And More Pump Adjustment

I find myself late in the second week of life with my new insulin pump, the Animas OneTouch Ping. As I informed you last week[1], my plan for the next several blog entries is to write up my reactions to life with this device, touching on differences I observe after having spent four years with the Deltec Cozmo insulin pump[2].

For those of you who’ve made the switch from one brand of pump to another, you may very well agree with me that for the most part there’s not much difference between pumps — insofar that they’re all insulin-delivery systems. Except… that’d be like saying that all cars aren’t much different because they all have four wheels and are a mode of transportation. So, yes, there are differences to talk about, and this week:

Reservoir Size
Relative to some other Type 1[3]s I know, and from some of the things I’ve read online, I know that I don’t use that much insulin on a daily basis. Right now I believe my total daily basal is just under 12 units, and my bolus ratio is 1 unit per 9 grams of carbohydrate. Daily I probably bolus between 20 and 30 units. The Animas OneTouch Ping insulin reservoir holds 200 units. That’s at capacity. However, after filling and priming, I usually start a cycle of new insulin with around 170 units in the pump. That’s just around three days of insulin in the reservoir. Sometimes I can go a bit longer, and sometimes — especially after a decadent weekend — that reservoir depletes quickly.

The thing is, as I said, relative to other Type 1s I know, I don’t use all that much insulin. How frustrating this must be for those of you who have to change your reservoir every day or two. Three days seems too frequent to me. Maybe I’ve been spoiled, but an extra 100 units makes a huge difference. The 300-unit Deltec Cozmo reservoir seems a luxury in hindsight. Oh that cavernous plastic space into which I’d dump that lifesaving synthetic substance, all those units I took for granted. I’d go for four, maybe five days at a time without having to stop and unload, refill, reprime, and so on.

The Meter-Remote
I enjoy the Animas’ meter-remote, which, for those of you who don’t know, allows me to check my blood glucose on the meter and then bolus for a meal or issue a correction bolus wirelessly from that selfsame remote. It’s convenient (apart from having to remain within about four feet of it during its bolus time), and I find that I’m testing more frequently because I don’t have to reach down and detach the pump from my hip to check on the attached meter that piggybacked on the Cozmo. I don’t know why, exactly, but the tethering with the tubing always made me feel that getting the pump out to check was a bit of an inconvenience. This led to less-frequent glucose checking than I probably should have done, and may help to explain the slightly higher A1c[4]s. (No, I’m not blaming higher A1cs on this, but there’s some influence in control and frequency in monitoring, but I’m not writing about that this week.)

Next week I have a few things to say about test strips and size of meter-remotes, as well as whatever else comes up in my honeymoon phase with this new Animas insulin pump. Until then, may you enjoy your summer!

  1. last week:
  2. insulin pump:
  3. Type 1:
  4. A1c:

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Eric Lagergren: Eric Lagergren was born in 1974 but didn’t give much thought to diabetes until March 2007, when he was diagnosed with Type 1. He now gives quite a bit of thought to the condition, and to help him better understand his life as a person with diabetes, he writes about it. Eric is the senior editor for the Testing Division at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute in Ann Arbor. (Eric Lagergren is not a medical professional.)

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