Take a Look at My Future

A hot topic in the diabetes world is health care: how expensive it is to have a life, let alone remain upright; how we couldn’t get private insurance before the ACA was signed into law; how we still can’t get coverage now that ACA is law; the fire-laced hoops we jump through just to make sure we have have a semi-normal life without going bankrupt by a disease we didn’t want.

I don’t normally jump into advocacy beyond this blog and sharing the latest news on Facebook or Twitter. There are far more influential people with diabetes out there that people will listen to that there is no sense in me trying to add my thoughts to the mix, I think.

But no! That’s the problem! If there is anything I’m learning about this goofy election cycle circus, it’s that I do have a say and a voice, regardless how pint-sized it may be. So whether I have 100 readers or 100,000, someone might hear me and also want to help raise a voice as an advocate.

Here is the current dilemma. At some point in the future, I will retire and need to rely on Medicare for my health insurance needs. (This is all assuming that nothing changes in regard to health care and insurance in the next 30 years.) Medicare currently has a bidding program to determine which and what brands of durable medical equipment it will cover for seniors enrolled in the system. Durable medical equipment typically includes diabetes supplies like test strips, glucose meters, syringes, insulin pumps, etc. – items that help administer the care of a PWD. (Versus a prescription of insulin, which is required to keep a PWD alive.) Like any government agency I can think of, the competitive bidding program was established to find the required durable medical needs at the cheapest possible price, and then having all Medicare patients use those brands only, unless they wanted to pay out of pocket.

The problem arises when taking the cheap way out actually effects the patient’s livelihood, and sometimes can mean more hospital stays or deaths. Let’s take test strips as an example. A person with diabetes will rely on a test strip and glucose meter to give them an accurate picture of where their blood sugar stands at a given moment. Brand A, while more expensive, may have about a 15 point variance in accuracy. Brand B, a cheaper generic brand, may have a 30 to 45 point variance. Both brands are FDA approved. Let’s say my blood sugar is 70 mg/dl – which brand would I prefer to have test my blood sugar? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will argue that Brand B is acceptable. Because it’s cheaper! And saves us money! And the FDA says it’s okay!

Meanwhile, I’m wondering if I need glucose tablets or correction insulin.

Anyway, The Journal of the American Diabetes Association says that the bidding program is doing much more harm than good. (Source – Abstract. Source – Full Text [requires log in] / Other Links Here.) And really, hospital stays are typically more expensive than test strips, so I’m not sure what Medicare is actually saving. Based on these findings by ADA, PWDs are calling for a halt on the bidding program since it failed to meet standards in its test areas. In July, the program will roll out to more states and effect more Medicare patients with diabetes.

It’s already hard enough just to get my insulin pump supplies from Medtronic as a 30-something female with private insurance through her employer. Since Medicare’s coverage and ideas can trickle down into the private sector, what’s stopping my private insurance from implementing the same sort of game of health care roulette?

I have a fairly diverse readership since I cover a litany of topics. (I know, all you capsule wardrobe followers are like, what gives, woman?!) But I ask, please, hear my pint-sized voice just this once and help me take action. After all, this was, and is, still technically a blog about my life with diabetes. My very long life with diabetes.

SuspendStripWarning

DPAC (Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition) has made it SUPER simple to write to your legislators. Visit this clicky link to fill out one quick form about where you live and it generates letters to  your Senator, Assemblyperson, and local representative and send it all for you! OMG this is so simple. And I hate writing letters like this. The more voices your reps hear, the better.

Oh, maybe I should have posted this sooner, but, DPAC has a nifty infographic you can share/read/whatever. Consider this the reward for reading through this.

DPAC Infographic (PRNewsFoto/Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coal..)

DPAC Infographic (PRNewsFoto/Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coal..)

GirlyGoGarter Review

This post has been sitting in Draft purgatory for almost a month. I should probably get on this.

GirlyGoGarter in Nude

First things, first. This is a review of the GirlyGoGarter. I wasn’t asked to do one in exchange for goods or services. I simply just wanted to share my experiences with it and how it worked for me. You don’t even get affiliate links in this one. Just enjoy.

