Tag Archives: pump

Decision 2014… 2015… 2016? Finally!

Remember that whole “Decision 2014” thing I had going on during the year that my Medtronic Revel pump warranty expired? Should I go with a new pump? What am I looking for anyway? What should I do?

Well, Decision 2014 became Decision 2015, which finally became Decision 2016:
Stop staring at my late afternoon basal rate.

Okay, so I chose the Animas Vibe as my new insulin pump. I think I’m way past the point of detailing why I didn’t pick another pump, and besides, those companies have lots of employees who have families with mouths to feed, and some of them I know and like and admire, so I’m not going to go into that. If you really want to know, send me an e-mail and I’ll tell you, but I’m not blasting it over the internet for everyone to see.

Instead, I’ll talk about me specifically with the Vibe.

First, even though this pump is generally marketed as a pump with a CGM integration, I chose to only do the pump purchase right now. Why? Because the CGM that’s integrated with the Vibe is the Dexcom G4, which is really good, accurate, and already one generation behind the current model. In the next few weeks I’ll be submitting paperwork to try to get the Dexcom G5. I’m hoping that if the G6 makes its way to the masses sometime in the next year, I’ll be able to upgrade to that. I just didn’t want to be two generations (or more) behind before my insurance would pay for a new CGM.

As far as the pump is concerned, it’s working pretty well so far. Oh, and no, I haven’t been through training with the pump yet. I had it programmed, on, and working within 45 minutes of cracking the box open. I do not necessarily recommend this practice to everyone.

Anyway, the pump is working well. My insulin needs seem to be less than they were with the Medtronic pump over the last year, when it seemed like I was having to bolus extra for every meal just to keep my BGs in a decent range. As with many things diabetes, there may be truth in the fact that the old pump was fighting to keep up, and there may not be any truth to that at all. Let’s see how the next few months go.

I’m getting used to the ezCarb bolus feature, which is pretty simple to work out once you get used to it. I’m doing my best to keep my fingers off of the instant bolus button (my terminology) on the side of the pump. Why I can use this to bolus by the unit without any calculation, but I have to perform several clicks to get to the bolus calculator in the pump is beyond me. I can see a less determined person guessing and instant bolusing all day. And possibly paying the price for it later, if a calculated guess is wrong.

I really like the button on the top of the pump, which gives me an instant insulin on board reading, though I wonder if I can get that to display on the main home page of the pump. I don’t think so, but I haven’t read everything in the pump manual yet.

This pump also has a smaller reservoir than most pumps on the market. Just 200 units, rather than the 300 units offered by Medtronic and the t:slim (they also offer even larger capacity options). I thought that would bother me a lot, but so far, it hasn’t been a big deal at all.

I like having a metal belt clip. I don’t know if it will get bent out of shape eventually and not work as well over time, but if not, I’ll be happy to not have to order a new plastic one every five or six months.

One other thing: This is my choice. This decision was made after careful consideration, and I’ve chosen something that works for me and my diabetes, and how I want to manage said diabetes. Your diabetes may be different, so your decisions may be different, and that’s okay. It’s why we need more choices.

To sum up, I like what I’m experiencing with my new pump to this point. It’s not everything I wanted, but no pump on the market has everything I want right now anyway. In the end, I have something I can live with for four years, after which time, an artificial pancreas solution may be available. So while I’m sad that there aren’t better options for insulin pumpers right now, I’m excited to see just what the next few years brings.

The inevitable downslope.


This is why changing infusion sites in the evening worries me a little.

I changed sites last night around 8:30… Great. I was primed and ready for the #DSMA Twitter chat. About halfway through the chat, The Great Spousal Unit brought me a small bowl of strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries on top. There were more strawberries than ice cream, but when they’re fresh, I don’t mind at all. Now, where was I? Oh yes… the infusion site change.

So often after site changes, I’ll have a… What do you call it? A phenomenon? An anomaly? An unexplainable variance in The Force? It seems as though the site isn’t working at all for a while, which is why I got a high alarm around 11:30 while I was fast asleep. I’ve been through this kind of thing before, so I knew better than to do a correction bolus at that time. And my BG just kept on climbing, up into the neighborhood of 250 mg/dL at around midnight.

From that point on, however, I started dropping. Again, this is without a correction bolus. Certainly, the ice cream and strawberries had lost a lot of their oomph by then. But I just kept getting lower and lower until I was awakened by a low alarm at around 5:00 a.m. No big deal, because that’s when I get up for work (if I don’t go to the gym first). But I just don’t understand why, at least half the time I change sites, all of the insulin I’m pumping seems to be worthless until all of a sudden it’s not worthless anymore. And then it makes up for it with a vengeance over the next few hours. I’ve seen others write about this, so I know I’m not a weird statistic. But I don’t have a scientific explanation for it yet.

