The “About” page on the app pretty much sums it up. Before all this, I would never have dreamt of learning Android, but its funny how motivated one can become when it comes to the health of someone you love.
First and foremost, I have to thank Dexcom. I realize it’s a business, but unlike other businesses that produce stuff that most of us can really live without, it’s a business that in the end, has a positive impact for their end-users. So the story really begins with Dexcom (though they have nothing to do with this app).
Before we got the Dexcom, my daughter would not roam 10 feet away from my wife. There she was, 10 years old and afraid to leave the side of her mother. Now, (and this is just my opinion), men and women handle these kinds of situations differently. My wife handles at least 90% of the daily tasks, and yes, she’s the worrier. For me, it killed me to see my daughter being so dependent. As a father, I’ve always wanted to raise my daughters as independent thinkers. I also wanted to help my wife who was setting alarms every few hours to check my daughter’s blood glucose levels throughout the night and wasn’t getting any sleep, plus my daughter’s fingers were starting to look like raw meat.
After I did my homework, I realized the Dexcom CGM was the right tool for us. After our endocronologist was pushing for a pump and was against the idea of a CGM, he relented. My daughter took some convincing but about a week after wearing it (and a lot of bribing), she was hooked.
The next step was trying to get some kind of sanity back to our lives. The Dexcom allowed us to get chunks of sleep at night, and also gave my daugther independence, and helped lower her A1C (which was always great). In this quest for sanity, I checked out the NightScout site. I downloaded their code, and even though I had zero experience in Java, I was a pretty fair C++ programer (though my background is heavy database). After reviewing their code, I realized I would have to write my own app (I’ll be nice and leave it at that).
Anyone whose programmed for a number of years will tell you, programing is programing, It’s just a matter of getting used to syntax and knowing the available functions, so I downloaded Android Studio (at the time it was still in early Beta) and got down to programing. A couple of years later, Dexcom came out with their “Follow” app, and I thought “Oh well, at least I learned how to program in Android/Java”. After a couple of weeks of using the Dexcom app, it’s responsiveness just slowed and slowed, and we also realized that at times, it wasn’t alarming. As someone whose done tech for a lot of years, I realized something wasn’t right with the Dexcom Android App (the tech discussion will glaze your eyes over). I blew the dust off my app, and retooled it to augment the “Follow” app.
My first real world use of my app was a date with my wife seeing Burt Bacharach in concert as we monitored our daughter’s BG levels in the theater, while listening to “Raindrops keep falling on my head” and “Walk on by”.
As for my daughter, she’s a healthy teenager with an A1C in the low 5’s. She goes to sleep-overs, goes to the mall, and is the picture of health. If it wasn’t for hormones, my wife and I would get a full nights sleep (hormones play havoc with blood glucose numbers), but at this point, I’m not complaining.
For those of you who download this app and have any suggestions, please let me know. I’ve written it from two perspectives. One, From parents desperate for sleep but also who don’t want to miss an alarm. Secondly, to provide the tools that augments the Dexcom CGM in order to provide the best results in A1C values . I’ll be happy to add any feature. As an aside, the code is available on GitHub for review.
All my best.