Device Revolution.

The definition of revolution, according to Google, is a forcible overthrow of a government or social order for a new system.  I am starting to think that my diabetes devices are starting a revolution.  I am not sure what new system they would like.  Maybe a working natural endocrine system?  That would sure be nice!

I have been using the OmniPod system for 19 months; the new generation system for over 2 of that 19 months.  Within that time frame I’ve only had a few instances of bad pods or issues of that nature.  Until recently.  I obviously cannot prove that these new issues are due to the mechanics of the new pods.  However since I haven’t had issues before, that is what I am lead to believe.  A couple of weeks ago I had three pod issues in a row – two bleeders and one that was leaking insulin.  On various site locations.  I took a break from the pods for almost 2 weeks.  Today was day 3 of my first pod since that break.  And I got an occlusion during my breakfast bolus.  Unfortunately I did not have an extra pod with me nor any syringes  (that situation was remedied as soon as I got my hands on my supply) and I had to go home from work to get insulin.  Not the best situation to be in.  When I removed the pod, there were no visible signs of cause for an occlusion.  Taking another break.

Also, I have been using a Dexcom CGMS for almost 5 years; the G4 system for 9 months of those 5 years.  For most of that time I have used my outer thighs primarily for sensor sites since I cannot use them for infusion sites (due to lack of absorption).  No major problems other than the occasional failed or wacky sensor, one bad transmitter and one broken receiver.  In all that time.  Then all of a sudden in the past few weeks I have had numerous bleeding sites.  Some that have not affected the performance, some that have.  I am sensor-less at the moment, giving my skin time to breathe.  But I am going to attempt another one this evening.  I am honestly lost without my CGM.

Using diabetes devices should not be stressful.  I normally do not feel burnt out easily when it comes to my diabetes.  But these recent problems have me totally burnt out.  I can’t help but feel that all of a sudden, I am doing things wrong.  I’m hoping this revolution will be put to an end soon when they realize a working pancreas is not going to happen 😉

I Think It’s Mad at Me.

I think my insulin pump is mad at me. I am currently waiting (and waiting) for the paperwork to go through for a switch over to the OmniPod. And I think my Ping pump knows it’s getting the boot.

One night last week I did an infusion set change in the evening. About three hours later, after going to bed, I heard the Fur Elise alert coming from my Ping. I knew something was up since I keep it on vibrate so the only time it will alert with song is when it’s not delivering. I looked at the screen and it said “Pump not primed. No delivery. Blah blah blah”.  I disconnected the site and went through the priming process then reconnected. This seemed to appease the pump and I had no other alerts after that. Until last night. I did an infusion set change kind of late last night (I do not recommend doing this but I kind of forgot about having only a few units left in the reservoir). Sure enough about an hour after changing everything, I got the same not primed alert. This instance it happened three times. I was so annoyed that this was happening at 11pm when I should have been sleeping. And poor Joe. “That thing goes off every night”. “No honey, this time it’s my pump not the Dexcom”. I went into the living room to call Animas’ technical support. I was just waiting for the alert to happen again. I was on hold for 20 minutes. Someone finally answered only to tell me that a representative would call me back. Probably in a half hour. Really?! At 11:30pm I’m supposed to wait for a call back?! I actually did wait for about 15 minutes but couldn’t keep my eyes open so left the phone off the hook and went to bed. Luckily the alert hasn’t happened again. But I’ll be very apprehensive when I do my next site change. I’ve always been a fan of the customer service from Animas. Last night, not so much.

Now is it really possible for an inanimate object to know I’m going to stop using it in the near future? I doubt it. But it certainly feels like it.

 

Quick editor’s note: I just checked my caller ID (since I left the phone off the hook) and Animas did not in fact call me back in a half hour – they called back at 12:49am.  Well over an hour later.  Boy am I glad I didn’t wait up!

Taking the Plunge.

