Sunday, 1 March 2015

64 days on MiniMed 640G: Managing my Type 1 Diabetes. Week 1

Some of you may know that I've been lucky enough to be offered a 64 day trial of the brand spanking new MiniMed 640G by Medtronic. Why 64 days? Because the number 64 is in the pumps name. Why not 640 days? Well, I asked (a few times), but sadly the answer was no. But hey-ho... I'm not complaining! 

So during the 64 days I'm going to be vlogging (it's like blogging but with videos - vlogging!) on youtube about my experiences with the 640G. You'll also find two other patients with Type 1 who are also using the 640G and will also be vlogging - Dave (@SowerBee) and John (@MM640G).

For those who haven't heard about this pump you can find more info on a previous blog that I wrote about it. It goes into a lot more detail about the technology and the aim of the new system,

What can I tell you so far about the pump?

Ok, I'm only a few days in so I want to start with the insulin pump. It's taking some getting used to as I've been using another pump by another company for 2 years now. I found it really helpful to sit down with a cuppa after my training and just have a look around the options and settings, just taking time to get used where everything is and how to access the options I'd be using. It's important to be comfortable with medical technology - There's no set time that you should be used to it and 'flying' through the options. Everyone learns at a different pace. Asking lots of questions helps! 

The pump itself - I love it! 

I'm not just saying that because I'm trialling it - but I really rate it (yes rate, not hate) and after a week of using it I would be more than happy to continue using it in place of my regular insulin pump. As a stand-alone pump (forget the CGM and SmartGuard for now), it's bloody impressive! I've never used a Medtronic product before so I have no idea how similar it is to other pumps they have, but personally I think it has set the standard in terms of what's on the market at the moment.

The pump provides a vast amount of options and functions, offering much more control (in terms of diabetes management) than I'm used to. For some I can imagine that may be slightly intimidating (I was a little overwhelmed during my training session) but don't let the amount the pump can offer put you off - as a patient you are in control. Now that I've had a few days to get used to the pump I can see just how beneficial it can be to my day-to-day diabetes management. In a strange way, as much as it gives me more control, I also feel it gives me more freedom through the choices I can make.

It's the little things that have impressed me...

For example - I can flag specific events that have affected my blood glucose (BG), so if I've had a mahoosive pizza and my BG has shot up I can flag that on the pump. Similarly if I've had a post running hypo, I can flag that too. Then in my appointments when my consultant says to me...

"What happened on this day 2 months ago?" 

my answer won't be... 

"2 months ago? I don't remember what happened 2 hours ago!"

... but it will be flagged in my data which will give us both more insight into what actually happened, rather than guessing. We all know how hard it is to remember every little detail! 

Other awesome pump things... (These aren't all of the options but they are a few of my favourites).

  • It has a big colourful screen - this is a huge help to me as I have retinopathy
  • Sexy design - It looks like an iPod and is very sleek and smooth (does that sound weird?)
  • The belt clip is also the key that unscrews the battery cap! (No more 5p tricks!)
  • It has a back button (this impressed me far too much)
  • The menu is incredibly easy to navigate
  • There are clear sections in the menu depending on which info you need - e.g. history which is broken down into sub-sections - alarm history, daily history, sensor glucose history etc. 
  • The pump will remind you when you need to change your tubing and re-fill your reservoir (no more "when did I last do that?" moments
  • It has a 'reminders' section which has sub-sections that can be personalised e.g. reminders to take other medications, check your BG, a 'missed meal' reminder etc. - I really like how personal I can make this pump!
It also has the regular functions that you would expect from an insulin pump, like bolus delivery options and temporary basal rates.

Are there any cons? 

One biggie that had me worried when I started using this pump was that the blood glucose meter that works with it doesn't have a bolus wizard, only the pump does.

A bolus wizard basically calculates the amount of insulin you need to take for a meal (or a correction dose) depending on your blood glucose levels, the carbohydrate content of your food (if applicable) and other factors such as exercise or illness. Now... my current BG meter has a bolus wizard which does all of this and then sends (via Bluetooth) the amount of insulin I need to my pump which then delivers it, meaning I don't need to fish around in my bra or pockets to find my pump and do this manually. 

Th Contour Next meter (the one working with the 640G) doesn't have that function, meaning trips to the bathroom or a different room to pull the pump out from wherever I've hidden it in order to use the bolus wizard. There is an option on the BG meter to deliver a pre-set dose of insulin from the meter straight to the pump (no fumbling) and also to give a dose of insulin that you've decided yourself straight to the pump (also, no fumbling). 

For some people this isn't a huge con, but I think it depends on how open you are about using your insulin pump - everyone is completely different. Personally, I don't mind people knowing that I have an insulin pump, however, depending on the situation (a meeting or a lecture for example) I would much prefer not to be fumbling around in my bra for my portable pancreas. 

Currently this is my only con and one that I was aware of before getting the pump. But who knows... at the end of the 64 days maybe this won't be such a big deal for me! At the moment the pros certainly outweigh the cons!

I'll blog about the CGM and SmartGuard soon... I promise! 

Ninjabetic x 

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