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Re: [IP] choosing my pump
In a message dated 6/2/2002 4:08:43 AM Mountain Daylight Time,
email @ redacted writes:
> I am ready to go on the pump and am really not sure which one to choose.
> anyone have suggestions on their favorite features and safety precautions.
> feel a little lost regarding this.
My daughter just had her one year anniversary of pumping yesterday and I felt
like throwing a party because pumping has been such a huge blessing for my
daughter Katie and ur family. To no longer be locked into the stress created
by the unpredictability of the long acting insulin has been wonderful -- and
my daughter just feels SO mcuh better overall. Her control is even better
than before (best a1c on shots was 7.4 -- on the pump she stays in the sixes
even though she's now in the throws of puberty), she has far fewer and milder
lows, she loves not having to "feed" her insulin -- especially before
exercising, and she loves being able to sleep in, and eat or not eat
depending on her own appetite.
When we were pump shopping (a little over a year ago) , we did a lot of
research and really looked at things carefully. In the end, the reality is
that they are ALL "good" pumps (couldn't get FDA approval if they weren't)
and that selecting a pump should be an individual choice based on the needs
and preferences of the pumper (and the parents, in the case of a child).
Here is a link to a series of pump reviews from the Diabetes Mall that I
think you'll find helpful because it's the most objective, complete, and
straight forward review of all the pumps curently available in the US: <A
Diabetes Mall Pump Reviews - Spring 2002</A>.
You can also get literature from each of the pump companies and they have
reps who will come to your home to show you their pump and let you "play"
with it. In conjunction with your doctor, they can even arrange a trial
using saline solution instead of insulin so that you can experience what it
is like to wear and operate each of the pumps. You can find links to each of
the pump companies web sites on the IP home page: <A
In the end, my husband, daughter, and I ended up choosing the Animas R-1000
pump as the "BEST" pump for her. After pumping for a year, I'm happy to say
that we are extremely happy with our choice. We love the pump and have been
very happy with Animas as a company. Not only has the service been first
rate, but every person we've dealt with has been just plain nice.
Here are some of the things we like about Animas pump:
IT'S WATERPROOF -- THIS WAS A MAJOR FACTOR FOR US!
Animas has far and away the highest waterproof rating (Tested at 12 ft for 24
hours). I paid attention to that one because my daughter is half fish . . .
she *can* disconnect, she virtually never does except to hook up a new set
every three days. And, by staying connected (1) you get to take full
advantage of those finely-tuned basals you work so hard to get, and (2) if
you wear your pump all the time, it's easier to ignore tha fact that you've
got this thing connected to you (kind of like how you don't feel your wedding
ring on your finger).
In the shower, she just clips her Animas pump to the shampoo rack. In the
tub, she just sets it on the ledge next to the tub (so as not to cook the
insulin). In the pool, she just clips it to he bikini bottoms.
Last summer, we spent three weeks in Hawai`i. In the ocean or in a murky
lake, I ask her to put it in a neoprene sports belt just because I didn't
want to have her $5,500 pump get knocked off during some horseplay and end up
in Davy Jones locker!. She wore her pump in the ocean at least once a day
while we were there. She also wore it kayaking and snorkeling. This summer
she plans to try surfing . . .
The thing I like about her staying connected is that she has her pump (with
insulin!) with her at all times if she needs to bolus (like if we kayak out
to the little island in the bay with a picnic) or if she's just not playing
hard enough in the water to make up for all her normal basal
requirements(then she just has to punch a couple buttons to do a bolus that
will give her the insulin she needs).
Plus, then we don't have to worry about finding a safe place at the pool or
beach to store the pump where the insulin won't get roasted, or the pump
won't get lost, damaged, or stolen (as happened to one poor fellow on the IP
this past summer who stashed his pump in a little cooler which someone ran
off with while he was swimming in the local pool).
I know some pumpers prefer to disconnect when swimming, and some don't have
an option because their pump isn't waterproof, but for us, her having a
has been great.
IT'S EASY TO USE . . .