So as an insulin pumper, I hate wearing dresses, skirts, and things without pockets. I’ve probably ranted about the lack of pockets in women’s fashion in previous blog posts. It makes ballroom dance costuming rather challenging, but I somehow make it work. The point is, a lot of fashion trends and styles tend to be avoided because I have this object tethered to me 24/7.

Now, I have options. I’ve gotten by with just an old iPod arm band secured around my thigh with the insulin pump clipped to it. Or, worst case, I clip it to my pants and wear a baggy sweater over it. This helps deter second glances, questions about if I’m a doctor and need to carry a pager, or the awkward silhouettes it creates. I also took to sewing mini pockets into dance pants in a pinch.

But I wanted a better solution. When I was pregnant with Bean, I loved wearing maxi skirts. They were totally comfy when I definitely wasn’t. But, the pump band around my leg became unwieldy with an extra 25-40 pounds in front of you. Especially, since the band had a tendency to slip.

A gal on one of my Diabetes boards posted a link to GirlyGoGarter (GGG) when another member had a similar question about pumps and dresses. Always looking for new solutions to my problem, I checked them out.

From their website:

The GirlyGoGarter® is a sexy, lacey garter made of two-way stretch microfiber with pockets that adheres to your upper thigh with latex-free patented GentleFlex™ Grippers.  There are two types of pockets on the GirlyGoGarter®: easy-access (on the outside, just within the lace) and lock-flap (on the inside, against your thigh). Both types of pockets keep your money, I.D., lip gloss, mobile phone, keys, passport and all of your essentials safe, secure and right at your fingertips.

Their website also lists off a variety of items you can store in said garter. Including everything from your purse basics, to an epipen or pacifier (yeah, I don’t know about that). The garter can hold up to 3 lbs. of your essentials on your leg, guys! You can even buy a custom flask to fit into the pockets! It also looks a lot cuter than my old iPod arm band and comes in several colors.

I decided to order one to try. Mind you, they aren’t cheap. (Around $40.) Keep in mind though – this is basically like paying for an evening bag to attach to your leg. Or in my case, making a safe haven for all of my robot parts. I ordered a nude color to start.

Shipping was rather quick – my Garter arrived within a week. However, when I opened the envelope, out popped a black Garter. Huh. I could have swore I ordered a nude one. (More on that later.)

Here are the basics:

You have one long piece of microfiber covered in the lace color of choice. There are two pocket options: the lace pocket and a pocket within the microfiber. (The latter option is good for things you don’t need constant access to.) On the interior is the patented Grippers referred to above. To secure it, there is some heavy duty velcro sewn on the end. The garters come in several sizes – this one is the smallest size.

So, I took it for a test drive.

For the record, GGG doesn’t actually recommend wearing tights with this thing. The Grippers work best with bare legs, or at the most, fishnets. However, it was January, and butt cold outside. I took my chances.

For the first test, I was sitting at a desk for about 80% of the day, so the garter didn’t have a chance to slip much. Would I dance with tights and this on? Probably not. Could you get away with a couple quick jaunts around the office and some tights? Definitely.

As the weather warmed up, I ventured out without tights, hoping to actually make this thing work for its money.

For the most part, this held up nicely. I kept Dex and my insulin pump on me while out and about, but didn’t have to carry a purse or worry about pockets. A roll of glucose tabs probably won’t fit, but a small roll of lifesavers, some hard candies, or another small low treatment of choice will more than likely fit.

Now about that incorrect color mentioned earlier. I didn’t mind the black garter. Maybe mommy brain was messing with me and I did indeed order this color. A few days after receiving my garter, I received an email from Libby, a customer service manager for Andy Paige – the creators of GGG. She let me know that there was a mistake with my order and the company indeed sent the wrong color. For my troubles, they were sending me a nude color garter, free of charge since it wasn’t right the first time. The second garter arrived about a week later. Kudos for excellent customer service follow through, Libby.

