I shared yesterday a sneak peak of Angelina’s dexcom trend line in the cloud. I’ve been asked by a few people/friends how the setup went? How long did it take? Was it hard? Do you think I could do it?
I am here to answer your questions!
We got back from vacation in Florida on July 8. One of my local d-mom friends had posted in our local group about how her husband had spent the weekend setting up CGM in the Cloud for their son and how happy she was with it and proudly displayed a photo of her wearing the pebble watch with CGM trend on the face. I had heard about the cgm in the cloud project and had previously joined, then left, the Facebook group when I realized it required having a data connected android phone. The reason for this being a “no” for us is: money. Pure and simple. However, said friend says “We got the Boost Moto G at target, $99 and hooked up with Ting for $9/month”. Say what? Still a little out of my price range, but I was chomping at the bit to have this for Angelina so I rejoined the CGM in the Cloud Facebook group. Meanwhile, another friend from the local group posted about how they are getting a new Dexcom system to replace their currently out of warranty and not covered by insurance one and she is going to hook up to the cloud. This sparked input from several of her friends who mentioned various sales and coupons/discounts. Specifically Target had Boost Moto G on sale for $59.99, plus 2 day only(!) Target cartwheel app has 15% off any electronics purchase, ending the day I am reading this thread (Monday).
Angelina happened to have a dr’s appointment just around the corner from Target, so I decide… let’s go see. I stand in the pre-paid phone aisle at Target staring at all the different phones. They are out of the Moto G phones (*cry*), and besides it does not show it marked down to $59.99. Regular price only, $99.99, out of my price range. So, I look at the other two options: Kyocera Hydro Edge for $49.99 or Kyocera Hydro for $29.99. I do not know for sure that either of these phones are OTG capable, which is a requirement to be able to use the phone as an uploader device for the dexcom. I inquire about return policies and am told I have 30 days to return any product, with receipt, regardless if it is open or still sealed. I decide I will buy cheapest option and keep fingers crossed that it is OTG capable. Why spend more money when I can possibly pay $20 less? Total cost after cartwheel: $27.40. Totally do-able.
I then have to decide: Do I want to wait to order cable from Amazon? Cheapest option may take 2 weeks (or more) since it is coming directly from China. I have not had good experiences ordering very cheap cables directly from China. Wait 2-4 weeks for delivery only to discover cable does not work or is faulty. Get refund, repeat process. Nope. So, I head to Radio Shack thinking they will have cable. Walk in, ask for OTG cable. Very nice salesman says “Sorry, we do not carry those. But… I had a buddy who was looking for one last week and he called around and the only place who has them locally is Fry’s Electronics.” YES! Fry’s is (sorta) on the way home. Bonus: they have 20 in stock and they are $5.99 which is $4 less than the not-from-China options on Amazon that were available for Amazon Prime 2-day shipping.
Go home with my loot, all the while explaining to David that total set up is in lieu of upgrading to newest expansion of World of Warcraft that he did recently and I was contemplating. CGM in the Cloud is currently more exciting/fun for me than WoW. He does not understand, thinks I am crazy, thinks this is unnecessary. He is not the one who obsesses over Angelina’s blood sugar readings, or is constantly fighting with her to get a peek at her Dexcom. Or feeling like diabetes is the center of the universe when I have to ask her what her BG is when she walks in the door from playing at the park, or school, etc. That is a whole other discussion, but the fact of the matter is that “What’s your BG?” is often about question number three when she walks in after being away from me, but it is asked far too often and far too often creates tension between us. I don’t want to ask her about her BG 2785 times a day but she’s 10 years old and doesn’t pay attention to her BG a lot of the time, until it becomes urgent/emergent instead of heading off high or low trends before they get to that point. Now I can obsess over BG numbers without disturbing her. When school starts next month, I can look at her trend line at any point during the day and not have to obsess and wonder what is going on. I can go to the store and not have to worry about getting a phone call that she’s low in the middle of shopping for broccoli, because I will be able to look at her trend and say “Maybe now is not the best time for me to be so far away from her school.” I will also be able to see what her BG is at the end of the day when she is walking home from school and know whether or not I need to go outside to watch her walk home (Her new middle school is half a block down from our house!) and/or go over there to meet her and walk her home.
More immediately I can let her go to the park across the street and not wonder if she’s checking her Dexcom periodically to avoid going low. And I don’t have to call her to ask her what her BG is, because I will be able to see it. And I can call her and tell her she needs to eat a snack, instead of just blindly saying “Come home NOW, because I don’t know what’s going on.”
