Decision 2014: Pump update.

So… A quick update on my pump search. As I mentioned back in May, the warranty has expired on my Minimed Revel pump. I still have a fair amount of supplies on hand, so I’m taking a little while to learn more about other pumps out there on the market. You never know… I might re-up with Medtronic. But I don’t want to do so until I’ve had a chance to see what else is out there.
I may or may not have mentioned this, but I did get the chance to check out the Animas One Touch® Ping® during my last clinical trial. It seemed to work pretty well. I like that it’s waterproof. I also like that insulin bolus delivery is exceptionally fast compared to Medtronic. To be honest, that’s not a deal breaker or a deal maker for me, but it’s something I noticed. Another thing I noticed was how much there is on all of the menus on this pump. Just to prime and begin insulin delivery using this pump requires a lot of button pushing. Again, not a deal breaker, but if all things were equal, that’s something that could sway me toward a different pump. Overall: Good experience.
That brings me to Tandem®’s t:slim®. I met last week with one of the local reps for this product. Like the other pumps I’ve inquired about, Tandem is not going to let me do a test drive on their model. But I feel like I got the next best thing when meeting with this rep. We spent over an hour talking about everything t:slim. This was pretty unscripted, though I suppose a couple of his answers were because they had to be. The best part was, I was able to handle the pump (which I had not been able to do up to that point).

I practiced filling the cartridge, priming, setting basal rates, programming a bolus. Our conversation was all over the place, which in this case, was good for me. He showed me how specific things worked, and if I had a question out of left field, I was able to ask it and get it answered before we resumed what we were originally doing. It wasn’t a power point presentation; it was two people talking about an insulin pump.

The other thing I liked about this rep was that he didn’t shy away from the difficult issues. Let’s face it: There isn’t a pump on the market that doesn’t have something less than wow about it. But when we talked about those things, I got honest answers. Which is both refreshing, and the decent thing to do.

I liked a couple of additional things related to this pump. I like the bolus reminder. Set your bolus reminder and it will alarm you if you forget. I also like the temperature gauge that can tell you whether you might be in danger of skunking your insulin due to extreme cold or heat. Again, not deal breakers or deal makers, but nice features nonetheless.

I also like that the battery charges like a phone or tablet, rather than requiring the replacement of a AAA battery every month, which I’m doing now. You might not think that’s a huge deal, but it’s at least a minor deal to me. Changing a battery every month isn’t that difficult. But in the time I’ve had my current pump, I’ve gone through 50 or 51 of them. Multiply that by who-knows-how-many insulin pumpers out there, and you get an idea of how much we’re filling our landfills with dead batteries that we don’t need to use anymore.

Bottom line: I like the t:slim, for the obvious sexy reasons. I’m not in love with the cartridge fill, so I’d have to convince myself it’s not a big deal. And Maureen thinks that sliding the cartridge into place in the way the pump works would drive me crazy. She cites my issues with the battery and SIM card on my cell phone as an example. Any honest answers from current t:slim users would be helpful and very much appreciated.
Next up: I’m looking into the Asante Snap. According to their website, I might actually get to try one out! More to come as I continue to explore the world of insulin pumps.

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  • Laddie  On July 30, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Thanks for the update on your pump search. Although I am still daily frustrated by the Ping menu system, I do like the fast insulin delivery and the waterproof feature. I used to have the bad habit with the Revel of bolusing for my breakfast while I was getting dressed and then unhooking the pump to put it in my pocket while forgetting that my bolus wasn’t finished yet. I’ll be interested to hear what you finally decide.


  • Lizzie  On July 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I’m a former ping and tslim user, now rocking a Snap. I would have never been interested in something as simple as the Snap if not for the high maintenance-ness of the slim. I agree, the tslim is a slick pump, but I got tired of the long fill process and having to “trick” it into giving me a “dumb” bolus when I didn’t want to use the wizard. I found myself hating it more and more, which made me feel guilty because it’s basically the fanciest thing out there. So I went to the other extreme with the Snap and have been pretty happy, except I find the delivery louder than I like.

    Happy to answer any specific questions given my pump jumping experiences! Good luck!


  • pavedsilverroads  On July 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I really wish I had done more research when I was looking to upgrade my pump. While I do very much like the Medtronic pumps, I wasn’t much aware that there were even other options out there. It seems to me that all pumps have good things and bad things about them. If only a biomedical engineer could maybe take all the things we love about all the pumps out there and make one superpump that has no tubing, rechargeable batteries, is waterproof (you know, because toilets are lethal), delivers insulin exactly the way we need it, partners with Dexcom so that their CGMS technology is integrated right with the pump, gives insulin automatically, sings you lullabies, gets your slippers and fixes you supper. You hear that, pump makers? That’s what I want, a pump to rub my back and tell me I’m pretty, all while working like a pancreas. 😀


  • Scott E  On July 31, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Good luck with the search, and I’m impressed with the commitment you’re taking into researching this. One thing I would suggest you look at (and maybe you have) is how suggested boluses are calculated and how they consider IOB and corrections — they’re all slightly different. This is not to say one is better than the other, but you should be aware of the differences so, when delivering an actual bolus, you know what you’re doing.

    And with that said, I do have a suspicion that the 530G delivers a bolus slightly slower than the Revel. I’m not entirely certain of this, and maybe it’s just that my boluses are getting larger, but there are a couple of times when I’ve been surprised to notice “it’s still going”. But when it comes to absorption and scarring, a faster bolus may not be a better bolus. Again, I don’t have the answer, but these are things to consider.

    I’m really looking forward to what you think of the Snap. That pump intrigues me.


  • CW  On July 31, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    My experience with a MDT pump (currently a Revel) is that after 19 years, I find what Scott E says to be true: “when it comes to absorption & scarring, a faster bolus may not be a better bolus”.

    I found a normal bolus for me just doesn’t absorb like a square wave bolus does. Basals (.2 u-.3u/hour) absorb just fine.


  • seejendance  On August 2, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I forgot you were also on the market for one! The Snap wasn’t available in my region so I hope you have good luck with it! My decision to stick with Med-t was strictly a numbers game – they could give me more precise boluses and basals, which is coming in hand more and more these days.


  • Karen  On August 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I think taking your time to do your research before making a decision is the best thing to do, and I think by talking about the process you are sharing info that many others will find helpful. So thank you!


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