Archive for the ‘insulin pump’ Category

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Getting used to Bumposaurus

September 9, 2010

I was brushing my teeth earlier, formulating my next blog post in my head, thinking about how awesome the Ping is and how being tubed hasn’t bothered me one bit.

Then I went to pee (sorry, TMI) and nearly yanked out my new site. Yikes!

Okay, so maybe there are a few things I still need to get used to. Usually my pump is tucked away in between my girls, and I never pull it out during the day to bolus (thank you, handy dandy meter remote). At night though, when I’m wearing my pajamas, the pump is clipped to my shorts. And sometimes I don’t remember it’s there.

Aside from the random yanking of tubing, I’m thankfully short enough that doorknobs don’t notice the tubing. (Side note: I had a site change today and I ripped off the old site, just to see how it would feel. Ouch.)

So far, so good. My bg’s have been completely awesome lately, ranging from 69 to 156. I’m trying out the angled and straight sets to see which one I like best, and also which ones work on different parts of my body. I learned the hard way that a site change requires multiple packages…I’ve been spoiled with the all-in-one packaging of the OmniPod and never had to worry about making sure I had infusion sets, tubing, and oh yeah, CARTRIDGES. I’m learning how to use the ezManager software and how amusing it is to hear La Cucaracha for my alerts.

We’ll see where this journey goes, but so far I’m loving the ride. :)

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Your friendly neighborhood barista

August 24, 2010

I stop by Starbucks every morning on my way to work. It’s literally a block away from the office, so it’s been my go-to place for the past few months (I’ve even mayor of it on Foursquare, much to my friend Steph’s amusement– she’s trying to oust me, the nerve!). Every morning, I’m greeted by theeeee friendliest baristas ever. They greet me with, “Hey Faye…your usual?”

Since summer began, Starbucks has been giving out their very tempting treat receipts: buy a drink before 2pm, and you can buy a grande cold drink after 2pm for $2 (plus tax). Of course, this also marks that time of day where I’m squirming at my desk, trying to fight off the food coma from lunch. Perfect afternoon break!

One day, I noticed that familiar feeling of “I’m going to be low soon so I should get something.” Steph and I headed over, and I ordered a passion tea lemonade.

R, one of my favorites, made my drink, and as he was about to slide it across the counter to me, he stopped and said, “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“What’s that on your arm?”

I looked at the back of my left arm and saw my pod peeking out from under my sleeve.

“Oh, it’s my insulin pump.” I turned to give him a better look.

“Oh, you’re diabetic? Wait…I made your drink sweetened. Is that okay for you? Do you want me to make another one with no syrup?”

I was truly touched at his genuine concern (and thankful he wasn’t one of those darn food police Storm Troopers) and assured him it was okay. I explained my bg was dropping and that I needed something to kick it back up. He, in turn, explained that he has a family history of diabetes and that he was getting regular check ups to make sure everything was okay. I commended him for staying on top of things, since most people don’t.

I left Starbucks feeling hopeful that not everyone out there will see my pod and say, “What the heck is THAT on your arm?!” (To which I want to respond, “What the heck is THAT coming out of your head? Oh, it’s your face.”) Or those who see my pod and say, “Wow, is that a nicotine patch?” (Um, not sure what kind of patches you’re using but that is a helluva lot of nicotine.) I love telling people about type 1 diabetes, but if you’re going to come at me with really dumb comments, it’s really hard for me to not be sarcastic.

Cheers to those who are curious and inquire in a respectful manner!

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Pathway to the Ping

August 15, 2010

July marks the beginning of a new insurance year.

This year, my co-pay for a visit to my doctor increases (from $25 to $30 for a specialist, from $20 to $25 for my PCP).

This year, my portion of the payment for durable medical equipment DOUBLES (coverage by my employer goes from 90% to 80%). Considering how much OmniPod supplies are, this is definitely not something I can afford.

Last year, I wrote about my experiences with wanting to switch to the Animas Ping, due to the amount of insulin I lost if a pod malfunctioned. I think I fell off the blogging bandwagon, because I never followed up. To make a long story short, my insurance company denied my appeal saying I was still under warranty and that Insulet should be replacing my pods. Not what I was arguing, but okay. I decided to give it a rest and just look for a new pump when my warranty expires in 2012.

However, due to this massive increase in my co-insurance for DME, I decided to try for the Ping again. The cost of supplies on my part will be way cheaper and easier for Chris and me to afford (keep in mind I’m the only one working a full-time job while Chris is in pharmacy school full time. We’re not exactly rollin’ in dough, haha).

An Animas rep called me back the day after I faxed over my paperwork. He said he had seen my paperwork from last year, and I explained what happened and what I was trying to do. Then he said, “So I guess you want to do AAP, right? It doesn’t go through your insurance.” Obviously I was confused and didn’t know what AAP was…

He explained– and apparently for me, the pump gods and the stars were aligned. It’s the Animas Access Program, and it lets you trade in your current pump for a recertified Ping for $200! Well, you pay $900 up front, and upon receipt of your current pump, Animas gives you $700 back. Oops, wrong info! You actually pay $200 up front, and if don’t send your current pump to Animas within 20 days of training, you’ll be billed $700. The warranty on your current pump also carries over (you’re covered for at least 2 years on the Ping, even if your current warranty is that long). Sounds like a pretty good deal to me! Insurance doesn’t pay for anything, and I get a “new” pump for $200!