Verdict – Recommend. The garter alleviates the awkward protrusions from the insulin pump and holster, thus creating a sleeker line. And it works great if you want to be subtle or not feel more like a cyborg. And keeping the pump in the lace pocket makes for easy access.

The Really, Big, Announcement

Howdy! I know it’s been a while, but I finally have the time and energy to sit and write again.

I wanted to update y’all on something – I finally made a decision on my insulin pump. After weeks of research and countless back ‘n forth with insurance companies, my doctors, and the three companies I was courting, I came up with a decision.

The Medtronic Revel. In purple, of course.

So, why did I decide to stick with the Medtronic brand, even though I had the opportunity to leave them behind for something like The Ping (my next choice)?

Funny story. I was all set to head over to Animas. I actually called to have them re-process my paperwork because the Rep I met with apparently never turned in my applications. (So… my personal info is somewhere out there in some guy’s file cabinet, yay?) I messaged my CDE for some reason and happened to mention that I was interested in the Ping. My doctor’s office is very Medtronic-buddy/buddy, so naturally she questioned my decision. I mentioned the perks of it being waterproof and I liked that it could give really small increments for basal rates, etc. and so forth and that’s what I needed the most, right? Smaller basal rates.

Sort of. I also, apparently, needed the option to do half unit increments for carb ratios. The Revel can program that; The Ping cannot. (Yet.) So to further explore what my blood sugars would do if I were using a 1:4.5 carb ratio, I would need to either program my insulin manually or just get a Revel and be done with it. So I called Medtronic to place my upgrade order. THAT took way more time than it needed to and kept having to deal with “the rep handling your order is out of the office” crap. Whatever – just get me my dang pump. I think I called to follow up at least three times, which is normal protocol because they never fax the authorization requests to the right number. Ugh – red tape.

The other perks of being on a Medtronic system still? All of my supplies still work with the new pump. I’m familiar with the settings enough that I just re-programmed the new pump on my own and proceeded as normal. I still have CareLink – even though it doesn’t work with any of the new computers we have around the house! And – they have a recycling program which allowed me to get a $500 credit toward my co-pay. (I turned in my cracked 515 for the credit.)

I’m still using Dex as my sensor of choice, but if for some reason that breaks, I still have the old transmitter for the Sof Sensors as a back up. (Not that I would consider those to be a worthy back up at this point because everything is out of warranty – but it’s the thought that counts, right?)

So that’s my big announcement. I decided on an insulin pump. Yeah, I know that wasn’t nearly as exciting as you thought it was going to be, right. I’m sure you thought this would be a bigger deal than that… like I’d make some pregnancy announcement or something, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I’m about 10 weeks along and due in October. You’re welcome. 😛

And if you know me in real life – please continue to keep quiet.

iPancreas

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Well, look what was in my endo’s office today? Thus concludes my pump demos. Thank goodness. Although – I’m still not sure what I want.

Now – I only got to play with the t:slim for about two minutes. It’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be… which is odd for a 300 unit cartridge. Also – Kim over at TmP posted her review of her t:slim today, which coordinated nicely with my discovery.

Look – I like all of my iDevices, but I’m not sure I want this one. I’m not one to be a trend-setter, or early adopter of anything. I think the t:slim has a lot of potential, but I don’t know if it’s the right device for me at this point in time. Maybe in another 4 years.

So, my final two choices are the elusive Medtronic Revel or the Animas Ping. Which will it be?

And as an aside, where the hell is my Dexcom?!

Thoughts On the Ping Demo

I was reminded that I haven’t actually posted my thoughts on the Ping after I demo’d it on Monday. So here we go…

First things first – if you are in the market for a new device, ask for a demo! I don’t care if your insurance obligates you to only sign up for one specific brand because THAT’S who they want to cover the expenses for. You should have some knowledge of what you are getting into before you sign on for four years. After all, it’ll be at your side (or in your pocket, or bra, or whatever) 24/7/365. I was shocked, (beyond shocked actually), after the Lifescan rep told me she’s met with existing pump users for demos who didn’t know where their settings were. (Or couldn’t change them for that matter.)

Okay – enough of that.

