My Pros and Cons of the t:Slim

I’ve been reading and studying my reports and it seems that I only needed to adjust insulin-to-carb ratios for my day-to-day issues. And, while I’m thankful that Tandem has the ability to show me things I need in their reports like Insulin-On-Board action and all, the system is really messed up for me right now. I’ve asked that my pump be replaced to see if that’s the issue (which I strongly feel that it is), but they won’t yet, so I hooked back up to my Ping. I know having a pump is a big deal, but for me I’ve grown to know how to read and interpret my reports to make my therapy decisions, and so I rely heavily on their accuracy of data recording.

As much as I want to really like and even love the t:slim, I just can’t right now. They have a lot of things to work on and improve first. That doesn’t mean I want to abandon it – because I don’t – but I’m tired of running up against something else every week or so that I don’t like. So, for pros and cons sake ( I guess this was a long time coming), here’s my list view for the t:slim (remember, I’m not comparing it to any other pump – I’m looking at it for what it’s features are):

Pros:

  • Touch screen – super easy for fast operation of the pump
  • Small – It’s so much easier to hide when it’s “naked” and not in a case than any other tubed pump I’ve used.
  • Customizabe – You can have it be as simple or as complicated as you need to be, with personal profiles that can just be duplicated to start a new one and make small changes without having to start from scratch.
  • Chargeable – No battery needed. Just plug it in.
  • Future – It was the pump used for the Artificial Pancreas trial, so that makes me hopeful. I’ve also seen a screenshot of what it would look like with Dexcom integration, and that is SUPER cool.
  • Software – When t:connect worked right for me, it was awesome. It was sleek, cool, and very VERY informative.
  • Reservoir Size – while I wouldn’t use 300u in a 3-day span, I know others who do, so it’s good to have that option out there. Besides, I’ve been able to get a good 6 days out of one cartridge fill that way. 😉
  • The screen has an instant view of most everything I need. IOB, Insulin remaining, Date/time, and battery charge.

 

Cons:

  • Logging – If you enter a carb entry into the BG section by accident in the pump, even when you press “back”, it’s saved as a BG. There have been many times I’ve done this, so my report thinks my lowsest BG is 16, when it should have been 16g of carb. And there’s no way to delete it.
  • Software – It’s on the fritz for a lot of us. For some, it works fine, for others, it doesn’t. I was one who it worked great for.. and then it went screwy after I put the pump into sleep mode. Now, all of my bg readings are entered as-is, but all bolus and carb information is recorded in quadruplicate. (Is that a word? It just looks so weird!)
  • The clips – Oh the clips. I still cannot figure out why it seems the clip is in the middle of the case. One of the things Tandem spoke about as to why the connector is not on the side of the pump but rather in the “pig tail” is because people complained that they hated the “stump” connectors on their pumps…. well, now, with the t:clip, the whole end of the pump stands just as far above the belt as the other pump “stumps”, so it seems a bit redundant…. and irritating. And good luck getting them to clip firmly to anything but a belt too. My pump has fallen off or on the verge of it so many times because of the way the clip is designed.
  • No prefillable cartridge – Let me explain this one. Yes, the pump has a cartridge, but it’s a bag that’s inside of a plastic piece that’s snapped onto the pump that you inject the insulin into. I have no way to check for air bubbles other than making sure there aren’t any in the fill syringe…. and this just throws my OCD all out of whack. I like to see that before I place a cartridge into a pump that there are no air bubbles. Granted, the system is supposed to have some mechanism that pushes air out, but still… like I said… OCD-brain. I mean, who all of you have gone and filled a cartridge, and emptied it back into the insulin bottle just to get rid of a bubble hanging around the plunger and not seen all of the micro-bubbles that come back into the mix???
  • (Currently) No reverse-correction for lows – this is not news if you’ve been reading my blog, so I won’t go over it again.

 

And these are just me, but I’m freaked out by the screen. I feel like I have to baby it. I’m scared the pump will drop and it will shatter (as I’ve seen other’s do). Also, did you know that you are not supposed to have the screen pointed towards you when you clip it in or place it in your pocket (or wherever)? Yeah. So, I’ve almost always put my pump inside of my pocket and clipped it there, screen facing my leg… and it bugs the ever-living crap out of me that I can’t with the t:slim. (Well, I’m sure you can, but the book says youre  not supposed to so… I guess if you accidentally bolus yourself it’s your fault for having the pump clipped towards you and not away.)

All of these won’t fit everyone. Some people may see my cons and not think they really are cons for them. And that’s cool. While I think the t:Slim is awesome and the iPhone of insulin pumps, I also feel like I have to baby it somewhat. I’m sure I don’t and it’s just my paranoia, but I’m constantly in preparation for the OHSHIP moment when this pump could go on the fritz or I get clumsy and I do something that renders it useless. Yep, total paranoia that I know probably isn’t warranted, but even still… I’m just freaked out by it and not comfortable. As cool as it is, it’s not an iPhone that if I drop mine and destroy it, I can order another one on eBay to replace it for a couple hundred bucks.

