Libre 2 is activated with a NFC scan with the Libre 2 app. Unfortunately, I upgraded to the iOS 16 public beta and the Libre 2 app crashes on startup. Starting the sensor with Shuggah is apparently not possible so I still have to use the Libre 2 app.
So I went hunting for my old iPhone Xr. It took a while because I couldn’t remember where I stored it, so my sensor is, essentially, “soaking” this whole time (about an hour). It was actually still running iOS 14, but it was good enough to get the Libre 2 app running. I started the sensor session.
But I want to use Shuggah and the miaomiao device. Even though I got the session started, Shuggah still couldn’t get info from the transmitter. I had read in the past that upgrading the firmware may be needed. Unfortunately, this has to be performed with the Tomato app. The apps bind to the transmitter, so this was a bit of a problem.
I opted to install Tomato on my old iPhone. Managing bluetooth would be far easier this way. I don’t have to manage app permissions, just kill bluetooth on my main device and have the Xr handle it temporarily. This seemed to connect, at first, but then the Xr no longer would recognize it after a while.
So, back to the 12 mini. I could get it to detect in both Shuggah and Tomato. But neither could pick up the sensor. Shuggah just wouldn’t display anything indicating it was getting data other than info about the transmitter. Tomato would just hang on “Requesting…”
So, I gave up on the miaomiao. Possibly over $100 wasted.
Abbott provides a way to share data with other people through Libre LinkUp, which is a separate app the other user installs. A developer managed to figure out how to access the data via this sharing so that I can capture the data and send it to my Nightscout instance. I’m running everything I need for Nightscout (multiple services) through docker on a server at Linode. This extra uploader can also be run as a docker container so I added it to the compose stack.
One thing I’ll have to get used to is, while Libre 2 scans glucose every minute, it only saves values every 15 minutes. This creates larger gaps between readings through my apps. It should, still, be good enough for the analytics side of things.
The position that I’m in, now, is even if Abbott provided an app update to make it work in iOS 16, I have to use my Xr until the sensor completes as it is bound to the sensor. So, at least for the duration of this sensor, I am carrying 2 devices. I still have to manually scan to get readings and have them uploaded. I still have to keep my Xr near me, even during the night, since that’s where alarms will go. I can’t count on Sugarmate or any other app to handle alarms because while the readings are continuous, the transmission of data is not.
The cool thing is I now have better hope about Libre 3 thanks to this new docker based LinkUp based uploader because it’s supposed to also work with Libre 3 data. This means when I eventually do upgrade, I shouldn’t see much of a change in terms of accessing my data. However, because Libre 3 reads and transmits on the minute, I’ll get much more fine grained data. I’m not sure if that’s super beneficial as opposed to every 15 minutes, but getting the data automatically will make this so much better.
For now, Libre 2 on my second iPhone is responsible for collecting data and providing alerts. I’m hoping this isn’t going to be ongoing for too long, but this is the state of things for at least the next 2 weeks, and will span 2 weeks with each new sensor without an app update that fixes the crash on iOS 16.
Why not roll back my 12? There’s a couple of reasons. First, I want to keep using iOS 16 because the enhancements are pretty good and I’m used to it. I’ve also been using it for a while, at this point, and restoring a backup would be a bit painful. But, at this point, restoring a backup isn’t really even possible because of a bad assumption on my part. When doing a backup, only one backup is saved at a time, so I overwrote my backup with an iOS 16 backup. Rolling back is much more painful as it’s basically starting with a fresh device at that point. Yeah, it’s my fault. It’s my fault I’m carrying a second iPhone. But at the same time, come on, Abbott. Let’s get this app working sometime before the official iOS 16 release.