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The Pump Wars


03 January 2006

The Pump Wars

Today, people with diabetes can make all types of decisions about the products they use. I remember when one type of insulin made my arms all red and pimply and, at 16 years, I begged my doctor to change it - he did. I have used EVERY type of glucometer on the market, and now I am back with an old favorite. Is it the convenience factor that keeps me on the look-out for the next best thing? Perhaps. Now there is a choice in what type of pumps are available. A relative of mine recently made a comment that he thought I was on a pump because I was so very ill and "only the most severe patients are on pumps." I thought about this for a few seconds and then reworked his statement to go something like this:
"only the best doctors put their most capable and eager insulin dependent patients on pumps."(one caveat: many people who still have insulin produced by their pancreas (T2's for example) cannot go onto the pump...and obviously there are many reasons why pump therapy may not be chosen)
Insulin pumps are hard work. They do not manage themselves. Vigilance is key. But the freedom and better HbA1c's are well worth all the work. For all you non-pumpers out there, an insulin pump is a virtual pancreas. It is as close as one can get to the real thing ... on the market.

Which is why I am writing this article. I belong to the UK Pumpers group. Over the Christmas holidays, one of our member's pump had not been delivering insulin. The pump -- which would normally alarm - did not warn her. Because of the holidays, no one was available on the 24 hour line from the pump company. This includes 2-3 days after Christmas. She alerted everyone in the group and asked them for their recommendation. (I won't mention the company here until I get their response.)

This brings me to my next line of thought: pumps are not like broken washing- machines or cars. People on pumps can't just que up for service once business resumes. These little machines are our life-lines. And switching off to another insulin is not as easy as it sounds. Insulin pumps can give as many as 450-500 constant calculated "amounts" of insulin. No injectable insulin can replace that.

Which is why I think that service, reliability, comfort, ease, efficiency and all the well-known product superlatives should be graded by US - the patients. Next week, Piotr Kalinowski, 27 years old (T1 for 15+ yrs) who resides in Warsaw (Poland) will be trialing the Accu-check Spirit Pump (click on Accu-check Spirit and check out the ultra intro with Soave runway music (?) ) and will write about his experience here. I will post my experiences with Medtronic and I am calling on anyone who would also like to contribute. I would also like to hear what products (any and all) you think deserve a best rating and why...


Blogger Kerri. said...

I use a Medtronic Minimed Paradigm 512. I'll definitely post my opinion on this pump when you do your "Pump-Op" page.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I also use a Medtronic Minimed pump, though the Pardigm 515 model. I am eager to hear more about other pumps. I wasn't given a lot of options when I opted for the pump, and while I don't regret getting the Paradigm, I am eager to learn about newer technology (that new pod pump for instance).

8:05 PM  

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