Where am I going with this? I don’t know… by now it’s a complete ramble. So I’m ending this post…as I’m sure it’s not helping anyone at all.

The mySugr App

It seems that having different ways of spelling “sugar” is catching on.. and I like it! 🙂 But I’m not talking about “suga” today, I’m talking about sugr.. as in mySugr… new diabetes logging app on the block. Well, it’s not new… it’s been overseas since 2011, but isn’t that usually the case? Thank you, FDA.

My journey with the app began in late 2011 / early 2012 when I saw a post on a fellow d-friend from Australia’s wall on Facebook. I looked at the website, but there wasn’t much to being able to see how the app worked, so I emailed the nice people over at mySugr to see if I could have a way to see the app in action. When Fredrik Debong emailed me with an invite to Skype about the app, I was excited.

mySugr MonsterWe spoke for about an hour at length about the app and what all had gone into development. We spoke stories of our childhood and our diabetes and compared how things were for me here in the US verses for him in Sweden and Australia. At the core of the discussion was how tedious and mundane diabetes management is and how the least bit of encouragement and fun that can be placed into taking care of ourselves can improve our outlook on our diabetes and ourself. And that is where Fredrik said the idea of mySugr was born.

I left that conversation with an excitement for the app even more than I had before. I was given the ability to be an alpha tester for the app to help see how I liked the app and to see what I thought needed improving or not. I remember when the little monster was just a square composed of 9 little blocks that would move around and make sounds when you entered information. Even in it’s beginning stages, the app was cool.

Now, over the past year or so, they’ve worked and improved things tremendously, added lots of cool features, and it even now has a cute buggy-eyed monster that you can name. (Mine’s name is Suga, by the way.) Each entry adds points towards your daily point goal, of which can help unlock premium features. There are also challenges that you can sign up for as well, one involving their partnership with JDRF where you “can do 30 minutes of sports within 2 days and collect points for the community. The points are collected, the more money is donated.” And doing this? Earns you 3 days of Pro features. How cool is that? So, if you don’t want to pay for pro features, at least there is a way to earn it… and I must say, it’s quite fun to do so.

I have been so very anxious and excited for this app to finally come to the US, and it has now (well, as of yesterday…. but who’s counting?). If you’re a manual logger for any reason, I highly suggest this app above all of the others (and trust me, I’ve tried and paid for a LOT of them, and this tops them all in my opinion). I have to admit though, I don’t use it very often now, but before t:connect came out for the Tandem t:slim, this was my go-to logging app. The interface, ease of use, and awesome reports all work together in a nice little package that somehow makes you want to keep logging. It’s cool, fun and functional. It’s easy to use and engages you so that it’s not boring old logging, but fun logging. And really, can you resist not seeing that cute little monster above?? (And seriously, it’s sound is even cuter…. you’ve been warned.)

Here’s a little video to give you a better idea of the app:

And, here’s another little video the guys have put together to show you how it is used throughout the day.

Living with the mySugr Companion from mySugr on Vimeo.
Right now, you can get the app for free from the AppStore, and you can upgrade to Pro (in-app purchase) for half-price during the next two weeks. So go on! Give it a try!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write about this app nor to endorse it. As stated above, I had been working with Fredrik for well over a year and believed in him and his story so much, and knew the backstory about the app from him and I know that this is a project from his and his co-founder’s hearts. I was in love with this app at first sight and still am.. which is a lot to say coming from me who regularly downloads and deletes these types of apps. I do full-heartedly recommend this app.

Logging… Manually, Sort of.

Since I’ll be switching over to the t:slim later this week, I am searching ways to log  my stuff since the t:connect software is not available yet. I’ve downloaded and tried a few apps on my iPhone, with the Telcare app being the top contender for me right now. Though I love the Glooko app, I can’t manually add BG numbers into it, and I can’t sync my meter to it because I use the Verio IQ. But, since I have the new Dexcom G4 system, I thought I’d try the “Events” logging feature of it. I tried it before with the Seven+ system and it wasn’t great at all (from what I can remember, you couldn’t even log prior stuff… it had to be logged at the time of the event) and so I didn’t stay with it long. But, since they’ve made lots of improvements to the new system, I figured there wasn’t anything to lose in trying it.

So I started this morning:

I like that I can upload the Dexcom and see the symbol below the graph with the log beside it to tell me what I had to eat or taken with insulin. The only problem is that in logging the information, you can only go up by 0.05u, not 0.01u, so it may not be quite as accurate as a hand-log or some of the others (for example, the Telcare app lets me put in, say, 5.41u).

Either way, I hate logging. It’s tedious. It’s not something I want to think about and most of the time, I fail within a week. I really hope they have the t:connect approved VERY soon. I mean, the whole idea of going to the t:slim is because it’s so simple… and manual logging does not make things more simple, but more complicated… for me anyway. Until then, I’m on the hunt. Something simple yet comprehensive…. and with PDF reports, not just CSV files. I’m open to any suggestions if you have them!