Tech Talk: Making the Switch


I’m looking ahead to December, when it’ll be time to “upgrade” the cell phones. Last time we upgraded, I traded in my iPhone 4 for an Android phone.

There was a learning curve: while all smartphones do basically the same things, the ways to make those same things happen are a bit different. With Androids, they vary from brand to brand and, sometimes, model to model, so my older son and my good friend, both of whom have Android phones, couldn’t help me much.

I’m comfortable with my Android phone now, but when December rolls around, I’ll be trading in that Android for an iPhone.

That’s because iPhones have one thing Android phones don’t: the capability to help me monitor my diabetic child’s blood sugar.

Yes, you can do this on your iPhone. And you don’t even have to be in the same house.

dexcom g4

Product image courtesy of Dexcom.

My son uses a device called a continuous glucose monitor, which checks his blood sugar every 5 minutes of the day and night. A small sensor is inserted in the skin on his abdomen, and it transmits these blood-sugar checks to a device that looks like an mp3 player. Using this technology, we can monitor his blood sugar and observe patterns. He’s had this device for just about a year now, and in that time, Dexcom, the company that makes these monitors, has added the ability to “share” blood sugar information using iPhones.

This meant that we had to get an iPhone for our kid. At 13, he was thrilled to have one. But we also had to set limits on his phone use that we never had to do with our older children, who did not have phones that came with data plans. We had to make rules like: no streaming Major League Soccer videos on the school bus.

It’s a small price to pay for the extra freedom this gives our son. Having a glucose monitor that can share data with Dad (who does have an iPhone) means that our son can sleep over at a friend’s house. If that low-blood-sugar alarm goes off, my husband calls the house where our son is, alerting the child’s parents to the need to treat that low blood sugar. We are very grateful that our son has friends whose parents are willing–and trustworthy–to make this work.

In December, when our “upgrade” time comes around, I’ll be rejoining Team iPhone. This way, I’ll be able to keep track of my son’s glucose monitor when he’s away from home. Dexcom doesn’t work with Android, and the freedom for my son and peace of mind for my husband and me are worth the switch.

Your turn: what would make you switch the type of smartphone you have?

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan, managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at Her three children range in age from high school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.


  1. That is a very good reason to go back to an iPhone.

    I just got an iPhone yesterday for my latest job. So now I am one of those geeks with 2 phones. Being an email administrator, I started with smart phones to monitor the email service for my executive clients. I’ve had several Blackberries, androids, a Windows 5 phone (ick) and most recently a Windows 8 phone. I love my Windows phone except for the lack of some apps. The important ones are there, Gas Buddy, Kindle, Facebook, twitter, USA today and finally, Fitbit… But the local TV station’s weather app? see the Apple iTunes or Google play stores. I guess I have all three platforms with a Google Tablet.

  2. It’s definitely a good reason. It’s actually the only reason I’d do it. Usually I find a technology I like and I stick with it! I had the Android phone 5 months before we had the glucose monitor; if I’d known then that eventually there would be a cell-phone tie-in, I wouldn’t have switched. Ultimately, I’m grateful for the way technology helps our son manage his diabetes and gives us some extra peace of mind.

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