So the meeting was about 1 1/2 hours of questions, conversation, and a little bit of hands on work. The Animas rep is a PWD himself who wore Medtronic for years before switching because his job said to. (Obviously.)

His initial impressions after switching were that his BGs ended up better on the Animas pump than on the Medtronic pumps – more notably during fastings and overnights when it’s only the basals being pushed through. Apparently, Animas Pings push out an increment of your basal rate for the hour every three minutes, whereas Medtronic has a tendency to dump a lot or a little during the course of an hour. Makes sense if you disconnect from the pump during a basal dump and you see higher sugars because you missed part of the dose. Hmm. YDMV… a lot, however.

I got to “play” with a test pump and the coordinating meter. My first impression? There is a LOT of information on that screen and it’s all really small and compact. The graphic designer in me wanted to adjust the leading really bad. I mean, I have decent eyesight for the most part, but much, much different than the big ol’ numbers of my Medtronic pump. It’ll take an adjustment to get used to it. Though – having it glow in the dark without a back light might be handy… unless my dress is sheer. (More on that later.)

The infusion sets come in self-contained inserters, so no extra plungers or devices to purchase to make site changes more efficient. The boxes everything came in are much smaller, so I might have more closet space one day. The infusion sites also appeared smaller and thinner than my QuickSets.

I got to play with the pump itself more. The scrolling through the numbers didn’t annoy me like I thought it would, but I could see breezing through your desired amount of insulin without thinking about it. Animas rep said he eventually figured out the “right touch” to scroll effectively… whatever that means. Maybe it’s like when you get a new touch screen cell phone and it has to get used to your touch? Although, to be fair, I’ve had instances with my Medtronic where I’ve suddenly scrolled up to 150 carbs when I meant to give for 50. It happens.

The bolus scrolling after you’ve decided that you need a dose seems a bit redundant. Why can’t it just auto-fill? Did Medtronic claim that as well? Seems silly. Animas rep said it has held him more accountable for doses. (The next generation will ask you, “Are You SURE You Want to Give 14 Units of Insulin?!” Just kidding… sort of. You just wait.)

Then it started to sing to me. No, seriously. I hit a button during the bolus administration (which was set HELLA FAST) and it started playing Für Elise a la a 1999 Nokia cell phone. DaHell? Animas rep: “Oh, you can pick the alert tones.” Seriously? I’m undecided if I like this. On one hand, I have the option of picking something I can actually HEAR. On the other, I’m going to drive my dance instructor mad! Anyway…

The reason Beethoven started playing? I cancelled the bolus delivery by accident. (More likely: I just hit a bunch of buttons after I said “Go!” and it stopped everything.) I think a review I read before the demo indicated that it was really easy to cancel a bolus on the Ping – now I see why.

Back to the sheer dress comment. The Animas rep mentioned that some of the women he has either trained or sold the pumps to come back and mention that the light up screen takes some getting used to if you hide the pump “with the girls.” As convenient as the meter remote is, the pump still lights up when a bolus is administered regardless of how. So for those ladies that stick their pumps down their shirts for whatever reason, sometimes they end up with an “Iron Man” effect if the buttons are facing out. Yikes. Something to think about as I often hide my pump under dresses in spaces I don’t want lit up. For goodness sake… how embarrassing.

On the flip side, the pump is WATERPROOF, and therefore sweat-proof. So I won’t be able to drown my pump as easily, like I have my Medtronic.

So is there a verdict? Not really sure yet. Could I live with this pump if I had a gun to my head and had to pick something now? Probably. I think there will be things I miss by switching from the Medtronic, but I may not have a choice if I can’t get a Revel. Hmph.

Ping’d

Y’know between my multiple illnesses, nausea, making my hubby sick, and the news that I one day I could  test my blood sugar with my tear duct, I’m getting a bit behind on making an insulin pump decision. Though – it’s not quite February yet… but still, I feel like I should have this down already. How hard can it be to make a decision on a piece of technology that you’ll be dependent on for the next four years? Hm?

