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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.  
> Does
>  anyone have suggestions on their favorite features and safety precautions. 
> I
>  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 
HREF="http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/">Insulin Pumpers</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:

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 
waterproof pump 
has been great.

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.

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.

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 
to be).  

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" 
since 6-1-01
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