Guess what day it is… it’s pump day! Instead of a camel, I received my insulin pump yesterday, and was finally trained on it!
I had decided to get an insulin pump three or four months ago at my last endocrinologist visit. My dad started using the Medtronic MiniMed in March, and I was tired of him trying to explain to me at every corner how much he liked it. Also, with a trip to Europe coming up, I was really concerned about how I would time my Lantus shots while skipping around time zones. Plus, I want to be focused on my traveling experience, not about carrying around pen needles and constantly worrying on my own about insulin intake.
A few years ago, right as I started my freshman year of college, I started using the OmniPod system, but it didn’t work for me – the pods would fall off after a day of use, I would constantly bump into them or feel uncomfortable while I was sleeping, and they were just too bulky overall. I knew that I didn’t want to go back to the OmniPod, but I’ve always been uneasy about the idea of tubing attached to my body.
After meeting with an Animas representative, I decided on the Animas Vibe. With the Vibe, I could integrate it with the CGM I’ve been using for a year now. I learned that the infusion set is similar to the Dexcom CGM I was already using. Both the Animas infusion set and the Dexcom consist of a tiny, plastic cannula that is inserted under your skin every three or six days. Usually, the insertion might sting a little, because a needle pushes it in, but once it’s inserted, it’s hardly noticeable. One of my biggest fears is that I’ll bump into something and rip out the infusion set, which is a possibility I still haven’t ruled out yet. (Fingers crossed I’ll avoid it!)
For me, it took about three months to receive my pump. I don’t even know how many offices it was faxed to. I do know I’ve spent hours on the phone, talking to people from Animas, my insurance provider, my doctor’s office, UPS, and the third party provider. It was not a fun process. Originally, I would have received the pump directly from Animas, probably about a month sooner than I actually did. But while they were waiting for doctor’s orders, the insurance company switched my coverage to a third party provider. The entire process had to start over again. I was beyond frustrated. Finally, in the middle of May, I was allowed to place the order for my pump. When it didn’t arrive on the date I was told, I called the third party provider to be told that it was delayed by a week due to low inventory. They promised to overnight it the next week. Theoretically, it would have been overnighted, and I would have had a week to use it before I left for Europe. But when that day came and passed, I called the company again, only to discover that they had decided to ship it ground, and that it wouldn’t arrive until two days before I left for Europe.
Bitter at this turn of events, I made what felt like a million calls to UPS, the third party provider, and my Animas trainer. The trainer was really helpful – even though I didn’t have my pump in hand, she set up a training date with me and I worked out how I could intercept the package from UPS 30 minutes before my appointment. It’s still a little rushed – I didn’t get to do a saline trial, but she taught me how to program the pump yesterday and download the results to send to my care team at the University of Chicago. Still, it’s better than what my dad did – he taught himself how to use his pump without any supervision, and still hasn’t been officially trained by Medtronic.
So far, besides a low last night at 3 am, my blood sugar has hovered around 120 all day. It’s obviously very new, but I’m hopeful that this will be a better solution for me overall.
Are you interested in living with a pump? I would recommend watching Youtube videos and reading up on all the systems, and meeting with representatives in order to figure out which pump would work best for you!
Check back soon for further pump developments, packing diabetes supplies for long trips, and traveling with diabetes.