I started researching the Animas Ping before I got the flu and I have a demo of the pump scheduled with the local NorCal rep on Monday. There are a ton of bloggers that use, or have used, the Ping. Notably – Kerri over at SixuntilMe and formerly Kim over at TextingMyPancreas. And since I keep reading conflicting information on whether I can or cannot get a plain ol’ Revel pump from Medtronic, the Ping might be my next purchase for a variety of reasons.

ImageThe Ping is a two part system – pump and a meter. The pump portion looks, initially, like a Medtronic Paradigm, and the Meter looks like my OneTouch UltraLink. The user has two options – control insulin delivery through the pump like normal OR administer a bolus through the meter based on a blood sugar post fingerstick. Yes kids – it’s a remote controlled pump.

This solves all kinds of wardrobe issues. When I wear a dress, I clip my pump to the top of my leggings, dance pants, whatever. It’s totally safe and convenient until I need to eat something and administer insulin for it. (Things just get awkward if you are hiking up your dress at work.) Now – Medtronic DOES have a remote control you can buy, but it’s pretty simple; a set of up/down arrows to set up a bolus, .10 units at a time. Here – the Animas meter allows you to actually see what you are giving. Pretty neat.

Another perk? Animas is responsible for the Vibe – an insulin pump that was recently released in the UK and that the US is waiting (impatiently) to get their hands on. When it finally does, I can guess that there will be upgrade programs available for Ping users. The Vibe is a device similar to Medtronic’s Revel or 530G – it’ll read those CGM graphs right on the pump… however, it implements the Dexcom graphs rather than whatever the Sof-Sensors spit out. My Dex is somewhere in insurance red-tape-land and I should have it here soon. So, purchasing an Animas product just seems smart in the long run based on my latest purchase.

The Ping isn’t without its drawbacks of course. Reviews have indicated that insulin delivery is quite quick and can be somewhat painful. And then anyone going from a Medtronic to a Ping definitely misses the convenience of the bolus-wizard; and not the nine zillion button pushes needed to get insulin started. (This is why I’m asking for a demo before I even ask for my insurance to check it out.) So – we’ll see if I can comfortably navigate an insulin dose without throwing something.

Happy Friday!

Narrowing the Options

It’s a slow day at the office, so I’ve been using my time to research/read up on the Animas Ping and any additional information I can get on the 530G. (Because their specs aren’t on the interwebz ANYWHERE!)

Don’t get me wrong. I like the t:slim idea still, but realized that while it has a 300 unit capacity insulin cartridge, I don’t go through that much insulin ever. I mean – I might whenever the pregnancy fairy grants my wish, but really? I barely use up my 200 unit cartridges in the three days I’m allotted. So – I’m less enthusiastic about the t:slim until I do more research/ask for a demo. Which leaves me with the unresearched Ping and Medtronic.

My biggest question lately has been the ability to do tiny ratios for boluses. I thought I heard about pumps getting down into the .5:1 range. (Apparently, that is just the UK’s Animas Vibe…) I’d love that option to get that low. I’m already on a 1:5 carb ratio for a majority of the day before pregnancy. Something tells me a 1:1 still won’t be enough in my 3rd trimester. (Though – the thought of giving 30 units of insulin to cover 30 grams of carbs is rather frightening… and a very real possibility.)

I began to look up 530G reviews and stumbled upon this article from D-Mine, which was written shortly after the press release was distributed for the 530G.

A few things struck me as alarming:

“This got me thinking: Could I just get a new Medtronic pump itself?

I picked up my phone and called Medtronic to ask about buying a new pump. Two different reps in the course of an hour told me the same thing: No, I can no longer just order a stand-alone pump. My insurance now REQUIRES me to get the newest device

So short answer: No, I cannot get a stand-alone Medtronic pump to use with my Dexcom G4.”

Seeing how I just asked for a prescription for a Dexcom G4 YESTERDAY, I got a little nervous. So – is Medtronic off the table completely now? (Because – why on earth would I pay for two CGM systems?)