My first reaction was “Why didn’t anyone tell me this last year?!” Turns out it’s only available during certain times (of the year, of the decade, I don’t know).

After talking over it with Chris (and asking him to do some research, because I was still in that “this sounds too good to be true” mindset), we agreed that we should push forward with this. My other option was to go back on MDI if I was denied again, but it looks like I won’t have to.

A pump consultant will be contacting me on Monday to go over next steps and what I need to do. I’ve already called my endo’s office to give them a heads up that a certification of medical necessity is needed soon. I know my endo is very on board with me switching pumps, given the issues I was encountering before, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up in case something falls through, but I’m VERY excited!

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The incredible beeping pod

May 21, 2010

Today, the strangest thing happened. My coworker, Steph, walked into my office, and we chatted for a bit. Suddenly, a familiar high-pitched beeping noise penetrated the air.

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

“Holy crap, what is that?!”

“It’s my pod.”

I ripped it off, turned on my PDM to shut it off, and was surprised to see that the PDM wasn’t recognizing the pod. It kept saying “pod status unavailable.” What the heck? This has never happened before…usually a message will pop up saying there was a pod error (or occlusion).

After 10 minutes of trying to stick in a paper clip in the hole at the top of the pod, slamming it on the desk, and stomping on it, Steph and I ended its life by prying it open with a pen and a dollar coin. (The PDM then had the nerve to tell me, after all this trouble, that there was a pod error.)

Steph majored in engineering in college, so she didn’t stop there: she pried off the circuit board because she wanted to see how the thing worked. And of course she snapped a picture to post on Facebook, although I shouldn’t mention that her caption included the words “fill the canister,” “vodka,” and an idea about sticking it on someone. I’ll leave that one to your imagination. ;)

RIP, you crazy piece of diabetes technology. You and your obnoxious beeping won’t be missed.

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Endo Visits

September 17, 2009

Today, I had my quarterly appointment with my amazing endocrinologist, Dr. Carrie Burns (of the Penn Rodebaugh Diabetes Center). I was excited to show her my CGM results and Kevin spreadsheet. We ended up tweaking some basal rates to tighten up control. Okay, not exactly rocket science, but it was good being able to see what was needed when, rather than playing a guessing game.

I also got my blood drawn for the good ol’ A1C. Side note: the lab tech was good; it only took her one poke! I’m curious to see what my A1C is like; since the last visit with Dr. Burns, we’ve worked on cutting out the crazy lows. I’m fully expecting it to go up (I had a 6.9 last time), but she said “I’d rather have you at a stable 7.2 than a crazy 6.9 any day.” Ditto! Now to work on the postprandial spikes.

We also touched on the topic of preparing for pregnancy, as the CGM is my first step in all this. Thankfully, Chris and I have three years before all this, but it’s never too early to prepare. I need to start tightening up (and I mean REALLY tightening up; none of this “holy crap my bg is 268 an hour after a meal, but let me to do a super bolus and be low an hour later”).

Oh, and here’s an interesting twist in my Ping vs. OmniPod decision: an hour before my appointment, I had a few units left in my pod and decided to change it. Well, it errored out during priming…with 200 units in there! UGH. That’s the second time in less than a month that happened. Again, I don’t mind losing a pod, as Insulet is very good at replacing them, but losing that much insulin hurts. Dr. Burns was on board with my switching over to the Ping, so hopefully that paperwork will get rolling very soon.

All in all, I love visiting my endo. I never feel judged, no matter how whack my numbers have been. That kind of doctor-patient relationship is priceless.

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OmniPod vs. Animas Ping

September 10, 2009

Last night, I cheated on my OmniPod. I met with an Animas rep to check out the One Touch Ping.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my OmniPod. I love that it’s wireless, discreet, and that I don’t get tangled up in it while I’m sleeping. I also love that it’s a great conversation starter (and many times an opportunity to educate).

But I HATE losing insulin when a pod errors out or occludes. And frankly, it’s happened way too many times in the past month. When Chris and I were in California, the pod errored out while priming. During my equipment fail, the pod’s cannula was bent and no occlusion alarm went off, even though it was leaking insulin and not delivering my basal properly. Both times, I had 200 units of insulin in there. Ouch. I know Insulet will not hesitate to replace a pod, but who will replace the lost insulin???

What made me [initially] shy away from a traditional pump was the tubing. I didn’t like the idea of accidentally ripping out an infusion set, but as my perceptive husband pointed out, “at least you don’t lose insulin when you rip out an infusion set.” Touche, hubby, touche. ;)

I also compared prices on the two systems:

OmniPod
PDM: $1750
Box of 10 pods: $450

Animas Ping
Pump and meter: $6000
Box of 10 infusion sets: $135
Box of 10 insulin cartridges: $36.50

The start-up cost of the OmniPod is definitely way cheaper, but over time, the Ping will be cheaper. On supplies alone, my 10% portion would go from $45 to $17.15 per month! Over four years, I would save about $1300.

But I don’t know…I’m still VERY iffy about the tubing (mainly because I toss around like a madwoman in my sleep). Nonetheless, I filled out the form and gave it to the Animas rep. They still need to run it by my insurance and give me my final out-of-pocket numbers.

Ahhh, decisions, decisions!