Using the pump (to do a bolus, set up a basal profile, change the clock when
it's daylight savings time, etc. etc.) is a snap because this pump is all
menu driven. If you can read English (or whatever language you request for
your pump) you can run the pump. You don't have to memorize anything, just
read the screen. It's like using an ATM machine. Go try it for yourself on
the "Virtual Pump" on the Animas web site (www.animascorp.com).
My daughter mastered it in minutes and we weren't far behind. There's a 24
hour customer service line if you ever have any questions or problems, but we
haven't opened the manual since pump start let alone needed to call customer
service about how to do something on the pump.
YOU DON"T HAVE TO BE AN ENGINEER . . .
All the "mechanical" stuff is easy -- even if you're NOT mechnically inclined
. . . Filling Cartridges (with insulin) is like drawing up a syringe (and
takes about that long). Then you just drop in in the chamber, close the
little door, twist on the infusion set of your choice (unlike the Paradigm,
Animas uses the industry standard Luer lock connection) and you ready to
roll. Changing batteries is that simple too -- plus they use a standard
"357" battery that you can pick up at Walmart, Target, or a pharmacy if you
ever need to (though the ones from Animas are cheaper and seem to last
longer) -- but a least you're not stuck if you forget to pack extra pump
batteries when you go on vacation . . . some pumps require special batteries
that you can only get from the pump maker.
AESTHETICS AREN"T EVERYTHING --- BUT DON"T TELL THAT TO KATIE
How the pump looked was very important to my daughter. The Animas pump is
small and thin and (most importantly to her) looked like a pager. She also
really liked all the snap-on covers you can get in something like 20
different colors including metallics and irridescents. They also have
re-usable pump cover stickers in various sports and holiday themes. You can
"try on" a few of the pump cover colors on the "virtual pump" and the pump
cover stickers are in the "autumn" newsletter on page 4 (also on the web
Animas has the lowest hourly basal rate increment (.05 uph), a feature that
we didn't think would matter to us -- but we later found that being able to
adjust our hourly basals in increments of five hundredths of a unit per hour
(instead of one tenth of a unit increments like other pumps) did actuallly
make a difference when fine tuning Katie's overnight basals.
The Animas pump allows you to set up up to four basal profiles (basal
programs) to deal with different types of situations that affect you basal
insulin needs. We weren't sure how much we would use this feature, but it
too has come in handy. We've played around with several different profiles,
and right now we have set up three profiles: School Days, Weekends, and
Sleepovers. It's so handy to have these already set up. It's very easy to
just switch from one to the other.
We also use the temporary basal feature which gives you lots of options to
raise or lower your basal rate by percentages for periods ranging from a half
hour up to 12 hours. We use this feature a lot to prevent lows related to
exercise. Katie likes not having to eat right before/during exercise just to
keep from going low.
The Animas R-1000 performs 1,000 safety checks per minute (hence it's name).
It also has powerful motor to overcome potential occlusions coupled with the
most sensitive occlusion detection system of any pump on the market. I also
like how I can set maximum limits on basals and boluses to help keep my
daughter from accidentally doing a bolus of 14 units when she really meant to
do a 1.4 unit bolus (and then change those limits based on what we need them
As I said, these are some of the main things we like about the Animas pump.
You may find some of them aren't of interest to you, or that other features
of the pump are of more interest.
The thing you need to do is to review each pump's features and figure out
what the benefit of that feature would be to a pumper, whether that benefit
even applies to you, and how important it is to you.
An example I can give you is audio boluses. Now I think that all the pumps
currently available offer this feature, however, if one didn't, but offered
other features we wanted the lack of the audio bolus wouldn't matter us
because that's a feature we never use -- I want my daughter to visually
verify the bolus amount before she activates the pump to actually deliver the
bolus of insulin (therefore we have that feature turned "off" on her Animas
pump even though it has the capability).
Please feel free to write me again if you have any more questions . . . Good
luck with your pump shopping -- No matter what choice you make, I'm sure you
will be very happy to be pumping!
Pumpmama to Katie (11, dx @9) Happily pumping with her Animas pump 'Elvis"
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