On my lunch break, I called Medtronic myself and asked if the Revel pumps would still be made available to those who didn’t want the 530G. She told me it depended on my insurance and if they covered CGMs. (Which answered my question about Kaiser was going to deal with this because they don’t cover CGMs for anyone unless you are deemed “brittle.”) I said my insurance covers your current CGM just fine, but I didn’t really want to upgrade to the 530G; just the Revel. She said I could “request” the Revel if I wanted to, but it would just depend on if it got approved or not. (Approved by who?) The approval process would take the same amount of time as it would to request approval for a 530G, which was 5-7 days. Makes you wonder what the approval checklist looks like. (And do they decline requests without reason other than your insurance will cover the new model so that’s what you should get?) The whole thing seems a bit odd, but it sounds like they’ve updated their reps’ telephone manuals from the time that D-Mine article was written.

So – the Revel is still a possibility? Maybe?

More on the Ping tomorrow.

Friday Five*: Insulin Pump Shopping

I thought this would be more exciting, but it really isn’t. I haven’t really been swayed by any of the brands out there 100%, but – after my Paradigm decided not to recognize the battery change yesterday morning, I’m thinking I need to make a decision fairly quickly. (And call for ANOTHER replacement pump… #4 in the last year.)

1) I’ve decided against upgrading to an OmniPod. While the wireless capability is pretty awesome and the customer service is spot on, the programming of the pump is not much different than my Paradigm. My docs would love for me to be able to explore a .25 unit change in my basals and the Pods can only administer a .5 unit increment, with no plans to make that an option. Their lowest carb count ratio is 1:1, which is pretty typical, but apparently other pumps can get down to .5:1, which will be super handy during that 3rd Trimester, when it should occur.

2) I really like T:Slims interface and the sleekness of it, however, their customer service has left a slightly sour taste in my mouth – and I haven’t even purchased the pump yet. I sent in my patient paper work TWICE… and still had to call someone to figure out what the heck was going on. I understand it’s the end of the year and people are probably trying to spend their deductibles. But – a little bit of “hey – thanks for your interest” would be nice. Especially if I’m going to drop $50/month on supplies.

3) I sent in my paper work to Dexcom for a G4 Platinum. I figure if I have to buy a brand new transmitter outright with the new Medtronic 530G, I might as well just get what I want. Anything I get at this point, though, will hopefully be way more accurate and less finicky than what I have now. (Though – I had to order more sensors yesterday because, well February is 2.5 months out…) I know my docs keep telling me that it’s not really the number I should be concerned with, but the direction, it’s hard justifying waking up in the 190s and stable when your CGM says you’ve been in the 130s and stable. (Or that you’ve already hit 47 when your CGM says you’re 110… that sort of thing.)

4) A reason to stick with Medtronic? Carelink. My docs know how to use it. I can just upload and send a secure message for them to evaluate – done. I believe all other pumps have SOME sort of reporting software, but I don’t know what it entails, (how much it costs), and if my docs can access it. My CDE has suddenly stopped being able to accept emails from me and her suggestions are becoming more “canned.” I figure sending her attachments is a bad idea now. It’s a bit disappointing. Anyway – if you are not using Carelink, how do you get your Dexcom or Pump or Meter results to your doctor for evaluation?

5) I still have to take a look at the Animas Ping. But – you know… the holidays and stuff.

5.5) The Asante Snap isn’t available in my area, apparently. (WTF!?)

 

On the bright side, I’ve discovered that my health insurance doesn’t have a contract solely with Medtronic, so I am free to shop around to the larger companies. But since my Insurance is “local” and “special,” the Pump companies have a few work-arounds that need to be put in place, thus probably taking longer for approvals and such. But – it’s a 20% co-pay regardless where I go. So – that’s good news. (In the grand scheme of things.)

Have a good weekend.

Pod Person, Part 2

photo (1)

My OmniPod demo kits (yes, kits… for some reason they sent two) came in yesterday. My sensor died this morning, so I had some extra real estate on my hip to try it. And lucky (?) for me, I was home all day due to illness, so plenty of time to admire… or whatever.