Since I know that many of you have been keeping an interest in my OmniPod trial (which I greatly appreciate by the way), I thought it fair to share with you my decision.

Today I forwarded my request to submit the paperwork for getting my own OmniPod system. Yes I am taking the plunge. I have thought long and hard about this. And with the help of podder friends, both old and new, as well as my hubby and sister, my decision is to go for it. I’m anxiously hoping my experience with a brand new system will go more smoothly than my trial had. However I know in the back of my mind, if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to my trustworthy Ping pump.

So there it is. I am taking a new step in my insulin pumping life. And of course I will share with you the experience of my transition.

Impressions.

It’s been 6 days using the OmniPod insulin pump system for a trial period.  After the first few hours, I had a very positive first impression.  I am going to share what the following days have entailed as I know a few people have shown interest in my experience.

The first pod that I had placed on my back was scheduled to expire Friday evening.  That morning as I was riding the railroad to work, I noticed the batteries in the PDM were running low so thought I’d change them while I thought of it.  (I never let the batteries on any of my devices, diabetes or not, run all the way out) After putting the new batteries in, the PDM asked me to reset the date and time.  I didn’t think this was odd at first but then it told me that a pod deactivation was required.  No bueno.  Especially on the train.  I didn’t exactly know what was going on so in a panic, I texted Cherise who told me that it wasn’t normal for the PDM to do that during a battery change.  That made me feel better.  A little.  Since the PDM wasn’t allowing me to do anything else but deactivate the pod, that’s what I did when I got to work.  Luckily I had another with me and began the process to activate and insert a new one a bit earlier than planned.  This one I put on my right hip.  I went through the insertion process with no issues and the rest of the day went fine.  I also confirmed with the OmniPod CDE that this indeed was a fluke and should not happen.

Saturday afternoon, my BG started to rise for no obvious reason.  I checked the pod and saw a tad bit of blood around the cannula location.  After a few hours of rising BG, unsuccessful corrections and increased basal I decided to change the pod thinking that the absorption wasn’t fully working.  I wanted to try my arm this time so that’s where I put this pod.  I kept my basal increased for 2 hours or so but my BG wasn’t budging.  Patience? Yeah I don’t have much of that, especially when it comes to high BG.  I figured the arm site wasn’t working either (it was always hit or miss for me with infusion sets) and changed the pod yet again.  Since it was around 10pm and I was planning on going to bed soon, I chose my abdomen since I know I have no absorption issues there.  My BG came down nicely overnight.  Even a bit too much since I woke up low.  I was happy that the pod was apparently working.  Until around noon when my BG shot up to around 300 mg/dL for no obvious reason.  Since this doesn’t happen to me too often my first thought was that it was a pod issue.  But I didn’t want to jump the gun and change it yet again.  We went to a friend’s to watch the NFL playoffs and I went toting all my usual extra diabetes supplies plus my Ping pump and accessories.  Just in case.  Well things worked well and they still are going well.  So I’m inclined to now think it wasn’t a pod issue causing yesterday’s BG spike.  Saturday’s maybe since there was a bit of blood involved.  But I’ll probably never know for sure.

I have one pod left, with my current one scheduled to expire tomorrow night.  I’m really hoping to see this one through to its timely ending.  Overall I really like the system.  Being tubeless is actually better than I even imagined.  I keep feeling for my pump in my pockets and it’s not there!  It honestly feels like I have lost a part of me.  But in a good way.  I have to say the only drawbacks that I see are the size of the pods and the speed of bolus delivery like I mentioned originally.  More on those …..

The Ping pump delivers boluses very quickly.  The normal setting is 1 unit every second or the slow setting, which I use, is 1 unit every 4 seconds.  The Medtronic pump delivers at a slower rate of  0.15 units per second from what I’ve found online.  I believe the OmniPod CDE told me the pod delivers 1 unit every 40 seconds.  That’s a big difference. Now is one rate better than the other?  I’m not sure.  How I notice the difference is when I’m thinking of eating, I would have to pre-bolus more so with the pod.  Not really a deal breaker but something to consider.

