Speaking of anniversaries, this Saturday marked my three-month milepost using Insulet’s revolutionary new wireless insulin delivery system, the OmniPod. I feel I owe you all an update. So if the details of cutting-edge insulin pumping interest you, read on
THE BIG PICTURE
On the whole, I’m at a loss for words to describe how thoroughly this product has changed my life. Let’s just say (conservatively), that I was taking about 6 injections/day before. That’s at least 540 injections I’ve been able to skip in the last three months. Hallelujah!
But skipping injections is a benefit of any insulin pump, of course. The thing for me is, despite the no-needles advantage, I am 100% certain I would not be a pumper right now if my only choice had been a traditional pump attached to my body via 43″ of plastic tubing. That’s still a big No Thank You for me.
With the OmniPod, it almost feels like all I have to deal with is a glucose meter. Period. Because the PDM (wireless controller unit) actually doubles as a glucose meter, and it’s all I need to carry around. (God, how I love that!) I just check my BG, and the bolus wizard tells me automatically how much bolus or correction insulin I need. I don’t even have to deal with the two-step process of using a separate meter and then plugging the results into my pump.
And that issue about losing the controller unit? Get over it! First off, we all have to carry our glucose meters around: do you lose yours regularly? I personally never have. Also, as one fellow OmniPoder put it: “It’s a valuable like my car keys or my wallet. They go with me wherever I go, and I’m careful not to lose those, either.”
THE NITTY GRITTY
Obviously, with any medical device determining your health and well-being 24/7, customer service is key. I wanted to note how fabulous the people over at Insulet have been — and not just to me, ’cause I publish on the web; I happen to know that lots of other customers are having the same great experience.
As a responsible blogger, I did want to report that after I complained here about the innacuracy of the OmniPod’s built-in FreeStyle meter, Insulet contacted me immediately and offered a replacement unit. Apparently the problems I was encountering are not common. I suppose I could/should have called them right away with my concerns, but I just assumed that most next-gen products run into a few bugs initially. Anyway, the new PDM unit arrived via next-day FedEx, and after a very long tech support phone call to help me transfer all my settings, I am up and running and highly accurate again! (Note to self: never work in Customer Support, as it requires too much patience)
As far as daily pumping goes, I’m still experimenting with correction factors and basal rate options. For example, I just learned that the OP “insulin on board” feature only shows insulin delivered as a correction — not a meal bolus — therefore I’ve often taken a post-meal correction too soon after eating, knocking myself into a nasty low. You live and learn.
I’ve set three different temp basals for workouts so far, and am still trying to figure out how low to go versus eating during and around cycling workouts. As any Type 1 serious about cycling will tell you, this is a science unto itself.
I’ve also been alternating belly and behind-the-shoulder sites — trying to predict what I’ll be doing that week for optimal placement. I hate wearing the unit on my shoulder during aerobics, not so much ’cause it looks silly as that it bobs around too much (even on my skinny arms). For cycling, however, it’s perfect on the shoulder. Although I find I have to contort a bit and hold the PDM behind my shoulder whenever I want to bolus or get a Pod status — otherwise it doesn’t connect. (All little stuff that shouldn’t be an issue versus the massive inconvenience of injections, but see? The OmniPod’s got me spoiled now…)
This might sound twisted, but I actually love changing the pod. It’s a very simple process, and every time I do it, it reminds me how very ecstatic I am to have the OmniPod. Lookey here! See that big needle? That’s not going in me, no sir! That’s just to fill the pod… and then click! the cannula is inserted automatically and I’m on my way.
OK, but the final truth of it all is, it’s still hard having diabetes… I’m still running over 180 a lot of afternoons (lunch is always such a crap shoot), and I’m either too high or too low many nights — often seemingly without rhyme or reason. USER ERROR, I know. What the MD’s might have once called “noncompliant”? Aw, shut up! Even with the greatest D-management tool ever invented, it’s still a volatile disease and I still want to have a life… What I’m most grateful for is that the people at Insulet Corp. seem to understand that.