First, this is apparently the “slimmer” version of the Pod. The Pods used to be a lot bulkier. I mean, they are pretty big to begin with… I can only imagine what they were! There is a good half inch protruding off of my side, covered by a sweatshirt. But imagine if I were just wearing one of my dance shirts or something. My hubby made the observation that at least with the wired pump, you can conceal it a little bit better. This is just stuck to you for 3 days.

Secondly, I know they said that the demo Pods are just that – Pods with no working parts. The self-inserting cannula is only inserted when you tell your little PDM to do so. I kinda wish I could have tried out that feature too. Because there’s nothing like jabbing yourself with a needle you can’t see after you’d committed to buying it for the next 4 years.

Next, I tried sleeping on it because that’s kind of a sticking point with me. If this plastic shell is going to be a attached to me all the time, I can’t throw it to my side or in a pocket while I sleep. It wasn’t horrible to sleep on. But – again, without having a cannula jabbing me in the side like some of my Quick Sets do, it’s hard to tell what this would be like on a night to night basis.

Verdict: Eh. I dunno. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt because the wireless thing is actually really handy. But it’s features probably aren’t really for me.

What’s next? Well, I’m still waiting for Tandem to respond to my fax, but I am starting to wonder if they actually received it. I also found out that, even though the Asante Snap is based out a Northern California town, the four week trial is not available to people in my region… which is Northern California. Huh. So – maybe the Ping?

Pod Person

So my next pump candidate is the OmniPod. I don’t know too many bloggers in the community that use the Pod system, so I haven’t read about too many different experiences. From the limited feedback I’ve received, people seem to like them if they have them. But if they are so awesome, why don’t more people have them and talk about them? Hmm.

So what is it?

OP_PDM_POD_logoThe OmniPod system is two components: the Pod and the PDA-like meter/control panel/all-in-one. (Sans a CGM… sorry y’all.) The Pod attaches to your body with the insulin pre-loaded (?) into it and inserts a canula into the skin to dispense insulin. The PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) acts as the remote control for the Pod, thus eliminating the need for wires and tubing.

That’s right… this thing doesn’t have any tubing to get stuck in, wrapped around, caught on, tangled in, or painfully dangled from. And the PDM doesn’t necessarily have to be near you all the time in order to dispense insulin. As long as your basals are set, the Pod just works. (However, you do need to be no more than 5 feet away to hear alarms, and if you want to bolus, you need the PDM, etc.)

No wires? Imagine the possibilities!

– I could wear skirts and pants without pockets!
– I could go swimming/paddleboarding and not worry about spiking into DKA territory.
– I could wear my dance costumes and not have to worry about if the dress has a place to awkwardly clip my pump.
– No more disconnect/reconnect/disconnect/reconnect during showcase weekends.
– I COULD DO ALL THE THINGS! YES!

Wait… it’s not all puppies and rainbows, kids.

I got excited and decided to order a “demo kit,” which is apparently just a Pod without any working parts so you can try it out and see how it looks on you. I’ve since been called by a number of OmniPod reps to answer my questions and tell me about their early upgrade program, blah blah blah. In doing so, I’ve discovered:

– The basal increments can only be programed down to 0.05 units, which is what my Paradigm currently does… and why my CDE keeps asking when I can upgrade. One key point that I wanted in my next pump was the ability to program in 0.025 units. (Because I’m apparently THAT sensitive.) OmniPod can’t do that. Hmph.

– I’ve seen photos of these Pods online. You have to take into consideration that the Pods carry 200 units of insulin, so these things aren’t flat by any means. Owning one of these doesn’t really make you any more fashionable than if you had a pump in your pocket.

– The pump can get down to a 1:1 carb ratio, which may be my future when I conceive a child. However, the rep today told me that some pumps can actually get down to a 1:0.5 carb ratio, which actually may sound like something I could need given my ratios are currently what they are. But the Pods can do that.

– The meter in the PDM is a FreeStyle meter – which recently just recalled a ton of their test strips.

– The rep also said my insurance was “special” and may need some different permissions to get approval.

Hmmm…

It’s probably too early to tell anything and I still have to wait for my demo package to come in.