Since infusion sets are so small, there are more options in terms of placement.  With the pod, since it’s bigger and more bulky, placement needs a bit more consideration.  I haven’t hated having them on my body though which is a good thing.  I think it’s something to get used to.  I feel that not being tethered may truly outweigh this slight incommodity.

Also, I know the fact the OmniPod does not factor in bolus for food when calculating insulin on board (IOB) poses an issue for some.  I’m not quite sure how I feel on this one.  Many times when the Ping would calculate me to take no insulin for either additional food after eating something prior or a correction within my set active insulin time frame, I would override the calculation to give some insulin.  Without taking too much and causing a low BG.  For me, OmniPod’s feature seems to be okay.

I’m going to make my decision in the next few days.  I’m very glad to have had this opportunity to trial the OmniPod.  I would highly recommend the same to anyone who may be considering it.  A special thanks to Leighann, Cherise, Penny and Scott for helping me out when I had questions.  Or issues.  Or was panicking.  🙂

*Once again, OmniPod had no part in this trial of their product or of my impressions using it.*

The Hype.

It seems that the latest hype in the diabetes community is the announcement of the Animas Vibe insulin pump that was announced as receiving European CE Mark approval last week.  I have to admit that like so many others, I am very excited about this.  Being both an Animas pump and Dexcom user, of course I will be happy when the two become integrated.  I took a stab quite a while back at the Medtronic integrated CGMS when it was the Paradigm.  Unfortunately it did not provide accurate results or comfort for me.  But I did really like that the pump and sensors fed the same device.

From the information I’ve gathered, this won’t be available in the US until late this year or next.  I am very disappointed about this.  While I appreciate the process of ensuring medical devices are safe for consumers here in the states, I find it frustrating that they hold up the availability of such devices that would improve the management of blood glucose for those living with diabetes. If it’s safe enough for those living in Europe, what makes the citizens of US different?

There was also a new meter introduced by Animas Canada recently.  I found this out from fellow D Momma, Sherry.

It looks very similar to the Ping meter that’s in use in the US today except the screen is color, just like the pump.  That’s pretty cool isn’t it? 😉 Now if there isn’t much change to the meter, why would the FDA be holding this up too?  I’ve heard that when the Vibe comes to the US it will not have the “Ping” feature meaning that you will not be able to bolus from the meter.  Does that mean the new color screen meter will not be coming with the pump?  Will Animas US offer the new meter before the Vibe?  I’d love to not have to guess the answers to these questions that I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering about.  Come on already FDA!

(note: the pictures are all courtesy of Animas and their Vibe press release)

Vacation.

Is is bad that we just got back from vacation Friday night and I am already wishing we were still there?  Joe and I were very fortunate to enjoy time away in Mexico, at a luxurious, adults only, all-inclusive resort between Cancun and Isla Mujeres.  It.  Was.  Heaven.

We did a lot of nothing while we were there.  And by nothing I mean laying by the pool, swimming in the pool, wading in the pool, drinking in the pool.  Well you get my drift.  And the food there was just delicious.  We enjoyed French, Japanese/Thai, Spanish Tapas, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine for dinner.  Lunch included some buffet and some sit down meals.  And all of it was very, very good.

The weather was absolutely perfect every day.  80’s, sunny and breezy.  The accommodations were wonderful … extremely clean room and every other part of the resort.  The staff was friendly.  It wasn’t a party scene but the entertainment at night worked well in getting guests to enjoy themselves.

