Ping to Pod – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
We’re a couple months into our switch from Animus to Omnipod, and we’re slowly reaching cruising altitude. I’ve gotten great tips and information from other bloggers and podders that have definitely helped the transition – thank you!
A quick snapshot of how this transition looks for a 3-year-old boy and his pancreants (disclaimer: insulin delivery devices are a very individual choice – I’m not out to champion one pump or another for anyone else):
- No surprise – going tubeless has been AWESOME! Luke can run around with a pump bumping on his back, we can hug him and not hug his pump, and going swimming is much, much easier.
- Surprise! – I like that Omnipod doesn’t track IOB for carbs (it does for BG corrections). I understand concerns. We’ve had our share of stomach bugs and mini-glucagon moments, but with bolus history in the Omnipod, we’ve been able to quickly figure out carb IOB when needed.
95% of the time, not seeing carb IOB has saved us from getting twitchy and giving too many free carbs. And we find corrections work much better without the pump including carbs in the IOB, as Animus does (we are careful not to correct for at least 1 1/2 hours after eating). Animus often would not suggest a correction hours after a big meal even if BGs were in the 200s, because it assumed meal insulin on board would bring blood sugar down – but that often didn’t happen.
- Complete remote control – Having all pump functionality in one PDM is fantastic, because we change pump settings on an almost daily basis to keep up with Luke’s growing, changing body. The smooth little Pod is safe from his hands, and if he bangs it up or loses it in the pool – no worries about an expensive piece of equipment.
- Freestyle “Lite” vs. Regular strip debacle – Omnipod officially only supports Free Regular strips, but both work in the PDM and our rep told us it didn’t matter. The packaging made it very difficult for Medco to tell the difference, and we ended up with Freestyle Lite strips. A month later, we got a crappy A1C (8.8) that didn’t line up with numbers in the PDM or Dex. I found out from others who’d also had this experience that sometimes Freestyle Lite strips read lower for some individuals. We pulled out the Ping, another Freestyle meter, control solutions, and our fingers, and spent a weekend checking every possible combination of strips, meters, and calibration #s. Turned out Freestyle Lites read 20-30 points lower for Luke, and resetting the calibration to 18 gave a reading closest to the others. We then got a shipment of Regular strips, which we’re now using – curious to see if our next A1C is closer to the PDM and Dex #s.
- PDM didn’t track correction IOB – Early on, daycare got a PDM error 5, which seemed to be a strip error. An hour later, Luke’s blood sugar dropped rapidly (double arrows down). Our nanny looked at the paper log and figured out that the correction IOB wasn’t being tracked in the PDM. Luke had been bolused twice for a very high BG and had way too much insulin in his system (juice away!). Omnipod replaced the PDM (to their credit, they very readily replace PDMs), gave us a free backup, and reported the error up their management chain. Their manual is very vague about what issues error messages indicate, so we now investigate any error very carefully.
- Need smaller basal increments – There are a few hours during the day when Luke’s basal needs to be lower than the smallest .05/hour. With Animus, we could set .025/hour or even zero, which is great for small kids. We give free carbs to counter the .05/hour, but it’s one more thing to remember.
- Limited real estate – Since the Pod is much larger than the average set, it can’t be put in as many places. We can only use Luke’s butt, which is looking pretty chewed up. I’m taking comfort from the fact that other young podders seem to make it work, but – I want the smaller pod this year!
Ain’t nothing ugly about it! Like so many little things, that makes a huge difference. Seeing Luke attached to something that looked and felt like a piece of hospital equipment (with a DOS interface) was depressing. Using a smartphone-like UI and pod feels like we’ve moved into this century, where diabetes is another complicated facet of daily life that can be tracked and managed. In a subtle way, it gives us hope, which is a very big thing.