OP FAQ — Strictly Personal

My Inbox continues to overflow with questions about the tube-free OmniPod insulin delivery system, which I’ve had the privilege of using for the last 5 months. So I figured I’d be economical about it and compile the answers here for public consumption:

Amy’s OmniPod FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) — A Strictly Personal Viewpoint:

Now that you’ve had several month’s experience with the Pod, how are you liking it?

Me loves it. I can’t tell you how convenient it is not to have to mess with needles and pens all day long, not to mention the much improved BG control! I was down to an A1c of 5.9 at last count, irregardless of a few inevitable SUS episodes along the way. My best measure of satisfaction is that I’m excited about just having the thing, and still enjoy doing the “show and tell” bit whenever people with good questions inquire.

What are the downsides?

Well, it sort of is like wearing a small brick attached to your abdomen or shoulder. I would like the pod to be flatter, and less obtrusive, especially during intimate moments. (Let’s just say my husband’s a heavy guy — it’s all muscle!! — so that brick can press into me pretty uncomfortably at times…)

When you wear it on your arm, have you had any problems sleeping on the Pod — rolling over on it or anything?

Actually, I thought this would be more of a problem than it is. Most of the time, I don’t notice it during sleep at all, even when it’s on my shoulder. Only when I somehow place it smack in the middle of my right shoulder — the one I sleep on — do I find it really uncomfortable at night. Note that the pod itself is not disturbed in any way, no matter how I may roll around on it :)

Have you actually worn the thing with a bikini yet?

NOPO. In fact, I just treated myself to several new Tankini’s for this season. The pod’s pretty well hidden under them, and thankfully they are “in” right now. But this is strictly personal preference: I do now have one diabetic friend at the gym (!) who wears a bikini unabashedly with her Minimed pump hanging out. I love the little round un-tan spots from her former infusion sites. I love the fact that should could care less.

How far apart can the pod and the pump be, and still communicate?

A few feet, I believe, although that’s hardly an issue since you usually have the PDM in your hand — and therefore close to the pod on your bod — whenever dosing or entering commands. The bigger issue is that you’ve got to have the PDM angled right (not too high up or facing the wrong way), otherwise you get a “pod status not available” message. Meanwhile, if you choose to leave the PDM behind while going off for a several-hour bike ride (my bad), the pump will continue to deliver whatever basal rate is programmed, even without the PDM being nearby. If you urgently needed to stop delivery, you can always just remove the pod.

Have you had an problems with infection at the insertion sites?

Thankfully no. I did have a little trouble with the adhesive peeling off, so the Insulet rep recommended Mastisol, which worked great. But last week for the first time, my skin got all irritated under the adhesive, so I may have to try another brand of medical adhesive spray/cream.

Does the flow of insulin get impeded, leading to getting less insulin that you think? If so, is it easy to “unstuck” the flow?

Haven’t had any experience at all with that — even when I thought maybe the pod was delivering less insulin (because I’d hit a high BG patch), I pulled the pod to check and discovered it wasn’t at fault at all. Since there’s no tubing, and only a tiny cannula for the insulin to travel between the pod and your skin, it seems extremely unlikely that the flow would get blocked in any way.

Does the device allow a major bolus “hit” if necessary, or do you manage that using the old-fashioned syringe?

Weird question. This is insulin pumping. No more shots involved.

What’s the status on
insurance coverage for the OmniPod?

The company tells me lots of plans already cover the OmniPod, including several in California. I’m not up on exactly which plans or to what extent (not my department). For specifics, please call the company at 800-591-3455.

Do you track other manufacturers to see if someone will out-pod the pod?

Why yes, of course. Not that I want to see Insulet get trampled or anything (!) — I’m just always looking and hoping for something new and better. Aren’t we all? I recently posted reports on some pretty exciting stuff currently being developed: a “nano-pump” from two Swiss companies, and the next generation in patch pumps, reportedly coming from Medingo Medical Solutions in Israel. There’s even more new stuff on the horizon, so keep your eyes peeled for reports here at DiabetesMine.com.


6 Responses

  1. Kassie
    Kassie July 23, 2007 at 7:31 am | | Reply

    follow up!

    Re: Does the device allow a major bolus “hit”…

    That’s actually not so weird a question, if I’m understanding it correctly. When I need to take *a lot* of insulin, either for a large amount of carbs or for a high, I sometimes split the dose between my pump and an injection. I’ve just found that too much insulin at once doesn’t make for effective bolusing. My pump has a ‘max bolus’ safety feature, but I determing the max bolus. I wonder if any pumps have a max-max-bolus that you can’t override?

    Re the distance b/w pod and PDM – what if the pod fails in some way? Though tubing’s out of the mix, I’d imagine that other things could go wrong with pod mechanics… will it alarm when you get back in range? What’s OP’s training on keeping the PDM nearby?

  2. Dan Fahey
    Dan Fahey July 23, 2007 at 1:47 pm | | Reply

    Kassie, you did interpret my question correctly. We all at times check our blood sugars and get shocked with a high value that we didn’t expect. I don’t want it to take forever to get that back into a normal range. Do you still keep on hand needles and insulin for that?

  3. jules
    jules July 23, 2007 at 7:14 pm | | Reply

    I’ve been on the pod for 5 months also and love it as much as you do. I’m not sure what you mean by wearing in on your shoulder. I wear it on the underside of my upper arm. Could you describe exactly where you put it. I’ve been wearing it on my lower back this summer switching sides and I often forget which side it’s on. I, too, am surprised at how well it stays on and I don’t use any type of additional “glue”. The insulin must be room temperature though when I fill a pod. Each time it was cold I had to replace due to bubbles. Great product and my insurance pays 100% so it’s much cheaper for me than injections.

  4. Derek
    Derek July 23, 2007 at 8:02 pm | | Reply

    Heard recently that Minimed is bringing out a new pod-like pump that sounds incredible. Much smaller than the omnipod. It will be nice to have a big company like Medtronic standing behind this technology.

  5. AmyT
    AmyT July 26, 2007 at 10:56 am | | Reply

    For those of you who emailed with questions about Insulet’s customer service: they get an A+! And not just because I’m “somebody special”… the reps on the phone never know about the blog here :)

  6. Melissa
    Melissa July 26, 2007 at 11:35 am | | Reply

    Hi Amy! Thanks for the answers! I managed to knock the pod completely off my arm 3 hours after putting it on. :( But I just tried again 2 days ago, and it’s still on and I haven’t had any problems.

    About OmniPod’s customer service, I couldn’t agree more! I had to call them with 2 questions the second night of being on the pod and I was so impressed with how polite, fast and helpful they were! It was such a wonderful change from my previous pump company’s customer service. :)

Leave a Reply