Well they say time flies when you are having fun,how true this is. Already I am at the 6 month mark of being a pumper. The past six months have gone past in a blur if I’m honest. I guess living your life on a 3 day cycle of set changes has that effect!
In this blog post I want to look at what made me choose the pump I have, the good and the bad points of it, share some life experiences with the pump, look at the issues I have encountered and how I have overcome these problems. Hoping that in the process this blog might help you if you are struggling to decide which pump is right for you.
Please do comment below with your own experiences and stories.
My Plastic Pancreas Of Choice
As you will know from my ➡ past blogs (assuming you have seen them that is!), I chose the Medtronic 640G as my plastic pancreas of choice.
My clinic was really supportive in my choice. They had given me the option of Medtronic 640G, Roche Insight, Animas VIbe or the Omnipod. No pressure was put on me to pick one pump above the other. I was told to go and research each one and make a decision, all the while knowing they were there for advice if I wanted it. I know that many people do not have a wide choice of pumps as standard from their clinics. If you are struggling to obtain the pump you really set your heart on do check out Input Diabetes. These guys are such a great help and rely on charity donations, please dig deep if you can. ➡ Input Diabetes
Why Medtronic Edged It For Me
In all honesty all pumps do the same thing. They all deliver insulin, in the same way as a syringe used to deliver it to us. They are just another insulin delivery device. It is the bells and whistles which set each pump apart from the others.
I chose Medtronic based on a few factors
- Personal recommendations from diabuddies within the #doc and the #gbdoc.
- The 640G has the option of CGM.
- Medtronic are the only pumps in the UK with the Smartguard system (More about Smartguard on ➡ Mike’s great blog)
- Looking to the future, in my opinion it will be Medtronic who hit the UK with the first commercial looping system. I wanted to be on their books in anticipation for the day when all of this becomes automated!
- Again based upon recommendations, at the point of going with Medtronic, the customer care is 2nd to none.
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Something I found lacking when researching what pump to go for was a simply list of the good, the bad and the ugly for each pump manufacturer. Hope my list helps somebody considering the Medtronic.
So here goes:
- It’s waterproof, you can swim with this bad boy!
- Nice clear screen.
- Colour Screen.
- Screen visible in the sun.
- Big choice of infusion sets, and tube lengths.
- Variety of cannula lengths.
- Good quality blood glucose meter which allows remote bolus.
- Brilliant customer service.
- Easy to set up online account.
- Super efficient ordering 24/7 online for consumables.
- A reservoir type pump, means you do not have to rely on pre filled cartridges.
- AA type batteries, easily available.
- Temporary basal rates without the annoying half hourly chime of yesteryear.
- Lots of options for different basal rates.
- Very small dose increments, handy if sensitive to insulin.
- No full remote control. Can see this as more of an issue for the ladies who like the pump hidden.
- Size – I don’t call him ”Chunk” for nothing. Even although dimensions are very similar to other pumps this does seem a little bulkier than others.
- Failed Cannulas – Had a few of these, more later on this.
- Air bubbles – Early on struggled with air bubbles in tubing.
- Battery life, not great especially if using the CGM.
- Poor quality belt clip.
- The screen is in portrait only, can be a nuisance in certain conditions.
- Button lock becomes tedious pretty quickly. I know it is needed but really!
Well no pump is pretty is it, let’s be honest! At least this one doesn’t look like a 1980’s pager. A 1990’s MP3 player yes, but not a pager at least. (If you do not know what a pager is, ask your parents!)
As such I don’t really have anything to write in the ugly part, except for this pump is a little on the ”wide” side.
Bad Life Experiences With Medtronic 640G
My only bad, and I mean properly bad not just annoying, experience has been failed cannulas. I have had a few of these so far. They are to be expected now and then I guess.
I can’t see any rhyme or reason for when they happen. Don’t know why they happen and can’t tell for a few hours if it has happened even.
The set change feels completely normal, as pain-free as any other set change. No alarms from the pump, all seems to be fine. Then about 5 hours later my bloods are 23 and I feel pretty groggy. Do a correction dose and wait another 90 minutes. Checked bloods expecting to see it back on the way down and it’s now 24 mmol/L. Not what I wanted to see.
Got some advice from the #GBdoc and did a correction dose with a pen rather than the pump. Waited 90 minutes, checked and was on the way back down.
Removed cannula and found the problem!
How I try to Avoid This
Now, with the benefit of 6 months experience and about 120 set changes so far, I have some rules I follow:
- Try and do set changes a couple of hours before a meal. This way if it isn’t working you might realise before loading in a load of carbs for dinner.
- Never do a set change before bed. If you do a set change, then go to sleep overnight and it fails, well you morning number won’t be pretty. It always amazes me how quickly we can become ill in the absence of insulin.
- If the set just doesn’t feel right, then swap it out for another one. Even although failed sets have not generally hurt as such, they all felt a little different. When it happens you will know what I mean.
- Don’t rush set changes. It is only every 3 days, set yourself 10 minutes aside and do it properly. Be methodical and take it slow. The few times I have rushed my set changes, I have had issues afterwards.
Hopefully if you are considering Insulin Pump therapy, this blog will help you out. I have only been pumping for 6 months, so I am by no means an expert. All of this is just my personal views and experiences. If this helps you out then I’m happy.
Would be great to hear your views and opinions too in the comments below
Take Care, support is always there