And of course since diabetes wasn’t part of what we were getting away from …… walking along the beach one day, I stepped on something and cut my foot.  Not a huge wound (it was actually pretty small) but enough to want to take care of it on the foot of a PWD.  I found band-aids in the gift shop and some peroxide.  That was keeping it clean and disinfected for a while but I still wished I had some antibacterial ointment.  Well one day we went to the hotel zone in Cancun to do some shopping and I decided to search for some.  I finally found some Neosporin type medicated stuff at the farmacia that cost me $18!!!  A small price to pay I suppose for not getting an infection.

There were two things that I had with me that I was very thankful for and appreciated having with me.  The first was my Kindle.  I did a lot of reading while we were away.  And I have to say it was such a pleasure reading on the Kindle not worrying about keeping pages down in the breeze while the screen was completely clear and glare free.  It was light enough to hold for long periods of time while turning the pages at the touch of a button.  (And no I do not have any association with Amazon!)

The second was my Animas Ping pump.  Kerri blogged about this recently as well and I have to agree how great it was to not have to worry about disconnecting for the pool.  When we were away last year, I was hesitant about keeping the pump on in the water.  Even knowing it is waterproof, part of me was a little skeptical.  This time I kept it clipped toward the top of my bathing suit top that way it would get wet in those moments when I actually went fully under water, but was not always submerged the whole time in the pool.  It was great.  I got lots of stares from people wondering what on earth I had clipped to me but I didn’t care.  One guy even asked me what it was and I didn’t mind telling him.  (I think he thought it was a pager + that I was a doctor!)  They probably looked strangely at the Dexcom sensor on my outer thigh too.  But all of that was okay with me.  I was enjoying my time in the sun, at the pool, just like them.  Just with a few technology devices making sure I could do that.

We’ve been slowly getting back to reality the past two days and going back to work tomorrow is going to be very, very hard!  So for now, until our next get-a-way, I will have these images to remember.  And keep me sane 🙂

Pump failure. Or maybe not.

It was Friday night around 12:30 (or technically Saturday morning).  Joe and I had just gotten home from a night out for dinner and drinks.  I was tired and wanted to go to sleep right away.  However there were only less than 10 units left in my insulin pump cartridge which I knew wouldn’t last me the entire night since I planned to sleep as last as possible.  So it was time to change my infusion set and fill a new cartridge.  As I started the process that I do every 3 days and the pump was rewinding, it stopped.  It made some alarm kind of sound and a call service, no delivery message came on the screen.  Not really what I had in mind for a set change.  Especially at almost 1 in the morning.  I tried pushing all the buttons and nothing happened.  My pump is broke!  And the freaking out set in.

I have to admit that I felt very unprepared for a situation like this.  Thankfully I have another pump to use as a back up.  In the four+ years that I have been pumping, I’ve been fortunate to not have any issues really.  I got out my Minimed pump and started a set change.  My bg was hanging out around 230 mg/dL at that time so I know I couldn’t waste time getting my insulin delivery going.  The only thing that bothered me was that I wasn’t sure if the MM had my current basal rates since it’s been some time since I’ve used it.  And I couldn’t compare it to my Animas since it wasn’t currently working.  Great.  I figured at the time that some insulin was better than none.  I got hooked up and what I did next was call Animas’ 24 hour tech support.  I explained to the female representative what happened and that my pump had malfunctioned.  I told her the error number that came up on the screen when she said “oh that’s not a malfunction” and preceded to tell me that it was  a safety test the pump performs.  All I had to do was unscrew the battery cap and re-screw it on which reloaded the pump and voila.  The pump was working again.  As relieved as I was that the pump wasn’t broken, I don’t really get the idea of having some safety test performed that shuts the pump down mid-set change.  Since I’ve never experienced this before, I’m hoping not to again.  Or at least not often.

What I did learn though is to write down my basal and bolus rates outside of the pump itself to have readily available, which I did the very next morning.  And I would recommend that to anyone who uses a pump for those just in case moments since we do rely on pieces of technology. I’d love to know if any other Animas users has experienced this sort of thing.

Sorry Animas, I wasn’t too happy with you on this one.