Just to be sure it was the new site and not the dessert that caused my glucose to skyrocket last night, I may have to try the ice cream and strawberries again this evening. You know, just to be sure.

Pump Issues – Medtronic and Animas.

Just in case you didn’t know, or in case you’ve moved your e-mail or physical address and you didn’t get these, here are a couple of important notices from insulin pump makers Metronic and Animas.

– First, the Med-T notice, regarding possible loose drive support caps. The drive support cap holds the pump’s motor in place. If you have a Paradigm insulin pump, check the little disc portion on the bottom, just to the right of your light button– your down arrow. That’s the drive support cap. If that disc seems to be pushing out from the pump housing, Medtronic wants you to call them and arrange to send your pump back. Don’t worry, they’ll send you a new one.

Most important: Do not push on the drive support cap! There was an instance of someone pushing on the drive support cap, causing extra insulin to be delivered, which in turn caused severe hypoglycemia. By the way, I checked the drive support cap on my own Revel™ pump and everything is okay. Whew.

If your drive support cap is pushing out, call Medtronic customer support at 1-888-204-7616 and choose option 1. They’ll work with you to send the pump back so you can get a new one. In the notice I received, there was an additional note about making sure you don’t get your pump wet. But if you’ve had your Medtronic pump for any time at all, you already know you shouldn’t take it for a swim or put it in the wash or drop it in the toilet. Not that anyone would want to do that last thing, but you get where I’m going with this, yes?

Second, an all-out recall of certain Animas pumps. From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

Animas identified a component issue affecting Animas 2020 Infusion Insulin Pumps manufactured from March 1, 2012 to November 30, 2012. The component issue may trigger the pumps to sound a false alarm or warning related to one of the following:

“Loss of prime”
“No Cartridge detected”

If you receive any of these alarms, the pump may prompt you to complete the rewind, load and prime sequence to clear this alarm. Failure to follow the pump’s safety instructions and disconnect your infusion set from your body before the “rewind, load and prime” steps can lead to unintended delivery of insulin, placing you in danger of potential serious health risks, such as hypoglycemia.

The Animas 2020 Insulin Pump also has a software limitation that will impact the ability of the pump to function past December 31, 2015. After this date, the pump will no longer deliver insulin and will generate a “Call Service Alarm.”

If this describes you and your pump, you should call the Animas Product Fulfillment Center at 877-280-2339 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. EDT so they can work out the details of shipping your free replacement pump. If you have technical questions, or if you want to report a concern, you should contact the Animas Customer Technical Support Center at 866-793-5253. For the full notice from the FDA, go to:

For many of us, these are our lifelines. Be safe everyone. If you have a Metronic or Animas pump, check your pump now, and if you need to, do something about it… now.

Wordless Wednesday. Nice.

I wasn’t going to post today (still feeling awful), but then I saw this. You may have seen this already, courtesy of BuzzFeed: “26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year”.

Bella and Deidre of the AT1 JDRF Capitol and Maryland Chapters group on Facebook turned me on to this photo, number 8, yesterday:


Happy Hump Day!

Don’t try this at home.

Mostly (at least in my mind), the day revolved around this:


Sunday was our annual holiday open house at the homestead, with nearly 40 guests, a kitchen helper, and a piano player all crammed into our little house. With all of this bolus-worthy goodness in front of me, I decided before the start that I would set a temporary basal rate to help me manage the BG’sus out of my glucose.

Sometimes, I know just enough to be dangerous.

I’ve set temp basals dozens of times in the last couple of years. They always worked out well too. Set for just the right amount of insulin, just the right amount of time. Mostly for workouts, where I set the rate for an hour or an hour and a half at 0.575 units per hour. That’s a little less than half my average basal. Once in a great while, I’ll set one that’s higher than my normal basal rate because I know I’ll be eating a bit more than usual over an extended period of time. This was one of those times.

The problem is, when you’re hosting your own party, you don’t get much of a chance to graze at the buffet. And that’s where my trouble started.

Instead of eating my way through the afternoon and being helped along by my over-basalness, I was greeting people, taking coats, taking out trash, refilling drinks, but not eating. A couple of hours in, I realized I had made a mistake.

I realized I was going a bit low (spoiler alert: nothing to worry about in the long run), and I had to cancel the temporary basal rate then get something to eat. Only… all of my temporary basals had worked great before, and I never had to cancel one early. So I didn’t know how! Never even had thought about it before.

Fortunately, I found it rather quickly, right next to the option to set the temp basal. Crisis averted.

Don’t try this at home, folks. Read up on your pump settings before you start to freelance.

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