Pumping vs. MDI

Insulin pens and insulin pumpWhen I decided to stick with MDI in March after my pump broke, I said I would write more about the comparisons between MDI and pumping. I never did that so thought I would do that now.

One big plus of pumping is the multiple basal rates. Most people take one or two shots of Lantus or Levemir. Some people need more variety and they can have more basal rates with a pump. I take three shots of Levemir per day. I was always able to get fairly flat coverage with the three shots, but lately, my basal needs have changed. If I take enough Levemir to stay flat in the mornings, I end up going low after lunch. If I were on a pump, I could just set the pump to change basals rates when my body needs more or less basal.

You can also change your basals or suspend them on the fly with a pump. If your plans change for the day once you take Lantus or Levemir, that insulin is floating around in your body and you can’t take it back. You can change your basals with a pump or suspend them altogether.

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Supply Company Nazis

Animas Ping and pump suppliesI have been following a pump supply saga in the Animas Group on TuDiabetes. It first started with a delay in her e-store order from Animas then turned into a change in the amount of supplies that she received. She heard the usual finger pointing that we have all heard, “your doctor” and “your insurance company,” so she was making phone calls to both her doctor and her insurance company. What really put her over the edge was when she was told by Animas that her insurance company would only approve 3 boxes of insets and she was holding a copy of the insurance authorization for 5 boxes. Why is it that a supply company can override what our doctor feels is an appropriate amount for us and our insurance company is agreeable in paying?

I do think that there is a lot of waste in supplies and I even understand why there needs to be limits on supplies. I previously wrote that I think the auto-ship programs create a lot of waste. I often see people say, “the supply company keeps sending me …” and have to wonder why they don’t pick up the phone and tell them they don’t use that stuff. They seem to think it is free because they don’t have to actually write a check for it. After I first started using the Multiclix lancets, I was good about turning the little knob every day but I am back to my old habits. When I call to order test strips, they always ask if I need lancets and my usual answer is no. I went over a year without ordering any and if I keep going at the same rate, it might be another year before I order another box.

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Pump Hackers Revisited

Animas Ping combo bolus screenBack in June, I wrote about the MSNBC article on wireless pumps being hacked. You can read that article here. Last week, the Washington Post also wrote about it. Since then, there has been a lot of discussion about it and several of the other diabetes advocates have written about it. Keep in mind that this is not just insulin pumps involved, but insulin pumps seem to be what is getting all the attention. It involves Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMS), pacemakers, defibrillators and any other wireless medical device out there. I will make a list at the end of the other articles so you can read more thoughts on the subject and I will update that list as I hear about more.

When I wrote my original article, I wrote, “It is pretty scary to think that someone can deliberately take over your pump and inject insulin into you without your knowledge.” In one way, it is scary, but what is the likelihood that would ever happen? Just because something is possible does not mean it will happen. You have a greater chance of being killed in a car accident than someone killing you with your pump – I sincerely doubt that you will quit driving or being a passenger in a car just because you could be in a bad accident. Do you really believe that someone is going to sit at the mall picking off every pump user that walks past? Honestly, if someone really wants to do you in, there are a lot easier ways to do it.

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Animas Ping Combo Bolus Feature

I thought I would share this here just in case anyone else was told something wrong during their training.  It is not exactly that was I told was wrong, it is just that there is an easier way to do something!

I have been playing around with using the combo bolus feature (extended bolus for you non-Animas users).  Getting interested in the TAGgers group (see my post on Total Available Glucose) has me playing with the combo bolus feature more than I had been.

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Hospitals Are Dangerous Places for Diabetics, Part 1

This was actually something I thought about writing about a couple months ago then got sidetracked.  I just read something else this week that reminded me of this subject and thought I would write about it now.  As you can guess from the “Part 1,” this is a multiple part story!

For those of you that read the TuDiabetes message board, you probably read about Missy.  Reading Missy’s story is what originally gave me the idea to write about this – it has happened to me and I am sure many others. Missy was in the hospital for brain surgery.  Missy is Type 1 and uses a pump.  Besides being diabetic, she is also deaf.  The doctor managing her medical care decided that she was a Type 2 and stopped her insulin and put her on Metforim.   Apparently, you are not supposed to have an MRI while on Metforim. Guess what, Missy had an MRI.

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Total Available Glucose (TAG)

Total Available Glucose. or TAG – I first read about TAG on TuDiabetes.  Danny on TuDiabetes started a group for TAGgers, that you can check out at the link below and read more about it there.


The idea behind TAG is that besides bolusing for your carbs, you also bolus a percentage for the fat and protein that you consume and then spread that bolus out using the dual wave or extended bolus (or combo on Animas pumps) feature on your pump.  There are some people doing MDI that belong to the group so don’t think that you can’t use this system if you don’t have a pump.  Whether you use MDI or a pump, you definitely need a calculator if you want to use this system!

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