But I digress. In the end David sighed at me, said it wasn’t about the cost of things (“By the way, how much did you spend?”) more just that he feels it’s unnecessary and will potentially cause problems with school, because look at what we went through last year with less tech-y tech options. (You can read back through some of my posts for more background on that struggle with her elementary school.) So I set to work following the DIY quick-start guide for the cgm in the cloud called Nightscout**(See note below for updated information). I will tell you that I am so-so at tech-y stuff. I am better at figuring out software stuff, not so good at development, coding, back-end stuff. Of course, setting up CGM in the Cloud requires a little bit of both, although less than it had originally seemed when I first read through the instructions. It all made a lot more sense when I was actually doing the things step by step as I set up our system, rather than just reading the directions and trying to figure out what it meant inside my head. It still took a while.
I did run into a few snafus, which were helped by using the wonderful search function on the CGM in the Cloud Facebook group. Every single one of my issues had been experienced by at least one other person who had done this before me, and all helped to resolve my own issues. Some of the things I figured out on my own with the help of the almighty Google.
I finally got everything set up on my computer and come to the moment of truth when you finally connect your android uploader device to the computer to install the app that you’ve just made and not realized you were making. “USB device not found” WHAT!?!?! This took me a long time to troubleshoot. Finally got it resolved, got the app on the phone, plugged in the Dexcom receiver and… nothing. Just nothing. It did nothing. Turns out the $29.99 Kyocera Hydro was not OTG capable. Had I searched the CGM in the Cloud group prior to starting this whole process I would have quickly discovered that I could easily determine if the phone was OTG capable by the fact that when the Dexcom is plugged into it, the Dexcom would start charging. It didn’t. So, after about 5 hours of working on this project at that point, I headed back to Target at 9pm on Monday night. Only this time I went to a different Target because I knew I needed the Moto G. Fortunately our local Target had ONE Moto G in stock and let me exchange the Hydro. Then I got ice cream for my family, per David’s request.
I headed home, knowing that I was so close to being done. Fortunately, since I had already done all the hard techy stuff on my PC I pretty much just had to install the Motorola Device Manager/drivers onto the PC and plug the phone in and load the app onto the phone. OR so I thought. I finally entered all the data streams into the app and waited. It should be working. But it wasn’t. The phone was getting the Dexcom readings and showing them on screen (awesome in itself) but it wasn’t uploading them to the database in the cloud. Why not? I couldn’t figure it out. I search the Facebook group for answers. I typed and retyped the path. Finally, 2 readings! Then on to the fun task of figuring out Microsoft Azure.
Azure gave me some problems too because I really did not understand ANY of it. I didn’t even really understand what any of it meant, I just followed the directions. Configuration strings? Huh? What the HECK is a deployment? Am I supposed to do something with this fork? (And not the eating utensil) Is there a magical hamster somewhere in here that is configuring this data to my site specifically? How does that work? Shouldn’t this data be showing up on her website by now? No. It wasn’t. It should have been, but it wasn’t. I found some magical thread that said to add a /command on the end of the web address and it’s supposed to show you some data thing (which I really had no idea how to decipher), and if it shows this, it means it’s working. But if it shows this, it’s not working. Well, it showed the data that said it was getting the readings from the cloud database, but still all I am getting on the website is several grey – – -. At this point it’s midnight, David is in bed asleep and I had been working on this (mostly) since 4pm. I say mostly because I did take a break to eat dinner, plus my last minute trip to Target and to get ice cream. I was tired, nothing was making sense and I hoped that everything would fall into place in the morning.
Fortunately, in the morning everything fell into place. One single thing was typed wrong and trying to pull data from a different collection than the phone was sending it to. I fixed that, but still no data on the website. So, I decided to “sync” deployment. Please, magic hamster, help me! And then…
Voila! All my hard work paid off. Total time: approx. 7 hours. Monies paid: $70.66 (moto g phone, OTG cable, $9 wallet/case.) We are currently running the uploader device on wifi only. We also have personal hotspot capabilities on all of our iPhones (including Angelina’s) that should allow her to connect the uploader to her data plan connection for no additional cost. Value: Priceless
**Edit 8/20/2014: Since I wrote this post I have gotten a lot of traffic on my site from people using the search term “CGM in the Cloud”, etc. I just wanted to update that the developers of the CGM in the Cloud/Nightscout have since streamlined and further uncomplicated the set-up process for new users. You can access this new getting started guide at: http://www.nightscout.info/