IMPORTANT: I first must say a BIG thank you to Insulet Corporation, makers of the Omnipod insulin pump system, for offering a FREE Omnipod PDM PLUS a FREE box of Omnipod pods, WITHOUT ANY TRADE-IN or CHARGE to our insurance. A great and kind gesture to those of us already reeling from the loss of Asante and the Snap pump. Every other manufacturer is offering a “deal”, for money plus insurance, which, while appreciated, is more in line with the big business of diabetes. Insulet, THANK YOU for stepping up quickly and generously!
Asante Solutions, makers of the wonderfully innovative insulin pump, ended its journey just a short 2 years after launch. And it leaves many Snappers without a clear direction of “what to do next!” Any choice of current pumps on the market feels like a giant step backwards in technology. It is sad and very frustrating.
But we must forge on, so I’ve been studying my choices, talking to the “pros” and agonizing over my best option. Indeed, I’m probably driving my husband a little wacky, as I bounce around among my choices. After all, there are only 5 “conversion” pump options: Medtronic 530G, Animas Vibe, Animas Ping, Tandem t:slim and Insulet Omnipod.
I narrowed it down to Omnipod and Animas (Ping or Vibe) … until Animas’ parent company, Johnson & Johnson refused to work with my Medicare insurance, despite all other companies gladly willing to work with me.
My choice, because
- The deal is SO GOOD and KIND, (a FREE PDM and one month’s worth of pods, FREE)
- Advice from well-regarded CDEs and other wise healthcare researchers and professionals
I will be using the Insulet Omnipod. I jumped onboard in the middle of last night, after my Snap infusion set came apart (3rd time that’s happened since the company closed … could there have been a problem lurking?).
Here are my first impressions, likes/dislikes and adaptations I need to make in using my new pump, the Insulet Omnipod.
To start the PDM, I had to get 2 AAA batteries. That was my first re-entry into the world of old technology. I had gotten spoiled by Snap … both the receiver and the pump body had batteries so I never had to change batteries, charge batteries … or in fact, even think about batteries.
Every pump has different menus and screens so I had to get used to the Omnipod PDM. My first thoughts about the PDM:
- It’s clunky and ugly and large
- The display is easy to read
- Whenever I wake it, I have to confirm that I am the user (no way around that)
After entering all the settings and basal program, I was ready to start my first pod. Another bunch of steps backward:
- I had to switch back to Novolog and fill a plastic syringe from a vial (instead of popping in a single glass cartridge of Humalog)
- After filling the pod reservoir (quick), it had to prime. Didn’t take too long.
As the pod footprint is larger than the infusion set footprint, I took some time figuring out where I should insert it and where I was least likely to be annoyed by the bulge. I settled on my upper stomach. And in it went, EASY. The PDM then asked if the cannula is inserted properly … I have NO idea how you can actually see it through the tiny window … so I has clicked YES.
The pod worked well immediately … no problems.
An adjustment in my thinking occurred. I went swimming this afternoon … and did NOT have to disconnect. I did not have to pre-bolus. I did not have to watch the time in the pool and figure out how much insulin I was missing for a make-up bolus. (In fairness, Animas pumps are also waterproof but you still have to either hide the pump in your swim suit or disconnect during a shower.)
The NOTEWORTHY PLUSES:
NO TUBING! I feel like doing pirouettes around the bedroom without having to hold on to my pump in my hand or tubing between my teeth! In bed, I don’t have to worry or even think about the pump travelling around the bed or staying in a pocket … it is on me!
NO NEED TO DISCONNECT! When I take a shower, I just shower and the pump keeps going. When I play in the pool or Jacuzzi, I just submerge in the water without disconnecting, without a care.
IT IS WATERPROOF! Really waterproof. Unless you need to adjust your insulin dose and use your PDM (which is NOT waterproof), you are good to go dunking with the pods.
The pod ADHESIVE: it works well. I didn’t even use SkinTac or any other extra adhesive … it just seems to stick.
WHERE TO HIDE IT: Since it’s a pod, I don’t have to figure out where to stick my pump (my pocket, my bra, etc.). The PDM is another story … more later.
The PDM DISPLAY: VERY readable. The display always shows the IOB, the last bolus, the last BG, the basal rate, the battery level, the amount of insulin in the pod and the pod change date. Fairly useful.
INTEGRATED METER: It has a built-in Freestyle meter with light for nighttime/theater testing.
ALERTS: They are LOUD! The good news: You can simply turn them off!
TECH SUPPORT: Excellent! I called this evening (Sunday night) and was connected immediately to a tech support person. I wasn’t asked for all my verifying information … just solved my question in about 15 seconds!
ACCESSORIES: Wow, there is a whole market of add-ons, called Peels or Skins, to customize your pod. They are waterproof, reusable and even able to use your own uploaded image (for example, your pet, your favorite art, etc.). There are also shaped tapes to help hold the pod in place, if you need that.
The NOTEWORTHY MINUSES:
The PDM! As wonderful as having no tubing is, unless you carry the PDM near you (in purse or briefcase), you will be at a loss if you want to bolus or put in a temp rate. Nothing you can do without the PDM. While I love NO TUBING, I keep having to remind myself to keep track of the PDM. For the time being, I am keeping it in my little kit with my testing supplies (don’t need the meter though), my Afrezza, a syringe and a vial of insulin.
POD BATTERY: It only lasts about 80 hours … a little over 3 days. You can change the pod early but if you are running late, the pod will actually shut off at about 80 hours. My plan (NOT ENDORSED BY INSULET) is to keep a syringe with you in case the pod actually shuts off. You can then withdraw a little insulin from the reservoir until you can get to change your pod.
POD SIZE: The pod is a bit bulky so it might show under tight clothing. I think you might also have to be careful getting dressed or undressed so as not to pull off the pod. But there a lots of places to hide it … and I’ve seen little kids wearing their pods right out in the open, on their upper arms.
Insulet is also awaiting FDA approval for integration with Dexcom. My best understanding is that they will introduce a new model PDM within the next 12-18 months. If I were to add my inputs:
- Option on pod to bolus
- Smaller, sleeker PDM body
- Ideally, small PDM running integrated app on iPhone and Android
- Software to upload settings without having to go through menus